A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
The colours which the world had yet to offer
Darkness. something that has become a part of me.
something that ushers in an epitome of disgust, hate and self
loathe. Trapped in a void of distress, my wandering soul
searches for yet a glimpse of light. To think that this is an
epoch of agony seems to be the only solace i can find. the
slightest insecurities lights up a flame of rage in my heart.
Subtleness has become a long lost friend. Helplessness is
overwhelming and the end….. In seeming near sight.
A warm hue of abendrot seeped into the plain listless sky. A
cool breeze wafted through the city providing temporary
relief from the sultry weather. Evenings in Bangalore are the
most surreal moments in a usual busy day.
Hawkers were busy selling their daily wares on the soot
covered roads. Far away, in the warm glow of cubbon park,
daily walkers shared a jovial bonhomie in rhyme to the birds
chirping. Party goers began to don their attire for a wild night
and there was an atmosphere of cheer and happiness.
But I had turned a blind eye to the affable nature of
I realised I haven’t introduced myself. Not that it matters
anyway, people long stopped caring about me
I’m Prashanth. I love bikes , basically anything to do with
motors. The soft purr of engines certainly takes a person
places. I’m a foodie, i love to cook. I believe that the
intricacies in just a spoonful translates to the taste of life.
Correction, used to love ’em
Right now , i feel like I’m living in a black hole. Devoid of
happiness. All those memories tucked up in my heart seem to
be rotting away. But sometimes I’m at the receiving end of a
flood of memories that crash against the hearts sandy shore.
Life is a turntable of events. Events that made me lose my
safe harbour. Disabled me from stepping out of my comfort
zone. Every time that felt like querencia was lost. Lost in just a
few minutes of time.
Of hills , roads and a cup of maggi
The ringing in my ear did not cease. Flashes of deceptiveness
raced through my mind . Each scene was as vivid and lucid as
dew on leaf .
Tyres blazing ravenously, the obnoxious smell of motor oil,
splewed blood staining the tar road.
Bright coloured phosphenes danced across my weary eyes.
As I stepped into the garden for some fresh air , i was
welcomed by the bulbul’s morning cry .When the mist
surrounded me like an envelope of calmness, i got a sudden
Appreciating beauty had become an allergy and yet, i was
conscious of my self. I let the sights and sounds of dawn sink
into me. My heart, on its own accord appreciated mother
I realized, thats when I had found my true calling.
The next thing I know I was aboard a flight, that of
uncertainty to Leh.
The Rimpochee airport was an outburst of culture. It had an
aura of chaos that blended so perfectly with happiness.
From enthusiastic tourists to zen filled monks, the airport
was an ideal example of diversity.
But amidst the colourful chaos , I was like a lost soul.
Conscience had made me pack my bags and get out of my
comfort zone. But i never really wondered what was going to
be in store for me.
I picked up my trusty rucksack and headed towards the leh
market, the aesthetes paradise
I was awestruck. Colourful would be an understatement to
describe the Leh market. There were vendors selling antiques
on the roadside to those selling steamed dumplings.
Women adorned with precious jewels performed a
masquerade. Children were busy admiring the handcrafted
toys. Amongst the crowd and the chaos there was an antique
shop that piqued my interest. It had a rustic charm that
resounded of home. Inside, poring over a leather back sat an
old man with quite a distinguishable hunch and a beard
flowing like quicksilver.
When I finally met his eyes, i saw wit and unmistakable
kindness. Years of hard work was clearly shown in his worry
lines and he carried an air of suspense.
“Ah my dear soul seeker, destiny awaits you”. He said with a
sparkle in his eye.
“Who are you ?” I asked out of amazement keenly prodding
him for his knowledge.
“I’m Kunchen, keeper of fates and secrets” he said with a
He gave me a bracelet, that of a moon and a sun, perfect
symbols of contradiction and a map of Leh that contained the
most minute details. From tiny crevices to ranges of
mountains, it contained everything! Over the course of our
conversation it dawned on me that it had been ages since I’d
spoken to anyone with so much trust that I was placing in
Kunchen. He answered all my queries and even referred his
friend, a motorcycle enthusiast to me.
