Sunday, May 21, 2006

Snaps and sketches

Havnt brought back much this time around from the trip. It was pretty short and most of it was spent on running around; two nights on the boat and 9 hours on the bus. Add to that the lunch hours and nap times. Aint much left of the 48 hours. Is there? There have been moments. Here are a few –

Masterpiece in the sky

[All the good boats were taken by the time we got there. The boat we took stank al over. It stank so much that we preferred staying inside the cabin over sitting outside and enjoying the river wind. Heaven took pity on us and decided to intervene. They had to switch off the power for ten minutes. We suddenly realized it was a moonlit night on the river. We got out of the cabin and moved to the front deck.]

The moon came out of the veil of dark clouds and shown its full face. It was more than just pretty. There was a solemnity about it that I haven’t quite noticed before. The adorning clouds seemed to fall into the trance and formed a halo around it’s head; the layers had all sorts of shades, - everything between faint gold, silver, black and blue. They twisted and curled up around each other. There was a profound religious feel about the scene; I thought it’d look great on a church wall. Hold your gaze for long enough and you can make out the face of Christ on the moon. The winged angels are already on the layers of clouds.

[I guess scenes like these sometimes have a very peculiar effect on common men. I suddenly felt a rush of inspiration to talk about the river, how it’s waves have been flowing to the sea for ages and how they have been coming down from the icy peaks of the mountains, how mountains came to be when Earth’s face got wrinkled while cooling down, and then how water would evaporate from the seas, and get iced on the peaks of the mountains again, and how these elements are all just following the natural laws of physics and men, too small an entity before any one of them, have loved, admired, studied and defied them all and how some of it goes beyond the laws of physics and all sorts of shit. You can imagine the look on my cousin’s face after sitting through a lecture like that. I am not sure if it was this perplexed look on his face or the sprint of obscenity from a fellow passenger in a near by cabin that snapped me back to consciousness. I’m sorry to disappoint you but his ‘words of affection’ were not in fact, directed to me (which would be just as appropriate) but to a person (God have mercy on his soul) he had met the previous day in a cultural gathering. I must say I found it very refreshing.]

A night to remember

[It had been raining all evening. We ventured out a couple of times in the rain but never made more than 500 yards through the slippery paste on the road. Only made the hotel floor messy each time. It wasn’t until very late at night that we made it to the beach. It was well worth the wait.]

We heard the music well before we saw the sands. An orchestra of Sarinda, Khol and Mandira (instruments used in folk music). Mixed with the sound of the waves the songs gave off a somewhat unearthly resonance that put you into trance immediately. We sat down on the empty beach chairs a little away from the group of musicians. It was windy but the direction was right and we could hear the notes clearly from where we were sitting. It was a full moon and a full tide. The sky was a translucent blue which met the gray sea on the horizon. The waves came splashing white on the white white sands and all of it bathed in moonlight. With all these going on before the eyes, and the wind dancing around like crazy and the music playing in your mind, you find yourself gasping for breath. Your feel your heart chocking, twisting, tearing inside your chest, ready to burst out and shoot up in the sky at any moment. You don’t know what to call this but know that you should go with it while it lasts. You take off your glasses and the frosty view suddenly seems to make sense more than ever. Your body moves with the music without you knowing it. Tears roll down your face; you know not for what. You feel your soul lifting you up, carrying you over the waves and beyond the horizons, beyond the moon, across the skies and back. In that fleeting moment you see its face – the face of the immortal trapped inside your mortal being.

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