This is my first novel. It will be called Permission To Die. It is not exactly a novel, because it is not very big. You can call it a novella. It contains 8 chapters. And I have finally penned down the 1st chapter. I intend to create another blog for completing this novel, but it won't be public. If you liked this chapter, please email me or post a comment. I will add you as a member of the group for that blog.
N o t e s O n L o t u s P e t a l s
How can one resist a morning when one had left the night untouched ? Shiva did not resist the morning. For in the night, he had been busy. He had been busy feeling the vacuum that had been forming inside him. He had been busy writing a few letters into the vacuum. And busy watching them disappear into the void by a quick faded succession. He had been busy trying to keep his eyes open. Trying to keep his eyes open for the want of looking into nothingness, for the want of feeling more vacuum.
He had felt his blood seep through his heart. The white lotus petals that walled his heart had not resisted. As the blood trickled away, he had felt his own heartbeat sound like a whisper. The blood had coalesced into small droplets on the outer walls and then slowly evaporated into space. It had left frail smudges of redness as it evaporated, turning the white lotus petals of the walls into red.
The night had slowly undressed before him. But she had not been noticed, nor had been her lovely bosom. Shiva had been busy feeling the vacuum inside the red lotus. Too busy to smell the darkness. Too busy to submit himself to it.
And when the morning appeared, Shiva welcomed her with the same open eyes. She tip-toed into his eyes and tried to feel them. But the night was still alive and the weather was cold. The morning wanted to feel the warmth from the tiny lights of his eyes. But as she kept her hands onto them, she found them cold, like crystal. There was no light dancing in his eyes. There were just two very tiny droplets of water - one in each eye. The morning tried to rekindle the fire and blew a slow breeze into his eyes. Shiva could feel the wind as it softly circled in his eyes and then blew over his ears. The tiny water droplets in his eyes fluttered in the breeze and then slowly disappeared into a thin film.
Every morning has its own special song. The preparations for the song start as early as in the dark night when the dew falls. The dew crystallizes onto little drops on the flowers, on the bushes, and on the grass. Each droplet of water has its own shape, texture and position in the world. When the sun rises up, he reads each drop of water as a separate sheet of music. The most lovely pieces of music will crystallize onto the petals of lotus flowers. Hence, the sun always shares a special fondness for the lotus. He reads out all the pieces of music and waves to his orchestra to play in symphony. Then each stone, each leaf and each strand of hair vibrates and produces flutters of breeze - joining in the grand symphony.
This happens each morning and each morning has its own special song. Many people miss listening to this because their ears would be sleeping by the time. Most often, the ears keep on sleeping as the sun disappears in the evening. Sometimes, they keep sleeping for months together.
Shiva observed a faint golden glow in a remote corner of the sky. The morning kept blowing tiny gushes of wind into his eyes. And they slowly sparkled into a tiny flare. At this very instant, Shiva heard an ancient boom in his ears.
A million conch shells and a million flutes sounded together and they flew in a million notes around his ears, exploring every shade of pitch and every shade of timbre. At the same moment, the sun quickly rose up into an enormous sphere of redness and illuminated the east side of the sky in an orange glow. The whole world vibrated in unision.
Shiva reeled in a shock. He faintly reached out for his father's shehnai which laid hidden in a dark corner. He bit into the reed and closed his eyes. He drew air into his lungs and tried to reciprocate the music which was cascading into his ears. He played a few notes but could not produce the music. As he felt helpless, he put the shehnai down. His legs walked over the thin film of air above the ground and he floated over onto the outside.
Colors emanated at a milion objects from every corner of his sight. As the colors flew in, he shut his eyes in fatigue. He opened them slowly. With a lot of effort, he kept his gaze his gaze steady. And he sighted a sparrow. An early morning sparrow, which was picking among the twigs on the hedge.
It had an earthy brown color and beady eyes which resembled chickpeas. The eyes moved around in a watchful fashion. Shiva noticed the eyes moving around. And then, he trembled !
The sparrow took flight and landed onto a hibiscus tree.
A lone flower adorned the tree. In its brilliant redness, the flower was reflecting the sun. Shiva stared at the petals of the hibiscus and softly tasted its redness, He pointed his hand towards the flower. Then a wonderful thing happened. The red color from the petals leaped into the air and formed a tiny red cloud. The cloud fluttered in the air and then slowly settled down on his palm. Shiva put the red cloud into his pocket.
Then, he saw a tiny pebble on the ground. As he looked closer, the pebble subdivided into millions of crystalline surfaces. Shiva peered closer and closer, and he saw more and more. He felt suffocated in the fractalline geometry of the pebble. Then he shifted his gaze, and saw a thousand more grains of sand and stones. Each one of them started subdividing into manifold surfaces. His senses were overcome by fatigue and in that serene moment of peace, he drew his hand toward the stones. For a moment, the world stood still. Then, millions of textures leaped into the air from every stone, forming a shale of tiny clouds of colors, which slowly settled onto his palm. He put the clouds into his pocket.
Shiva noticed thousands of wonderful colors and carefully picked the loveliest ones amongst them. He picked the blue color from the nape of a parrot. He picked a shade of golden yellow from a ripe fruit hanging on a tree. He picked the greens from the early morning grass. He picked shades of violet from the bunches of wild lillies. He picked the blacks from the tails of ravens. He picked several flashes of light from the running waters of a stream.
His pocket grew heavy with the colors and overflowed. Shiva looked at a small ridge by the side of the road which formed a tiny peak at the top. As he scaled the little mountain, the sun saluted him with a warm beam of light.
Then Shiva took each color out of his pocket and started painting the sky. He painted a golden yellow around the sun, along with some splashes of green and blue. He painted a lot of blues in the west and in the south. He then painted a few black clouds in very curious shapes. In between, he added the flashes of light that he picked up from the eddies in the water. He painted several clouds in bright orange and in red, and then outlined their boundaries in silver.
With this done, he proceeded to do his other job - that of a clerk in the postal office.
Friday, September 09, 2005