Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Wanted. For whatever illogical, apologetic reason.

Much to my embarrassment, some sentimentality still perseveres. First Best Friend. The Bestest. Who always gave me the red plasticine when I demanded it. Who preferred tilting back to stare at the domed ceiling till we were both hiccoughing with dizziness, over playing school with the others. The rickshaw trips to and back, twin water bottles danging from necks, banging together, entangling unconsciously in a jerking, spinning ride that seemed to encompass this side of the world from horizon to horizon. I remember crying just after this picture was taken because some undefined 'uncle' had, too insistently, wanted me to smile. And all I have left is this, the taste of cake with sugar roses, and an expression that never changed over the years.

I didn't know how to be sad when I turned four. Didn't know if I had the right to return to the tucked-away house with the washed-out green door to ask for a boy whose name I don't remember. Waited too long. Realized too late. And now some irrational whim begs release. So I ask. If you see him, you need not tell him I'm looking. I'm not, really. Just come back and let me know if there's any sign left of the boy with the solemn voice and the simple words, the boy who is content to follow you to the ends of the known kingdom for the sake of a game and will help you find the way back. I trust you'll know.

There's a lady on the moon who has to endure a lot. If left to her own devices she would spend her hours idly swinging her feet, because pretty feet make for pleasant occupation. Often have I seen her, scrutinizing her reflection in the glassy oceans with a secret gleeful vanity. However, every time she glances down at our ugly little earth, opaque clouds come scudding into her eyes. Only a few days ago she was startled out of her self-contented reverie by the realization that hundreds- thousands- of women, bedecked women straight out of a Fair&Lovely ad, were looking up at her with impersonal stares, a thousand smiles that scorched. Unnerved, she retired, a little hurt, more bewildered. So it has been. Often has she been unwilling witness to hastily breathed promises between skinny maidens and adenoidal lads by the shelter of April moonshine, which is all well and good and ought to be made into a zabardast movie or two, but which in reality drives our poor lady into fits of nervosa. How many times have lovers and murderers alike lurked under the eye of the moon. How often have fervent poets drunk with idealism and cheap whisky written odes to la belle luna. How often have foolish people like you and I leant upon our sleepless windowsills to yawn and gaze and imagine and sieved out inspiration with such careless abandon. Not always is obvious admiration the most welcome form of flattery. The lady I know with the lovely, brittle smile wishes away to distraction that for one season, one night, she would be left alone with her own assurance of her beauty, one night with only her naive conceit to comfort and sustain her.

Nowadays she counts the wrinkles on her white forehead. And wanes gratefully into the shadows as the month dies. The Astronomy Department publishes voracious theses for a month on the altered phases of the lunar cycle and we are momentarily satisfied.