Sunday, December 16, 2012

My book of days: a full moon

4 December 2012
The full moon is unforgettable here. It rose like a swollen orange, more than rising, hanging in the darkness, drawing all aqueous substances to its cool, pitted surface. All day the water that crashed on the beach, swung back muddy and delirious, creating a bucking, straining undertow that preyed upon you casualness, your carelessness, and flung you bodily into its unceasing dragnet. I remarked, ignorantly at that time, that the breaking waves were muddy for the first time since we arrived. The seas were definitely rougher than in the previous days. But those, even though deprived the bird of a water nymph, dove and ducked in those swells and opined them swimming-pool safe.

Much later did I realise the cause for such a colossal upheaval in the sea. A distant moon draws the earth's waters towards its parched skin—be that liquid spread over tens of thousands of square miles, or the mucosa in our upward tugged eyes, awed by the luminosity, the sheer, untarnished beauty of an orbiting full moon.

Jupiter remained the solitary sentry that witnessed the daily orbit as the moon rose steadily to reach it, and then pass on in an overarching curve.

The three following days saw a calm sea that had the water babies cooing in pleasure.

Moonlight through palm fronds. There couldn't be more filtered a pleasure, more refined a joy.

My book of days: an evening walk

18 November 2012
Walked in the evening in the park. The sun sets by 5.30 pm, or thereabouts, and the path gradually disappears into shadow. The verdure wall on my left, as I walk into the setting orange orb, blackens into a two-dimensional silhouette, above which, an incandescent sickle of silver glows ineffectually, and the western immensity of merging elements—the earth and the sky—into darkness, burns in the afterglow of a dying fire.

Invariably, at such moments of time in the mingling light and dark, the invisible, goggle-eyed stone curlew, anticipating the darkness for which its large eye was forged, lets forth its sharp, piping whistle, nervous giggle, if you will, and dreams of cloak and dagger hunts in utter darkness. It rises above the din all around, piercing the cool air like Nature was sounding taps … only here not signalling the end of day, and ensuring a safe night, but a beginning, for those like this goggle-eyed plover, whose life's activities begin during the hours that remain, largely, mysterious to mankind.

It thrills the marrow in me, that clarion, for I recognise a larger circle of life than my fellow walkers are aware of. It elevates my spirit at the ability of Nature to survive despite heavy odds.

I walk safe in the light-split, sound-split air, happy to bear witness to one world awakening, and another trundling towards end of day.

Diary entries: gossip

All-in-all, everyone is interested in a good story, pregnant with its sub-plots and subtle innuendos, open to as many interpretations as listeners. For aural traditions need not be imprisoned like the printed word, being stories-in-progress, as they ricochet from ear-to-ear, fleshing out, zesting with added masala, getting rounder with exaggerations, sharper with inflected criticisms, coloured with subtle intermingling autobiography and biography.

Diary entries: beneath a maulsri tree

After almost an hour on this butt-numbing stone bench, birds come into the maulsri-blossom scented canopy above me. A tailor bird with its measuring tape darkened neck stripe, its needle-sharp upright-tail, its cinnamon skullcap, wanders silently over internal branches, taking my measure.

A small sunbird dazzles me with its audacious boldness from two meters, deflecting rainbow hues my way on sunlight reflected purple rays. It swings and flirts its wings, chirping and singing. Dare I raise my straw-hat-encircled head and peer owlishly at it, or will that movement scare it's little heart into flight? Too many leaves obstruct my vision, but the song's pitch does rise a note or two, when I do so.

Diary entries: dragonfly

An orange dragonfly relentlessly patrols the Egyptian blue, dry fountain well. Perhaps out of habit. Perhaps too, as its insect prey do, both searching a lost oasis.

Diary entries: fritillaries

Small (1 cm) fritillaries (?) flitter fussily low over the grass, and come to rest momentarily on the granite square, holding their wings above their frail bodies, and tripping forward with mincing steps, perhaps the stone is too hot underfoot, like dhows or sailboats moving leisurely upon a granite sea. A moment's respite, and they flutter away restlessly.

Diary entries: coconut palms

Coconut palms are the botanical world's firecracker rockets. A climbing stream of arcing fire, and at the end of the trajectory, a spray of explosion—the tensile trunk with the palm fronds in its crown!

Books I have read in 2012

I just discovered how wonderful it feels to revisit the books I've read this year, by simply listing them out. Preparing such a list might even tempt you to take out a book from the shelf, and look up favourite passages, if you have marked them. I ended up with a fine cerebral and sensory buzz for a couple of hours!

The cat's table. 
The song of Achilles. Otter country. Hamlet. The golden mean. Tiger. 
Light years.
The long legged house. 
A private history of awe. 
Earth works. 
The lady and the monk. 
A patch made in heaven. 
Mrs Dalloway. 
Tell me true. 
Bird sense. 
Birdwatching with your eyes closed. 
Best of Munro. 
Goodbye to all that. 
Dr Rosenbach and Mr Lilly. 
Stop what you're doing and read this. 
The life in the skies. 
The lost art of reading. 
To the lighthouse. 
Tell me true. 
Winston's war. 
Charterhouse of Parma. Unfinished. 

Tolstoy and the purple chair.