A Boy from Tirthan
Meet Pankaj Sharma a young boy from a village in the lower region of the Tirthan valley, working at a hostel in Old Manali a simple village boy working away from his family. He welcomed me with a happy face on the first day and we had our first chat the next morning. He was having a “beedi”and he offered me one to which I politely declined and he told me how he was having it from the age of 16. We sat throughout the afternoon and he told me stories about his farm in his village and how he used to climb up trees to get the apples down as he was the only one capable to do this tough and risky job and how he left his village after his schooling to live life on his terms. He did not hesitate to share his fears and shared an incident to me when he was carrying “maal” from his village to his workplace in a bus and it was stopped by the policemen for checking and he had to throw it out of the window and it was quite a narrow escape. The lockdown has been tough for him he could not go back to his family and I figured out that he was missing his family alot. I politely asked if I could take a photograph of him and he said with a smiling face “Bhai ji bas yeh game khatam karke.” The moment he finished his game he washed his face and looked himself in the mirror till he was satisfied with his look. He then started looking for a good background for the photograph and I chose the kitchen. He looked at the clicked shots with a shine in his eyes and requested me to share the pictures with him. I did not travel much this day, no sightseeing, no exploring just a long conversation with a staff of my hostel made my day a good and remembering one.