Thursday, May 23, 2013

Of Sea and Skies

Sometimes, when the days are long and the evenings hold no promise, I go to the Calicut beach, by myself. I find a place to perch near the sands, and inhale the fresh scent of salty winds. The Arabian Sea is a sight to behold, a timeless beauty, not covered by burkhas, untainted by the strings of tradition. She lashes out at the world when she wants; she makes herself heard through the sound of her waves, and often embraces, rather shamelessly, the many lovers of her life, all at the same time. As much as a beauty she is, the greater mystery is the sea of people all around her. Every evening thousands crowd around the evening beach, and there is no greater joy to a thinking man, than the sights of a hundred strange faces around him, each differing in every conceivable aspect of the human anatomy, yet united in their emotions of joy. The seaside does that to people- for centuries, port towns have been the centers of civilizations, the cradle of thought and ideas, the harbinger of changes, be it for better or worse.

I walk along the side of the sea, one among the thousand, taking in every sight and sound that the beach has to offer. My eyes drift, from a group of beautiful women, to the haggard willow trees. They have been around for as long as I remember, offering firm resistance to the winds of change that the ocean brings, and have survived for the most part. Among the branches of these trees lie several kites. Many of these kites must have aspired to be among the highest fliers, kissing the face of the sky, rubbing shoulders with the hawks that rule the beach skies. Yet here they all are, held in a mass of leaves, a remnant of past convictions, a testimony to someone else’s moment of indecision, or indiscretion.

There used to be a bridge here,once. A bridge that went all the way to the sea, to help the ancient seafarers with their invaluable cargos and tall tales. All that remains are a few of the pillars, and even they are slowly losing their heroic yet impossible battle with the waters of the Arabian Sea. Standing in front of these pillars, I feel the pain of these stone warriors, who are fading away,little by little,day by day..

And then I notice the hawks that circle above. They watch us all with disdain, as we go an about our mundane lives while they ride the sky, the majestic princes of the beach. A particular white headed brahminy hawk catches my eye, as it flies higher and higher, further from the madding crowd. Eventually, it is just a spot on the distant horizon, and soon, it goes beyond what my mortal eyes may follow.

I am at the threshold of a crossroad, these days. Will I be a kite in the willow branches, or a stone pillar lamenting the bygone days? Or will I rise to be a hawk, unflinching at the heights I scale everyday? Time will tell, and I'm leaving it to that masterful storyteller to complete this tale..

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