Sleeping under the Stars…
It’s hot here in Hyderabad. That is the understatement of the century. Sometimes it becomes impossible even to sit inside the house, let alone sleep. And it was on one of these sweltering nights that I decided I had had enough, and mattress and pillow in hand, off I went to the terrace to see if I could get some sleep.
It’s been ages since I’ve slept on the terrace. The last time I did so was during my engineering, when I lived with my friends in Karaikal, Pondicherry. The terrace was our favourite place then. We spent most of our evenings there, just talking and having fun. We studied there, fought there, ate there, partied there and fell asleep there, only to come back into the house in the wee hours of the morning coz’ of the cold wind from the Bay of Bengal, the coastline only about half a mile away from our place. I miss those days of absolute care freeness, when the most pressing problem we had was where would the money needed for the petrol to go to college tomorrow come from!
I plopped down on my mattress and found myself staring straight at the North Star. It was a clear midsummer night, not a cloud visible. The stars twinkled, the breeze made an appearance, the night closed down upon me. A small plane flew across my plane of vision, its blinking lights betraying its presence, the muffled sound of its engines barely audible. It flew past the moon’s pale shadow and disappeared. One moment its lights filled the sky, the next moment, it was as if it never existed.
I was slipping into dreamland when I saw them in the distance. Another minute and I would have missed them. At first I couldn’t make out what I was looking at. Just something big and white in the night sky. And then, they parted. They changed formation, from an arrow head to a straight line, ever graceful and sublime, like a song. Their wings were visible now, flapping away as they flew across the night sky, breathtakingly beautiful. I couldn’t hear anything, they were too high up and by the time I had absorbed all this in, they had gone.
I realised I was sitting up. It was dark and the only sound I could hear was of my own breathing. I’m no ornithologist and I have no idea where they are headed, but I do know this. For these feathered miracles of evolution, the journeys they take to distant lands are part of their very essence. They take flight with single minded purpose. How do they know if they are headed in the right direction? The truth is, they don’t. They trust their instincts, their intuitions. They don’t stop and analyse what their heart tells them is right. They just fly. It’s what they were meant to do.
Somehow I believe we have lost that. We analyse things too much, look for phantoms where there aren’t any. We check, cross check, are afraid of taking risks, and are terrified of failure. We think too much about what other people think about us. Why can’t we just do what we were meant to do, what we want to do, each second of our lives. Why can’t we just do what our heart says? So what if we fail, so what if things go wrong. You can pick yourself up again, do it over, but this time you would have experience on your side. And the satisfaction that you did something you really wanted to do.
Well, it’s already a very short stay here, and you are young for an even shorter duration than that. Might as well do what you really wanna do. Might as well do what your heart says.
I pulled my covers up and snuggled in for the night.