My grand mom told me that stars in the sky were blue twinkling eyes of angels, watching over us from above. She believed that since all our gods were blue in colour the sky was painted blue. Her marble temple in the North east corner of her room had a beautiful blue coloured Shiva sitting handsomely upright with a glittering half moon on his head. Even as I grew up I was awestruck with her stories of the legendary Shiva and often envied the content and complete Parvati. A breathtaking synergy celebrating the man with her woman. The Shiva and Shakti.
We never went back to her old house after her death. I don’t know what happened to that temple of hers but she left a little blue covered diary for me that narrated her version of Shiva and Parvati stories. My mother passed it on to me. Since then my favourite colour became blue. Even today I stand in my balcony surrounded by big green palms, wondering who would be watching over me.
Those are the days my palms talk to me in deep husky voice that soothes the rush inside me. Overtime they had bent towards the direction of my voice. At least they liked to listen to me endlessly unlike Kabir who always thought I was too loud.
“Maya you used to be soft spoken when I met you. I think some devil spirit has got into you.” He would pretend to be funny. Kabir was my husband of 8 years and every year was getting more and more difficult to keep pace with him. Things were still all right till the time my mental sickness as they call it got worse. These days my visions not only surprised me, they take me into a different dimension. They cajoled me, exposed me, played with me, made me cry some times and overwhelmed me in all possible ways.
The bell rang and broke my chain of thoughts. I left the mysterious zone of my balcony that often acted like a time machine for my overthinking brain and walked towards our door. It seemed a long journey to cross the hallway.
Our hallway was half heartedly designed by us as much as our relationship had become. There was a time when we together brought that wooden wardrobe with a light bulb on the topmost shelf giving a warm and rustic feel to the surroundings. I tastefully kept our photo frames on it. Though Kabir didn’t quite like it. He thought I was too dramatic.
I had kept some books of Khalil Gibran and Paulo Coelho, my all time favourite authors. It was only me who loved fiction. Kabir read but only factual and news worthy content. He loved his newspaper, his I pad, his Apple smart watch and his business papers. He thought lowly of my Mi note but I also loved its camera. I captured moments with my palms in it. My colourful green friends, that came with me long way.
Many more books included some management ones have added there and photo frames have been replaced by expensive crystal. There is a white ivory elephant on the second shelf and below that are a mix of candles. I used to collect them but didn’t have a heart to burn them. They were so beautiful.
Its strange how we destroy or change things that we find beautiful. I never liked to burn those candles we so fondly bought together. We want to change things and people we fall in love once to the extent that we destroy them. While in college Kabir thought I was a natural rustic romantic with no drama and loved my poetry. The bell rang again. It was not Kabir.
“Kabir Sir wont come home tonight, Mam. He had to fly for a business trip and told me to leave his car keys and credit card with you. He would take couple of days depending upon work,” said Ratnesh, his subordinate.
‘Thanks,’ I took the keys from his hand. He hands were sweaty. It must have been the leather cover on the steering that produces heat if you clutch it too tightly. Kabir was always smooth with driving the car around. He loved his wheel cover though I found them little too loud.
“Is Kirti mam also travelling with him.” I asked him.
‘Yes Mam’, his eyelids flickered and he looked away before he greeted me and left. I closed the door while something bolted my heart as well as if centring my piercing pain within one corner. I came back into my space.
The palm was waiting for me, ‘So is he busy today also.’ Said the green shoot of palm gently touching my elbow. It felt ticklish.
‘Come on he has work. He is busy.’ I managed to look away trying to size up my aloe vera plant. How much had it come up over these last few days. Was it really purifying the air.
What about the emotions, memories, energies we breathe in and breathe out everyday. Imagine the entire load transfer. It goes in, vividly takes you to yesterland and swoosh out dropping you back. Is there a filter for it.
‘Don’t let that bully, trouble you.’ Aloe vera had guessed what thoughts I was breathing in. I chuckled at my own vulnerability.
Suddenly all of them started entwining with each other. Aren’t they supposed to be green? It’s freaking me out but I am unable to move. Too dumbstruck with the beautiful portrait that was shaping up right in my corner balcony.
I had a four bedroom house, an independent villa, quite different from what Kabir and I had first brought for ourselves. I used to be more fond of that home. A cozy two bedroom flat in a luxury condo. We didn’t hire a designer to do it up then. Avantika was born there. She had big and beautiful eyes that glowed in dark. Nothing was more beautiful than her but this was also a short-lived joy since the baby was born with the hole in her heart. A sleepyhead daughter that Kabir didn’t want she decided to leave forever. Kabir always wanted a boy.
‘I don’t want another weirdo in my life.’ Kabir snapped as his fork dived into his grilled chicken. They had come out to celebrate her birthday with close friends. Kabir had open an expensive champagne that ruthlessly fell on ground reminding her of those tears that He had ordered a lip smacking customised cake from the branded bakery. It was a blueberry cake with twinkling starry effect created by bright fluorescent green candies specially designed to showcase a plump woman with slightly protruding belly lost in her own world.
‘A boy is what is destined for my family name. After all who would carry on with the whole empire for. It cant be a dreamy absentminded sleepyhead.’ Everyone laughed since it was said in light vein including Maya who contributed a sheepish smile. It was only Jenny her childhood friend who noticed the dim of her eyes. She was shocked that such educated bunch of society could make such nasty preferences over gender and laugh. Kabir wasn’t like this when she first met him at a debate talking about women empowerment.
‘You didn’t like it, right.’ Jenny later asked her staring into her wide and sad eyes that looked as if they were an endless path to some secret legend coded at the back of their black silvery shine.
