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SANGEETA BRAJABASI

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 8/15/2016 |




The sky is my space. I live there with my dreams, I live there with the twinkling stars, I live there with the sun set glow, I live there with the hues of blue. But down here on Mother Earth I live in an apartment with a veranda which is the window to my sky abode . Once I tried reaching the sky in a para glider, the exhilarating experience finished even before my heart beat stabilized. After some pondering,conclusion was drawn that airplanes are a better option in reaching as close to my love as I can. My passion for flying never saw the day of light as a woman with wings ; thus occupying the passenger seat is something I do often. Living near the airport I see airplanes everyday flying very low above my house. Half a century of staring at the sky and looking up at airplanes has not diminished my gaping wonder of this flying machine and of the vastness of my sky which makes the planes appear like tiny birds .

Whenever I fly , I look out of the aircraft window trying to catch a glimpse of my house below. But I always fail. All houses from the sky look the same to me, their distinguishing characters vanish as I keep rising higher. Just wondering , is it the same way the cloud nine dwellers look down at the world ? No distinguishing feature of any individual. The vast dome unifies us all till the the sky and earth meet up at the horizon. The horizon too is a line of our fantasy which keeps deluding us the closer we reach. Therefore we must take to wings and fly, to see what lies beyond, for “man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s the heaven for!”

Coming to the present, my journey today began in the most predictable manner. A delayed flight, a window seat and soon after take off I settled down to sky gaze. As we kept gaining height I lost awareness of my surroundings, submerging  my senses in an oneness with the clouds. I forget all my geography lessons, the clouds look like magic carpets, waiting for me to alight. Like a hypnotized person I get up from my 23 alpha seat and move towards the aircraft door, with a practiced hand movement and one smooth twist I open the door of  the aircraft and take one hesitating step on the closest white ball of puffed up cotton or was it a cloud ? I do not fall in the bottomless pit of the space below. I take another tentative step and then another till I step out completely and shut the door behind me.

Like a bus which has dropped a passenger at a deserted road, the plane drops me off at my cloud junction. The plane then gathers speed once more and keeps moving ahead. I see myself standing in a big ocean of blue sky and waves of clouds all around me. I do not fall, I cannot fly but I do feel light as a feather, running , jumping and dancing like a ballerina . I move from one cloud to the other in pure ecstasy of home at last. I am wearing a red dress, red soft silk of hundred pleats swaying in gay abandon with my dance movements. Am I dead or still alive ! I can see my plane pass by. Curious faces on the oval window stare back at me in amazement. I smile back and wave a hand at them till the plane vanishes from my sight. The dance of my dreams continues , I lose all sense of time and place. Dancing with the floating clouds, singing my own song, I am intoxicated in bliss. At some point of my dancing trance I stop mid way, my well trained ears wait for the familiar echo of applause. I look around for my audience. But there are none. Panic grips my senses. My glide freezes , my graceful steps falter, I fall on a cloud a step lower. I look around once more, my audience, my audience, cannot see a single human face far and wide.

A sense of emptiness hits me hard. My cloud keeps on floating as I sit transfixed in a daze. From some deep coma of remembrance Wordsworth comes into mind “I wondered lonely as a cloud.. ” the rest of Daffodils fade away. The same line keeps going on and on in my mind as in a broken record. Why I wonder, I do not cherish wandering alone on a cloud? I am where I have always wanted to be. I am in my sky, my airplane has brought me here, my clouds are all around me, yet I am scared. With this endless sea of pristine beauty all around me I still feel deserted. I cling on to the seam of my red dress. Red becomes my hope,  my symbol of life, my colour of reality. Once more I need to find my house amidst many undistinguished houses. From the edge of the cloud I peep down searching hungrily for one glimpse of my house below, my apartment with a veranda. But all I see is an ocean of blue turning grey to welcome night.  I cover myself in red and sink in the lap of a floating cloud  waiting for sleep to come and take me beyond my fear.


[SANGEETA BRAJABASI]

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