The thing about small towns and places is the repetitiveness of their daily life. Growing up, I remember these short periods of power outage by the government which used to be at a different time every week. It was the time my family would pluck their eyes off the television and gather in the courtyard to sit back and chit-chat. For me and my brother that was the time to stay put because of imaginary fears that hid in the dark to get us. Those were also the times when Gran used to tell us all these stories about afterlife, valiant mythical heroes and ‘life as she knew it’. ‘You see that mone(dear)? Its your grandpa winking at us from far away, promising to keep us safe.’ Granny said one day pointing at those little white dots in the pitch black sky. I looked up and shined the torch in my hand to the sky to show Grandpa that we see him, may be to mark myself safe under his vigilance.
Time passed and nursery rhymes got switched with more complex texts. Some less palatable than the other. Then came a whole new world of explanations and theories. Suddenly those little specks were huge glowing masses of gas millions of light years away. Soon there were patterns, existential crisis (as some of them were already dead), some winked and others never, some changed their attire to red and blue, some changed position and some even made to idioms: ‘as constant as the northern star’, my English teacher chimed. The texts proclaimed about massacres, battles fought,theories made, odysseys written, virtually dissected and awards won in the name of these tiny curiosities. Trust me the worst was yet to come, the names of each one and their constellations. The thing of wonder soon became a nightmare to be done with as soon as possible.
Like the multitudes of them twinkling in the sky, love sparkled into life. Soon life became more beautiful and novel than the day before. At first love was the daily short glances and shy smiles on the school balcony while passing by. Love just had to climb a flight of stairs. Soon love was two different districts and later on two different states. But love as usual always found a way in long phone conversations and a sense of togetherness looking at our little specks together, zones apart. ‘At least we are under the same starry sky’, love consoled. Soon those little specks were burning with passion and became an object of solace. They soon became the bonds that held and molded souls as poets sang.
As realities hit, tragedies dealt and life happened, love withered away like leaves caught in wind on a winter eve. The little specks faded into the backdrop, may be never to be noticed again. They no longer held any meaning or value. How can some thing inanimate and irrelevant solve the actual problems in life? Heartbreaks, deadlines, solitude and insecurities needed therapy and not ‘starlight’. From a thing of curiosity to a thing of irrelevance took no time in fact.
But today as I lie out here on this cold cemented floor away from all the commotions of daily life looking at those tiny specks all I can see is life flashing by. Weren’t they the actual constants in life? The sole spectators to all the victories celebrated, happiness shared and sorrows eloquently hid. And all I can hear is ‘Mone its me looking over you and winking at you as promised’.