This is the first short story I wrote.. Hope there are many more to come

The soul in the mountainsHe stood in the still waters of the calm river, looking across its span at the mountains in the west.

In that hazy image he saw the mountain peaks, his dream, calling out to
him, begging him to take a dip and reach out to conquer them. He felt
the same urge, the same desire he had felt for the past ten years, when
each day he looked in awe at the distant mountains. While the cycle of
seasons changed hues in the plains, the mountains stood unaltered in
silent defiance, perennially adorned by a royal green canopy, as if
they were mocking the lowly plains.

But the cold waters whirlpooled his aspirations, the wind drenched his
ambition with its cold embrace. I am just an ordinary chap, thought he,
destined to live a mediocre life, this dream is too big to be mine. He
took a glance at the people behind him; all soaked in a routine they
performed dispassionately each day as the sun rolled over their backs.
He tried to imagine himself as one of them, toiling in the field, going
through his job with the precision and impassivity of an automaton.

The thought didn’t excite him, nor did it leave him disgruntled; he was
entirely indifferent to it, as if it lay in a domain that couldn’t
affect his emotions. The lofty green peaks beckoned him, he longed for
the feel of the hilly terrain, a worthy challenge for his sinewy frame.
That was his throne, the plateau waiting to caress his brow as he
leaned onto her bosom, the pearls of his sweat dripping onto the
parched grass.

But now the wind graduated into a gale, and as he took a deep breath of
the August air, he wondered if this was anything but just a fantasy.
Was it a ludicrous impulse, an absurd whim or just needless
daredevilry? Couldn’t he stay in the eastern plains, and live a staid
life like his ancestors always had and his peers now did? After all the
fertile plains had everything one could ask for, and few had ventured
into the big world beyond their comfortable monotony. Couldn’t he be
happy and content watching the stars roll past him on a moonless night?
Or drift into slumber listening to the drone of the crickets amidst the
glow of the fireflies? Did he really need to cast away this blanket of
serenity and venture out into the unknown lonely mountains?

The lure of scaling the lofty peak was strong, but did not seem strong
enough to discount the perils that could ambush him. The river, though
it appeared calm, was deep and wide, the vast sheet of serenity
enveloping  a dormant fury that could swallow anyone who
challenged its might. The boy was a strong swimmer, yet he feared he
would not withstand the mighty river if he were to test its waters.

He turned again and took a look at the world behind him. It seemed as
if the place had stayed frozen, unwarped by time, as if it were a
snapshot of what it looked like a decade ago. He saw a small group of
young men playing dice, gambling away their little fortunes,
unrepentant of their follies, unmindful of what lay ahead and unaware
of the heroes they could be. Under the huge banyan tree gathered a few
old men, their drooping eyes gazing out at the distant sun. Watching
the yellow orb race towards the mountains, they reminisced about the
years which had fled past them, and the opportunities they had missed.
Now they yearned to buy back that time and have a second chance, but it
was too late, their crouched backs and dull white hair grimly reminding
them that their best times were indeed past them.

Years later, things would still be the same; youth would let themselves
bask in stagnant comforts, only to regret it when time had dimmed their
zest. And he could be one of them.

He shuddered at the thought; he couldn’t afford to let his dream remain
just a fantastic idea. Now as he looked at the mountains beyond the
wide river, all fear and apprehension were banished away from his mind.
No longer did he feel intimidated by the mountains or the cold river
which only a few moments ago had seemed impregnable to his modest ego.
He unbuttoned his shirt, flung it onto the river bank and waded further
into the river. Tentatively he started pushing back the water with his
arms moving in slow, regular arcs. With each stroke, his arms gained
strength and he moved farther away from the bank. Soon he appeared like
a small buoy bobbing on the river.

Far out on the eastern bank, people prepared to get back home after the
day’s work. Their routine over, they trudged back to their homes,
failing to notice the speck on the river which kept receding into the
horizon.