On a rainy day, a laden sky peering inside your room through bare windows, clusters of drenched, dripping foliage nodding in ascent to your wistful mood, the busy, slippery road running helter-skelter past your gate and that wet quietness mixed with the soggy smell of rain-soaked earth can be a turning point of your life. Really!
When I had taken over this flat, my present residence, and made it my own, I had determinedly restructured the slim crevices called windows to let in the sky, the moon, the sun , the stars, if not the aliens along for free! The whole idea was to ward off the claustrophobia that permeated the match-box-like dwellings which did not enjoy the much-sought-after three-side open corner position. The windows, as a result, took up most of the walls allowing the world outside to peek in, which was okay, in so far as Mother Nature was concerned, and decidedly not okay, in so far as the ever-inquisitive marauders of Nature, the human species, went. In variance to God’s dynamic premeditations, every human proposal or folly, whichever way you may look at it, has an ingrained seed of going awry. In accordance to that infallible law guiding manly endeavours, the chagrin produced by huge windows super-imposed on walls meant to hold cubby holes ‘in place’, was nothing but expected.
My Little Garden
So, in order to repair a disaster I arranged a spot of green right outside the space on which the windows opened. It took a few years for the saplings to grow into sturdy plants. Every year, in scorching summers and numbing winters, I lost a few of the delicate ones. The sturdier species wrestled with the challenges of an extreme weather and gradually offered that green canopy which soothed the eyes every time I looked out of the window and curtained my privacy from prying eyes as well.
All in all it turned out to be a neat arrangement especially on days that promised a downpour or brought in the fragrant whispers of spring breeze or meek goodbyes of the autumnal clouds waving at a sparkling blue sky!
Life would have taken its pre-written course but for a rainy day when the sky came down on Mother Earth with all its accumulated wrath seeking avenge…
As usual the dark , billowing clouds gathered right outside my window provoked me to no end. I opened the panes wide and stooped a little on the outside to enjoy the imminent vengeance of the hydraulic kind. The moisturized air was heavy on my breath. The scent of the green created an intoxicating envelope which my nostrils were too happy to inhale. The streets were empty. My friends and foes were in bed. Right time to enjoy life in the company of my own lost soul. It was 05.00 am in the morning.
On normal days, the sky would be blushing pink at this time. The soft clatter of early wake-ups would be audible. A bright-eyed-bushy-tailed dawn would be smilingly nudging a drowsy Earth to alertness. But not today.
Today every moment was a hush-up! A stillness that prevailed was a call for the day to come. It would be pouring pell-mell sooner than later, thought I, preparing to shut the world outside to again retreat to bed. The wheezy wind crooned my favourite song…”aaj mausam badaa beimaan hai badaa beimaan hai, aaj mausam….” I stopped still. Was I hallucinating ? No! It was distinct. A little hoarse but not completely out of tune. I moved in closer. No one seemed to be around.
“Weeellll! Anything can happen on a rainy day…” A sing-song statement belying an impending doom. “Ahem…are you prepared for it?” I was still looking around. The tone with which the presage was uttered was something between a croak and a croon.
“Hulloa! Me, here!” It was noticeable now as the address was accompanied with a sweeping wave of a thin, slimy arm. I had to stoop a little low, in fact, I was half out dangling by the sill. She was a little thing, quaintly dressed in a combo of shallow green and shocking pink, kohled eyes and a big bow of magenta satiny ribbon stood out on her forehead like a hideous crown.
“Who are you?” I tried the “Bebo” inflection. Remember KJo’s convoluted family saga Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham? (The Gham thing straight from the Epiglottis)
“Myself Fraaauu-Frooo-Fraaagggieeeee” The name was left on a squeaky trail as she bowed daintily.
“Bharatiya?” It was a hesitant prod.
“Vishuddha. One hundred percent.” The assertion of a proud patriot.
“So the next important question…What the Hell are you doing here?” I tried to sound offended despite the intrigue her presence invoked.
“Aaah! You must be wondering! Must be! Must be!” She bobbed her head up and down in an odd rhythm closing one eye in a deeply ruminative manner before continuing,” Not exactly that I want to invade your personal terrain, yet the quest for Nirvana can be indefinitely propelling one to take hitherto uncharted roads and unexplored nooks – diverse and diverting.”
“Nirvana? In my garden?” You could have knocked me down with half a feather.
The Seat of Wisdom
“Mmmmm! ” She appeared not to have heard me,” Though I must say your little space was not entirely new or unfriendly to me. The bees bumbled about it. Nice, bright flowers you have here. And the Poinsettias have always been so inviting. The overflowing drain adjacent to the Christmas Tree is the most appropriate Seat of Wisdom. The mossy, rusty pipes have been beckoning me for so long to EXPERIENCE them.”
By now I was half convinced that the Phycus that grew in profusion in my little garden was the next Bodhisatva Tree.
Phycus Or Bodhisatva?
“But Fraa…Free…Frauuu…” I gave up trying.
“Frau,” She corrected me patiently,” That’s short form for Fraulein.” She preened. Literally.
“Whattt?” I balked, “Didn’t you say you were Indian?”
“True” She smiled, ” Aren’t we going global these days?” That was a punch below the belt.
