Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Owl

I'm Explorer Blog Contest - Each journey in the Tata Safari Storme brings with it a different thrill.

The American Independence screamed on Thursday, July 4th and four goring holidays cut into my life. I determined myself to eject out from my home and thus plotted an adventure. An adventure to dwell on my loneliness but in a place afresh. I had heard about the singing of the birds in the watery graves of Kumarakom. I wanted to sleep with them and be lost in the vast silent voidness of the night, far-off twinkle of the stars, and the cries of the birds muffled in shadows.

I eagerly packed up my bag in the evening with a torch, some candles, a binocular, the remaining white rum, fresh towels, a wind cheater, change of clothes and a knife. Two hours later, my Tata Safari winded its way through narrow roads and took me to my destination. As night fell, the people in the small town were either in the local coconut infested toddy shops or were already abandoned on the doorsteps of cheap foreign liquor serving bars. I coaxed a spirit reeking boat owner to rent me his small boat, listened to his be-safe advises and finally landed myself in the middle of the swelling river.

By now I could barely make out distant objects; the surrounding water showed dim mistiness around and beyond it arose up a sullen glum darkness, which mystically kept moving up frighteningly closer in huge masses every moment. The few tiny stars glimmered and twinkled back at me, mocking me. I moved towards by the helm of the boat and settled myself. An owl hooted suddenly and flitted noiselessly near the water on its wings, almost flapping against me and scurrying away in alarm. It was the cry that vibrated and echoed from emptiness. It was the cry that thundered to me, rich with pain and a spirit of its own. It was the cry that beckoned me in the expanse of the silvery moon, spattering all around and softly gracing the view with an enigmatic, yet mesmerizing glow. It was the cry that rose from the interiors of my own soulfulness in that instant. It pined and screamed to unify it's sound with the deepness of eternity and the depths of that very moment, echoing against the watery grave an eery, sympathetic symphony. I pored the dark water and the shyness with which the startled creatures of the night ducked away into the water in reception to the yellowish light of my torch mesmerized me.

I now deferred to be like them and eagerly piled all my clothes on to the drier surface of the freshly cleaned boat. My mind raced with dark thoughts of slithering some things and I knew that without a clue how to swim I could simply go down, deep into the watery grave and could lie there, till water first filled up my lungs and my stomach and the bloating caused me to arise, for the laughing world to see. I held on to the rope tied onto the railing and lowered myself into the frigid water, devoid of warmth and cordiality. The silver light flew in remotely through the hollow moon. Groping on for dear life, I had the loneliness and freedom that sings. It made me light and gave my soul wings.

It all started suddenly; they started chirping together – slowly at first, and then in high pitched tones before rambling down again. Like semi aquatic and terrestrial species the massed voices of the frogs joined up in a strange four-part harmony, falling and eerily rising. Darkened leaves devoid of love collected around me. The night came alive with bird calls and in the midst of the tantrum - the din of screeches and whistles, some kind of bird whined deep into the night and the low lying leaves suddenly started shaking. I frantically searched the commotion around me and panicked. A sudden movement around my legs saw me splashing away everything around me. I had enough; my frenzied body urged itself up but halfway up the boat my footing began to slip and my legs began to shake. Fear gripped my soul as the terror reigned but somehow the future had other plans for me.

Trembling and cold, huddled around the rough towels, I fumbled with the cap of the rum in the bag and drooled the burn. The owl over the nearby tree blinked her weary eyes dejectedly, and gave me no sensible advice. I felt myself disgraced in her eyes and dried myself desperately.

Dried and pacified I lay back on the boat and lit up a smoke. I unwound into peace with the faint occasional rustle of the reeds on the bank, swaying lightly as the ripples reached it. The hardly detectable, faintly shimmering light of the stars, were asleep with downcast heads and I fell into a state of weary unconsciousness, which passed into sleep while the owl looked on.


Ragini Puri said...

Biju, this was a rambling alright, but a beautiful rambling. :)

Loved the choice of words and the gloomy feel of the post. Though a little editing can make this one look more crisp. My two cents. :)

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