Monday morning, the busiest day of the week, I received a phone call. It was from my dad, who lived in a remote village. I could sense concern in his voice. He didn’t say but I recognized the tone. I tried to seek as much as I can and then decided to visit him.
As I packed, my memory took me back to that picturesque village Malana, where I grew up. Now, known as a tourist attraction, it was quiet and quaint then. I remembered my friends and a smile spread across my face. Would I get to meet them?
As I boarded the plane, I felt a longing to see that one special person. Danish was my friend, classmate, playmate, and my confidant. We grew together as neighbors, running with the stream, exploring forests, late-night outs, and building a cairn. I remember Danish was an expert in building them whereas mine would fall.
I reached home to see everything safe, including my dad. He just wanted to see me, he said. It was so tempting to run out and see if I could meet Danish. “The neighbors have moved,” dad said. I felt a pang of emotions raise inside.
Should I enquire or was it too obvious? Maybe I have lost him. Why do I care? I have lived alone for five years now.
I remembered the day I had to leave Malana. We decided to meet, Danish and I. Next to the stream where we always met. He sat there building a cairn with deep concentration. Beautiful and tall. He did not notice me.
“I have to leave, Danish”.
“Don’t” he said. “Stay and I will build you the most beautiful cairn you will ever see”
I left. Probably he moved on too.
The next morning, I went on a stroll down the stream. I approached a beautiful place. It was resplendent with small and big structures, breathtaking. I could see many tourists with their cameras taking pictures.
They were cairns. Reminiscent to that Danish build. I entered the garden and one by one, I recognized them. It was Danish. I ran out to enquire but couldn’t find anyone to talk to. As I entered again, I glanced at the board just outside. They had mentioned the artist’s name.
Artist: Late Mr. Danish Saniel
His words “I will build you the most beautiful cairn you will ever see” rang in my ears.
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