Dark Rainbow Bright
It was rather a cold morning and the warmth was just gaining as the sun rays cut through the mist illuminating the dew droplets that had settled on the leaves. It had rained heavily in the night. Now, the clouds had cleared up paving way for the light and clear sky.
He had just woken up, the redness in his eyes suggesting that he did not get proper sleep or had a disturbing dream. The sunshine made its way through the light-yellow colored curtains which brightened the room pleasantly enough to wake someone up. However, he covered his face with the blanket to resume his sleep to avoid restlessness throughout the day. Lately, he has not been getting enough sleep, reasons being many. Like every other person these days, he is too attached to his mobile phone; constantly switching among social media apps, scrolling through the infinite timelines of profiles and content. Time literally files when people browse through these apps. Keeping aside all opinions regarding this, he found some sort of deep seated comfort in this activity, even though he was aware it’s unnecessary, he just didn’t care. In general, these apps, with continuous provision of online content fill the void of attention deficiency this generation possesses.
Given this, he would look at the bright screen in dark room all night which opens up his retina fully, and when he wishes to sleep the eyes, not being able to adjust to sudden light contrast, do not let him. It feels as if the eyes have lighted up now with various images that had been fed to our brain via internet.
After a couple of hours, the sun was bright and picked up on heat and his mother had switched off the fan, it is a thing Indian Mothers do to wake people up and is proven to work, which made him sweat under the blanket and was irritating enough to make a person get out of bed.
He saw his father entering his room, giving him a somber look, as he woke up late. This habit irked his father, who believed that one should wake up early and welcome the day with watching the sunrise and a little exercise. He believed people who woke up late don’t respect themselves and also that it is unhealthy to both mind and body.
His father took the mobile phone charger and left the room.
He got up, brushed, washed up and made his morning coffee and sat in the balcony looking into the infinity that was sky. As he sipped on hot coffee from his big black mug, he started to think, about the limitlessness of the sky and the eagles that were flying so high. He thought with an empty mind, almost in a trance like state. And all of a sudden, he started to remember a dream he had the previous night. It was vague, like all dreams, but what stuck out was this image of somebody flying, it was more like floating he said to himself.
He started checking his phone, the first thing he always opened is a photo-sharing platform known as “Instagram”, as he was a photography enthusiast. He used upload 2–3 pictures per day and check on the number of likes and followers his work attained. When he initially got on the app, he was not much invested but now he was, as more social engagement virtually was equated to a better social life. He slowly started deriving happiness from acknowledgement and appreciation of his work. And, if a day goes by attaining none, he felt as if the day was wasted.
It took a while, actually a couple of years for him to see through the attention harvesting phenomenon of these social media applications. Then he gradually receded of his involvement with these apps. But, Instagram was an exception, given his love for photography.
He put his phone aside, and started to think about this dream again, he was usually fascinated by vagueness of dreams, our minds are providing us with unclear stories based on the facts we provide to our minds. This idea of uncertainty was the tenet of his existence and so unclear dreams particularly excited him as it was a gateway to numerous imaginations.
But he was not necessarily drifting limitlessly enough to be lost in his imaginations. He was distinct enough regarding imagination and reality.
He quoted himself with following as written in his diary, whenever he felt confused.
A mind’s imagination and reality — As a child, he was always curious regarding the functioning of a human mind. The world it creates for us, the psychology it develops for us. Also, it took him a while to differentiate the human mind from the human brain. Two absolute entities, mind is psychological while the brain is physical. To be simply put, mind realizes a consciousness that is accommodated by the brain. A brain perceives the happenings in the world and provides inputs to our mind.
Now, do we control the mind, or is it the other way around?
Who or what is ‘ the WE’ here?
Does the consciousness control the mind?
Does a mind limit the imaginative capabilities of our consciousness? Let’s say it does, and say imagination has bounds and it means that it becomes rigid at some given point. But, that isn’t really how imagination works is it.
I’m just asking if a mind bounds the imagination that builds our reality.
This is a question, we need to ask ourselves. Answer to ourselves.
