Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Ever since then we had waited for her to get better

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Ever since then we had waited for her to get better, but instead she had gone downhill, and now, six weeks later, the change for the worse was very marked. It was futile to continue waiting and watching this process of deterioration, and it was decided to send her to Bhowali in the hills even in her present condition. The day before she was to leave for Bhowali I was taken from prison to bid her good-by. When will I see her again? I wondered. And will I see her at all? But she looked bright and cheerful that day, and I felt happier than I had done for long. Nearly three weeks later I was transferred from Naini Prison to Almora District Jail so as to be nearer to Kamala. Bhowali was on the way, and my police escort and I spent a few hours there. I was greatly pleased to note the improvement in Kamala, and I left her, to continue my journey to Almora, with a light heart. Indeed, even before I reached her, the mountains had filled me with joy. I was glad to be back in these mountains, and, as our car sped along the winding road, the cold morning air and the unfolding panorama brought a sense of exhilaration. Higher and higher we went; the gorges deepened; the peaks lost themselves in the clouds; the vegetation changed till the firs and pines covered the hillsides. A turn of the road would bring to our eyes suddenly a new expanse of hills and valleys with a little river gurgling in the depths below. I could not have my fill of the sight, and I looked on hungrily, storing my memory with it, so that I might revive it in my mind when actual sight was denied. Clusters of little mountain huts clung to the hillsides, and round about them were tiny fields made by prodigious labor on every possi ble bit of slope. They looked like terraces from a distance, huge steps which sometimes went from the valley below right up almost to the mountain top. What enormous labor had gone to make nature yield a little food to the sparse population! How they toiled unceasingly, only to get barely enough for their needs! Those plowed terraces gave a domesticated look to the hillsides, and they contrasted strangely with the bleaker or the more wooded slopes, It was very pleasant in the daytime, and, as the sun rose higher, the 338
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growing warmth brought life to the mountains, and they seemed to lose their remoteness and become friendly and companionable. But how they change their aspect with the passing of day! How cold and grim they become when "Night with giant strides stalks o'er the world" and life hides and protects itself and leaves wild nature to its own! In the semidarkness of the moonlight or starlight the mountains loom up mysterious, threatening, overwhelming, and yet almost insub stantial, and through the valleys can be heard the moaning of the wind.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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