Sakhaon ka Kanhaiya- Story 15
During this winter season, the gopas cover their cows, calves and bulls with heavy woolen blankets. In the morning, before releasing the cows for grazing, these blankets are removed. Where do animals understand that this blanket is necessary to protect them from harsh winters? They get happy when these blankets are removed in the morning. Not just calves, even cows and bulls hop. As soon as they are released, they want to run.
To fight winters, nature has given them an easy mechanism. If they can’t run, they will walk, stand and sit packed up together. But, the animals affected by frostbite recover quickly and start walking separately because nowadays the gopas open them only once the sun gets a bit intense.
Though the gopa children come to Nanda Bhavan right at sunrise, these days Maiya can’t allow Kanhai to go out early in winters. She doesn’t even leave Ram-Shyam from her lap for hours.
Krishna’s morning routine in winters
Where is the shortage of space in Maiya’s lap? Whichever Sakha comes, Maiya invites him also into the blanket and the numbers go on increasing. It is Kanhai only who throws the blanket away and stands up all of sudden.
Maiya quickly washes Ram-Shyam’s (Krishna-Balaram) mouths with hot water and gets them seated in a line along with the sakhas for breakfast. But before taking breakfast, she very-well wraps their heads with blanket and nicely ties the small black blanket with a silk rope in front of their waist, so that their entire body stays covered.
These days, all the gopa-kids wear Kasturi Tilak on their forehead. Is this the season to apply sandalwood or saffron? None of the children should wear any flower-garland, this Maiya explains everyday. Covered with black blankets from head to toe, the children after eating breakfast leave with Ram-Shyam only when the sun fairly comes above the head. The herd of cows keep waiting for them. They leave and the animals themselves march towards the forest. Outside the blanket, there are red-red feet below and even the hands are out carrying the stick. None of their dazzling earrings are visible on their faces. If ears are left open, you feel colder, so some part of their cheeks is also covered with a blanket. Kanhai’s forehead and even some part of his head stays open. The peacock feather on his curly hair keeps swaying. Oily hair and face; but just like Shyam the faces of all the children have slightly turned red. Only the tip of their nose is the reddest.
Maiya concerned about Krishna
Maiya’s heart gets restless many times. The children’s feet are extremely tender, they are not fit for walking on the ground in this harsh winters, but nothing can be done. Cows are goddesses of the gopa clan. It is not right even to think of wearing sandals while going with them. This thing cannot even be said from the mouth.
Maiya keeps giving this warning to the sakhas “As long as there are dew drops, don’t’ walk on the grass and even don’t go on the shore! Don’t allow Neelamani (Krishna) to take out the blanket quickly!” How much ever Kanhai says “Ha, Hun”, on reaching the forest, the children forget everything. Everybody remove their blankets and dump in on the ground or hang them on trees and branches. They can be questioned only when it is time to go home.
Certainly, in this season, there is some change in their playing routine. On coming, they don’t go to gather forest-supplies like flowers, branches and twigs. Because as soon as one goes under the shade, Kanhai calls out stopping him- “If you go in the shade, I will complain to Maiya.” Even animals stand under the sun and graze away from the trees. The children and animals go in the shade, only once the sun gets intense and afternoon comes near. Nowadays, as soon as the children come, they remove their blankets and engage in wrestling or some running game.
Running competition between gopas
Kanhai runs. His curly hair moves behind his back. His jeweled-necklace moves on his chest. His yellow garments flutter, and his earrings hop on his cheeks. The anklets of his feet, bells of his waist and bangles of his hands make sounds.
“I will touch! I will touch him.”– There is competition between the gopa kids. All are running. All are laughing. Shyam turning his face sees behind sometimes and runs.
It is only Dau Dada who doesn’t run. The wearer of blue garments stands still- he sees his friends and younger brother run. Seeing the children run, many calves, deer and monkeys are running along with them. They jump and run ahead of Kanhai. Bhadra ran and placed his hands on Shyam’s right shoulder and see, Nanda Nandana has turned around and putting his arms around Bhadra’s neck has wrapped around him.