The curtains, billowing in the wind, brush against my bare feet; a gush of cool air enveloping me momentarily. The cuckoo bird’s call, the dulcet breeze, the soft morning light, and the smell of the rain-soaked earth; April mornings are a delight to wake up to. Before my mind acts on the urge to sleep in late, I get out of bed. Drops of wet gleam on the window at the foot of my bed; I walk towards it. The lawn outside glistens with dew drops, and the smell of the previous night’s rain is overpowering.
I put my foot across the window ledge, climbing out into the lawn. The softest grass touches my feet; its wetness is strangely comforting. The earliness of the hour offers me few precious moments of silence that will become elusive during the rest of the day. I gaze down at my feet as I walk across the lawn. The red nails against the green grass and the tiny jewels in my anklet, gleaming in the sunlight, paint a pretty picture. Birds flit through the shadows of the trees; their intermingling calls producing a familiar melody. Pied daisies and roses break the monotony of the greenery. I sit down at the lone weathered bench at the corner of the lawn and try to grasp everything that meets my eye. The whole ambience screams poetry.
The stillness is deceiving, as if it would remain so forever. I know it’ll break as the day progresses, and this uneasy anticipation holds me back from fully enjoying the moment. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I notice the lack of chaos in my thoughts. For a change I’m not thinking about anything else, but the serene present. It’s such a rarity, and such a relief to focus only on the present. As if on cue my mind mockingly fleets to past reminiscences and imaginations of the future.
Glimpses of the view from my window, in the house I grew up, with the treetops swaying in the wind; the sunset I turned back to watch as I walked back home tired and sweaty from playing long hours with my friends; the sound of heavy rain captivating my attention for hours as I sat in the veranda during the long, monsoon days; random memories cross my mind. Nothing significant, but sharing the commonality of not so obvious moments of happiness. But today I am highly aware of the beauty that surrounds me, registering every detail in my memory, knowing fully well that I’d recall and relish it for long.
I remember a song.
“Aane wala pal, jaane wala hain; ho sake toh is mein zindagi bita do, pal jo yeh jaane wala hain”.
(Each moment that comes, will soon pass; so try to live a full life in each passing moment)
The lines so aptly impart one of life’s most important lessons. Small moments of happiness pass us everyday and we remain completely unaware as we hanker after that one big success or goal. The race to attain these supposedly more important goals and thence to attain happiness is cruel and unforgiving. You pause, you lose. I break this disturbing chain of thought. Instead I start humming the song I just remembered. Solitude dilutes my earlier inhibitions when it comes to singing out loud. Only when the pair of birds next to me flies away, startled, that I’m reminded of how bad a singing voice I possess. I look around, more out of habit, if another person had the misfortune of hearing me sing first thing in the morning. Thankfully, no one in the house has awakened yet.
A butterfly lands on the edge of the bench I’m sitting in. An array of bright colors adorns its body. I want to touch its wings but its fragility scares me. I’m reminded of the movie I watched last night, ‘The Diving Bell &The Butterfly’. It’s about a busy writer, a family man whose life is brought to a standstill by a stroke that paralyzes his whole body except his left eye, through which he communicates by blinks. His life is suddenly filled with unasked for solitude and stillness. I compare that absolute stillness to the few of moments of pleasing solitude I’m enjoying now, and it scares me.
Suddenly I yearn for company. Voices. Laughter. I walk back into the house. Coffee and conversations await me.