I took time to recover. In the meanwhile, she traipsed around and kept herself busy humming again one of my favourite numbers….” Ik ajnabi haseena se yun mulaqaat ho gayee.…” in a tone which, given an expansive mood, I could have considered husky.
“Frau,” I said after a while, “So you are one of those Monks who sold her Ferrari?” I could have said Monk-ess but did not know whether such a word existed in the English lexicon.
“No! I am not one of those with Ferraris,” She had this odd way of stressing on the consonant preceding the last syllable,” But of course I did give away my Mercedes, the Wonder Car, made to order. It had a floral shape especially designed to float on water.”
I could sense the loss of material acquisition still bothered her. I did a bit of tche -tche which elicited the next retort which was as contradictory as her very presence in my premise.
“Renunciation is not for me.” She said conversationally, without a morsel of guilt.
“Then how do your propose to attain the much sought after Nirvana?” I was curious.
“Sambhoooooooooooog!”, Again that odd emphasis on the letter ‘o’ which could have been hurtful to my auditory senses but for the astounding boom with which she let out the word to stress on the point that she wanted to make. I marveled at the strength of her vocals which was reserved inside an almost non-existent neck. Her forceful assertion did a galactic jive and returned with a resounding bang which did unnerve my ears for a split second. I sheepishly looked around to see whether anybody was watching our strange communion.
No! Nobody there! So I volleyed my next question, ” Which means?”
“It means you do whatever you feel like doing till you get thoroughly bored by the act.” She explained.
“So you are an Osho fan?” I quizzed.
“Osho? Who is he?” She tripped over a tendril. “I have my own way of looking at things.” She did a pirouette of sorts which reminded me of the latest Bollywood Item Track.
“Hmmm! Sure you do!!!” I quickly supplied.
“Its akin to the Marxian concept of self-alienation which brings one closer to detachment from material upliftment.” She was clearly overtaken by the desire to be elaborative. “I am sure you must have tried divergent ways to reach home. This is one of them.”
And that made me blush. Of all the things Nirvana and the various experiments to achieve it was not one of the things on my to-do priority list. However, the false pride of mistaken superiority prevented me from letting out the truth. We humans!!! I cleared my throat a little loudly. But she was not listening.
“What made you think Frau that I would know about these ways to reach home as you put it?” I challenged her.
“You humans are so clever and enterprising.” It was a factual admission and not a verdict born out of bashful admiration.
This was the first time I had heard somebody allude to a quest of a higher order as an enterprise. In the meanwhile, she indulged in a lot of prancing about which brought her, after several skips and romps, to the obnoxiously smelly drain that she had a little while ago referred to as the Seat of Wisdom. She craned her little head forward to look beneath the bubbly, black cesspool as though making up her mind on something.”
“Have you found your way home, Frau ?” I asked softly.
She shook her head vehemently, “As I said before I am still EXPERIENCING. And my next move shall take me into the hidden bowels of this Earth where I am sure priceless treasures await exploration. You have to have an adventurous spirit to delve deep into the UNKNOWN.” It took a few tick-tocks for her to take the final plunge. BLIP! And she was gone - a lithe dive into the scum before I could manage a blink. I would have attributed this as queer as quick a tete-a-tete ( it took hardly a quarter of an hour) to my much-sniggered-at somnambulism but for the croaky strain which seemed to emanate from the filthy bosom of the Earth…”rimjhim girey saawan, sulag sulag jaaye man…“
She had said “I am not that filthy” when I had mocked her as the monk with the lost Ferrari. Of course, she meant “filthy rich”! With the knack of giving interesting twists to the mundane, I was sure, she was not one of those who believed in repetitive ventures. The thought made me comfortable. I was certain she had explored my little garden in these few minutes enough to be bored ad not to make a come back again. I crossed my finger at that and was about to wriggle out of the window when my eyes rested on a pair of beady, penetrating eyes. A brown, furry squirrel, which often scampered close to my garden fence, was intently watching me as though searching for an answer.
I hurriedly shut the world out and drew the blinds. One Frau was enough for me for the day. A further encounter of the quaint kind with a squirrel would seriously indispose me. What had been the amphibian’s parting shot? “Am glad to meet a soul mate who is as dedicated as I am in transcending bounds. Happy seeking friend!” She had waved a goodbye blowing a kiss in the air.
And I blushed again and again, in return, till my cheeks were on fire! Seeker and I? Transcending bounds? In my whole blooming life time I had not thought of seeking anything except objects of primeval concerns – food, clothing and shelter. Lazing around was the only adventure that I was most fond of. And she recognized me as a co-seeker. Blah! What a bluff!
Drawing away from the window, I once again climbed into the bed to steal a quick nap as the much-awaited thunder clapped outside. Back to normal, I murmured.
The last thought that burrowed a hole inside my daft mind before my lids drooped on my cheeks was why didn’t I pinch myself hard, at least once, during that whole episode with Frau? Was I so enamoured by the surreal, the bizarre, the figment of wild imagination ?
The answer was right there. Perhaps, I did enjoy the creep, Madame Frau and her antics, especially, the way she sought life, oops sorry, Nirvana. Will it lead to a spate of inspired seeking on my part ?
Only time will tell what lay in store for me in future.
Till then happy snoring!!!
This post is part of the WOW theme i.e. Write Over The Weekend, Blog Adda initiative for Indian Bloggers