When I took his leave, he said – “sometimes all you need, to
understand life is to look within. Deep within the faults and
aches, there lies the answer, hidden in plain sight.”
Those words, those magical words left a lasting impression
on my weary heart.
Sadness is an emotion that spreads like wildfire. Tears flowed
freely from those, shrouded in white, their pale faces,
illuminated by the fire blazing in the pyre.
The past few hours had been a rollercoaster, my mind still in
defiance, refused to believe that the family I had laughed
with and loved with no bounds,
Was gone. Just gone. I didn’t feel sadness, neither anger nor
indignation. Just plain emptiness.
Yonten was a man of great genuine warmth. He welcomed
me with a mellow smile and a snug hug. Spending time with
him was as relieving as salve on a wound or a warm fire in a
The next hour went by in the clinking of mugs and the low
hum of motorbikes.
Out of a dazzling array of chrome polished hogs , the one that
caught my eye was an Enfield 350c. It stood out from the
others in a silent roar leaving no chance for submissiveness.
Yonten admired my choice and said – “The path that awaits
you is going to be abstruse, but trust me, in the end its all going to be worth it. I wish you Godspeed and the will to be
the next trailblazer”.
Wind whipped through my jacket, steeping the exhilaration
in my body. I felt weightless. I was like a marionette in the
hands of unknown.
The way to the Pangong lake was tranquil at its best.
Roads woven into mountains, trees casting ominous shadows
and best of all, the howl of a cool breeze.
The Pangong lake defied my expectations. It was gray, darker
than even the most savage storm clouds.
But as the day wore on, something magical happened . The
tint changed to a dark mottle and by midday, I
The water was pristine and the colour was a burst of azure
The lake was swathed by the mighty mountains, in the north.
I felt renewed. A part of me i never knew existed , came out
and painted the sky in bright hues.
Till now, life was much like the lake, changing it’s many
facades like an epitome of elusion.
As I set up camp in the backdrop of a ‘rose flecked sky’,
watching the fire till it’s last embers, I let out a sigh of relief,
something i hadn’t done in a long time.
After the final rites had been done, I had shut off my life from
the outside world. Every passing minute reminded me of
mom, dad and my brother.
This blow to life began showing effects on my job and within
a month, I was fired. I picked up odd jobs for a living and had
whiled my time in sorrow. Until, I had set my foot in Leh.
30th june, the Hemis Tsechu festival.
I started my journey from Leh to the Hemis Monastery, a
distance of about 45 kilometers. The journey was perfect. Sunlight
shone through the chipped snow covered mountains,
And fellow travelers greeted me with warm smiles.
It was quite late into the night when I reached the monastery
There was the sweet aroma of incense, flowers and the
soft glow of earthen lamps, that echoed of festivals.
A monk who was passing by, took notice of me and
ushered me to the quarters for the night. Before leaving he
quoted buddha. He said “when it hurts , observe. Life is trying
to teach you something”.
Though I didn’t know how to reply, i took refuge in these
The next morning, i woke up to the sounds of cymbals and
drums reverberating throughout the monastery.
By midday there was great pomp and fervour. Men wearing
elaborate silk shawls and women wearing resplendent
jewelry danced to wholesome tunes.
As I leaned against the monastery’s intricate walls watching the
An authentic ladakhi family dragged me into the dance.
It took a while to get accustomed to the beats, but when I got
the hang of it, I had a blast! It had been ages since i had
danced with so much joy and rhythm.
After the dance, they invited me to lunch where I partook of
Thukpa and Momos to my heart’s content. But what really
sparked joy was four year old Jinping. With her rosy cheeks
and heart melting smile, she wormed her way into my heart.
When I was with them, life felt complete. Just perfect.
I thought of kunchen’s words and it made me smile. It made
me realise how simple life was.
It made me see that joy lies in the tiniest of things, a warm
cup of coffee or an expression of love. The most cloudy days
have a silver lining, we just have to peek a little.
As I lay content, watching their smiles, I felt the sadness
seep out. There was place only for glee.
DJ is a 15 year old writer from Bangalore, Karnataka, India.