Mr. Robert L. Williams
The school is located at 6500 feet about a mile further along the Tehri road beyond Landour bazaar. From the top of the school ridge, the view of vast snow-capped ranges was spectacular. The sounds of mule bells and chants of charcoal wallas often drifted through our classrom windows. Few garments in the world can equal the Indian sari for grace and adorment. Fifty three years later, I am now shameless enough to admit that a pretty sari would sometimes catch my teenage gaze and if the wearer happened to be a doe-eyed young Indian beauty who glanced my way, my breath would quicken and my foolish young mind would fill with such thoughts as, "--- a loaf of bread-- a jug of wine-- and thou--". I used to buy beetle-nuts and jalaybees in the bazaar and on the way back to school grounds I would sometimes squat beside resting charcoal wallas and share my treasure. It was the last years of the British Raj and the charcoal wallas would express their puzzlement over why a chota sahib would bother gossiping with them.
I trekked the jungles and mountains of India as a young butterfly shikari because these jewels of heaven are abundant there. One day a monsoon downpour forced me to head for the nearest forest bungalow. I arrived that afternoon and fell asleep from fatigue. I woke near midnight to one of the most enchanting scenes I have ever witnessed. The rain had stopped but everything was still dripping in the mists. Above the mists the sky had cleared . A full moon was turning the jungle into a sparkling fairyland. I took a butterfly envelope from my pack and penned a little poem to help me preserve that glimpse of paradise. Two of the lines reflect that I knew I would read the poem again after leaving India.
The waters in the moonlight
They were pure in every way
As they played among the breezes
In that land so far away.
When the droplets on the pine tips
Then the waters in the moonlight
waters in the moonlight