The house was empty. but there was someone inside.
Our entry into that house was interesting. I could not remember through which door I went inside. It was the living room.
The room was well-lit and the angle presented was like a tilted camera. The room was empty.
We moved into the next room from a door at the center. Someone was standing frightened in the room’s corner. My grandmother said something and the shabby figure did not answer back.
The dream ended. I was left wondering what that figure was doing in that house. The house that I grew up.
A narrow road. To the left is either a pole or a stick standing a bit awkward to the left. Behind leaves on tendrils.
There is something on that pole or stick. A sign board, may be. On it, a half-drawn circle and a cross.
Just before I woke up, I remembered my home where I grew up. I, the poor boy!
The music that we liked the most was the one that drifted in from somewhere. We could never predict from where it would come or when it would travel to our little ears. The thing is we were there to listen to that music and the world stood still to let us hear the music. At times, we could recognize the song. At another time, it could be the tune following the first stanza, or it could be a duet.
Among the three of us, someone would hear it first, alerted the other two, and then we shut ourselves from the rest of the noise. We always tried to decipher the song. If we knew the song, we were happy. If we did not know the song, we were also happy. We laughed silently, because any little noise could muffle the thin music that came along. The music drifted in low amplitude first, then increased to a high volume, and then retreated in the same pattern as it had landed on our ears. I knew that it was the wind that spread the music among the high coconut trees, mango trees, and tall jackfruit trees. There could have been Neem trees in between. It was just green of different shapes.
The textbooks on our hands or laps paled into insignificance when such music came to us. We had no idea of the human playing the music. We had no idea how the invisible human was playing the music. We never knew the model or make of the tape recorder or the stereo player that human was using. But the memory says we had always enjoyed that music.
And the same memory says there was also music during the dawn at the corner beyond the big trees. It came from a temple about 20 minutes away from our house. As I stood alone at the door and when everything was silent inside the house, the music surprisingly drifted in by the evening cool wind. I stood there listening and then went back to the noise of everyday life. And I remember when I opened that same door one night and what I heard was something like the music of the sea or waves. I could not believe it first. To the right I saw the trees swaying in the pale white night sky. It occurred to me that I was on the beach, alone, and looking at the foam for some strange reason. Someone said there was danger and I closed the door. ©
It became their own bridge and they seemed to be happy about it. They used to walk, run, and jump on it. Once in a while, they carry the dead in a pattern resembling a well-rehearsed orchestra to give the souls a respectful resting place.
The flow was erratic and was never regular to an outsider like me who stood under a tree and watched the bridge, a thin, brown rope tied to two adjacent trees by my grandmother. One of those trees had a big round stem and the rope looked like a necklace adorning a milky white neck. The other end of the rope was tied to a small plant which swayed in the afternoon and evening winds. As I started watching them more and more, inhaling the vibrant aroma of flowers in bloom and trying to understand the erratic traffic on the bridge, I became more concerned about the thin plant with a pencil like stem decorated with a few pale green leaves. The situation was a bit unequal with the balance held by the bigger tree. I felt that the mass of the bigger tree and the force of the wind that made the smaller plant sway wildly might break the bridge on which dozens were still engaged in their erratic dance.Some were pretty fast and eager to collide with others; others were more mature and calculated; others stopped for a while and exchanged messages.
The life that danced on the bridge glistened like golden globes when the canopy opened and let the sunlight hit them. I cannot say that it was a canopy in the real sense of the word. There were trees all around that small garden, and several big trees and their leaves enveloped the trees holding the bridge. I liked one of those big trees on which big yellow flowers blossomed once in a year. The aroma was unmatched when the yellow flowers blossomed, but like good feelings, it lasted only for a while. Faded and weak, they would fall to the ground in a few hours or days. I remember the tree, which grew upwards, at times, when I inhale or sense the same aroma. I don’t know from where and how it occurs. May be I get it around a corner, a market, a flower market, or near a restaurant. It is difficult to ascertain whether the aroma came first, or the color, or both occurred simultaneously.
While life withered and regenerated around, the bridge remained busy.
There were trees outside that window up in the room. A window from where morning sunlight wafted in mingled with layers of smoke. Was it smoke or was it just an effect? I am not sure. It had the same physical state as the light that flickered from the cinema projector when I looked back. A whitish-yellow cone from where white particles stirred in a pattern. Atomic effect. Nowadays, I remember watching that light while I was listening to the four-band radio. The brain cells that recorded it displays that scene more often now.