Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Joy That Wounds

You try to be faithful
And sometimes you're cruel.
You are mine. Then, you leave.
Without you, I can't cope.
And when you take the lead,
I become your footstep.
Your absence leaves a void.
Without you, I can't cope.
You have disturbed my sleep,
You have wrecked my image.
You have set me apart.
Without you, I can't cope.
~ Rumi

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The haunt

0337 hours.
As I sit here unable to succumb to sleep watching a storm struggling to unleash but not quite getting there, I remember other nights that lay more significant imprint on my memory. Not just with their better luck with storms but whatever such nights entailed. One particular stormy night was, among other things, a merciful show of Nature compared to what, it, the Nature had wreaked not many days previously, in a land safely distant from ours. The bright morning of that fateful day had just begun to witness an enthusiastic and tri-coloured display of celebration of a deeply instilled patriotism. As it is the way of thing, the enthusiasts were mostly schoolchildren in whom the love for their nation yet remained genuine, innocent and unconditional. Unsuspecting to those who rejoiced and also those who didn’t, (she never paused to differentiate) the Earth trembled violently and brought absolute chaos, death and destruction. As the land shook and tore and folded and cracked, many of those who had just begun to commemorate its republicanism, perished.
Like any other day struck by the wrath of Nature it was a day of agony, loss and pain. And for many more days and months and years to come it would continue to be. Fear of another unpredictable disaster gripped the many vulnerable lands with its icy clutches. We reeled with shock, we mourned and we became wrought with wariness. In our own home the concern and fear became disturbingly palpable on that stormy night which this memory of mine has borne. It was unprecedented for it to storm as it was too early in the year for any kind of noisy weather. Winter, at least in climatic theory, was in full swing. But our household, still diligently wary of nature, couldn't see an unusual storm as just another unusual storm. This untimed phenomenon only fed our fear, I, of course, was too young to grasp the paranoia. My fear then only encompassed the flashing lightening, the roaring thunder and the howling, rain laden wind. The real fear dawned on me only after I was told that we were all going to sleep together in one room that night. This sudden announcement brought more dread than comfort. And this dread whispered terrifying secrets into my naive heart.
The howling night is ominous. The electricity is gone, gloom is everywhere those flickering lamps cannot reach and the loved ones from whose unexpected nearness you are trying to draw courage and a sense of safety will only give you a momentary respite. Just wait till slumber takes over. Just wait till the dark oblivion tears your defences down. Until then remember the torn lives and ripped homes that plagued the other land not so long ago. It didn't matter that it was a cheery morning and young eager innocents like you wore their best, waved flags and ate sweets, did it? Now this night is anything but cheery and festive. This unusual solidarity to face what is to come among your kin is your final comfort. Just wait. As this drenched night deepens it will witness a catastrophe not unlike the one that bright morning did. Seek reprieve in this unusual gesture of togetherness in the face of concern and fear, while it lasts. For once the world has slept, it will be rudely awoken to the screams of more than just the stormy night.

The lamps winked out, the storms abated as if it never happened and the world awoke with the sun and yet, like tonight, I didn't succumb to sleep.