I tried to write this a hundred times, and I couldn’t find the starting sentence. Maybe, it didn’t have a beginning as it didn’t have an end (I am still a part of it, how could it have ended, if I am being?). Like a shard of morning rays of sun, it still pricks me, and like the gossamer curtain of moonlight blue, it shelters me. So long as I am being.
The train was crowded like local trains in the city usually are. It was well past midnight and stinking with acrid alcohol and sweaty day’s love. I had, by some strange contraption slumped to the floor, near the breezy door. A beggar with a child on her lap was sleeping opposite me. The platform was empty save the chai-wala who was reciting verses I could not fathom. And the stray dogs were dozing in the benches, too tired to exclaim at the apparent ineptitude of the crowded train on an empty platform. Before the carriage could chug off, a blind man with an indigenous version of a violin jumped on…
By the inequity of senses, if I might call it, I have sometimes so totally bewitched by the most mundane of sights and sounds, and at others remained impassive to the loveliest that life has to offer. I don’t know, I never have been so objective, never been so wise, maybe it’s more of the within than the without. I really don’t know.
The dervish took his place in the aisle between the multitudes of faces, mutilated with the day’s misery. He stretched the string of his instrument, very uncomfortably, with barely enough room to hold it straight. Then, without checking for the tune, without waiting for the audience to acknowledge his presence, he started playing. He strummed tunes from forgotten Hindi movies and shabby suburbanite bars, some of which I have hated to bear with in Hariyanvi taxis, and others which I couldn’t even decipher. The somnolent violin transformed them all: riding in a buggy of cellophane love, the notes traveled to the violet clouds where it will never be heard again.
The strychnine night couldn’t hold its peace after that. With the evanescent music still in my vein, I saw my beggar princess with tears in her eyes, looking wistfully at sleeping cherub in her lap. Suddenly realizing I am intruding on a very private moment, I looked out into the inkiness of the floating electric poles and coops. And as the breeze washed the wanderlust of my sleepy eyes, I knew, I have been touched by a feather of magic.