When I was showing some pictures to KN and this picture emerged, her response was simply: Shiva Shiva Oh Shiva! She was mesmerized by the plain and simple beauty of the Shiva Lingam and the serenity that surrounded the unadorned sculpture beside the water of river Beas! “Where is this sculptutre, I must see it before I say goodbye to HImachal” she sincerely entreated me with pure innocence of a childlike demand! “Please forward me this picture, I would make it the display picture on my desktop!” I could see the pure and unadulterated faith that was exuberating from her very being. And when I told her about a large number of Shiva temples in Mandi town, she was full of excitement. I wanted so much to take her to Mandi town and let her have a darshan of the Shiva temples with a rich variety of sculptures scattered in and around them. “I wish I could live at a place near a river which has this kind of Shiva Lingam nearby!” KN was weaving dream of a saint-like life and this place seemed the best bet for it.
I suddenly remembered my walk to this sculpture and a simple memory of the garbage that I walked upon, made me worry about KN’s visit to that place. KN, as we all knew, was a staunch champion for cleaning the Himalayas. A plastic bag or a piece of garbage would just piss her off! And God may help a person if he was ever seen spitting on a road by her. She would deliver a sermon to passers by if she ever saw them spoiling the pristine beauty of Himalayas. Here I mean HImachal by Himalayas as she always would treat Himachal with Himalayas! Such was her devotion to HImalayas and to maintain the clean environment of the sacred place! Then why didn’t I offer her a visit to Mandi?
Knowing well her penchant for the cleanliness that she considered next to godliness, I was sure of the hell befalling all had she paid a visit to this fine sculpture of Lord Shiva! I had to walk through garbage on all sides and the pipe seen in the background emitted water or god-knows-what, must have put off any devotee, the way it had offended me. I felt so bad but like an irresponsible citizen, who passes off without doing anything, I, too, walked past. Perhaps, like many others, I too believed that someone else would take up the responsibility of cleaning the surroundings! I shirked my responsibility of being a responsible citizen but looking back I see with a clarity that KN would never have allowed herself to remain a passive visitor. She mush have done everything that she could do to clean up the surrounding or at the best shout herself in the corridors of the powers that be! But I am raising my feeble voice to write about the casual approach that we have developed when it comes to cleaning our surroundings. No wonder we need someone else to come and show us the way. We surely wait for some “garbage girl” to come and show us the way to clear garbage!