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Mountain Girl

About Insha Faridoon

Insha Faridoon is a 14 year old girl from Mumbai, studying in ninth grade. Her hobbies include reading, writing, singing, listening to music and photography. She loves to travel and often writes her experiences so that memories are documented somewhere lest they fade with time.

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Prologue :

It was all quiet in the town of Kurjey, as the first rays of the morning sun hit the leaves of the wild poppy plants growing in the vast green fields. The numerous birds lurking in the closely entwined branches of a fir tree, who had taken it upon themselves to wake every living soul in the vicinity as soon as the sun rose into the sky, started chirping. They sang a melody which no one but they themselves understood; but one that filled the heart of everyone who heard it, with happiness. The sweet birdsong travelled on the wings of the morning breeze, across the fields, through the blades of grass dripping with morning dew, under the petals of a wild flower, through the rusting pine leaves… all the way to Kiba’s bedroom window.

Part 1

The sweet sound that woke up Kiba every day, woke her up again. She pulled the covers off her tiny frame and skipped to the window sill. She couldn’t see them, but she knew the birds were hiding somewhere in the trees. She looked out to her most favourite sight in the world, the sight of the sun rising. She tore away her eyes from the morning unfolding before her and made her way to the door. As she turned on the warm water for a bath, she could hear the faint crow of the rooster. She made her way down, drying her hair on a small pink towel. She could hear the lid of the kettle clattering as the tea came to boil. She set down her towel in a bucket, gave her mother a kiss on the cheek and set down to have a simple breakfast of oats with honey on top.

On finishing her breakfast, she made her way to the restaurant. Her mother owned a restaurant that was quite popular for its Indian cuisine. Whenever an Indian visited Kurjey, they always had lunch at their restaurant. She saw her older cousin, Sonam, who lived with them, cleaning the tables. It would be quite a while before customers started coming in, but they always liked to be prepared. Kiba helped her cousin around the restaurant, before making her way out of the door.

She picked up the rusted old water-can kept near the door and made her way to the back of the house. She watered all the plants in the little garden where they grew their own vegetables, some fruits and herbs. A butterfly sitting on a flower, flew off as drops of water touched its paper-thin yellow and black wings. The morning sun had finally risen further in the sky and its bright light made all the water drops on leaves and petals glisten.

Kiba kept the watering can back in its place and made her way up to her room. She took out her books and started doing her holiday homework. Time passed and when she looked up at the clock it was eleven o’ clock. She went down and helped her mother in the kitchen, where she was prepping all the ingredients for the day. She gave Kiba a cloth bag full of chillies and told her to spread it on the roof to dry.

Kiba grudgingly climbed up the ladder to the roof. She didn’t like going up there. Spiders lurked under the metal sheets where her mother dried the chillies. Kiba didn’t like spiders. She dumped the chillies on the metal sheet and spread them out. She stood up and felt a slight nip in the air. Autumn was definitely on its way.

Part 2

As she climbed down the rickety ladder, she heard voices in the restaurant. The first customers of the day had come. It was a couple of foreign visitors and judging by their accent, they seemed to be Americans. She was quite adept at recognizing accents, given the number of different people that visited their restaurant.

She went over to take their order and they cooed at her, saying how cute it was that a kid had come to take their order. Kiba felt inclined to roll her eyes, but didn’t do so. It annoyed her to no ends that people always made a big deal about her being a kid and helping her mother in the restaurant. She waited as they looked at their menus and decided to have a pumpkin datshi, red rice and some brinjal puffs. She took the paper where she had written down the order and set it down on the counter.

Her mother and aunt started with the dish, while Kiba waited patiently at the counter. She watched the Americans as they talked about the trek they had been on that day and how tiring, yet fun it had been. She never understood what people found so fascinating about climbing mountains. They come prepared with various instruments and outfits, get tired and refuse to do anything else for the rest of the day. Kiba remembered how her grandmother once climbed up to the highest temple in the whole of Bhutan and had made it in time for her niece’s wedding in the evening.

