The harshness of winter is receding, and folks at last can sigh a breath of relief in somewhat a ‘mild’ weather of the summer in the snow laden tracts of Siberia. Even the waves of heat coming in from the southern regions don’t have the proper strength to melt down the vast fields of snow up to the soil surface. However, the thick layers of snow which were carpeted in the winters are now wearing out; and the routes are being cleared up till the distant areas to the snow banks, located at the verge of the towns. Denizens are happy, from little ones to old grandpas, preparing to go out sans the dread of cold monster, that kept them inhouse through out the course of over eight months. Kids are amongst the happiest of the folks, and even more jubilant are the teenagers, who seems to have gained free reigns; for their parents are now allowing them to roam around, even up till the distant suburbs adjacent to the snowbanks.
Dolo is Kolo’s father. He is a Civil Engineer, who works for a local construction company- not very large. The office where his father works is located in the same town where they reside. Although, he is often required to be present at sites of field work to oversee the ongoing projects. Commutation to work-sites are sponsored by the company, usually provided with an old and rustic-shaped Volkswagen truck. On are occasions. Kolo, and his sister ‘Memba’ accompanies their father to project-sites where they get free space to play with the toys taken with from home. Moreover, the junior engineers, and the lower staff usually engage with them in their recess times. Kolo makes friends of them, because he is easy going, and likes to gossip about new things, especially secretive and thrilling anecdotes, that envelopes one’s mind. He is rather deep-hearted, who seldom reveals what is on his mind, contrary to it, Memba is a fast-tongue girl, penchant at rattling all that has been known without home which their mother, Kantia praises the most about her. Unlike kolo, who is habitual in not divulging petty things, happening outside, but seems often resolute, seeing the matter beyond house walls. This very attribute is surely a gift, or might be a curse, whatever that would be, have come in him from his father. Gift in a sense, for it makes one to stand on its own, and take decisions, however big or small those would be, enables one to grow from within.
Kolo is often told stories of his father’s chivalrous, but simultaneously foolish attempts at taking weird tasks, frequently hiding its consequences. Once, in the coldest of the nights when Kolo was barely twelve; Memba, holding both her children as usual, tightly under a heavy and thick blanket, near the old Serbian classic fireplace, quotes an account of her husband’s brave-cum-foolish act of handling intricate matters on his own. Meanwhile, Dolo fetched three hot steaming bowls of soup, and placed before them, in between the fireplace and them. Kantia, gently started spooning both the children, taking a sip from her own bowl as well. “Once, my proud young babies, your father, accompanied Grandpa to the woods at hunting before the outset of winters. It was dark, before dawn when they left. Grandpa took his 32-bore rifle with enough ammunition, and also had his flip-flop knife along. Dolo carried an Italian dagger which was a birthday present, given by his distant uncle, who occasionally visited them, not alive at present.
Grandpa would always take the old path from the north which was paved with gravels, and pebbles, that made it an easy walk to the woods. The route was made through rich bushes, that made one feel as if walking in a walled street. Cutting the long story short, they reached the spot where Grandpa would usually stay, and rest a while, then wait for the right time to embark on to hunt. Meanwhile, Dolo served the hot tea, in two steel mugs, from a thermos with red crispy pancakes. They sat squatting on a stuffy brown rug which always remained in the hunting bag of Grandpa. They had barely done with the eating when a rustling sound of leaves came from behind in the distant woods. They could hear the rustling clearly, despite being made faraway, due to the deafening silence in the woods. It meant they had to move stealthily, lest might get heard by the preys. Grandpa in a hurried, but meticulous way did the Rifle, and handed over the rest of the baggage to Dolo, and headed in the direction of sound. Your father was ordered to keep the spot, and wait for his return. Almost half an hour passed, and Grandpa didn’t come. Anxious Dolo, couldn’t keep it anymore, and slipped a little here and there, with cautious slow gaits. Hardly had he passed some space, in between the sky scrapping pine trees, suddenly, a growl hits his ears. It sounded not so near, and Dolo treads some several more gaits ahead comfortably, ignoring the seemingly terrifying growl. Very next moment, leaves rustled, some meters ahead, and it passed a shocking current through out his body, leaving hairs standing. Bracing his breath, Dolo started hiding behind pines, and took some further steps ahead, then to his dreadful surprise; it turned out to be a pair of a Wolves—bloody eyes, exhibiting only ferociousness and hunger. Your father, first thought of escape, but knew that he can’t make it very far, and would get caught, for wolves run way much faster than us humans. Knees were trembling, and hurt was pumping as if about to burst out of chest. In that mind-numbing moment of utter fearfulness, a striking advice of Grandpa came across the mind, that one should never show one’s back to a fear, rather face it with all one’s willpower with a determination to quell it, however big that would be. For, giving up to fear only makes it strong and us weak.
