23 July 2017

The Sky

The sky has been changing colour. I have been noticing the sky – for weeks on end, and usually rather intensely during the weekends barring a couple of weekdays which now seem to have been from a sleep-dream sequence. One weekend the sky impinged upon me and my dim senses, and the more I tried to ignore it from my window the more loudly (and utterly silently) it demanded that I take notice of it. Now it demands to be written about – and I’m not sure why. I even gave in to the sky and one very early morning while writing in my diary, dedicated some long, involved and loving paragraphs about and to the sky and its moods and how it appeared to me – but now it demands that I write a few lines here – and after weeks of trying to ignore the demands of the sky – I am writing here.

I have to say at the onset that I have loved the sky. One cannot hate the sky or find it obnoxious or even dislike it or harbor ill-feelings or anger towards it or be irked or irritated or annoyed by it but I guess one might find it rather too obvious and all-present to harbour too many feelings about the sky. Unless one is a genuine poet or a genuine writer, one also feels that it is a trifle silly or a little ridiculous to express the feelings of rapture or ecstasy or in fact, any feelings, about the sky that one might experience in private. But I can’t help feeling that there probably are many human beings who have at some point felt something beautiful inside or even in company while watching the sky. The sky insists that I turn my attention to it and not to my own explanations and excuses or apologies for writing about it. I apologise still.

I have seen rather strange skies – and not merely in my mind’s eye, which would be of little interest here. I remember January 2003 when I had awoken very, very early one morning and with great anticipation for Fimh was telling me something or the other, and I had gone and sat in my chair to look out of my dorm window and had seen a pure black sky with a blood red gash of a horizon. I couldn’t really believe that I was seeing what I was and put on my glasses – but there it was. The sky was the blackest shade of black that I had ever seen and a little lower a liquid inky blue, and just at the horizon there was a streak of orange and right below it – a streak of pure crimson. Nobody believed me when I told them later. And I didn’t have a camera but I doubt the camera would have picked up that strange sky. I had sat there in my chair mesmerized and had felt that the sky somehow made sense. It was almost as though it were reflecting a particular mood – it felt like the sky was in a rather swashbuckling mood or even a quietly wicked mood where it was smiling softly and even grinning and was putting on a show to let whoever was awake see how utterly splendorous and enchanting and desirable it could be. Yet another time – and it was sometime in the middle of 2011 – I had gone outside to go for a walk rather late in the evening. Now in the mid-west, there is some daylight till past 9. But this was closer to 10 and it was dark but there was something a little odd that I sensed. I looked up and by God, I do not quite know how to describe what I saw. There was a humongous white elliptical band of a fuzzy white light covering the sky and the centre of the sky contained within that elliptical band looked like a puffed up black and grey cloudy swirl – and it looked as though it was trying to descend or ascend but couldn’t make up its mind completely as to what it wanted to do. I cannot remember whether I actually called a neighbour to ask him whether the aliens were finally coming or whether he just happened to be strolling into the apartment – but he was utterly unfazed when I told him to look up at the sky. He looked at it and described it as something, which I have completely forgotten, and said that it was a known occurrence in Indiana skies. He had seen the same when he was a child and it was called the “ring…” (of something that I have clean forgotten) and had seen it a few times while growing up. But even so – I couldn’t help but keep an eye on the sky while I went out for my walk up and down the hill; if the aliens were landing their spaceship - I didn't want to miss that. I also remember the huge hanging moon in the Indiana sky. The moon was incredibly large during some of the full moon nights – it looked frankly unreal, and would change colours – the dense black sky with wispy white streamers would be all there overhead and even in front of my vision in certain stretches, and I remember feeling that the moon seemed to be undecided as to whether it should keep growing larger and larger and softly descend to earth or stay in the sky. I remember seeing that dense black sky with the wispy streamers and the scudding clouds and that growing, unreal silver-gold-reddish moon while driving back from the department or while walking over the overhead bridge on some late nights and it seemed to me that the sky did have a hold on the moon and the moon rather did want to stay with the sky. And I remember the sky from other nights from even longer back. The sky, which I didn’t notice too well or just noticed in the passing but I remember the feeling of the open, expansive sky overhead and while up on a terrace and looking at trees and imaginary scenes and the freckles of stars and the lone star which shone just that little bit brighter and sharper. And I remember reading my first P.G. Wodehouse a very long time ago and laughing aloud and being in uncontrollable fits of laughter and feeling that the sky had joined me in my moment of absolute laughter. And I remember of other times – running away to the terrace and finding a secluded spot to look at the occasional aeroplanes with their flashing lights which seemed to speak of such freedom in flight and glorious shared adventures up above in that dark, mysterious sky, and of being up on the terrace one summer, so very long ago, and feeling this ineffable rush of a feeling of split-dreams and a delicious dreaminess and of the fleeting feeling of an unbelievable bliss and perfect clarity and under that great, dark, inscrutable sky stealing even a naughty, beautiful kiss.

And now there is the sky from the past few weeks and these abominable weekends. Had I never noticed, across two score summers that the sky changes in its moods and dispositions most awfully and capriciously during the monsoons? One day it is a refulgent glorious shade of blue – azure – and it is almost as though the sky is so joyously and absolutely in love that it is unashamedly and vociferously proclaiming its love and even beckoning at me to sing with it as it insists on shining through my window at the bleakest of moments. If I won’t sing out aloud it insists that I sing inside my head or heart or with my Holy Spirit. If I obmutaciously shake my head and say that I can’t possibly sing – it insists that I acknowledge that I feel the desire to sing and dance and connect to some parallel world or universe where maybe I am singing and dancing! And then if I do finally, pushed to a corner, agree and some bars of a song appear in my mind on demand, it wickedly tells me that it’s not about the singing, is it?! – By then of course I have to admit that no, it’s probably not just about the singing but about the feelings that rise and spill over from ever since I can remember – dreams and images and desires and expectations and ambitions and adventures and all those worldly and unworldly pursuits. And the sky shining and glowing with that unearthly blue, laughs and winks wickedly and says, ‘oh, you fool. You know it is all about Love.’ And on other days the sky has merely been a glass. A sheet of glass. And there is nothing that is given or received or taken. It stays there like a sheet of clear, invincible glass. I look at it almost expecting it to say something – but there is nothing. And on yet other days it is as if it is brooding and grey and dark and beyond gloom and yet holding back the tears that it simply will not shed. On those days I have felt that if I shed my tears, the sky might feel a bit better. But the sky is withdrawn and away from the world and far away from me. It does not care and doesn’t even care that it doesn’t care. It stays there with its beyond-gloom and even the fluffy clouds stay away. It is simply a flat, uncompromising grey – unreachable and certainly not inviting me. It refuses to correspond in any manner. “And so why were you shining so blue-ly the other day and now you won’t say a thing?!” I almost yell at it aloud when Fimh almost laughingly points out that “blue-ly” is not a word. And then now, for a whole week, there have been the rains and the rains and the rains and the intermittent and continuing rains. But the rains of the monsoons, the stormy sky, the thunder, the lightning are a different story.

And here's a picture and memories of a sky and river and of conversations of disappearing wormholes, unreal skies and the horse and Pushpak, and pure delight. 

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