Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The dark rain clouds were gathering far ahead. The sweet smell of earth was in the air. The excitement related with the approach of the first monsoon was reflected in the face of each child who was running around. Some children approached a tiny hut in a secluded corner of the village very expectantly, but were very disappointed with the sight that met their eyes and so they walked away silently.

He had watched their approach with half-heartedly. He knew that as always they will just come, take a look and then walk away; searching for something else that would attract their restless minds.

There was a time when this place was the center of all activities. Little girls in their brightly colored dresses and shiny bangles would crowd around him begging for another toy. The boys with their sun burnt skins and worn out dhotis would watch him tirelessly work miracles with his hands. People said he was a magician, who made magic not with tricks but with clay, wood and colors. He never had to argue with anyone regarding the price of his precious toys. There were many reasons for this, he never overpriced his goods, his goods were worth every anna he asked for it, so people didn’t mind paying him and lastly he could not argue. He was mute. God had never given him the gift of speech, but he gave him another gift. The ability to make wonders with his hands. A gift, which brought joyful smiles to so many young faces.

That day was a very special day for him. He had made his best ever piece. A harmonium. It was a very special instrument, different from all the other ones. Why? Simply because not only did it churn out the seven melodious notes of music, he had also captured the seven colors of the rainbow and put them in this little masterpiece of his. He had worked on it for days and now it was complete. He could just imagine the radiant smile on her face when he gave her this gift. His Sugandha. He let a sigh escape him. How he loved her. He still remembered the first time he saw her by the banks of the flowing river. The soft tinkle of her anklets as she walked around in the grass, that musical laugh as she shared jokes with her friends, those long dark hair falling on her back and those big eyes which could melt a mans heart to mush. He knew he loved her from the moment he saw her and felt like he was on seventh heaven when she looked at him and smiled. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her, he wanted to pour out all his feelings for her but he could not. He could not say it. So he decided to tell her through his toys. From then on he would occasionally make a toy for her and bring it to her house. He would always tremble when her fingers would touch his while taking her gift. And he would revel in that feeling the entire day. She would just take the toy and line it up outside her house. And soon all the colors that he had put in them would just fade away into nothing. But he didn’t mind. His heart, blinded by love, failed to see the indifference in her eyes.

That day as he walked towards her home with the harmonium in his hand he was so sure that the moment she sees it she would jump for joy and run into his arms. He had imagined this scene over and over in his mind. His heart was singing as he walked along. It had been raining all day and sun had just come out. He had seized this moment to rush over to her place and give his gift as soon as possible.

As he was walking along he looked up and he saw something that mesmerized him. It was one of the most beautiful creations of God. It was a rainbow. He looked at it and he forgot all about what was going on around him, and all about where he was going. He stood there transfixed and his heart was filled with pure joy. He then realized something with a start and started running towards her house. He knew he had to show her. He looked at it as a sign from the heavens above. An opportunity, that God gave him to pour his heart out. He knocked urgently on her door and asked her through his signs to come with him immediately. She didn’t want to, she had just been gifted a new black dress by the Zamindar’s son and she wanted to show it off to all her friends. But he left her no choice; he almost dragged her with him to the banks of the same river where they had first met. He then pointed to the sky, the rainbow adorning it. She took one look at it and then started to admire her reflection in the surface of the water that had pooled up on the ground. He again tried to catch her attention and tell her how he had captured the colors of the rainbow in his little toy just for her. So that she would be surrounded by them forever. She shot him an irritated look and said, “But it is not complete!” In that moment he noticed her black dress and how happy she was with it. He realized that he could never be the one to bring color in her life. He was devastated.

It had stopped raining, but the storm inside his heard could not be calmed. Those rains had washed away the colors in his life too. That was exactly a year ago. Things had changed a lot since then. What used to be the life of the village now looked like a century old abandoned building. The magic was gone.

Today, as he sat and watched the raindrops fall from the sky, he was struck with a sudden idea. There was a light in his eyes which had been gone for quite some time. He jumped up from his charpai and rushed out of his hut. He ran from one hut to another asking everyone if they had any colors they could spare from him. The people of the village always had liked this magician of theirs. They readily poured their hearts out and gave him all they had. Soon his bag was full of colors. All sorts them. He then rushed back to his house and waited. As soon as the rains stopped, he picked up the bag and started running towards the river bank. Those who saw him thought that he had lost his mind. There was a crazy gleam in his eyes.

The moment he reached the banks, he threw down his bag and took out all his colors and opened them. He then took out his brush and started throwing these colors in the sky. There was a rainbow today too. It was an incomplete one. He thought that maybe, just maybe if he completes this, his Sugandha would come back to him and he would be the happiest person on this planet. He wanted to do this for her. But soon he realized that however much he tried, he just couldn’t paint the sky. Village magician he was, but not powerful enough to fuse his colors with the biggest magician there is. But he still didn’t stop. He kept going on and these words kept echoing in his head all the time:

Raang de do sabhi, dedo saare raang mujh ko abhi.

Indra-dhanush jo adhura hai, usse poora karana hai.

Aasmaan raangan hai, Mujhe aasmaan rangna hai

(Give all the colors, give me the colors now,

The rainbow is half done, and needs to be completed.

Have to color the sky, I have to paint the sky).

Finally his colors were over and overcome with the mental and physical exhaustion he fell onto his knees and started crying. He had failed. He could not complete the rainbow. His love would never come back to him.

“Your rainbow is already completed Suraj”. The voice was soft and sweet. It sounded as if all the seven notes were emanating from the throat and floating around in the air.

He thought he was dreaming and ignored it. “Just look in the pool beside you Suraj”. The same voice again. This time he did look up and look in the pool as it suggested. He clouded brain could not decipher anything in the beginning, but then the clouds clear away and he saw it. The rainbow that he had thought he could not complete was looking back at him, the full semi-circle of it. The colors that had fallen from his brush had completed the reflection of the rainbow from the sky. He eyes welled up with tears again. This time out of pure joy. The tears that fell from his eyes cleared away the colors from the water surface. And from those colors emerged a face, a face which reflected all the colors that he had painted. Whose eyes looked at him and only him. It was Saloni. They kept looking at each other silently for a long time and he knew that it was going to be all right. Life was going to be all right.

Disclaimer: The concept of this story is by one of my colleagues Ankit.

1 comment:

Adisha said...

Makes for nice reading :D

Kudos to Ankit as well :) for a nice baseline ...