Recalling the words of Grandpa helped stilling trembling knees of Dolo. Gathering all his strength, and valor; Dolo leapt at the pair of bloody Wolves. The Italian, birthday present dagger was already unleashed. Your father stabbed the bigger wolf, in the first instance, deep in the chest, but the other clasped his sharp teeth in Dolo’s left shoulder, tearing the back with firm claws as well.” Memba had till then fallen asleep, however, Kolo was listening keenly. Kenta called Dolo to take Memba to her sleeping chamber, and requested a cup of coffee for herself. “What became of the other wolf,” Kolo mumbled with weary eyes. “Oh! Then your father rolled backward with all his strength, pulling violently the dagger out of the chest of the first wolf which proved to be a fatal blow. There was a round of twist and turn, and then the dagger slit the throat of the second wolf as well.” “Wow!” Kolo gasped, swallowing saliva. “The shoulder was deeply cut, even bleeding. Faltering, Dolo made it near to the spot, where Grandpa had left him. He undid the bag, and took some pieces of fabrics and made a quick bandage out of it, then covered the shoulder. Knotted the fabric under the armpit which helped stop bleeding. To his luck, he found a warm shawl in the bag at its bottom, that he wore it without wasting time. All the fear had disappeared until now, but he was utterly exhausted. Also, he had started to feel a little drowsy as a result of bleeding. Spirit was high as had never before, that gave a strange confidence to Dolo, after slaying two wild animals. At the same time, Dolo was so overwhelmed from the intense duel, that even the pain of deep cut in the shoulder had disappeared momentarily. Somehow, he managed to stay calm, and took the thermos out of the bag and poured some tea that had become lukewarm at the time. When he lifted the cup, his hand was trembling to the extent of slipping it to the ground. Meanwhile, blood on hands appeared to his eyes which were need to be wiped off before Grandpa pops up. Quickly he drew out a water bottle, and dripped some water on them, then rubbed both hands together until hands were clear of the blood stains.
At last, Grandpa emerged from behind the pines, thank God! He had not taken the route where the wolves were slain. Two rabbits were hanging on either sides over the shoulders of Grandpa, knotted together with a white rope. Dolo succeeded clinically concealing his unease due to pain, and instantly served Grandpa tea which he drank quickly, as it was almost cool at that time. After finishing tea, Grandpa rolled the rug, and bagged the rabbits along with other stuffs, then set off to home. For several days, Dolo stayed outside in day time, and seldom interacted with family members, until the wounds were almost got healed.” Kolo too had dozed off till then. Kantia caressed his cheeks, and gently took him in her arms then placed in the bed.
The other day, Dolo were to visit a construction site, located far in the north-east. Dolo asked Kantia to take Kolo to the site which she reluctantly agreed, but insisted on to keep him in his sight. The destination was seventy miles from their home, and took nearly two hours of drive.
Kantia rose early at five in the morning. After getting fresh herself, awaken Dolo, and slipped into kitchen to prepare breakfast, whilst she made two cups of coffee then called Dolo to have his cup, who was in washroom, taking a shower. In hardly fifteen minutes, breakfast was ready. Kantia served it in the living room which was cozy at the time, for Dolo had placed woods in the fireplace. “Please raise Kolo,” Kantia requested Dolo. Kolo was in deep sleep, as Dolo lifted the blanket, and hushed softly into his ears, “aren’t you willing to accompany your father to an amazing place?” With heavy and deep voice, rubbing eyes Dolo responded, “where are you going today? Although, there was no such talk at night.” “Ah! My boy, I wanted to surprise you. Now get up, and prepare fast, Mom has already placed breakfast on the table in the living room.” Dolo left the room telling this to Kolo. Merely, in ten minutes, they were present over breakfast, and finished eating in few minutes. Dolo packed his outfits, and other necessary belongings, then told Kolo to do as well. Kantia gave a binocular to Kolo, and said, “keep it with you, it may help in sightseeing.” Kolo held it in the neck, as it had a wide black strap attached to it from either side. By then, Dolo was dusting the Volkswagen truck, and wiped the windscreen with a duster, then asked Kolo to sit in the front seat. Waving to Kantia, they drove off. Before leaving the town’s vicinity, Dolo stopped at a gas station for refilling, then set the vehicle on the road toward north.
Route to the site was non-metallic. It was a bumpy road. In the middle of the way, they stopped at a one-stop shop. Parked the vehicle in the parking which was as big as a futsal ground, soled with gravels, and young daffodil trees were planted all round, leaving separate spaces for entrance, and exit. Kolo instantly went to toilet, whilst Dolo took a bottle of water, and some snacks. Dolo chatted for few minutes with the sales person, soon after Kolo’s return, they were again on the road with same jolts at every few seconds, pushing their heads to the vehicle-ceiling.
