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Search for the Unknowns

Desuri, Ranakpur, Gold, Aravalli, Moon, fox, Bell, Temple, Driver, Peace, Unknown, Camp, Valley, Fire balls

That was in the year 1979. It was wintertime in the month of February when I thought of camping at Desuri, a remote village in Rajasthan. I was to work around that village for some geological investigation for probable occurrence of gold. I had to come around that area besides my primary work in the adjacent Udaipur district. From the main field area I started for Desuri in one fine morning with fully loaded trailer with the camp equipments. I left ‘Debarsthan’ hotel in one corner of Udaipur City at around seven o’clock in the morning with an idea that by afternoon I would get a shelter or a camping site for pitching the tents for our stay. We were to cross the entire Aravalli Range; the place of destination was due north of Udaipur City at about one hundred fifty kilometer away. Famous Ranakpur temple was in the midway of the journey. Ranakpur was about sixty kilometers away from Udaipur and no other village was nearby. The temple was built around 15 Th Century and it was a Jain temple in a beautiful valley of greeneries! The temple was calm and quite; it was built with a number of pillars between which the main deity of Thirthankar was visible from any corner distinctly! The walls and the pillars show magnificent carvings very similar to that of Delwara temple in Mt .Abu! It was wonderful to take a rest for a while in the shadow of the temple. Silence and peace went hand in hand in the entire surroundings! The temple was constructed by the Rana Kumbha in a remote area, away from the localities within a green valley and surrounded by the magnificent nature! The temple and the nature were inseparable for probing the unknowns in response to social awakening and religious fervor among the people around the area. The serene beauty attracted Rana Kumbha to erect the temple and help the saints to chase the unknowns in the tranquil environment.

Kumbhalgar was not far off from this place; the palace was situated in the top part of the high Aravalli hill Ranges. The nature was unique in this part, sometimes-dreadful beauties! It was felt so, particularly when we were crossing the Ghat section; all the time there was an anxiety if the vehicle with full loaded trailer ran out of order, if gearbox failed and many such odd naturals! The route was shorter but was very steep and zing sag and was not in common use; the common users for its steepness and loneliness normally avoided that route. The colorful natural groups of flowers on either side of the road were the reliever of the strain and the anxiety; the beautiful flowers were seen to bloom with innumerable butterflies flying around! The nature was so kind that one would forget his helplessness and worries. Then came the famous Ranakpur temple with its serene beauty and symbol of eternal search!

When we reached Desuri it was five o’clock in the evening. My family was eagerly waiting for the destination to come and to be free from the whole day’s journey. My daughter was a small baby, just learnt how to walk and ceaseless talks for queries and clarifications for an unknown world around her. We got accommodation in the rest house but for a short duration, as a minister was likely to visit the area with his big team. Therefore I was in search of a small house or a hut, as I was not intending to pitch my tent for a short period. Fortunately I got one such small house actually meant for forest guard. The house was empty and no one was staying. It was about one and a half kilometer away from the village and was just on the hill slope by the side of a small spring! Barring its loneliness, the house seemed to be a heaven for me. The accommodation was quite sufficient; one big room was covered with doors and windows with a small verandah and a kitchen with an oven for fire with woods. In simple, the arrangement was satisfying and perfect. Similar another house was spotted just nearby for the driver’s family, the cook, and the watchmen. Thus, after talking with the Ranger, I happily started living there. The place was just on the foothills of the Aravalli Ranges; bushes to big trees including mango, babul, date and many other varieties were adding the beauty of the nature around! The incised valley with the stream along with the trees and the bushes created an environment of tranquility! In the daytime lot of people used to gather particularly to look after the plantations of tomato, maize and mastered in the bank of the small rivulet. We were staying in the raised ground from where the cultivators would be seen singing and working in the valley beds. All those people used to leave the place when the sun would set; many of them used to come to say hello & goodbye. By that time the sound of bells in the distant temple of the village would grip the entire valley! Slowly the place used to become completely solitary even the driver and other field mate would go to the village to enjoy the rehearsal of dance and music for the ensuing holy festival. Darkness would slowly crawl and would grip the entire hill range, the valley, the spring, the adjacent jungle and the sky in the above! The day’s sky would change completely; thousands and thousands of stars would start glittering. In the distant horizon, the crescent moon would peep and then the first break in the silence would come from the group of the foxes in the jungle. From then on the unknown insects and the owl would start shouting throughout the whole night. We would be talking each other in the closed room with a lit lantern. Sumi, our baby would play in the wooden plank. The cold would slowly increase with the more and more depth of the night. Our cook would remain busy in the kitchen with the fire in the oven to prepare vegetables and chapatti for the dinner. When I used to be away for the fieldwork, our cook and the watchmen would collect woods from the jungle. At times my wife and the baby would also join them in collecting the woods! It used to be a fun and a game for her and my daughter. The parrot, woodpecker, the other birds, and the squirrels would play hide and seek with them! The sun and the shadow through the leaves and the branches of the trees would also participate in the game! While I would go to field and would go on searching smoky quartz veins; I would hammer and break the veins and would observe under lenses the character of the rock! I was in search of gold and was in the look out for any speck or stains in the fresh part of the broken quartz veins!

