(This short story is a work of fiction. All the places mentioned are fictitious. No character presented should be related with the author.)

Madira Valley. The beautiful place in the Chihama district. Just fifteen minutes from the Lord Krishna temple – situated in those crowded streets of Chihama. Mountains soaring high on both the sides. But what a vast difference these two places bear!

Madira Valley is a calm, soothing and tranquil place. Apart from the Lord Krishna temple – built two years ago -which is noisy and crowded. People usually find peace in temples but this is not the case for Chihama. The location of temple in those crowded streets – with innumerable vendors, cheap jewelry stores, bakeries, garages, grocery stores, and what not – makes it ‘un-peaceful’ place. Few people here come to see god. Most come to wait for their family members shopping nearby. Others come to gossip or to play cards. No restrictions. But those finding peace go to Madira Valley.

It is full of nature’s ‘beauties’. Chirping birds. Trees. Lush green grass everywhere. With the river flowing down (which is the main attraction). Nimira flows here with her mighty water. With pitch blue color, rich in minerals. Her banks full of gravels enhance its beauty. With those small, smooth, round pebbles.

Kanan and Aniket are sitting at this riverbank. Playing with pebbles. Playing with sweet memories of their past. Both are in their early-40s. Coming to this place has always been their favorite pastime activity. This place, always, has refreshed and soothed their minds.

“You remember that pomegranate tree we used to eat those dark-reddish pomegranates from? Sweetest among all?”, says Kanan. Their carved names yet on its trunk. Though faded. But present. Which they did on their tenth birthday. Yes, they are twins. Two bodies, one soul; two minds, one heart.

Aniket doesn’t reply. He has already gone into the long past. Delving into those shenanigans, those pixies…

……………………………..

I have seen others ‘living’ life.

……………………………..

“I’ll tell mom about today’s incident if you don’t give that teddy bear back”, said Kani to Anu. Their childhood names. Bestowed to them by their parents. Kani to Kanan and Anu to Aniket. Anu had bunked the class and gone to the valley with his friends. For pomegranates. So Kani got good chance to take her teddy bear back from him, which he had snatched from her. “Don’t tell mom. I return it to you.” Unwillingly he had to return that pink furry toy to her.

Both used ‘blackmailing’ to get their things back from each other. Which children do often. Both were like every common child – playing, quarreling, crying and then again playing together. Their childhood was full of excitement and enjoyment and happiness.

But one day landslide devastated the town. Almost half of the population was killed. And their parents were among those dead. Their lives were harrowed. At the age of thirteen. They had been admitted to the orphan house. Along with many other children. They, then, did not talk much. They often went to the Madira Valley, which was intact. But did not speak much. The sudden occurrence of events had changed them.

Once a couple from the neighboring district came. They were childless. They wanted to adopt a child. They saw innocent, little, lovely Kanan and decided to adopt her. Only her. They wanted only one child. Aniket did not object. They completed formalities and agreed to take Aniket to their home every year in vacations.

When they met every year, they felt very happy. They started opening again. They both understood that the course of life cannot be changed. So they lived their lives, negotiating things.

Kanan married. To a wealthy businessman. She was going abroad with him. To settle. But before that both twins met again. Inseparables would be separables then on. It was like tearing through their heart. Tearing through their soul. They wept. Like never before. At the bank of Nimira. “Goodbye, Anu. Take care.” And she left. Without looking back. She went. But they accepted the course.

Soon, Aniket started business in Chihama. Married to Kavya. He started his own orphan home. It would give him satisfaction. Of curing many lives. Both twins were happy in their lives.

One day when Aniket sat in his office, a message came. I m comin to Chihama. It was from Kanan. He felt the burst of happiness. Adrenaline running hard through his body. What a pleasant surprise, di. Almost for 20 years they had not met. Comin 2moro. At noon. He was too eager to meet her. So was she. I’m waiting, dear.

……………………………….

When I met those challenges soaring before me, I learned to respect them.

……………………………….

“Hey, I’m talking to you”, says Kani. “Haah…”, Aniket, jolting from trance, says. “What! Where are you, Anu.”
“Nothing, just gone into the past. Those memories. Inseparable from me. I’ve lived these twenty years with those memories, everyday. Talking to you through phone is not enough for me. But here you are. I cannot tell how much happy I am.”
“Same here. Now do not make me emotional any more.” Both laugh.

“Mom, look what I have got”, says Hard. Son of Kanan. The pomegranate in his hand. “Hey, why you snatched it from me. Give it to me. It is mine”, Dhara, Aniket’s daughter, says. “Here, I will bring you one each. Do not quarrel”, says Aniket.

He shows children how to fetch pomegranates. But children are not interested in how to get one, they just want one. “Hey dad, here is your name. Have you written it? Aunty’s name is also here. Have you both grown this tree?”, asks Dhara. Aniket and Kanan burst into laugh. “Yes, my sweet girl. We together have grown this tree.” And again, this tree reminds them of their strong relationship, standing intact enduring the high winds – of life.