A boat lay moored to the silted steps of the dilapidated ghat. The sun was just about to go down…on the boat’s belly was a boatman…engaged in his evening prayer. The silent figure kneeling and bowing silhouetted against the fading glow of the Western sky looked like a fleeting image that will vanish with the sun immersing into the river for the night. There were shadows of sunset all around. The unruffled surface of the river reflected the sunset in all its hues and intensity, even as the tired chariot of Sun God went for a final hurrah….the palest gold finally fade into the steely blue of darkness.
The ghat was meanwhile fighting a grim battle for existence trapped in the vice grip of two rival banyans…as they sunk their roots right through his stone and mortar…fissures run through the ghat like bastard channels of water rushing to the river….cracks, moss, two toothless lions, nose butted in, eyes blinded, sit stoically at the edge of the plastered sides looking out into the expanse…they are trapped like me too…For the first time I realized I too was a prisoner of my image…..A decript mansion nearby with broken windows, tumble down verandahs, looked down on the ghat, as a train line cut in between the two. The mansion looked like an old man who had just coloured his hair, though the skin on his face was loose and hanging— the house looked odd with patches of colour and whitewash along the stone bearing, plasterless walls with minarets pointing to the heaven…. made it look sad…sad like me….trapped in the image of being the guy next-door, good, helpful, jovial and one who just wont say no to the world…..Yeeeeees!!!!
Rain started…first in pitter patter…then it turned into a steady drizzle….the breeze freshened…I ran towards the shelter under the now-i-fall balcony…and the forest that stood silent away from the mansion came alive and out of the shadows…as if they had rushed nearer…..great stir of leaves, nodding boughs and swaying branches. The whisper of unconscious life became stronger, speaking in incomprehensive voice….the forest was alive and my sorrow dumb…like the darkness surrounding me……I was so helpless when she blend into nothingness and the silk of her scarf remained in my hands….forever soft…forever her…And still I laugh …for I am meant to be someone who can catch the hail by the scruff and sink it to the ground…so wrong!!!!!!
Looked into the room….a few forlorn crickets…buzzed about in the darkness and a light-bug flew about carelessly…a lamp flickered inside…….the lamps with long throats and bulging-globe-like stomach of bright glass…there was no electricity….the flame flickered…the wick must have died out and was now languishing and burning in absence of any kerosene …Like me languishing and burning…even while moving on…… after you went….
The rain falling into the river, the river lapping the steps, the steps moving towards the mansion…and the minarets pointing to the heavens…all in a cycle….only the dilapidated lions and myself look the other way into the vast expanse of darkness…the boat has left its moorings and the boatman sings a tune far from the depths of the river…..as we remain trapped in our image forever…..away from the cycle of river and sky….!!!!!