Wednesday, December 19, 2012

playing chequer with the sky

The clear blue sky lies still, unmoving. In a constant stare down contest, unblinking, it looks down upon us, us below, as we look up to it, with silent prayers, hissed curses, adamant indifference and a fleeting hopefulness.

The sky was still that day, like most days in May; the sky was sullen that day, as it is in most days in January; the sky was unrelenting that day, as it is in most days in September, perhaps marked with a few clouds, but still just as unflinching, taking upon the countenance of an old soul with furry brows, and weak, watery eyes, but still seeing things more clearly than most, still unblinking. That is understandable. Once you have seen most part of life, you are increasingly less likely to come across something that can look back straight into your eyes and force you into submission, force you to look away. That is the nature of the sky, regardless of the colour of the velvety robe it adorns. That is the character of man too, in some way, as we impotently trade a smooth robe for an old, wrinkly one.

The sky was still that day. He felt it deserved a few clouds. He lazily leaned back into his chair, took a deep drag on his cigarette, the cigarette he held in his right hand, like one holds a pen, the left arm behind his head, and his right leg crossed over his left one, which was stretched, like that distant relative every family has, or most, one who is not concerned with the going-ons of the family, but feels the uncontrollable urge to make his or her presence felt every once in a while, mostly in matters of little or no weight.

He exhaled a few heavy, cotton ball like smoke clouds, against the backdrop of the perennial sky. “There you go,  your allowance of clouds for the day.” He said and sniggered, a wheezy snigger.

Just then, he saw two pigeons glide across the sky, in perfect harmony, such synchronized movements, like ice skaters. The grace, the timing, the comfort they shared with each other and the willingness to share the sky. Sublime beauty. And then he saw the sky again. Unblinking, still.

“Does a sight like this not touch you in some way? Does it not make you warm up and turn a loving pink or some such shade?” 

And then the sky spoke. “They glide with such ease that it hardly seems that they are moving. They become a part of me, as still as me. What reason can I possibly think of, to thank them for? If anything, I am stiller than they are.”

Just then, the pair of pigeons flapped their wings together. Movement! The sky finally had some movement. And with that movement, dawned the knowledge that a course was being covered, that a journey was being undertaken, that some distance was being cut. The sky which a few moments ago, seemed gigantic and undefeatable due to its sheer unending stretch, now seemed like any other road, lane, by-lane, which has a point A and a point B. The sky was made small by that dancing pair of pigeons.

“You blinked.” He said and smiled a satisfied smile. “There, now you have your reason to show some gratitude.” He completed his sentence. Closed his eyes, his left leg, still playing the perfect distant relative and the sky, at that moment, was gifted a few more clouds by him.