The sun was yet to rise.
Dressed in a sleeveless brown vest and white lower garment that was tightened just below his knees, Kanha walked through the narrow alleys that were bathed in an early morning blue. He held onto one end of the stick resting on his shoulder, the other end tied to a bundle that carried his clothes and food for his journey to Mathura. Knowing that these were his last moments here, he smiled as he observed the shops and low ceiling homes on both sides, built of stone and wood, and cramped beside one another.
He stopped in his tracks, and then felt it coming.
It was a hallucination, a layer of moving pictures that appeared over what he saw. And in his vision he saw these houses and shops crumble. He saw fire. He saw giant soldiers charge through this very same alley…
“Where are you going?” asked a young gentle voice, and he broke out of his thoughts.
He turned around to see Diyani, dressed in her night frock and holding a mud vessel filled with water. She was nearing nineteen, around the same age as him, but her face spoke of childish innocence which had conquered many hearts in Bishamda, his included.
Kanha noticed how her gaze travelled between his face and the cloth bundle he was carrying. There was not enough light to read the worry in her eyes, but he knew; somehow he knew everything.
“Are you leaving for good?” she asked, her voice nervous.
Kanha smiled, then nodded.
“…but why…” her voice was barely audible.