All At Once..
All At Once..
This is not a sad story. Its a terrifyingly beautiful story.
Most of the time, while remembering your past life, you stumble upon things that are not pleasant enough. And surely, you scream so loud inside that sometimes the noise of the exterior world gets canceled out. Felt that, haven't you? See, I know.
So, let's begin.
There was a very small, yet beautiful village, right at the very top of a beautiful hill. A river that glistened with sparkling freshwater ran through a ridge nearby, with pebbles and stones decorating its bed. Beside the river, at a distance of one mile each, sat big brown rocks. There's a reason I'm detailing the river. If you got up early in the morning and go near the water, you can see a boy sitting on those rocks with a shawl draped over his shoulders, staring into the darkness until the sun's fully up. And once the sun is up, he leaves and never comes back for the day. But the most fascinating part is that every day he would sit on different rocks, in a regular pattern. One day, the first rock, next day, the second one, and so on. Once he is done with all of them, he would come back to the first one.
I had been to the village a few months back for a weekend getaway. The family that gave me food and lodging for those two days had a young son. One night, while we were talking on the rooftop after dinner he told me about that boy. I was peaked with curiosity. Who was he, and what was he doing there every morning?
Itching in your body can't be relieved until you scratch it out. The same happens when you have half the information, and you need to get the other half out as soon as possible.
So as it may, I woke up early one morning, at 4 and left towards the river along with the kid, since it was dark and I didn't know the way. Once we reached the river, we squatted behind one of the big rocks and hid waiting for the boy to arrive. The sky was just turning a bit red when he arrived. Draping a mild blue shawl (or some light color like that because it was still dark and I couldn't see properly), and crouching, he walked up to the rock next to ours and sat down.
The sky turned red, then orangish, and then the sun came up. All this while, hiding behind the rock, our legs became cold and stiff. My curiosity knew no bounds so I tolerated it all. Anyways, as soon as the sun was fully up and it was about 6:30, the boy got up to leave. Unable to hold my patience any longer, I ran out to stop him and grabbed him by the shoulder. He was startled or frightened. Obviously, as he didn't expect anyone to be so early near that part of the river. Holding the boy with firm hands, I assured him I meant him no harm and helped him calm down. Making him sit beside me on the rock, I asked him what is it that troubles him early morning.
Now what I'm about to tell you is terrifyingly beautiful, and I would hope none of you get to feel that ever.
His name was Aabir. About nineteen years of age, he was an awe-inspiring artist. You can make that out by looking at his hands. There were hard skin patches at ends where the brush touches your skin. Aabir had been painting for quite some time now.
One night, after dinner, Aabir sat on the roof of his home and was dreaming of what to do next, when he saw a little girl running on the street opposite his with ice cream in her hand. She looked hardly 6 years old. As Aabir was staring at that beautiful soul, the girl looked up and gave him a tiny smile. It was then Aabir got his next theme for his painting.
Days passed. That girl used to come every day near the ice-cream parlour, take ice cream, run wildly on the street, look up and give Aabir a smile. One particular day, as she was passing his house, she looked up and instead of smiling, cried out loud. Not knowing what to do, he ran down and pulled her up in his arms and asked her what the matter was. For long she just hid her face in his arms and wailed. After long she looked up into his eyes and asked, "Who are you? Are you God? You must be God. No one smiles at me except God. He comes in my dream and smiles. You must be a God. A different God". Unable to hold his laughter Aabir burst out laughing. Seeing him laugh, she started to laugh too. That day was the beginning of an amazing bond.
She came every night. Both sat down on the front porch, she brought a small ice cream for him, while in turn Aabir narrated a new story every day and lulled her to sleep. This went on.
One day, this little girl informed Aabir of a beautiful village that lay above the hill near his home. She heard people talking that there was a river on top of the hill. She said it was beautiful. Seeing the little girl's enthusiasm, Aabir asked her to come early that night and offered to take her up on that hill. She was thrilled.
Thus, on that specific cold yet lovely night, Aabir left his home with the girl tied to his back, and a small bag of paints, food, and water, and walked towards the hill. He climbed the rugged, steep road. He sat down for an hour of rest and started walking again. It was about 4 in the morning when he reached the top. Our little angel, who slept through half of the journey woke up then. She squealed with happiness on seeing the river.
Running towards the river, she struggled to sit on one of the rocks. Seeing that the tiny little feet of hers couldn't manage to climb the rock, Aabir came and helped her up. Sitting there for two minutes, she agained begged to go and sit on the next one. Torturing Aabir to help her up the rocks. This went on and on until she was done sitting on all of them. Funny ain't she?
So, it was about quarter to six in the morning that Aabir opened his painting kit slowly. He wanted to capture the sunrise and this tiny soul together in one frame. Opening up the bottles and putting up his board, he waited till he could have the girl in one single resting position, as restless as she was.
" Aabi da, Aabi da, See I saw a blue fish, I saw a blue fish", screaming on top of her voice, she came running towards him. He smiled and ruffled her hair.
"Now go, little one. Check another colored fish and tell me", he said. Just as she turned and was about to run, her ankle slipped.
Everything happened in one go. Her head hit the rock on which he sat, her skull and shoulder split, and blood splattered on the board nearest to him.
That very second, the sun came up.
Aabir still feels the cold every day. The cold feeling he had when he tried to wake her up from the lifeless body that fell. He still feels the cold when he looks at the blood-smeared board he keeps standing near his front gate. He doesn't paint anymore. But surprisingly, the only warm feeling he gets is coming to the exact hill top at that very exact time, sitting on each rock like she did, looking into the wild like she did, and leaving the place as soon as the sun is up.
Like she did.