A night written in ink

Published: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 09:10 Updated: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 09:11
Like in a Ruskin Bond story, where he chases a mountain stream through a maze of little wild pink mountain flowers in synthesis with the thin, delicate leaf and stem in bright green, like a grasshopper in stasis, not waiting for a leaf storm anymore, calm like the kaleidoscopic butterflies which flutter over the thin stream with bubbling waters, crossing and caressing little stones, unfinished rocks, branches and roots drenched with wetness and moss. Then arrives the chill with the north wind filling the lungs with an outburst and burst of pristine oxygen and raw elements and the moist air and the low clouds settle on your eyelids and your eyes and your lips and inside your cotton shirt where warmth hides like a forgotten letter inside an old manuscript.  
 
It’s like a Ruskin Bond story, this pre-monsoon rain, which has arrived from ancient times under a half moon night, resurrecting yet again all the poems secretly written during childhood and the first flush of adolescence. You hold the clouds in your eyes, you hold the wind in your palm, you let the wind slip by through your fingers with not an iota of regret like unrequitted love, you whistle through the delicate transparency of the leaves and the petals, and you walk into the darkness of the mountain fog and vanish into the blue.  
 
Across the dense density of tall deodar trees, moving into the skies like an umbrella of encompassing ecological protection, an etherised layer between heaven and earth, painting the blue of the sky into the green of the forest, hiding the sudden miracles of sharp erotic red of the rhododendrons with their long wavy arms. And the fog enters the old English graveyard with graves designed like Greek monuments, while an old man smokes tobacco and his dog looks at you with loving, soft, beseeching, warm eyes. Eyes you forever miss among humans. Eyeless in Gaza. Artless in Gaza. Soulless in Gaza. Why are human beings so terribly bereft of soft, warm, loving eyes? Where has the gaze gone, into which haze of perverse modernity? 
 
There is no fear of death here, not even the fear of life, not the anticipation of a miracle or a great moment of redemption, neither success nor wealth, neither fame nor infamy. This solitude is soft, soothing, sensuous. The mist envelops you into a tangible infinity and all the infinite stars of the galaxy move into the finite mist, closer than you can imagine, and you know at once how meaningless you are, and your inflated ego, your face splashed on television mouthing inanities, your name on their lips. You gaze at the cosmos, and this amazing expanse of magnificent, ceaseless nature, and the undulating hills moving into an eternal death wish the higher you go, and you realise how fragile, and vulnerable you are amidst this nocturnal magic.  
 
You hear your own footsteps, you hear your own tears, saline waters, you hear your own body’s clock ticking tick tock tick tock. You know the end is always never near, you will not die so, you are still young, your skin is fresh and fascinating, washed by the first rain, your mind lucid and clear like a tide on a soundless shore. And you know that if you gaze at the abyss for too long, the abyss too will gaze at you.  
 
The rain arrives like the sea on a full moon in a million embroidered threads, like a pure white angavastram without stitches, and in less than a moment the body is drenched in slow motion, as if making love with silence. You can taste the cold water on your lips, and the saline waters have disappeared, and the mist and the fog become droplets of sound, moving on asbestos sheets, flowing and rolling down the hills, like Ruskin Bond’s mountain stream down below. Oh, it’s so divine to be alive, to be grateful alive, to have neither the fear of life nor the fear of death. 
 
Inside your jacket you protect that old manuscript with a forgotten letter. The ink must have spilled on the pages of handwritten prose with neat paragraphs. You can smell the ink. You can’t hide the book. It sails in your body. A ship without a mast or compass or anchor. Like the sweet smell of friendship, drifting into the night.

This story is from print issue of HardNews