She was jolted out of her reverie by her mother poking her and motioning her to take the tray to the customers. She took the tray to them and then watched them from afar. They finished their meal quite quickly but didn’t get up. They ordered some coffee and started talking. For about an hour… Several customers had come in by now and almost all of them had had their lunch and had gone, leaving either a nice or a meagre tip. These people just would not leave, their empty coffee cups lying at the side. They had ordered about three rounds of coffee. At long last, they got up and moved towards the counter where her cousin was. They paid for their meal and gave a tip of hundred nungtang. Well, that was nice.

She served a few other customers, almost all of which were white, and a few native Bhutanese. These people usually liked to have Bhutanese food, as foreigners liked to try exotic things and Bhutanese people liked their own food. Then, at around two o’ clock, was when the Indians started to arrive.

Kiba liked Indians. They were quite funny and had the best stories. But they were also very demanding, messy and loud. Their kids ran around the restaurant and have broken countless glass items. They ordered more than they could eat and then left it. They were great for business though, since her mother was an expert at cooking Indian food.

People just kept on arriving and Kiba had her hands full, taking orders, getting the trays of food from the kitchen, getting everyone’s order correct. Around two hours later, the crowd had lessened and now there were just two people, sitting on the corner table, finishing up their drinks.

Kiba was tired and famished. She hadn’t had anything since breakfast. She went into the kitchen and had some of the leftover rice and dal. She loved Indian food, it was spicy and different from Bhutanese food. One of her uncles lived in West Bengal and had married an Indian woman. She had come over to Kurjey once, to meet the entire family and had brought along lots of Bengali sweets. They were quite possibly the best thing that Kiba had ever eaten.

Part 3

She went up to her room and sat down on her bed. The sun had begun to descend, and the light coming through her window was bleak. She thought that lying down would be much more comfortable. As soon as she lay down, she realized exactly how tired she was. Working in the restaurant is nice and makes her feel grown up, but it is quite tiring, being on your feet all day Soon she felt her eyes drooping, and soon, she was off to the land of dreams.

She was awoken by the sound of her mother calling her down. She sat up straight, rubbed her eyes and looked out of the window. The sky was pitch dark. She went downstairs, yawning. Her eyes were almost shut as she reached the foot of the stairs. She turned to the kitchen area, when someone suddenly screamed “BOO!” and rammed into her so hard that she fell down. She screamed and started to thrash about. She stopped only when she heard the sound of laughter coming from behind the staircase. She looked up at the person who had tackled her, and saw that it was her cousin, Choeden. Kiba squealed again, this time out of happiness and hugged her. She was surprised at seeing her there, she lived across the country. Her cousin broke the hug and they both got back up on their feet. She looked behind her and saw Sonam and her other cousins standing behind the staircase. She went up to greet them all and walked into the restaurant. Her mother and aunts were sitting at one of the tables. She sat down with them for a while, and they all talked.

Her aunt had come over as her children’s holidays were going on. She had also missed her sisters a lot. Everyone was talking and laughing, the twins were running around playing tag with each other. Kiba just sat amongst all of them, feeling happy to just be present there. In the dim light of the restaurant, laughing with her family, eating the familiar Bhutanese food that she so loved. She couldn’t ask for anything more.

It was late at night, when they finally decided to turn in for the day. Kiba went up to her bedroom, which she shared with Sonam and now Choeden. Her younger cousins, the three year old twins, were sleeping in the big room with her mom and aunts. She closed her eyes, trying to drift off. She tossed and turned, cursing herself for sleeping in the evening. When she finally began to fall asleep, she was quickly awoken from her half drowsy state, by a whisper in her ear. She got up to look at her cousins standing beside her bed. They motioned for her to follow them.

Kiba slowly got out of her bed and followed them out of the room. They quietly made their way down to entered the kitchen. They opened the freezer, took out three popsicles and a few chocolates. Kiba followed them to the back of the house, where the store room was located. Sonam and Choeden started to climb up the ladder to the roof. Kiba hesitated, she was unsure of what they were about to do and was also was scared of spiders on the roof. As she watched her cousins climb up onto the roof, peering down at her, she decided to trust them and started to climb up.

