Watching Waters - Summer

04 Jul, 2017

In the absence of a glacial source, the waters of Hazaribagh are prone to mood-swings. In the summer, the rivers lose much of their flow, the lake shrinks, and smaller streams disappear. This puts you in a fix.

On the plus side, the landscapes created by two prominent rivers of Hazaribagh - Siwane and Muhane - become accessible. The former flows in the direction of north-east-south while the latter in south-west-north. The forests they travel through and the rocks they reveal are also different. The Daru Forest of Siwane is more trees and less bushes, while the Harhad Forest of Muhane is more bushes and less trees. The rocks of Siwane are sharp & grey, while those of Muhane are smooth & black. The water of Siwane in summer is an appealing blue, while that of Muhane is a dull yellow. The atmosphere of Siwane is of dry heat while that of Muhane is of humid heat. The visuals of Siwane calm, while those of Muhane agitate. The flow of Siwane continues, while that of Muhane breaks. The watchtower for Siwane is as white as the water’s surface, while the watchtower for Muhane is as yellow as the water’s sediment.

The water in Hazaribagh Lake moves to the centre and sometimes it goes so far from the shore that you might fancy playing a game of cricket on the exposed land. It’s all sludge, and the seemingly hard exterior is a lie. Sometimes, previously discarded gods show up and devotion is recycled. Even though the water turns the atmosphere humid, townsmen flock to it. In the morning, it invites joggers and walkers. In the evening, the entire population. Unlike the solitude offered by the two rivers, the lake is always a public spectacle and therefore a paradise for those who enjoy watching (and/or judging) people. The water is never yellow, the cormorants never quiet, and the sunsets are hardly disappointing.

The saddest sights are the waterfall. If you are fond of them, you will realise you have rerouted the circuit of how an imminent monsoon would affect you. Instead of wishing monsoon for a welcome drop in temperature and a cup of balcony tea, you will end up wishing monsoon, in this particular order -

for streams that feed the falls
for a welcome drop in temperature
for your presence at the falls after the streams are active again
for that cup of tea in the balcony

Without water, you can climb the rocks and rise instead of falling. But when you return to the bottom, your feet press into the sandy bed and the moisture trapped inside oozes. The pressure slightly darkens that patch and your feet also sinks a little. You feel the wetness, still lingering as a trace. This trace of water is like the train which you just missed or that crucial text which you couldn’t send before the battery ran out. In that vacuum, you personalise the difference between being solitary and being lonely, and when you have done so, you are crushed.

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