Cleansing, calming, purifying water I cannot live without. Under the shower or the falling rain what pleasure it gives me. When I left the rainforest where I grew up I would run as fast as I could, whenever I could towards the sea.
Now trapped in a landlocked city for five years I am parched longing for the sea, thirsty for the rain that falls sparingly. Luckily numerous rivers flow snaking and branching endlessly around and along the states.
We followed one up north and reached a river bank with sandy shores. What delight to step barefoot on the sand after a long time! The eager canine, gaga over water like me jumped on the raft with immense enthusiasm, stared at the water with longing and awe.
Unable to contain his excitement a few feet before we reached the shore on the other side he jumped and swam.
His joyful gallop along the river, dipping in the water every now and then, mirrored my own happiness of being near the water again though it is a river not the sea my tense muscles relaxed instantly.The stillness of that reflective surface infecting me. I drew a deep breath and surrendered to serenity. This where I want to be.
Rummaging through a box of memories, eager fingers flipping through a set of honeymoon photographs. Eyes sighted something green and sparkling. In an instant, the heart ached with longing for carefree days spent frolicking on Coron’s emerald shores.
That untainted jewel cocooned in a cluster of islands down south of my native land. Nostalgia echoed on my bedroom walls. Of crispy laughter reverberating under Asian sun.
The mind wandered back pining for that bright morning, hiking up that volcanic mountain to swim in that verdant lake, in that green soup where swallows dip to quench their thirst at four in the afternoon.
Yearning now intensely, for cool waters caressing the skin while snorkelling in that secret cove, Twin Lagoon it is called, where salt and lake water meet painting mirages for creatures underneath.
Sighing, wishing to go diving and swimming with those kaleidoscopic school of fishes playing around a maze of brightly hued coral gardens. So ornate and splendid, a surreal world so exquisite, an encounter with mermen and mermaids would not be impossible at all.
He looked so strong then, such a commanding presence. Sitting on the ground drinking tea with his peers. His deep sonorous voice resounding with wisdom. Though words were uttered softly, his companions listened intently. His strength is subtle, silent like an undercurrent. Pride swelled up in my heart. He is a man. My man.
My ears are smarting from your self righteous ranting. Your keyboard is thundering from your passionate pounding. Hurling criticism here and there. But your words fall flat. Resounding with jealousy and insecurity. Broadcasting your own narrow mind. I think you just better shut up.
“Self-righteousness is much like a spiritual egocentricity. It constitutes a secular type of love that thrives under conditionality, one in which is only existent after an individual meets the adopted standards of the condemner.” ― Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile
” I remember I used to be a young girl once ” cried an old woman sitting on the street a begging bowl near her feet. ” With shiny hair cascading down my back and life radiating from my supple skin. My springy steps led me down the beach each waking day. Soaking under the sparkling sun I danced my cares away. I doodled my hopes and dreams on pristine sands and they were grand! The horizon was bright and clear so were my youthful days. ”
” But father died and then my future did not stand a chance. Away from the sea, I was married off to a bastard of a man who drinks from sunrise till dawn. The demon drunk and drunk until his liver fell out but not before he left me with a dozen mouth to feed. Gloom rained down unceasingly. Two of my children had died from malnutrition.Three of my sons are in prison. The rest of them I don’t know where they have gone. My only daughter, too young but working as a servant. Her fate as doomed as mine. Without a dowry, for her I can never find a decent mate.”
” Now look at me wrinkled and grey before my time. Angry waves have long washed my dreams away. ”
” Please young lady can you not spare this poor old woman a rupee?”
Your crumpled countenance hurt my eye. It pierced me like rays of broken glass. Instinctively I lifted my hand to shield my eyes from your surly gaze. It was a pleasant saturday morning a pleasurable time to walk my dog. What great misfortune running into you just coming out the gate. A smile forming on my lips halted by a sour face. Why was your nose crinkled in such a way? I know it’s not me, I don’t roam around without taking a shower first! Perhaps you don’t like my dog? He is the most adorable of all canine! (for me at least) Did your day started so bad you want to spread the gloom all around? Is your life so miserable the sparkling sunshine on top of trees you cannot appreciate? Or is it my chinky eyes you do not like? ? If the situation is reversed and you are the one visiting in my country I would be inviting you over for tea! Or coffee. Whichever you like. I know you were thinking I’m from Northeast, if that is so wouldn’t that make me an Indian too? Did assaulting me with your scowling face elevated your status over me? What does it matter where I’m from. I am doing no harm to you. Just another soul making the best of everyday. Next time we meet I have one request. I will not ask you to smile at me but please just don’t injure me with the fierceness of your condescending stare.
From the womb of her imagination all the Rajasthani girls are finally born. Resplendent in their vibrant dresses ready to live a life of their own waiting for the final coat of their glossy completion.
With the brush ready for the finishing glaze, the creator hesitated. The pain of separation already keenly felt. How can she let go of her babies whom she nourished with ambrosial hues in every stroke. Her brows contorted worrying about their destiny. Would they end up with an art loving couple or at the hands of a cold heart art dealer.
In what kind of house would they reside, she wondered. Would they hang comfortably above a warm fireplace to be contemplated upon. Or neglected gathering cobwebs in a dusty corner. Heaven forbid that they be nailed to a wall in a busy restaurant. Not a glimpse would come their way perhaps only absentminded stares accompanied by a cacophony of chomping jaws. She dreaded to think her girls displayed among the ornaments in the cold walls of a hotel. Just another piece of furniture.
A museum would be a fitting home for them where eyes who can, will really see them. But that’s too grand a dream for such humble beginnings. No, she can’t predict what kind of life her girls would live. Sighing, she abandoned the final stage of creation for the time being, trying to hold on to her girls a little while longer.
The Rajasthani girls are impatient to be born. But the creator pauses, arms tired and fingers aching. Outside a torrential cloudburst is pouring. The dog wakes up and begs for a tummy rub. The kettle is whistling. The brush goes back in the bottle and on the table the palette is discarded. The dog stretched and followed the creator in the kitchen. The unpainted Rajasthani girls grumbled seeing that they are now forgotten. ” Always the pretty ones get chosen first in everything.” With arms akimbo the girl in the center complained.
The dog wondered what happened to the tree. It was up there and now down here. He looked back and forth at the big tree and at the miniature version on the floor. He paced to and pro going around it. Sniffing curiously and assessing carefully.’ This will do.’ he thought. He raised one of his hind legs and peed on it.
Twin engines roared mightily into the desert and echoed all around disturbing the silence of no man’s land. Infinite sandy hills rolling in the distance. Cadmium yellow landscape contrasted by cobalt blue sky breaking the monotony. The wind hissed as it passed by me. I clung tightly on my husband’s waist. The vastness of the arid place threatened to engulf me. We rode on destination unknown. The desert whistled a lonely tune.Then all of a sudden it sprung into view. An oasis carved down below. My companions parked their muscular bikes. Standing by the cliff we wondered how can this fecundity thrives on this sterile land. Our eyes followed the water’s origin. An eternal flow of snow melting from the peaks of the Himalayan mountain breast feeding this garden of Eden.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery