Three days and nights with migraine had robbed the happiness that was left in me after the tiring holidays. It was even acute on the fourth morning. I was searching for something. I was trying to figure it out. I burned a couple of cigarettes and consumed plenty of food. Had to get out. Had to meet myself. Somewhere. But, where? The question remained a question.
Some meters farther from my house, I moved towards Bhimsengola. I thought I was heading to office. I reached the pick-up point. Tempo was waiting for me. It was. I could tell that from the expectant face of that driver. I moved towards it. Not into it.
I crossed the street, leaving the expectant eyes expecting. I was heading to Pashupati. My legs were in charge of my body.They carried me to the other side of the temple. Gave in when I was near a bench, just opposite the ancient temple.
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.
I had been there earlier. With my friends. We had plenty of laughs and jokes. I remember the Mahadev and Gaanja joke that some one had cracked after we came across a Jogi. I could not resist the smile from spreading on the lips. I could feel those blessed souls with me from the past. They were sitting with me in their jeans, t-shirts and proud attitude. We did not had anything to bother ourselves. We knew how to deal with organic chemistry or to say anti-derivative applications. That’s why we were there while others were forcing their brains to comprehend it back in college.
This time it was different.
Some one or to say some-thing was being readied to burn. Some others were crying, some others were even worse. They were beating their own chest as if they wanted beat out the life in them. They were trying to bargain their life for the one that had become a thing.
There were some others, who seemed to have taken it practically. The practical guys. The rational guys. They were making preparations to burn that thing covered with orange marigold blossoms and white sheet of clothes. I wondered, why were they not crying? Why were they making preparations to turn that body into ashes? Don’t they have attachments with the person who became a memory?
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”
Had they expressed all their feelings with that person before he became soulless to feel? Had they taken out all the good he had? Will their life not be incomplete with this departure? Won’t there be a scar in their memory or feelings with this lack? Won’t he be lacked in their life? Will they find a substitute?
A loud bell rang. The reverberations of the gong brought me back to present. I traced out the gong which had knocked on my senses. The scene was different. It was life all around it. Faces were blur and so were their bodies. But their clothes were painting the whole temple’s canvas with colors. A surrealistic portrait of life. They were colors of life.
Inaudible sounds of the hymns that came in repeated and melodious pattern, complimented with the soft feather sounds of the pigeons’ flight were reaching me.
The pigeons were occupied with their own business. They were coming down from their perch and picking up the grains that someone had served them for a cause. I wonder whether the pigeons granted the wish that their provider had in mind. It seemed that they did not care.
While some another seeker was throwing the grains on the ground, some of those pigeons were busy in wooing and making love on the roof of that temple. Seemed that they were at liberty to indulge in amorous activities while humans prayed with uttermost reverence in and around the temple. They were giving continuity to their species. They were trying to survive against the odds. Just like the humans who were seeking supernatural help in fighting their own odds.
I figured out that this ancient temple still stood tall just like the hope in the heart of those who come to worship it. Just like the hopeless hope of all the Jogis that guarded it day and night. Just like the ever burning hookah of those Jogis that kept them alive and away the expectations of their breed.
Smell of the burning carcass, smell of the incense sticks, smell of burning ghee, smell of the ganja from the Jogi’s hookah, cries of the losers, smiles of the victors, prayers of the expectant, colors of the people tainted with burning oil in the numerous diyas, the fluttering of the pigeons and chuckles and growls of the monkeys sunk into me.
It all signified hope. Hope which had a shape. A hope that could be found there always in physical form. A hope which did not bother to the smiles or the cries of its visitor or to the non-expectant gazes of the hermits, or to the amorous activities of the pigeons, or to the rogue behavior of the monkeys. It is a hope which transcends birth and death, amorous and decent, expectations and dejections, rationality or feelings.
It was there when I last visited. It was there today. It still stood tall and magnificent.
It is life.