Many a times we travel during night, or we are away from the comforts of our home for some work or the other. And the night hour gives it a special touch as we collect these moments in our memory box.
Years ago we were travelling from Mumbai to Goa by road. It was a night journey. After hours of travelling we took a halt at Chiplun, a small town along the western coast. It was just past 4 O’clock in the morning, still very dark.
I sat on a side wall, enjoying the cool breeze of a summer night. Then some soft tinkling sound drew my attention to a narrow side-road near the main highway. A row of bullock-carts was slowly proceeding along that way. Not much could be seen in the darkness.
Pairs of white bullocks with long, pointed horns were pulling the carts. The bells around their necks were creating a rhythmic tune. This was accompanied by the creaking sound of large cart-wheels. A small lantern was hung beneath each cart and it swung with each movement, throwing patterns of shadows around.
It was just a simple scene, perhaps found in any village. Nothing spectacular. But the fading night gave it some magical touch. And the scene gained a special ring around it as it found a place in a corner of my mind. Now, whenever I’m out at that hour, automatically the sound of rhythmic tinkling of bells rings in my mind.