She saw her sisters sitting on the ground, tearing open their popsicle packets. She sat down beside them. Choeden handed her a popsicle. She tore open the packet, crumpled it up and made a mental note to pick up the packet before going down.

It seemed that the cousins still had a lot to talk about. They talked for hours, about everything and anything. Their popsicle sticks had turned into a number of wood splinters, chocolate wrappers lying at a side. They had no fear of being caught by their mothers, as they were all deep sleepers.

Their conversation died down. Kiba lay down on the ground and looked up at the sky. Thousands of twinkling stars dotted the inky sky, and the quarter moon shined faintly. That was when Kiba realized, that she lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world. She knew that there are a lot of places where you can’t even see the stars. She knew that living in a small town, she might never be able to see the outside world, she might never be able to live a glamorous life, a life so cherished by people, but she would be happy. Happy amongst the trees, the flowers, the animals, the mountains, all the little things in life.

She would be a mountain girl for the rest of her life, and she was fine with that.

It was all quiet in the town of Kurjey, as the first rays of the morning sun hit the leaves of the wild poppy plants growing in the vast green fields. The numerous birds lurking in the closely entwined branches of a fir tree, who had taken it upon themselves to wake every living soul in the vicinity as soon as the sun rose into the sky, started chirping. They sang a melody which no one but they themselves understood; but one that filled the heart of everyone who heard it, with happiness. The sweet birdsong travelled on the wings of the morning breeze, across the fields, through the blades of grass dripping with morning dew, under the petals of a wild flower, through the rusting pine leaves… all the way to Kiba’s bedroom window.

The sweet sound that woke up Kiba every day, woke her up again. She pulled the covers off her tiny frame and skipped to the window sill. She couldn’t see them, but she knew the birds were hiding somewhere in the trees. She looked out to her most favourite sight in the world, the sight of the sun rising. She tore away her eyes from the morning unfolding before her and made her way to the door. As she turned on the warm water for a bath, she could hear the faint crow of the rooster. She made her way down, drying her hair on a small pink towel. She could hear the lid of the kettle clattering as the tea came to boil. She set down her towel in a bucket, gave her mother a kiss on the cheek and set down to have a simple breakfast of oats with honey on top.

On finishing her breakfast, she made her way to the restaurant. Her mother owned a restaurant that was quite popular for its Indian cuisine. Whenever an Indian visited Kurjey, they always had lunch at their restaurant. She saw her older cousin, Sonam, who lived with them, cleaning the tables. It would be quite a while before customers started coming in, but they always liked to be prepared. Kiba helped her cousin around the restaurant, before making her way out of the door.

She picked up the rusted old water-can kept near the door and made her way to the back of the house. She watered all the plants in the little garden where they grew their own vegetables, some fruits and herbs. A butterfly sitting on a flower, flew off as drops of water touched its paper-thin yellow and black wings. The morning sun had finally risen further in the sky and its bright light made all the water drops on leaves and petals glisten.

Kiba kept the watering can back in its place and made her way up to her room. She took out her books and started doing her holiday homework. Time passed and when she looked up at the clock it was eleven o’ clock. She went down and helped her mother in the kitchen, where she was prepping all the ingredients for the day. She gave Kiba a cloth bag full of chillies and told her to spread it on the roof to dry.

Kiba grudgingly climbed up the ladder to the roof. She didn’t like going up there. Spiders lurked under the metal sheets where her mother dried the chillies. Kiba didn’t like spiders. She dumped the chillies on the metal sheet and spread them out. She stood up and felt a slight nip in the air. Autumn was definitely on its way.

To Be Continued in Part 2…

As she climbed down the rickety ladder, she heard voices in the restaurant. The first customers of the day had come. It was a couple of foreign visitors and judging by their accent, they seemed to be Americans. She was quite adept at recognizing accents, given the number of different people that visited their restaurant.

She went over to take their order and they cooed at her, saying how cute it was that a kid had come to take their order. Kiba felt inclined to roll her eyes, but didn’t do so. It annoyed her to no ends that people always made a big deal about her being a kid and helping her mother in the restaurant. She waited as they looked at their menus and decided to have a pumpkin datshi, red rice and some brinjal puffs. She took the paper where she had written down the order and set it down on the counter.