That was how the days were passing. We remained cut off from the civilized world and became part and parcel of the valley and the jungle! The crescent moon was slowly becoming circular and so the night profile was also changing. In the moon lit night, the night watcher birds used to jump from one branch to the other, the foxes in the jungle and the distant dogs in the village would start barking to announce their control. The long palm trees would play with the breeze and the wind, clear deep blue sky would hang over the village, the hills and the jungles. We were getting used to the tunes of the nature till one morning when we found our daughter was running severe temperature! We became worried for her fever. Good doctors were not available around. I tried with the homeopath but her mother was becoming impatient. She told “ Suppose, this medicine of homeopath does not work, what will you do?”

---- “ Don’t worry, it will work. Let us wait for a day. If it does not subside, we will take her to a doctor in Pali. It is a city and good doctors are plenty there”.

My daughter became very week within a short spell of time. I could not go to the field, I remained stationed in the house watching her condition. Meanwhile the deep blue sky was attracting black colored clouds from the noon itself. The clouds became denser and denser and appeared it’s crackdown any time. The field coolies all left when it was about to be evening.. The sound of thunderstorm started pouring in. The day went off, the sky was covered, the sky was covered with dark heavy clouds with lightening every seconds. We locked ourselves inside the room and sat very close to my daughter. We were going on changing the wet cloth on her forehead. There was no sign of reducing of temperature. Outside was fearful, heavy storm was impounding on the doors and the windows. Added to it hailstorm also started. It continued for a quite a long time! Then suddenly everything was stopped. No sound of hailstorm or the wide lightening, but a very hurried and excited knocks on the door was heard.

Jeet Singh, the driver was shouting “ Sahib, Sahib, please open the door and come outside. Something unknown is happening! Please do come quickly”!

His voice was full of anxiety, excitement and fear. My wife became nervous and said “ What is happening? We will also come with you in the open, who knows what a strange waits for us!”

By that time our daughter woke up and sat over the bed. She started crying and would not let her mother go. I did not wait any longer.
I was ready to go out and said, “ Do not worry, even if we sit here , the terrible if any will not keep quite in the outside. Both of you also get ready to come out and let us face the unknown.”
Saying this I neared the door and opened it. I saw the driver was standing with a pale face and astounding eyes. Behind him clear moon lit night was sparkling. Patchy ice pieces out of the hailstorm still remained unmelted! The trees in the surroundings were motionless, no branch or the leaves were flipping. The other two or three people of the camp were standing and waving towards the sky.
The driver was whispering and saying, “ Look up Sahib, what are they Sahib? Look, how blue and yellow colors are glittering! Sahib what are these!”

We all looked up to those moving objects; they were six or seven in numbers of the distant full moon size! Some were yellow and some were blue in color. They all were coming from the hill range side in the behind and were crossing over our heads and were moving away from us! They were moving with uniform speed and without making any sound! The sky was clear and free from any cloud; the bright stars and the full moon in the horizon appeared as though observing them with curiosity! In the first hand I thought they could be fire works! May be very powerful fireworks for celebrating marriage or some such festival! But there were no villages in hill ranges and the nearest locality was far off in the other side of the hill. What else it could be then! I was not getting any answer. We stood spell bound looking towards those moving fire balls, slowly and slowly went out of our visions!

After a few days my work was over around that part of the area and therefore closing the camp I returned to Udaipur city. So long I was completely cut off from all the civilized amenities to the extent that I was not getting any newspaper to keep myself informed of the ongoing events in different parts of the country and the abroad! I collected all the newspapers, old and the new along with a set of magazines to quench the thirst of events and happenings so long. In one of the newspaper my eyes were struck in one news item. It stated about seven moving fireballs, which were seen in the horizons of different places! They were seen in a row from northwest to southeast horizons starting from Delhi to Ahmedabad and beyond at specific time intervals in the night sky! It further added that a professional photographer tried to catch them in his camera from one corner of his roof terrace in Ahmedabad. The event was coinciding with that of ours in the same day at about same time about four hundred kilometers away in Desuri. The editorial in the newspaper opined that those fireballs might be extra terrestrial objects most commonly known as UFO!

I was thinking what a strange alignment; alignment in the search—search for the unknowns for gold, for peace and harmony, for journey for wider universe! Oh, yes! Another important aspect of the event I forgot to record; I really did not find a suitable explanation within myself that my daughter who was running high temperature became completely alright! The storm subsided, the rains and the hailstorms were stopped and the full moon was out in the sky! She was smiling and talking in her mother’s lap!
Published: 2008-01-07
Author: Asimendu Bandopadhyay

About the author or the publisher
About the author :
The author, Mr. Asimendu Bandopadhyay, uses his free time in writing. He has developed a writing style revealing the bondage of nature and the life. He wants to share & communicate those events of his own with the readers for their valuable feelings and interactions. The author was working as a Director in Geological Survey of India in the last phase of his service career. In his younger days worked in various field of geology with background of foreign training in United Kingdom under United Nations Development Programme Scheme in Marine Exploration. He gathered vast experience both in land and Ocean. Active participation as Chief Scientist in as many as 15 different geological cruises in the Bay of Bengal is in his credit. He took part in search of Fe-Mn nodules cruising 45 days at a stretch in sea in the Indian Ocean in Skandy Surveyor, a Norwegian Research Vessel. Published scientific papers in national and international journals. Besides scientific milieu, came across many human-inhuman experiences. Vast field of Rajasthan, the place of desert and his initial placement in the job ended in the deep sea through majestic happenings covering human feelings and scientific search.

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