Ram, the cold December evening that year—
The bus swerved down through the mist,
on a narrow winding road behind rugged hills.
We sat on the roof top, singing— rayllimai rayllimai.
My loose red t-shirt flapped over my head, and
eyes began to tear up, like chopping fresh onions.
The bus creaked and jerked while speeding into the dark.
The bus pulled to a stop at Anbu Khaireni.
We checked in at the lodge, as the evening grew darker outside.
Under lamb-wool blankets, we went to bed fully-clothed.
The kerosene lamp lit on the corner of my room,
spread a soft steady glow. The night quietened down slowly.
We talked about everything as we drifted off to sleep.
Next morning, we got up in the dark.
Listening to the songs of early morning birds, and the sigh of the winds.
We started up the Temple,
Stepping on moss- grown stones.
The broken earthen road led to the Temple.
At 1302-meter North East, the Pagoda Temple,
emerged slowly through the thinning fog.
The strong smell of incense permeated through the air,
And aura of surreal glow blended in divine energy in sanctum.
The tintinnabulation of morning Ghanta kept going.
I raised my head and let out a long sigh, the air hovered and spread a thin steam mixing it with cold air outside.
Near the temple, I looked to the vast chain of mountains— Manaslu, Himalchuli, and Annapurna and rivers— Trishuli and Marsyangdi ‘til they disappeared, into thick dense fog that rolled in wave after wave.