I always look at the moon before I sleep. It is usually so late into the night or so early into the day, that the moon is almost forgotten. It has already been the backdrop of whatever longings and yearnings people might have articulated earlier. It has probably seen lovers weep and children sleep and heroes sweep away webs of fear with fiery resolves. When I look at the moon then, it’s simply lying back. Tired, spent, beautiful – marking the night like the delicate welt on ballet dancer’s foot who’s just taken off her slippers.
The other night, the sky was black and wistful. The moon looked like a lady’s luscious lip. It was upturned and seemed to smirk at a world that didn’t have the good taste of looking up. I stared – at the part of my life I could see reclining.
Sometimes I wonder if all my days and nights have been scripted before. And if they have, then clearly it has been scripted by an impatient, creative person who didn’t like the idea of revisiting his work. My existence, many times, seems to lack finesse. It has all the raw stock of luminous and exalting oeuvre…but it falls short of that. It’s like, if my creator could have just gone back to his essay (that had the story of my life penned in purple ink), he’d have shortened a few sentences, re-arranged a few paras, or even deleted sub-plots that didn’t make sense on review. But he didn’t. He was just happy to have got it out of his system.
So, I am living a story filled with spontaneous, sharp bursts of creative outpourings. But no shape or theme or form. My creator didn’t have the discipline or restraint to be bothered with those. My existence is, I conclude, the product of a distracted, impatient mind.
I lay looking at the sky. The moon still shone with a very light salmon tint around it. I could see tops of palm trees sway, as if sweeping away excess of moon dust from the floor of the sky. Chipped, broken tiles of terraces winked and stillness shimmered on drawn curtains.
Somewhere, sometime, maybe a writer sat down at near a fountain in his garden. He thought of a time in my life, this night, and wrote.
He thought, “Hmm…on the 7th of March, we’ll have the moon look like a smile. It’ll be slender…and a little pink glaze over it will be nice. Wait! Does this sound realistic? Pink glaze over the moon? Never mind. This night’s for Mukta…she’ll buy anything. No worries there. She’ll be asleep. No, wait…that’s right…she’ll be awake. Thinking about the fight with her cousin. You know, I could make this the saddest day in her life. She’ll feel so yucky. But then she’ll feel good. Ooh! I think I can give her a little paradox here. Or is it irony? Or metaphor? Damn it! Why can’t I remember these things! Never mind. Here’s what it’ll be like…she’ll probably wonder about being rescued by some hero or something. He’s not going to come by then, right? So I’ll give her this moon that night. Maybe that hero will come later…she likes Nariman Point. Does she? Let me check my notes….oh yes, she does. So, she’ll meet her hero playing the flute in the rain. She’ll be wearing a pink dress, and maybe she’ll be carrying a book of poetry. Or he could be carrying a book of poetry. Flute? Poetry? Too much? Maybe I won’t give him the long, silky hair. Now, what poet shoould it be? Yes, she likes Byron. Or wait…was it Shelley…gah! Where did I note that down? Forget it! I’ll go for my swim now! Lovely breeze we have today. I’ll finish writing up her night later.’
And he never did. So, in all likelihood, the night of 7th March could have been scribbled on a scrap of paper and forgotten forever.
I like the sweet wistfulness of that prospect – of living a masterpiece that lies half-finished on a crumpled piece of paper.