Monday, 26 August 2013

Bicolor Kaleidoscope

The faint sound of a distant chorus flowed silently past the blissful shade of the baobab tree, although the mountain sun couldn't be more welcoming. A smoky cloud brushed past the fluorescent green fruit that bobbed about melodically in the monsoon breeze.

A ghostly knight stood at the high window on a decaying fort on the hill down the winding road of cobbled stone, beaten smooth by armies of men, horses, and elephants over centuries of years forgotten by nature.

Lakes lay there like scattered patches of ink on the vast canopy of the rolling green land. A layer of algae covered the black waters around the outer rim, giving an insight into the secret life hidden underneath the deceptively dead water of the hills.

If one looked closely enough, one could see the miniature green oval leaves. They lay still, feigning innocence of the quaintest sort, and it was only if you paid close attention that you could see them floating around in an enchanting manner against the roguish black water.

They moved around in circles while their center shifted to and fro about a deeper, blacker axis that was either there or purely imaginary – but it did exist, even if only in the murky recesses of a wandering mind.

A harrowing thought came galloping across the clouds, through the wisps of cool mist haunting the darkness of the inky water, and sped past the mind of a curious individual gazing intently into the murky depths.

The breeze, as if taking nature’s cue, grew stronger till it had evolved into a strong wind. Some of those tiny leaves moved elliptically about a mirror axis. A faint line on the corner of the stranger’s lips could be seen struggling to reach his high cheekbone in an ironic smile. He looked with dreamy eyes into the face that had appeared in the water.

A songbird twittered a melancholy tune atop a stunted tree as it swayed about precariously on its gentle perch, as a hawk swept by overhead.

The leaves seemed to be getting a little distorted now, as if in self-assurance, having now gained the victim’s undivided attention. They moved anxiously in patterns celestial and divine, and subtly explained to him things he had often thought of but had never inquired about.

Was nature telling him something in its own abstract manner? At least he thought so. They were his signs, his own personal omens that nature had bestowed on him. The smile on his face grew larger. There were only two kinds of mad men, he thought - those who had been identified, and those that hadn’t. Why, in that last town, they had called that old sailor mad. But alone at the beach that night, by the dim light of the smoldering coal, that man had said some words over a bottle of beer that no man could stand up and declare insane if he had even a shredded fragment of Conscience.

There were times when he had thought how disheartening the world was. There was slavery, poverty, disease – but then, there was life in all its cosmic glory. There were fields, and meadows, and uncharted lakes, and hills that no one had climbed. There were jungles where the deer roamed free, away from the sheltered jails of the city, deep within the territory of the noble cats.

There had also been that subtle feeling, a gentle nagging sensation that craved for some ties that would give him a base to fall back up on. It had ranged from jobs to houses to relationships, and he had given a shot to all of them with a hand on his heart, wanting to end it while it was still possible, but still yearning for it in some blighted recesses of his mind. All of them had failed, leaving him bewildered in a purgatory torn between remorse and relief.

Relief had eventually taken over for all of them. Or he thought it had. It had then brought back that feeling of freedom that had often overwhelmed him, taking him places, and showing him things that he had never thought possible, widening his mind in the process. It was this love of life that he sought to orbit, but that evasive little tease would not stay still. And then he would chase her again, her looking back every now and then with inviting eyes.

It had been during one of these pursuits that he had once reached that distant place. The rays of the mighty sun had struggled past the thick clouds and were playing with the dew that had settled on the blades of grass across the breadth of the meadows. Grasshoppers, bees and butterflies moved about with varied vigor. It had been then that he had met her.

She had been born and brought up in the villages by the foothills, and had talked at length of the pleasures of her life and how she detested the ways of the city. But he had caught her stealing a glance at a train and the mysteries that it carried. She had walked him to the edge of the forest, but then she had to go – her cows needed to be milked. She had given him things to think about and thoughts to ponder on for days and months. And he hadn’t even asked her name.

Her face disappeared as the tiny leaves parted to reveal the brilliant reflection of the crescent moon. He got up, gathering his thoughts and possessions. It was late - there should have been a fire up by now. He walked silently to the tent as an owl declared its intentions from somewhere in the silvery darkness. He had a fire to make before he could eat, and a bed to make before he could dream.

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