Thursday, 28 August 2008
A flock of steel-grey and white doves flapped up from the neighbouring roof in sudden excitement and fluttered up into the sky as though at the sound of an inaudible gunshot.
They were working their wings with great joy and they circled high, one following the other, metallic and feather-light.
They circled on and on, weaving ever-evolving patterns in the sky, circling now closer overhead so you could see each one of them tilting the beak sideways listening to the wing-beats of the others, moderating the speed and direction of the flight with subtle paddling variations of the wings to merge seamlessly with the whole.
They circled on and on and away, taking their ecstasy to levels beyond concepts, theories and logic.
They turned into specks of pure delight in the grey evening sky and, with the light of the heady regions playing on their feathers, became invisible flickers of sublime nothingness, dissolving from memory. They wheeled back into view yet again, drawing strands of some invisible filament from a drifting cloud.
The sun was behind a big bank of rain-clouds in the west. The whole line of the horizon west seemed to have caught fire and the clouds were billowing up like black smoke from a massive conflagration. They trundled east like a herd of wild elephants conquering a valley.
A sudden squall disturbed the trees, exciting cuckoos, sparrows and crows out of their perches. They flew from branch to unsure branch, but only the crows cawed. The doves were still circling high in the sky, wheeling in and out of the east-bound rain-clouds.
They wheeled with the high-altitude winds, sometimes the wind blowing them off their course, but each time the faltering happened, they dipped or climbed together to navigate the choppy ether, effortlessly weaving newer formations in which the wind too joined to make the whole.
The clouds galloping east would invade the whole sky: they rolled forward, the breakers curling in with the onward thrust of the massive clouds from behind. The wind among the trees had fallen silent. The whole earth seemed to freeze with the expectation of the first drops of the downpour as the clouds passed overhead.
It did not rain. The clouds seemed to be holding back, not allowing the myriad particles of vapour packing them with immeasurable power to condense and fall. They held back and rolled on and on as though they had to reach somewhere; they were so fixed on something...
They rolled on and on and the light began to fall, growing dimmer by the second, until it seemed night and heavy shadows would embrace the sky and the earth...
And then there was light and revelation.
It had neither shape nor dimension; it was the flowering of a flower of thousand petals slowly blooming, petal after petal unfolding brilliance and fragrance, overflowing. The clouds were lifting their blanket in the west and the sun was coming out and now shining in the full glory of joyous surprises.
It was immeasurable and fathomless as the void of the heavens; and the doves were now circling closer and were not of this world.
They descended gliding radiant on still wings, the deep violet of the rain-clouds behind them, their beaks soft and shining. They came swinging down, bobbing up in smooth arcs at touchdown and flapping their wings twice or thrice to gain sure-footed perch on the old rooftop.
They perched in a row at the very top of the roof where the tiles folded pyramid-shape and they were all facing east and crooning. They perched transmuted on the rooftop and they were all gazing happily at a glorious rainbow straddling the eastern sky, all seven colours sparkling.
They crooned as though saying it was their work; the entire sweep of the rainbow was their work.
A cuckoo began to sing and it was raining rainbows somewhere in the east.