Imagination is a pure aid to creation. It is the solution for our behavioral rigidity. It is a simple concept with complex aspirations.
It is easy to imagine, but hard converting it to reality. Should we give up if it’s difficult? Do we push the boundaries or do we break the boundaries?
Pushing expands and breaking annihilates/ frees (however one would like to perceive it).
This thought of his was perpetual.
With this, he was done with his coffee, took the newspaper into his hands and glanced through the pages. As he was looking at the overly saturated images on the paper, a sparrow started chirping, it was sitting on the shadowed part of the branch which reached out to the balcony of the house and it caught his attention. He held the newspaper still but his gaze slowly shifted towards the calm blue sky with brighter tones of light. His heart felt calm which reminded him of his travel days.
A couple of years ago, He was working at an IT service conglomerate, as a Quality engineer. His job was to assess and qualify the products. He was living in a city, the rush and redundancy of that life always got to him. One day, he decided it was time to let go of that kind of life, he resigned his job to travel and take pictures, a decision that didn’t really sit well with the elders of the family. Yet, it was a matter of his heart and it was set on exploring the beauty in the normalcy and wilderness. His idea of travelling was bent into going to places during the off-season, places that were not known by the tourists. The idea was to get away from rush, the noise of the world. So, he started going around the villages, meeting farmers, shepherds staying with them if possible. The simplicity of the lives of farmers amazed him, and the stories of the shepherds of how they travel with the herd on foot foraging across villages. They were happy with their lives as the greed in their hearts was none.
The primary reason to travel was to deal with the social anxiety and his fear for new places. As he went to newer places and meeting new people, it had actually help him overcome these issues. But, at times the anxiety would get to him and rightly so, he turned to nature to tackle it. He was much into sunsets. Sunsets in a way were healing him. When anybody asked him why he is so much in love and obsessed with sunsets.., he would go — “Why are you not?” he believed that there’s something special in these simple things that happen around us.., if only we observe they become a source of unlimited inspiration. There is absolute satisfaction when he looks at sunsets; it is as if his time, his moments would pause for an eternity. In a way, this liberates him a little everyday taking him closer to the truth.
“So yes, I have an obsession with sunsets and nature in general and I draw tremendous inspiration from the life that nature emanates” — he would say.
And as for the social anxiety, the more people he met he realized his fear of the unknown. The source of fear was an inhibition to communicate, express and emote. Fear to voice opinions in a world with authoritarianism on rise, to be one self while communicating. He was afraid of opening up to almost anyone but himself. But, gradually as he started talking to more people during his travels, an internal discussion happened leading him to realize the following.
People, Emotion and stories — As long as I think I remember, I always try to look beyond a person’s face. In fact, I try to look at their heart and mind. When I look at a person that is an ‘other’ to me, I look beyond their face so that, I look past the physical difference, so that, I can familiarize myself with the emotion behind the human’s face, so that, I realize there is no difference between me and the other. So that I realize, there is no me and the other but a unified communion of Life.
This is possible when we look into our minds and look at, with our hearts. Hear me again, please.
We should look into our minds and look at, with our hearts to cherish the kindness.
Emotion is what sets us apart, intelligence sure does help but that’s not the answer. Intelligence is good for business but not for a person’s psychological evolution. We should learn it. Learning is the most basic Instinct of human mind from which emotion and thought follow. What is the point if we don’t learn?
Look at the past, the present, possibly the future. What has triumphed?
We prey upon the weak, the difference of class, color. We should look at the beauty of diversity, yet we turn a blind eye and are afraid of the unknown. We stress on the difference and divide.
We need to open our eyes.
That’s all it takes, to look at people, embrace their emotion and understand their stories.
As these thoughts were hovering over his head, with him still holding the newspaper in his hands and looking at the sky. His mother’s call startled him out of it, she was asking him to have breakfast, before it could be called lunch.
He had heavy breakfast of 4 Aloo paranthas, which are basically wheat pancakes stuffed with mashed potatoes and spices, usually consumed with pickle and butter or curd.
