I remember fireflies and moonrise.
These were the two things that I would wait for, make time for. I would look at the exact direction from where the moon would rise and judging by the soft glow emanating from behind the thickly forested hills, know exactly when it would make an appearance. In the darkness of those times when the hills were not inhabitated and street lights didn’t exist, it was the perfect setting to observe natures night life, especially stars and fireflies.
Surrounded by night sounds of crickets and distant cries of jackals, I would settle myself on the corner of the railing and support my back against the wall. Floating life, in the form of fireflies would glide by, they would congregate near some self-chosen bush or tree and do their magical dance, mesmerising me completely.
Between the rising moon and the lively fireflies, the pressure cooker would release it’s steam, reminding me that dinner would not be too long now… I would get down from my perch and head downstairs after having inhaled a huge dose of solitude and beauty that would last a life time….
Todays glorious moonrise reminded me of this…Of course, the only constant was the beauty of the moon. The scene is altered beyond recognition…..
Memories of Dehradoon
I have a sepia tinted photograph of myself as a little baby sitting on my mother`s lap. It is stuck on the inside wall of my cupboard, its edges curling with the burden of the many decades that it has witnessed. It is the first thing I see when I open my cupboard to select my outfit for the day. I peer into the baby’s face to observe if it has any resemblance to the woman that it has now become. Similarly, I look into my young mothers beautiful face to capture what she has carried forward from her youth. The emotion that fills my heart is quite powerful. It is a mix of nostalgia, gratitude and love. The photograph reasserts to me how many years my mother nourished my body and soul and made me the person I am. It is not something that should ever be forgotten. The presence of the photograph in my cupboard helps me reprioritises my goals in life. It shows me the relentless motion of time and what all it changes in its wake. It also teaches me patience…patience to hold my tongue when my mother slows her speech to choose the right word. Wisdom to tame my impatient hands as she works at her pace to finish a job…My mindbecomes clearer, as I mull over what to wear..
Alongside this photograph is one of my fathers, who, in passing away in his forties, remained frozen in all the vitality of youth, smiling his beautiful smile, he looks at me benevolently. I remember so many things about him because of that one photograph. His absence feels less stark, his face not a hazy memory but a clear picture. I remember his love for me and meticulous dressing, his penchant for always being on time, his love for a good joke and a hearty laugh…in his own silent way he still guides me..
The others who form this open album on the side of my cupboard are my immediate and extended family. In looking at their photos I remember to thank God for their presence in my life. I smile at the monkey face my son used to enjoy making and the certain angle my daughter always prefers when being clicked….the photograph of my brothers with their arms protectively around me shows me that the most precious thing in my cupboard is also the most intangible….