We reached a remote mountainside after a week of hiking the steep Kedarkanth peak during the summer of May two years ago, but the memory of this hike is still afresh. It was a chilly sunset evening of a frigid overcast day when the sun dipped issef behind the mountains. We stood near the edge of an unending land, mesmerized, peeking at them; the Himalayas, they say.
It was a small Himalayan mountainside that boasted of sheep herds, grasslands and desolate stretches of calm lands. The setting sun eclipsed the whole landscape under its vicinity of the remnants of mountain lights. At times the wind would enter the mud-brown tent and ruffle our hairs, and the sun would find its way through the little opening of the tent, left by the wind.
No people, no honking, no chaos; just the some of us and the mountains and the sun. Everything seemed perfect.
We watched the sun slowly dipping down the aisles of the mountains and out of nowhere took to jumping against the backdrop of its departure, as if mocking its dip and pushing our limits.
Photographs, they say, carry just one single bygone moment and a lifetime of admiration, and sometimes, longing. That one precise and perfect moment when you stretch your arms with your spirits and jump against that dipping sun with an invisible smile on your face, as if in contentment or gratitude of nothing but yourself. But nobody knows this because that smile is not quite visible; it’s hidden under the perception of just another photograph because, maybe, you’d have many of those.
You want to dive deep into the ocean of darkness and then peep through the surface, trying to hold it in your hands. And its right there, where you wished it to be, in the palm of your hands and iridescent.
And then you wish to conquer the sky together, tearing apart the remnant of its dying rays, as if celebrating the desolateness of the surrounding or the echoing hiss of your breath that echoed for the very first time, or you heard it for the very first time.
It is a warm sunset evening of a humid overcast day, when the sun could be seen among the depths of the horizon across the Arabian Sea. I sit idly over the stretch of a moist sandy beach, looking at the sun. There are a lot of people; this place is overtly crowded. The sun is flickering among the people now. The hum of the sea is long lost among the hustle of this place; the city, they say.
I swing my arm and wipe the trickling sweat streak over my forehead; the motion of the arm ruffles my hairs. I don’t want it to get ruffled.
I see a man in his mid forties, selling roasted corn or what we love to call bhutta in India. The edge of the sun is now dim. He wears a dull frown all the time: while he is roasting, interacting, exchanging, or just peeping at the lost sun. The flares of the fire glimmer against a distant backdrop of The Trident Oberoi,the mist green and the orange of which imitates the dull frown of his face, and the dazzle of the flares. And then I see them, the crowd of people, delved deep amongst themselves and their niche stories, not noticing the dipping sun whose orange flares colored the blue of the sea to crimson or the man who sold corns and wore a frown.
I stood and started to walk the length of the sea along the beach to somewhere far and devoid of the denseness there. I see people laughing, and exchanging occasional touches, I see them sitting with peace, I see them swim against the waves, and I see some jumping against the slowly dipping sun, as if waiting for it to dip, as if in awe of their limits.
Everything looks good and fine here. People live and they smile and they laugh.
But somewhere amidst all the hustle and the chaos of this city, there is something amiss. Things never seem perfect. The sun here rises, and slowly dips down. And somewhere there is always a dull frown. There are a million breaths here, but none of them sounds.
I think there is something wrong with me, or with this city, or those mountains, or may be, with this sun.
Featured writer: Rohit Inani