QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 4

FOURTH EPOCH: WHERE WAS THE OCEAN?

Back when I used to think of writing as just yet another profession, I would often wonder what I would write about. Which subject must I garb in elegant draperies of words?

Most other writers, I had noticed, wrote of things the things that made the ‘today’ – the vogue. Of that class of ideas that enthral and hold in its center, the entire world’s admiration for a span, before completely vanishing into the air. And many an artistic pen-bearer left ink trails of the path trodden by every sheep in the flock,  wasting their passions over the little things that scented the day’s air, wanting to write of what the other wrote.

But even when people urged me to invest in the glamorous genre that bought readers of my time, something felt wrong about draining such sacred a wealth on something as inconsequential as to be fleeting.

There were other writers who wanted to catch the tide, the hugely rising wave of interest that magnetically compels the artists and other men alike to become its part in touching the sky before its fall. I waited though. Tides were of a nature to pass; to rise and fall. In the end, it is the ocean that remains – the ancient depth that often conceals its timeless beauty beneath the ephemeral waves that dance bright today. But where was the ocean?

It couldn’t see the ocean, but I thought I could feel it in my heart when I held the waters of the ocean in my hand – as opposed to, say, from a passing lake or stream. A lingering trace of a whisper from within my heart would throw its tempestuous tantrum would I write about anything but those words that carried heavy in their wombs, a depth of undying meaning, as of the ocean.

Here was the idea behind that – any object that thought itself strong enough to fight back the erosion of time, so as to become, one long day hence, an ancient testimony to immortality, must learn to speak in the tongue of the undying ocean and not at all the mortal language of the ephemeral tides, that was heard so loud in the murmur of every mortal citizen.

And that was a language, made not merely of words, but of deep truths that were born with the birth of time, and rose along with the earliest dust of this Earth. A language of the heart and silence alike, that are felt in the ears of those few seeking seafarers who dare to sail beyond the mundane tides and into the vast, unfathomable ocean to seek an ancient miracle superior to passing mediocrity. And the language lives, asleep in lesser hearts, but alive, even yet, in every heart, and watches while other human languages are given birth and life, and death alike. For, this was the language of hearts that never died.

And by now, although I knew not about what to write, I knew the answer to a larger question – how to write. And-

A God, as I considered my divine art, it could only be given to this Earth in its native language of truth…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 3

THIRD EPOCH: THE SACRED FORCE.

Sure I never reached the point of pride or arrogance. I knew well, that I had long leagues to fare ‘fore I could master it, and that I was but yet beginning to embark on that journey. Yet so, it is always imperative to see the fall before it comes. For pride and haughtiness are a quicksand – with a powerful gravity to suck us in and bury us beneath the dust. And what more, it is a quicksand garbed as an enticing mirage, that draws us forth from even far and yonder away, without us knowing!

And that’s why the traveler must always ask himself the humble question to save himself from falling into a path astray. And even yet so, the vigilance is never mastered. Even for a second, must the man yield to the temptations of repose from this watch, he may be lured into the quicksand, like a sin to the doom.

At about this time, a speech I heard one day carved its deep imprint inside my mind- awakening a new torch in which’s light I now saw newly this unknown art I had so long pursued. The light discerned to me, the fact, that the art was a separate entity, although blessing my soul by taking it for its shelter. Any preternatural epitaph that I might have weaved with words were not, in fact, my own brilliance, but a gift from a force more sacred.

I began to see something more powerful that I served for, a sacred element that required reverence and worship. Here was something beyond me, something that I had to realize was holy, and couldn’t hence take lightly, to my disposition. It seemed to my mind now, that I was a practitioner of a divine, eternal art and not some master of some skill.

And art, in reality, is God, is to be revered and worshipped so that its intricate fineries can be understood even at the surface. My entire world dazzled in the glow radiated by a new conception now; like the places very much seen every day made beautiful by the touch of the tender moonlight.

In those times of communion, I was no more a mere ephemeral being. I had intertwined with a sacred spirit and become a part of something else; something greater…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 2

SECOND EPOCH: THE ART UNKNOWN

There’s this peculiar quality of greatness in God’s heart. For god, who is the force behind art himself, seeks to donate enormously to the beggar who wants but a coin or two. And while I had asked to walk the circumstance of the Globe, the heavenly force (as I must needs call the power of art) had decided a different journey for my footsteps to embark on. A man’s mind would know only to see the life on his planet; but when a greater force merges with his spirit, suddenly, the universe dances in a variety within his kaleidoscope.

And then, the art of writing had decided to teach its student – although only so poor a student, that she would even fail to sense that a force as such existed, leave alone as a teacher.

This was the time when I had begun to read novels with a conscious sympathy for the art behind the story. I woke to the verses inscribed in the world around me, and felt suddenly, the invisible fragrance of words and poetry and stories infused into the smell of Earth.

I began to breathe in the art, trying to learn all I could to hone my diaphanous skill. And before I knew, it was starting to become a definition of mine. And I felt at long last, that I had earned, through earnest dedication, the early acquaintance with the art of writing, and was now ready to set forth into the long quest of mastering it.