Her mother and aunt started with the dish, while Kiba waited patiently at the counter. She watched the Americans as they talked about the trek they had been on that day and how tiring, yet fun it had been. She never understood what people found so fascinating about climbing mountains. They come prepared with various instruments and outfits, get tired and refuse to do anything else for the rest of the day. Kiba remembered how her grandmother once climbed up to the highest temple in the whole of Bhutan and had made it in time for her niece’s wedding in the evening.

She was jolted out of her reverie by her mother poking her and motioning her to take the tray to the customers. She took the tray to them and then watched them from afar. They finished their meal quite quickly but didn’t get up. They ordered some coffee and started talking. For about an hour… Several customers had come in by now and almost all of them had had their lunch and had gone, leaving either a nice or a meagre tip. These people just would not leave, their empty coffee cups lying at the side. They had ordered about three rounds of coffee. At long last, they got up and moved towards the counter where her cousin was. They paid for their meal and gave a tip of hundred nungtang. Well, that was nice.

She served a few other customers, almost all of which were white, and a few native Bhutanese. These people usually liked to have Bhutanese food, as foreigners liked to try exotic things and Bhutanese people liked their own food. Then, at around two o’ clock, was when the Indians started to arrive.

Kiba liked Indians. They were quite funny and had the best stories. But they were also very demanding, messy and loud. Their kids ran around the restaurant and have broken countless glass items. They ordered more than they could eat and then left it. They were great for business though, since her mother was an expert at cooking Indian food.

People just kept on arriving and Kiba had her hands full, taking orders, getting the trays of food from the kitchen, getting everyone’s order correct. Around two hours later, the crowd had lessened and now there were just two people, sitting on the corner table, finishing up their drinks.

Kiba was tired and famished. She hadn’t had anything since breakfast. She went into the kitchen and had some of the leftover rice and dal. She loved Indian food, it was spicy and different from Bhutanese food. One of her uncles lived in West Bengal and had married an Indian woman. She had come over to Kurjey once, to meet the entire family and had brought along lots of Bengali sweets. They were quite possibly the best thing that Kiba had ever eaten.

To Be Continued in Part 3…

She went up to her room and sat down on her bed. The sun had begun to descend, and the light coming through her window was bleak. She thought that lying down would be much more comfortable. As soon as she lay down, she realized exactly how tired she was. Working in the restaurant is nice and makes her feel grown up, but it is quite tiring, being on your feet all day Soon she felt her eyes drooping, and soon, she was off to the land of dreams.

She was awoken by the sound of her mother calling her down. She sat up straight, rubbed her eyes and looked out of the window. The sky was pitch dark. She went downstairs, yawning. Her eyes were almost shut as she reached the foot of the stairs. She turned to the kitchen area, when someone suddenly screamed “BOO!” and rammed into her so hard that she fell down. She screamed and started to thrash about. She stopped only when she heard the sound of laughter coming from behind the staircase. She looked up at the person who had tackled her, and saw that it was her cousin, Choeden. Kiba squealed again, this time out of happiness and hugged her. She was surprised at seeing her there, she lived across the country. Her cousin broke the hug and they both got back up on their feet. She looked behind her and saw Sonam and her other cousins standing behind the staircase. She went up to greet them all and walked into the restaurant. Her mother and aunts were sitting at one of the tables. She sat down with them for a while, and they all talked.

Her aunt had come over as her children’s holidays were going on. She had also missed her sisters a lot. Everyone was talking and laughing, the twins were running around playing tag with each other. Kiba just sat amongst all of them, feeling happy to just be present there. In the dim light of the restaurant, laughing with her family, eating the familiar Bhutanese food that she so loved. She couldn’t ask for anything more.