‘Of course, you didn’t like it.’ Said the little tiny purple flower in her balcony. By now they all were growing into long ropes shining at the ends. Maybe the sun was glittering or was it something else. Should I have some water?
The purple flower started growing bigger and bigger till it grew almost the size of a small stool. From nowhere I heard a familiar giggle of a little girl. The fern at the corner had almost become like a curtain. They were all shades of green. No, there were more colours to them. The colours of earth were merging everywhere in her balcony. I felt leaves growing on myself. My body felt muddy. My knees grew week and I would have fallen on the ground if the money plant wouldn’t come to my rescue. It wrapped itself around my body as if holding her in his arms.
‘Yes, you didn’t like it. You shouldn’t have let it dull your inner child’ Said the money plant. He kissed my dry lips sending me into a trance like state. Oh my god was I so stressed inside!
My body was generating warmth and a sense of belongingness towards the curvy money plant gripping me tight. Last time I felt similar to this was when I had kissed my gym instructor few years back. It was my immature way of giving back to Kabir for cheating on her savagely. The whole office knew about his business trips that he arranged with Kirti, his personal assistant. She was almost a blonde with her fair Russian origin, rather pale white skin and a curved body. No wonder Kabir was not interested in her body anymore.
The money plant wrapped itself around my body rhythmically as if making me one in its dance. It turned red in colour as if matching the flames in my mind. From some where that little girl again came and sat on the purple flower. She looked so much like little Avantika, always looking at me with a sad smile. The offshoots were so big, they were reaching till the sky. I could not see anything but multicolour garden surrounding me and the little girl on the flower, opening into the blue sky changing shades. It felt as if the stems were some cracks in a huge building opening up to the rising moon over my head.
‘Do you see the shades in the sky’ the little girl asked me. ‘I painted them with my oil pastels.’ Kabir never noticed that Avantika was a gifted painter. As a little girl she always loved her oil pastels and I remember how beautiful she sketched the sky once with stars twinkling from above. It had a small bird flying away which she named after herself.
Even while she was admitted in the hospital for her surgery, she carried her colours with her. As per the doctors her situation was deteriorating because she was pale and weak to handle the surgery. They suggested that she could have been saved if she was shifted to Bangalore for her treatment as soon as possible. Only if Kabir would have cancelled his abroad trip and be back in time. Was it that he didn’t care enough.
“Don’t think about all that now,” said the shining yellow coloured plant like thing. Look at that, the plants were turning into creeping alien like forms. It looked like a yellow shining bamboo oil pastel. It flew in the air and drew geometric patterns that danced in the sky. Avantika giggled. I could touch the colours with my fingers. They were like waves and shimmered and moved with my touch. Everything was like some magic canvas around. The sky was buzzing with a mix of grey and pink. Pink represented the love in her heart and grey the hurt. The atoms that I am formed of are ninety-nine percent empty, is what I read in one of my favourite books. I felt as if that ninety-nine percent was grey. The same grey that I felt when Kabir had first slapped me. I hit my head on the bed and cried in pain but he didn’t come back in the room. The first slap led to other and then physical violence in between us backed up by abuses became a norm. It all got coded in some form of grey. Let me focus on the Pink. Avantika gave me a pink oil pastel.
“Right ma, remember the pink umbrella I painted to save you from the rain.” I heard a throaty giggle. I noticed the sky was getting dark and brilliant light was striking my eyes from above. Those lanterns hanging up in the sky were mesmerising. I try to focus on the sky but it keeps moving. The road that my balcony overlooked seemed to be glittering with shooting stars. Were they the moving headlights or I was shifting to another universe. After all metaphysics says we have parallel infinite universes we exist in the same time. The fractals and the ancient images dance above my head. I start painting them all pink. So much pink, it feels as if it is playing with my mind.
Somewhere in the distance I hear a ring tone. Was someone calling on the landline. I could not react to it since my eyes refused to let my ears intervene. I felt as if someone was erasing and making me unlearn what all I had learn till date. I wanted a world full of love , concern and it was ticking right there in front of me. Where was I ? A dream ? My mouth suddenly feels dry and I can hear my own heart beat. I heard a distant voice calling my name. Was it my maid. It all sounded gibberish to me. Someone was reprogramming me from up there. The lanterns burst open and made a star like pattern.
“Since how long we have watched you,” I heard a husky gentle voice talking to me. “You don’t belong here.” My heart is ticking to another beat. I try to touch those twinkling eyes but could not move my hands. My hands seemed faraway. In fact my whole body seemed distant beneath me, some where far and scattered with green muddy wrinkles swelling on it. It was ugly.
“You are far too beautiful for here.” The voice said. Come with me.
Where is Kabir? A thought came to me. Will anyone miss me if I go with the gentle voice and do what I am getting programmed for. I felt connected to the whole universe except earth. Will Kabir miss me or would he get a reason to celebrate with Kirti. Sadly it never felt he missed Avantika either.
“Come let me take you to the blue universe,” I could hear a warm smile in that husky voice. The light blasted and everything seemed to melt including me. In that moment I merged into the borders, the thin air and I became one with it. I was the thin air. I was the green, the pink the grey but there was no me. I was floating with those eyes dancing around me. My vision gave way. I had no eyes. I became blue eyes. In that moment of serendipity I realised the colours were always inside me. I didn’t need anyone else to paint my canvas. I didn’t need anyone else to write my story.
Who was telling the story ? And whose story was it anyway ?
The words fluttered and flew in the wind.
As I blinked I knew, I belonged here. I was a pair of one of those eyes that secretly watch over humans from above. Only because one day a lost pair of light might need to merge into dark colourful blue.
A short story by Kavita Kabira : Founder Director Wisdomvalley, Author and Blogger