But, heavens! could I have been more wrong?

‘Up in the misty land of clouds’ could often be a desperate cue to descend; and I was forced to remind myself- pride cometh before a fall…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 1

A QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION

Why do I write?

This question, a matter of introspection to me, arose in its most earnest state during one of my deeply sombre moods. It was late in the night and I felt my day too wasted to want to leave it behind and sleep. I had just finished reading a classic novel, and the melancholy its pages had contained lingered around the hall like a ghost that had followed me out of the book. I identified as an amateur writer but had not written in very long. I didn’t intend to now either; I had lost the passion. But it was still an identity I felt hollow without. It was in this moment that this question awoke. The loud silence of the room, the ghost of a novel written years past and my own restless crises over who I was shoved me into a sort of state. The sort where one happens upon a profound sense of truth throbbing within herself and stays transfixed by this chance discovery.

My guilt about not embracing enough my feebly stirring passion – writing- took the form of a soldier in chains, wanting to aggressively fight his way out of his confines and into the broad sunshine of people’s world. Shadows of thought, long mewling from the bottom of my self, shrieked out in urge now, to be born; and these were no meager shadows, for they were children not merely of the writer’s fingertips or tongue, but of the depth of her human spirit.

The question of why I write had flitted past my colorful world more than once, failing to receive no more attention than the dust of the desert sand would from a parched wanderer that has newly seen the deceptive mirage of an oasis.

But in the end, it is the sand-dust that the wanderer walks with, and it was the question that walked with me. I tried to hush it with shallow answers we both knew were not so much as close to the truth.

And still, unrelenting, the question would return with the whisper of a moonbeam or at a mood so uncharted by any object of interest. It would return and pester, and plague, and fester

Finally, I realized I could no longer escape this recognition, this guilt. The myriad shadows of thoughts crowding the edges of my mind needed to come out, to assume a body, to be seen.

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FIRST EPOCH: THE THREE WANTS

At first, I thought of writing as a mere profession. A mere response to people asking ‘what do you want to become in life? How would you want to ‘earn’ your livelihood (note: ‘earn’ refers to earning a livelihood in terms of money, not satisfaction or joy). I had thought some, rejected much and landed finally arrived to the peaceful conclusion that I would find my place amongst words and fables!

In truth, it began back when I was thirteen. There was a career counselling course I used to attend. It was a quite hall with desks on either sides. Every now and there a desk would be illumined in a pool of yellow and a young girl or boy like myself would be sitting behind its glow, lost in who knew what musings or what pursuit. My own pursuit was always the teenage fantasy of astronomy. I would read books about nebulous explosions, black holes and wormholes. I confess I don’t remember almost any of that now; but what I do remember is that I occupied the last bench in the quite hallway. Behind me, the glass walls revealed the steady flow of vehcles and the flash of their headlights two floors down. There was a world out there – busy and colorful. But inside, I was in a cucoon of silence, a profound and comforting sort. Only me, the warm yellow glow of the desklamp and my thoughts. These moments had made me a writer. I do not know how.

Nevertheless, I did not know now what it meant. Put it like this – you wouldn’t know the value of gold if you picked it off the ground. I was attracted to writing like one is fascinated by dancing lights that are reflected off a diamond. I never appreciating that there was, behind it, a full light and a diamond!

In those early stages, I knew writing to be an enticing ‘profession’. I confess with guilt now, that, the parade of successful writers who earned the respect of  a flashy red-carpet, and the eulogies of admiring readers from across the continents drew me unseemingly to adopt it as a career. This was my most ignorant of requests from an art, I knew not then to be sacred.

Still, even in those amateur days, I cannot fully say this was the only prospect that transfixed me in the decision. Even then, a slightly nobler aspiration had been to acquire the strength of an unmutable voice that is gifted to a writer. A voice to be heard by the ears of men living yonder leagues across, through all the gushing roars of throngs of men. A writer had a voice, made entirely of silence, that spoke louder than any utterance of the tongue. And I wanted from the voice of these words, this power, to help ailing men scattered across the globe; to spread a change.

Then there was yet another wish to be fulfilled. I wanted from authorship, a name in the cover of a book that would exist through time, gathering dust on the shelves even after my mortal life had fled. I wanted my thoughts to be sighed out into the air which my own breath had long ceased to mingle with. I wanted the power of immortality that it granted.

These were the earliest of my wants; forceful wants then. But had I only realized at that time, as I do now, that these were all mere half-hollow treasures…

My wants had been all destination, and never the journey that is writing itself! But as some would say, the most wondrous of things about being the spirit of a river is that it meanders through the deep undergrowth of forest lands and gracefully gushes down a misty precipice, savouringing the luxuriant taste of a desert soil. Its final destination in itself is only a point on the Earth; but its journey is the whole world!

I would like to think of a writer as a river. Only when the writer is a river does his words flow. When a writer is a soldier, drilling in his mind the thoughts of a distant victory, then his words know only to march, leaving behind mere dusty footsteps to feed the wind.

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To be continued…

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