I cordially invite you into the chasm of ‘Beyond’.
This section is for the ‘why’ of all that I do – why this blog, why my aspiration to became a writer, basically why I think I live.
We live this beloved life for a hundred ephemeral years… After that?
I watch from the ruins of the past. The corpse of dead decades are hewn into the Earth where I am buried. No more does my baby granddaughter laugh at the falling crimson autumn leaves – for she sleeps beneath the soil too, where leaves no more live nor fall; sleeps the way she used to in her new lilac crib (no more new), although her hair had become as grey as mine (I didn’t know).
I watch my home from a distance -no more belonging in it, for strangers have walked in and seem to feel rather comfortable there, like they own the streets me and my friends once wandered, laughing and feeling alive.
But what of me, my small group of friends and our memories? Even cities have been razed to the ground and conquered. New empires stand proud where glorious cities stood unvanquished in my time, and the languages spoken then, sprawl at its seams like rubble, clawing lifelessly at the hinges of time. Wars have laid homely maiden lands to waste and volumes of history grows from its womb.
I try to scream out, confused. But they can’t see me – I am trapped in the phantom bubble of time and my voice is only a mirage of imagination. The world has moved on. Men no more know me, nor can they hear my pleas for wanting to exist – to sing like once before. For now, my music has stopped, and amidst all the majestic chaos, I am only a forgotten dancer – extinguished from the Earth, my home.
Well that was a rather unsettling story… yet, it’s times like this, when such sombre thoughts awaken in our mind- like some long sleeping piece of undeniable truth stirring within- do we really open our eyes and see beyond the soothing lullaby we are deceived into.
We awake from our beautiful truth and see that darkness gathers at the horizon. In this small home called life, we exist joyfully – believing that it’s hearth remains forever warm to nestle us. But little do we try to look outside the misted windows at the solitary sea of time that surrounds this island called life. Unaware, we live inside this home, blissfully – like it is all that exists. But on both sides, the vast sea of time extends, and we are only a speck in its face, for the moment secure, yet soon to be drunk by the sea.
What then? ‘I’- precious ‘I’, for whom I exist every moment, will cease. Then what happens when exiled from the Earth?
A desperation to grasp on to some piece of comfortable permanence floods our lungs and the world seems like a lie – all the money and beauty and status which was everything we thought of and anchored ourselves to, begin to feel inconsequential – illusory treasures. But even as night enshrouds our tiny home, everyone all around seems blissfully asleep, their soothing lullaby unbroken, and we are the only one, all alone, awake to the daunting silence of the night that prowls outside our temporary safe. The only one daring to look out of the window and see what lies beyond – beyond the trifles that we misunderstood to be everything.
What lies beyond life? What happens after this hundred years? When the empire of affluence and prosperity that I had toiled all my life to built, crashed to the ground, what is left behind in my memory? What monument does eternally live, so that I can enshrine a part of myself inside it, and live forever as a visage within it’s body?
THE BEYOND – INSPIRED BY OUR IMPERMANENCE.
All the silent dread of mortality survives only for the few moments when a wave of dismal thought such as that throttles our mind.
After that? It is soon drowned in the symphony of the lullaby that re begins and life and all its passing currents reclaim us back into the blissful sleep. The end of darkness that lies waiting outside is forgotten and so is the desperation to hold on to some form of permanence.
But here I’ll start the story of the forgotten dancer…
I lived in the house of life with all my companions -humans. It was a small sphere, but we thought it was all the world, and so we satisfied all variety in that very house – love and hate, friends and foes, work and play, dreams and idling, tears and laughter – all day I stitched tapestries with these and called it my life.
But sometimes, something would disturb me. A feeling – a calling – that made this prized needle with which I competed to weave my life in the likeliness of all others, seem drab and small.
Because, there was a window in the house.
We didn’t near it, many of us, for we were too busy stitching together the tapestries of our life with the fibrils found in the various rooms. But there were a few – a very few, indeed- who hung by the sill day and night – ever lost to whatever they saw outside it, singing hymns in its praise. They were a queer folk, rarely talked to the rest of us or laughed like the rest of us, even when they tore themselves away from the window and came into the halls for dinner and sleep. Oh yes, they did sleep and eat; because they were humans too, bearing the same life and in the same house.
But they had a radiance about them. And their words! Those were other-worldly, stirring a tiny gale within us, reawakening long forgotten thoughts. When one of those folk came into contact with someone, the intense ardor to drop his needle for a while and go to the window side, over takes him.
They were both a feared and glorified folk. But I wasn’t one of them. I loved weaving my small tapestry inside the house, just as much as the others.
Yet, the window often tempted me. The folk said that there was an ocean outside – and much more beyond. And I imagined that sometimes- of all that lay outside life- even while I stitched my tapestry. In my imaginations, I whispered to myself about things such as time and a lonely house in its midst.
Maybe that’s why I never found the right fibrils to finish my tapestry with. Maybe that’s why, whenever someone asked me what I was making out if life, I couldn’t find the answer – because the colors to finish weaving my vision just weren’t inside the house. A part of me lay outside.
The intricate details of my life could be stitched all right, with these ordinary diversity. But the nexus of veins that connected the tessellations and gave them life and meaning – was still unfound.
Searching for those unfound strings is how I came upon the window. The idea seized me that I should look into it too. Not for the strings maybe, but just look. So I did – every now and then (the outcomes, I record here)
But the window scared me sometimes. I couldn’t all spend my days looking at the ocean of time and all that lay beyond the window, till they quenched me.
That’s when I found that my place was both by the hearth and the window.
So now I set out with enthusiasm to work with the needle – I realized it was not magic, but it was still the tool to create magic. I started picking out the core outline of my tapestry instead of starting with a motif and expanding around it. I designed from the outermost seams to the inside – from why I wanted to live, to what I wanted to live for. When the outlines where highlighted, it was much easier to fill in the motifs. The image started to fall together beautifully. I had started to weave the forgotten dancer.
This vibrant, frivolous tapestry built of various colors of life is inspired by the sombreness of the thought – what lies beyond life.
The forgotten dancer is symbolic to the truth that we must cede to the sea of darkness and vanish one day.
But that is not something we can do anything about. We could look out the window, yet we are confined in this house for the next 100 years – entrusted with this precious life, to make the most out of it.
So, the picture of the forgotten dancer is filled with the colors and strokes of ‘fleeting things’ – a canvas of this life; a forgotten dance that must be dances as elegantly as possible.
The thought of my impermanence ignited my aspirations to carve myself in stone, so that the waves of time can’t wash away the painting of my life like mere string tapestries.
And there – my everyday life is fastened to the time beyond the window such that I live in both places.
A VERSE IN THE EPITAPH
So if I have to unwind my life – both its tangible and intangible scapes – and weave it here as an epitaph, it has to start here. For this is the story of the forgotten dancer, and this unseen thought had been forcefully involved in shaping the story. Hence, into this script, I transmit this idea (of beyond) which is the heat behind all my flaming aspirations – the reason why I had shaped my life in this direction – and invoke the experience and thoughts I had unfolded from brooding on our impermanence.