Friday, November 23, 2007

A Memorable Vacation

Growing up, the word vacation meant coming back to India during the summers. Sadly, I can’t recall anything memorable about any of my vacations. Most of the summer would be spent in my ancestral home “Amroha” socializing with my relatives and family friends. I found this exercise rather futile because I forgot each one of them as soon as we left.

But now that I think of it, there was one such vacation where I did something that I still remember. I was 10 years old, I think, and we had rented out one of the floors in our “haveli” to a family of seven. Over the summer, I grew fond of them, especially their youngest daughter who they all called “Munni.” I never realized how quickly time passed that summer. When it was finally time to leave, I felt a deep sense of grief. My final conversation with Munni revolved around the time we spent together and if the family would still be there when we returned next time. Before leaving she mentioned how she and her sister would not be able to go to school, as they didn’t have money to buy books and pay the fees. To this day I still feel guilty for what I did that day, I somehow managed to steal 500 rupees from my mother’s vanity case and gave it to Munni. I really don’t know how much that money helped them, but I felt a bad deed if done for a good cause, was not so bad!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Standing on the Edge..

Standing here on this cliff, away from life's nuances and ambiguity, I feel free. Like a bird thats been trapped in a cage suddenly finds an opportunity to escape, and grabs it with both hands. There is no other place that makes me feel so powerful and so fragile, both at the same time. The feeling is so unexplored, like a child examining a broken piece of glass, it feels the joy and power of finding something fascinating and when it cuts itself, realizes the glass is more fatal and powerful than it perceived. But its good because there is something different about today.

The cool breeze is blowing into me, caressing my body, playing with my hair and filling my lungs with life and vitality. As I look down I can see the waves lashing at the rocky shore below. Today the ocean seems to be subtler in its reprimand of the shore. I remember coming here a long night ago, the dizziness of my experience still fresh on my mind. I was a different person then, weaker, afraid and vulnerable. The ocean was more violent then or maybe my perception was clouded by my psychological state of mind. I had climbed up because I had this sudden urge to jump down. Maybe I wanted to feel alive and free because I clearly remember that at the time, I felt as alive as a zombie. I had been alone and my heart had been broken. I missed her and I wanted her to come back. I cried till I could not cry anymore.I could taste the salty residue of my tears and feel my saturated skin stretching under the saltiness. I was afraid of the coming day, the morning sun and the sounds of birds chirping away to welcome it. I wanted the night to last longer, maybe never to end. I wanted the pain to consume me so that I could tell myself that I had not been a coward and that I hadn't given up. I wanted life to give up on me. I walked to the edge and stood there thinking to myself, what I had done wrong or what I had done to deserve this apathy. There were very few chances that I would survive the fall, if the rocks wouldn't get me, the waves definitely would. I rejected the idea, the thought of living seemed a little more cozier than before. I realized that if I got through this night, a new day would come eventually. It maybe not be perfect, but then nothing in life really was.

The night sky seemed darker than ever and I knew it was too dark to climb back down. I had to get through the night, I told myself to just hold on. The morning that I had been despising would become the seed of my new beginning. But I needed to get through this night, somehow, anyhow I needed to survive. I was alone, it was cold and I had nothing to hold on to, nothing to comfort me and nothing to keep me warm. I began to crouch myself together, holding tighter as the dormant minutes passed by. I ended up lying there like a baby thrown out of its womb, how I longed for the warmth of a mother's belly. The wind was mercilessly cold and it would only get colder as the night went on. I needed something to keep me warm and it had to come from within me. I could only think of two things that could get me through this night, god's mercy and the warmth of her love.

Apart from a lot of things, the night made me realize the true meaning and strength of love. It didn't matter if she loved me or wanted me, I loved her and I wanted her. The thought itself made me feel a bit warmer. If I loved her only because she loved me, that would mean my love had been selfish and shallow. It didn't feel that way, inside me, my heart still burned for her like the first day I had fallen in love with her. Somehow I knew thats how it would remain, I just knew it. No matter where I was and who I was with, my love for her would stand the test of time. I had always loved her but at this moment I didn't need for her to love me back. My love had actually become selfless, maybe I too had become selfless. At that moment of self realization, I stopped shivering, the warmth inside me flowed out and filled the world around me. God's mercy had been the rope I needed to hold on to and her love had given me the will to climb back up.

The minutes didn't seem that long anymore, time was at my mercy now. I was not waiting for the day to be born, the day was waiting for me with open arms. Finally when it showered down in all its crimson brilliance, I knew I had the strength to fight away a million such nights, never again would I give in and give up. A smile crept to my face and I was happy at what I had achieved, how ever little and insignificant it may have been.

I walked to the edge of the cliff again. I looked down and I was not afraid. The fear that had gripped me the night before had evaporated with the coming of the new sun. I didn't take the leap of the cliff, but the morning breeze carried my spirit with it and I was not afraid of the uncertainty, of pain, of fear itself. My lord was inside me and I had just learned how to love. Enough milestones for a day. As for life, it would take care of itself...