Twilight


It is twilight. I stand on my balcony, observing the sky. The cool evening breeze kisses the plants, and they respond by swaying gently.

The sky’s beauty defies description, as it lets go of day and welcomes night. Another day has gone by; lost in the  folds of time, like a million others before it.

Photo by Andreas Fickl from Pexels

It is a time of quiet, a time to reflect upon the day and soak in the beauty of nature. As I watch the sky growing dark, my mom calls me. She shares the sad news that her aunt, my grand aunt, is no more.

She shares beautiful anecdotes of the wonderful times spent with her aunt. And then she sighs deeply and says, “With the passing of this aunt, my parents’ generation is no more. She was the last family member of that generation.”

I can understand how my mom feels. A sudden emptiness, no elder aunt or uncle to talk to or take advice from. That thread that connected my mom to her childhood, her parents and her family history is no longer there. Now, my mom’s generation has become the oldest in our family.

I hang up after talking to my mom for a few more minutes. Night will soon be here, and will again be replaced by day. And the cycle of life will continue, where people will come and go, and where days will arrive and vanish.

But then, there are times like this twilight hour – that straddle both day and night – where time seems to stand still for a bit; where one can feel the timelessness of creation against whose backdrop this cycle of life constantly unfolds. And just how the twilight hour passes the baton from day to night, so also, the baton has now been passed to my mom’s generation.

Just a speck


My husband and I are in a restaurant, on the 64th floor of a building. The restaurant boasts of a wonderful view of the city.

After we finish dinner, we go up to the rooftop viewing deck. The sky looks a hazy grey, with silver clouds floating about lazily. The moon keeps moving between layers of cloud – now here, now gone.

We stand transfixed. The whole city is throbbing with life and lights. The main roads and expressways are sheer golden streaks of light – ‘all-important’ arteries that connect everything.

The vehicles are like glow worms, crawling towards their destination. Far away is the ocean, where small boats and ferries bob about like shimmering jewels.

Life seems to be happening at a frenetic pace in the city. Everything seems to be moving. All the buildings are lit up, with signboards visible at many places.

Standing here, it seems like magic. I feel disconnected from reality. I feel like an observer from another world. From here, as I see the big picture, everyday worries and problems seem minuscule. Looking up at the sky, I am struck by its immensity. I imagine what space would look like, and what the planets would be doing now – revolving and rotating, I guess; in no hurry to finish, taking their time and doing what they are supposed to.

Peace and quiet above, constant movement and noise below. From where I stand, I enjoy both. I love the pulsating city, filled with interesting people, who have big dreams. I love the lights and the water. I love the sky and the clouds.

Very soon, an elevator will take me down, and I will join the sea of humanity below – becoming just another speck in the vast canvas of time.

But while I am still here, I soak it all in.

A feeling of timelessness – Siem Reap, Cambodia


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We are in Siem Reap, Cambodia, drinking in the beauty of a thousand years.  As we ride on the tuk-tuk from one ancient temple to another, a feeling of timelessness grips me.

The volcanic rocks that the temples are built from, stand proud and tall, one above the other, rising into the skies, majestic and filled with exquisite detailing and engraving.  The Sun beats down on us mercilessly.  The same Sun that beat down on the stone carvers a thousand years ago.

Some of these temples are being renovated. Some others are partly disintegrated, with huge slabs fallen in sudden piles, now here, now there, as we stroll across, taking in the legends and stories that are showcased on the walls; and imagining our own stories about the craftsmen and their craft.

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We take a breather after the long walk around Angkor Wat.  We sit close to a long wall.  The grandeur of the temple has to be seen to be believed.  I cannot put down in words the various emotions that surge through me.  As we stretch our legs and fan ourselves with our caps, tour-guides come in with groups of tourists from around the world.

The wall behind us has elaborate carvings from one of India’s greatest epics – The Mahabharatha.  Earlier in the day, when our guide showed us these panels, we were awestruck!  Awestruck by the fact that the stories we grew up reading, had been so beautifully frozen on stone, a thousand years ago, in a country far away from India.

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Japanese and Korean guides explain the Mahabharatha in rapid bursts, to their tour groups, who nod their head in understanding. I catch a familiar word here and there.  It feels good. That feeling of timelessness envelopes me over and over again.

“We are all connected, in some way, at some place, at some point in time maybe in the past or maybe in the future.”

The afternoon is spent at the Ta Prohm Temple.  As we walk around, we see the long tentacle-like roots of the silk-cotton, and strangler-fig trees.  The roots have taken over the temple.  In some places, the roots look like they are embracing the temple, while in some others they look like they are taking back the temple into their womb, to hand them over to Mother Earth.

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Our guide points out to a small ‘apsara’ (celestial damsel of great beauty), who is almost hidden by the roots of a tree. She peeps through the roots, smiling at humanity, as she will very soon be engulfed by this tree.  One last smile, till time takes over another bit of history.

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