At the time Dolo made it to the site, Kolo was asleep. Abrupt braking, and engine killing made Kolo raise from the short-lived slumber. “Have we made it to our destination?” Dolo asked with an exhausted voice, yawning, and rubbing eyes simultaneously. “Yes, my boy, it is time to get off of the vehicle, and see the marvel of this distant place.” Dolo seemed energetic at the arrival. They had barely dismounted from the vehicle, two men appeared in the vast lawn, perhaps, they had heard the engine’s sound. They were the work-site employees. “Hello! Mr. Dolo, good to see you.” They both said at once. “Hello! Hope you all doing good.” Dolo joined them in response, pointing towards Kolo, “meet my young lad, ‘Kolo’ I thought to give him a vital experience of this incredible place.” “Indeed Sir! He must be exposed to diversified facets of our region, as it is crucial in one’s upbringing.” Meta gave his opinion. Meanwhile, Kolo was observing round the ground which was sparsely wrapped in snow. They had reached the lawn from a wide opened gate. The building was under construction, it was a two storey building. Next to it, perhaps few meters to its left, there was a container, designed as a temporary stay for the workers. After a brief conversation, Dolo, and Kolo were led to the container. There were three rooms, and a small storeroom, separated by aluminum sheets. The rooms were nicely furnished, a pair of single beds, smaller than standard size with a drawer between them. Each room had a LED fitted in the wall. The kitchen, and the satellite washroom could be seen from the window of their room, which were instituted beside the boundary wall. Dolo put their baggage into the small closet, placed by the door—the closet was coming up to his shoulders, quite small. “What are we up to now Dad?” Kolo inquired yawning, placing his hand on the mouth. “As you see, what is the need of the hour. I prefer taking a nap until noon.” Dolo suggested. “It is a nice idea, Dad. I should change and relax.” Kolo felt satisfied with the opinion. The had hardly clung to their beds, someone banged the door. “Hello Sir! Would you want something to eat, or drink?” It was Meta outside. “No, we are fine. I prefer a nap till noon. We were up earlier today from usual.” “Yes, sure. I would wake you when meal is ready.” Meta’s voice sounded far as he walked away. Around one at midday, Dolo was awaken by a knock on the door. “The meal is ready Sir. Would you please join us in the kitchen?” The cook had come to wake them up. “We shall be there in a moment.” Dolo replied, and went on to raise Kolo. “My boy, wouldn’t you get up for lunch. You are to go with Meta for sightseeing after meal.” Kolo swiftly got up, and put a slipper, then followed Dad to the kitchen. “Welcome Sir, nice to have you here again.” The other two employees greeted them enthusiastically. They started to eat, as the meal was already served on the table. In the meantime, Dolo asked Meta to walk Dolo to the surrounding vicinity.
Subsequently, Dolo asked Kolo to get ready and follow Meta. Dolo had working papers and files to review, so he couldn’t accompany Kolo. “Don’t go too far without Meta. The site is quite dangerous and there are many identical snow domes, lest you get lost.” Dolo briefed Kolo patting on his shoulders. “And you too keep a diligent eye on my boy and let him explore things as he pleases.” Dolo addressed Meta.
As Meta and Kolo left, Dolo swiftly went to his room and began the review work. Dolo followed Meta upon a narrow path leading toward the vast snow laden tracts. There were few trees, scattered in the plain. Meta kept telling startling stories and myths all the way. Twenty minutes had passed when the first snowbank appeared. Kolo jumped and shouted in amazement. “Wow! It is truly a wonder. Haven’t seen a scene like this before.” Kolo requested to have a close look of a snowbank. The snow banks were not so far, lied almost at few hundred meters away. “It may not be advisable to go there. The snow surface is not solid and feet may bog down.” Meta forbade Dolo. However, Dolo was obstinate and pleaded to let him go there at any cost, “I swear not to tell Dad of this. I shall return shortly.” “Okay! Make sure you comeback as you get there. Don’t try to climb, lest it may prove fatal.” Meta instructed dominantly. “I give you my word.” Dolo obediently responded. Distant sight had showed the snowbank as a complete round dome, however, having a closer sight revealed that it was being melt down by the heat of the summer. In the bottom of the snow bank, to his surprise, there was a whole. When Kolo attempted to see across through it, a wonder struck his eyes and held still for momentarily. He saw an illumination around three angels which swiftly converged into black giant monsters bleeding from their mouths. Out of fear, Kolo shouted out loud to Meta. Hearing the wails Meta ran to him. He was panting when he got there. “What is the matter? Are you okay?” Meta asked. Kolo had become pale, and panting heavily. “There is some strange thing, I saw through the whole.” Kolo told gaspingly. “Where is the whole? I see none around here.” Meta replied in satisfaction. There was no such whole. “Oh! I see. You are one of the lucky persons to have glimpse of these wonders. Only the person who is fortunate could see the scenes that you just have seen. And, none has seen it for twice. As you see, the whole picture has changed.” Meta explained in utter sophistication. The whole had disappeared, but the strange glimpse had engraved the mind and heart of Kolo. After the incidence of snowbank, Kolo became quite popular in his town, and was counted among the few who were considered privileged ones.