“Sita!” He yelled at top of his voice. The voice resonated with doubled intensity from the mountain top upon which he stood. He screamed out her name again but the answer remained the same as before. He walked back dejected, like always. It felt more like a routine that he couldn’t escape. Every morning he would walk towards the narrow point and seat himself on the only bench present at the place. Most days, we would find him staring into the clouds, as if he is looking for answers from above. But the last month seemed a little rough on him than before. He wasn’t his normal calm self. There were many instances like today where he ran towards the point, only to stop himself by a moment while letting out her name in sheer despair. Helplessness seems to define him, and the pain instead of reducing with time, only grew.
The fifty five year old Ram Shankar Bisht had lost his Sita Mahalakshmi in an avalanche at that very spot, five years ago. Their love affair was nothing short of a folk tale. Both belonged to different regions, and shared no common language in between. Sita had met Ram when she had come over as a tourist to Kullu. It was Ram who had taught her the basics of Skiing. He was helping his father at his skiing business as he filled in the role of an instructor due to absence of the other. It was his first day at work, and Sita was the first person he attended to. And like it always happens, he fumbled while fixing the gear on her leg. He tried again but it didn’t work. He held out a nervous smile towards Sita, who smiled back with assurance that he could try again. This time it worked and she was all set for her first lesson. It was at this instance that Ram noticed Sita for the very first time. She had those big round eyes with neatly lined mascara around them. Her curly long hair was tied behind with perfection while the smile, the most beautiful one Ram ever saw apart from his daughters, flashed nervously at him. He held her hand and looked straight into her eyes and whispered, “Sita, it’s going to be all okay.” And she believed in him, straight away. It was strange though but his eyes seemed trustable to Sita unlike any stranger she had met before. It all began at that very moment, and they never looked back after that. The relationship, the opposition and finally their marriage; they saw through all by standing their ground, hand in hand with the other, without a word, without a thought of ever to let go. But fate, as we know it, is unpredictable. Not all things are in our hands; some we control, some control us.
Ram Shankar died a little, every day since that accident, but his twin daughters were the ones who kept him alive to see the light of another day. It was Isha, the elder one, who introduced me to Ramji. I was looking for a job as a guide, and Isha was my brother’s college mate, so I had asked her for help. It has been an year since I worked for him, and not a day had passed without him narrating a story or the other of his deceased wife, his Sita. And that day was my last at Kullu; I had a flight, early in the morning but the purpose of my stay, the answers to my questions, they all still remained in a blur. I settled down near the fireplace of Ramji’s house with a peg of whisky in hand while beginning a conversation with Ram Shankar Bisht that eventually changed the course of my life.