The Mountain Spring
Nakul was feeling very restless. He was in a bus, travelling to Dehradun, to attend the engagement ceremony of one of his close friends, Sidharta. They were a group of friends, who had known each other since their school days. They all were now working, and were scattered all over the globe. Many of them were coming to attend the engagement ceremony, and Nakul was very excited that he would get to meet his friends after a long time. But his skin allergy had started showing up suddenly, since the previous night. He was not happy about it; whenever the allergy erupted, it took a long while to go and the bouts were extremely irritating and troublesome. Sitting there in the bus he could feel it was aggravating more and more, and he took out a few tablets, and popped them gingerly into his mouth. His fellow passenger was a sadhu, clad in saffron clothes, and he had his long matted hair tied up in a big knot. He had lines of ashes smeared on his forehead, and was looking at Nakul with interest and concern. When their eyes met he asked,
“ Are you unwell? What has happened, son?”
“Baba, it’s okay. I will be fine soon,” muttered Nakul trying to end the conversation, and he shut his eyes to take a nap.
Nakul’s restlessness kept on increasing. He had to roll up his sleeves, to apply an ointment. The arms were all fiery red and the angry rashes looked quite menacing. Baba cast a look at them and asked him if his medication was curing this problem. Nakul told him that it was troubling him for many years now and, in spite of all sorts of treatment, it kept recurring.The sadhu then said,
“Son, I can help you, but you have to come with me far up into the forest in the mountains. There is a spring, where, if you take bath for a week, all your skin troubles will go away. It is a difficult walk up to there, though.”
Nakul was not quite ready to believe this, but as he had been suffering for long, he decided to take a chance. He replied,
“ Baba, I have some work today at Dehradun. May I please come with you tomorrow morning?” The sadhu agreed,
“Jai Bholenath! I will meet you at the bus stop tomorrow morning,” he told Nakul, when they reached Dehradun.
Nakul reached Sidharta’s house and was soon immersed in the activities there. His friends too were waiting for him, and they all got busy in catching up with each other. Next morning Nakul left early, to meet the sadhu. Vinay, one of his friends, also was interested to see the spring and joined him on his trip. As agreed, the sadhu was there at the bus stop and after Nakul and Vinay reached, they all boarded a bus to travel for around ten hours. All three alighted from the bus at a pretty remote village, from where they set off on foot, following an undefined trail on the mountains. The boys were finding it difficult to keep pace with the sadhu, who seemed to be quite familiar with the terrain. They had ventured into the forest and the urban boys were exhausted, whereas the sadhu kept walking calmly, barefoot. They kept on walking for two full days. They consumed wild fruits to satisfy their hunger and drank from the sparkling water of the mountain river. Having gotten used to the surroundings by now, the boys were feeling strangely refreshed. Their tiredness had also vanished and their hearts were filled with an unknown joy. They had almost forgotten about the places, the towns, they came from. That seemed to be completely alien to them. At last they reached their destination. They could see a bubbly spring from which the water sprang out and spread all around, making a big, shiny, sparkling pool. The sunlight, dancing through the trees, fell on it, making a mesmerising sight. One could see each and every pebble at the bottom of the pool. Nakul and Vinay breathed in the freshness all around, and felt so rejuvenated.
The sadhu pointing at the pool said,
“This is the God-gifted pool. The pristine water has the power to cure any skin disease, whatsoever. However, you can’t get into the pool; you have to draw water from the pool and take your bath outside it. Do so for seven consecutive days, and you will be cured for ever.”
Both the boys filled their water bottles with the water and took bath with it. The water was freezing cold but once you poured it onto your body, the bite of the cold was gone. After their bath, both were shocked to find the sadhu missing. They called out to him, but to no avail. Anyways, the boys stayed on for seven days, having a bath with the water of the spring once a day. In a few days, Nakul could see the difference in his allergy. By the seventh day, his skin was actually clear; absolutely clear! Nakul’s joy knew no bounds. Something that could not be treated by the best of doctors, was cured by a mountain spring! Vinay found it incredible too. Nakul wanted to thank the sadhu, but he was nowhere to be found. The boys started their descent and found their way down to the bus stop.
Nakul’s heart was singing in joy but Vinay’s mind was filled with some other thoughts. The whole experience had set his imagination on fire. All through the way down and all through the journey by the bus, he was thinking about the magic spring. What he had seen this last week, with his own eyes, was unbelievable! He wondered if the spring water could be used commercially. How many people could it cure, and how much financially rewarding it could be! All that was needed was to get the water down. Vinay could not contain his excitement, and told Nakul that he was so intrigued by the magic spring, that he would make a trip soon again. As he lived in a town very close to Dehradun, the friends parted ways at the bus stop. Vinay set out for the magic spring by the next week itself, with two of his helps, and a few containers. He reached there and filled the containers with the pure water, and carried it down.
Generally skin problems are very stubborn and many people suffer from some sort or the other. He knew a few people who had skin problems, so he tried testing the power of the water on them. He gave some water to each of them to bathe for seven days and, miraculously, all of them were completely cured. Vinay felt like he was in the seventh heaven. He had hit a jackpot! Gradually, he managed to transport a lot of water down from the spring. Considering the distance and the inaccessibility, it was by no means an easy task. Moreover, he was now consumed by intense Greed. He now started diluting the spring water with some amount of plain water, before bottling it. The news that he had a sure and permanent cure for all skin ailments, spread like wild fire and his bottles sold like hot cakes. In about five years Vinay had made pots and pots of money, but he was intent on making much more money. There was no end to his greed. And soon, the spring water in each bottle was getting more and more diluted, with the addition of more and more of plain water.
Vinay, with his wife, went on a world tour for one month. They were spending their days in luxury when suddenly Vinay’s father fell ill. One day he woke up with rashes all over his body and the rashes were extremely itchy. There was no cause of concern, for there were crates of bottles kept in the store. His father started using the water to bathe, but seven days passed, and his condition only deteriorated. The rashes developed pus and the whole body got infected. Soon he was under the spell of very high fever. Vinay’s mother tried calling Vinay, but could not connect. Later in the day when Vinay called home, he got to know what had happened. His father had to be hospitalised. Because of his precarious condition, he was kept in the I.C.U. Vinay, with his wife, took the next available flight back home and rushed to the hospital. He reached there and stood still. His mother was inconsolable and on seeing Vinay she kept saying, incomprehension writ large on her face,
“ We gave him the magic water right from the day this started. Why did the magic not work on him, son? Why? Why?
Vinay just stood there motionless, and all he could see was the bubbly spring, high up in the mountains, throwing pure and pristine water all around.