At a 'god forsaken country'

'This God forsaken country! Can't believe you would make such a tour plan!'
Rudra grumbled as soon as the jeep brought him and Anjali down in front of a lonely looking cottage.
'Why ? You said you needed a quiet place...so we are here...'
Anjali said, smiling.
'Bull crap!'
Rudra shrugged with disgust.
Soon they were inside the cottage which had a cot looking like a charpoy at one corner, a pitcher, a window at the rear and a small room which was like a bathroom.
'At least they got a bathroom attached!'
Rudra said.
His anger seemingly subsided a bit.
A boy barely fourteen or fifteen years old brought two bowls of soup, a silver saucer with boiled eggs, pieces of bread and a small plastic cup with a paste which looked like chili flakes dipped in vinegar and soya sauce.

Seeing the food, Rudra wasted no time.
Anjali was hungry too, after the long overnight journey.

It was only nine in the morning.
The chill in the air was soothingly tolerable.
Chirpings of birds could be heard.

'But why you chose really this place which no one had heard of? Is there anything to see nearby? Anything? A temple? A waterfall? A monument? Anything?'
Rudra asked.

'Frankly, I don't know...'
Anjali said.
'You don't know?'
Rudra was surprised.
Even after three years of their marriage, he simply could not understand Anjali properly.

'Then, why you chose this place, for God's sake?'
Rudra was again getting irritated.
Anjali looked at him.
She thought she knew what would be the perfect thing for Rudra to calm down.
'Want to take a nap after this long journey? We would be deciding what we could do after a nap, how's that?'
Anjali asked.
'No! Let's go out for a walk...'
Rudra said, surprising Anjali.

They started their trek up the hill.
It was not very arduous.
Rudra was walking briskly, as if he knew there would be something ahead.
Anjali was walking at a slower pace.
She was trying to gather the smell of the foliage.
The chirpings of the birds she wanted to listen with her heart's content.
She wanted to take in the peacefulness of the place into her.
'Hey! Found something!'
Anjali heard Rudra's voice.
It echoed.

At a cutting a group of children were dancing and singing.

Rudra had started clicking photos of them.
Anjali went near them.
'What are you playing? Can we join you?'
Anjali asked the boy who appeared to be the leader of the group.
'We are not playing...'
The boy answered smiling.
'Then? What are you people doing here?'
Rudra asked.
A girl from the group came up.
'What you see as our songs and dance, is actually our ways of showing our gratitude to mother nature... We do that every spring...it is our ways of paying respect to nature... It is our holy communion with nature...for you town people can live without trees perhaps, but we never can... This forest is like our mother... And we respect and love her...'
The girl said, in broken English.

Rudra stood there completely dumbfounded.
Anjali was smiling. She was holding the girl's hands in hers.
She was smiling.

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