A chakki bath
Bathing is an adult equivalent of kids playing – it does not have to be planned in advance and whenever it happens much delight is derived from it. I might have been giving the laughing deer a complex when I bathed in the stream that powered the watermill above me. Right next to me was the wooden cog that powered the atta chakki or the flour mill bucketing water at me like a miffed sea monster. I didn’t know what made me happier – being able to clean up after a full day of arduous climbing or discovering an ode to human ingenuity in the middle of nowhere.The ‘nowhere’ was Pauna, a remote mountain hamlet 20 kilometres by foot from Chamoli (250 km from Dehradun) in Uttarakhand. I was here collecting industrial hemp seeds for a pet project. All through the night it had snowed vastly impeding my progress and work. Nevertheless, the wonderful folks the pahaadis are, I was assigned two helpers by the village Mukhiya who helped me finish on time. I was on level ground with three hours to go before the last transport out which would drop me at the rest house. Walking by the watermill, I first thought it was a miniature barn till the chug-chugging of the cogs made me explore. Save for the illustrations of the watermills invented by the Greeks and the Romans I had seen in encyclopaedias, I had never seen a real one.
Now as I splashed about in the water that also churned the mill, I was a happy man. It might even have been crazy tiredness. Still, being next to the simple marvel of a handy contraption, I felt Alive is Awesome.