It was late at night, when they finally decided to turn in for the day. Kiba went up to her bedroom, which she shared with Sonam and now Choeden. Her younger cousins, the three year old twins, were sleeping in the big room with her mom and aunts. She closed her eyes, trying to drift off. She tossed and turned, cursing herself for sleeping in the evening. When she finally began to fall asleep, she was quickly awoken from her half drowsy state, by a whisper in her ear. She got up to look at her cousins standing beside her bed. They motioned for her to follow them.

Kiba slowly got out of her bed and followed them out of the room. They quietly made their way down to entered the kitchen. They opened the freezer, took out three popsicles and a few chocolates. Kiba followed them to the back of the house, where the store room was located. Sonam and Choeden started to climb up the ladder to the roof. Kiba hesitated, she was unsure of what they were about to do and was also was scared of spiders on the roof. As she watched her cousins climb up onto the roof, peering down at her, she decided to trust them and started to climb up.

She saw her sisters sitting on the ground, tearing open their popsicle packets. She sat down beside them. Choeden handed her a popsicle. She tore open the packet, crumpled it up and made a mental note to pick up the packet before going down.

It seemed that the cousins still had a lot to talk about. They talked for hours, about everything and anything. Their popsicle sticks had turned into a number of wood splinters, chocolate wrappers lying at a side. They had no fear of being caught by their mothers, as they were all deep sleepers.

Their conversation died down. Kiba lay down on the ground and looked up at the sky. Thousands of twinkling stars dotted the inky sky, and the quarter moon shined faintly. That was when Kiba realized, that she lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world. She knew that there are a lot of places where you can’t even see the stars. She knew that living in a small town, she might never be able to see the outside world, she might never be able to live a glamorous life, a life so cherished by people, but she would be happy. Happy amongst the trees, the flowers, the animals, the mountains, all the little things in life.

She would be a mountain girl for the rest of her life, and she was fine with that.

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15 Response Comments

  • Aparna Mondal26/01/2019 at 10:02 AM

    Nicely crafted story . As always I love to read your story .Your vivid descriptions make visualize . Longing for the next for the next episodes .

    • Insha Faridoon22/02/2019 at 11:53 PM

      Thank you so much

  • Aparna Mondal26/01/2019 at 10:03 AM

    Nicely crafted story . As always I love to read your story .Your vivid descriptions make me visualize . Longing for the next episodes.

  • Swetha Amit27/01/2019 at 9:30 AM

    What a beautiful story! Brings out a life of a girl who learns to enjoy being in the mountains. Subtly brings out a message about counting your blessings in life.

    • Insha Faridoon23/02/2019 at 12:16 AM

      Thank you!!!

  • Kheya Baidya27/01/2019 at 11:11 AM

    Liked the simplicity of narration and probe into the psyche of the mountain girl. Good!

    • Insha Faridoon23/02/2019 at 12:16 AM

      Thanks a lot!!!

  • Liza27/01/2019 at 11:17 PM

    Beautifully portrayed ! I myself felt that I was Kiba between the mountains , flowers , animals and the “little things “. Being a young girl , the way u are writing is just amazing . Best of luck👍Keep going

    • Insha Faridoon23/02/2019 at 12:17 AM

      Thanks it means a lot.

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA29/01/2019 at 12:42 PM

    How beautifully have you crafted the entire story & managed to bring out a day of Kiba’s life! With her we all enjoyed how she wakes up in the morning & then goes on to help her mother, it not only her but also us, who through your story have managed to live the life of a Mountain Girl. Best wishes for you & keep it up.

    • Insha Faridoon23/02/2019 at 12:17 AM

      Thank you so much!!

  • Advait Berde30/01/2019 at 1:49 PM

    With a beautiful narrative and an elaborate description, the writer paints a vivid picture of Bhutan and the life of the Bhutanese. It is really pleasing that at such a young age, the writer can spin a tale which is enchanting, pleasant and memorable.

    • Insha Faridoon23/02/2019 at 12:18 AM

      Thank you!!

  • Divyanshi30/01/2019 at 6:31 PM

    What a beautiful story! Really loved the story and the character of kiba. I wish i could be keeba and enjoy the nature, surrounded by the trees , mountains .

    • Insha Faridoon23/02/2019 at 12:18 AM

      Thanks!!

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