He came back to his room and powered on the laptop and played some music and started editing images. That’s how his afternoons usually went. Time flew while he was working on his laptop, editing pictures, time lapses of clouds etc..,
Meanwhile his sister comes by and alarms a focused part of him.
It was evening already.
“Would you like some coffee?” — She asks.
“Please and thank you!” — He replies.
Switches off his laptop, and sits in the balcony with his coffee and looks at the sky.
It started drizzling and the sun was still out, and a beautiful rainbow formed coloring the canvas that was sky.
“Funny, how something colorful as a rainbow is a result of bright sun and dark clouds!” — He remarked.
“What?” — His sister asked.
“Nothing” — He said, and resumed the sky gazing.
It was almost 08:30 in the night, finished his supper. He is used to taking lighter food in the night, so it won’t trouble his stomach in the night. Then, helped his mother do the dishes and locked all the doors and came back to his room.
He felt gloomy and could not make out the reason, may because the weather was cloudy he reckoned and crashed into his bed. Put on earphones, plugged them into the phone and started playing music.
It was rather a tiring day of almost doing nothing he thought.
He put his hands on the back of his head and as soothing music played he remembered all the nights he spent star-gazing. The wonderful blanket of night sky filled with beautiful twinkling stars. He would look at them in awe for hours, sometimes his eyes would catch a shooting star or two and it made his heart fill with happiness, the kind that was unknown before. He would slowly disappear into the silence and howling winds of the night.
He had written in his diary once.
A million thoughts crossing my mind..,
That’s how I feel whilst looking at the stars.
I become absolutely motionless and speechless while looking at the stars. My body becomes extremely sensitive and mind is completely exposed to the universe.
In that moment of vulnerability, I feel safe as an individual, a living person.
In that moment, there is no pretending, no mask, none of superficial elements. No shallowness that the society has taught us to embrace and make a life of show and tell.
I say purge this idea of superficial living.
Be vulnerable, that’s when our true inner potential is stimulated to act.
Be sensate of the insecurities; don’t escape them by acquiring materials of any kind. That is not how the human way should be. Embrace the insecurities and the imperfections for they are not defects but an epitome of our existence.
For generations, we have been running away from our questions, insecurities, vulnerabilities and hid ourselves in this idea of a safe life, a secure life which is nowhere near the truth. We struggle to keep that secure life together. But, in actuality, the fear is in our mind, the bounds are in our mind. We need to evolve psychologically to face what we run from.
We were sold this idea of a secure life by authoritative establishments. This ensures the survival of establishments which are no good for a person’s individual evolution.
We need to come out this hiding of fear, oppression and challenge the external and superficial authority.
In doing that, we realize the truth of it all, of all the life
He began emptying his mind, to clear the rush of thought so that, he could sleep.
Newer thoughts filled his mind as he tried clearing out the existing ones, his mind was exhausted doing this and he never knew when slipped into sleep.
He woke up early the next morning. He had a beautiful dream, which he could not remember, but made him wake up to hope and with a smile.
He got to the balcony, with his coffee, in all eagerness to watch the sunrise.
His mind felt ecstatic, also in parallel trying to remember the dream.
The sun started rising, filling the sky with golden hues and warm tones. The birds shook the sleep off and started singing.
The sunrise was stunning and he was just looking at it.
His mind was empty.
And he started to think about the dream, as he stretched his arms and legs.
He closed his eyes, and could see the redness caused due to the sunshine. He slipped into micro-sleep thinking about the dream.
He slowly started remembering it.
There was boy, happy, running across the grasslands with the greenest blades of grass and the sky was blue, not the normal but, bright blue and there were beautiful flowers all around, surrounded by high mountains topped with smooth clouds.
It was all so beautiful.
There was a beautiful rainbow in a distance, and the boy was running towards it.
Someone had ringed the doorbell; it was his father back from the morning walk.
This snapped him out of the micro-sleep, got up and opened the door, to a grimly looking man, that was his father.
He greeted his father “Good Morning Appa!!”, and hugged him.
The ominousness from his father’s face disappeared and a smile appeared.
He made coffee for everyone this morning, to his mother’s surprise.
“Why are you so happy this morning?” — His mother and sister asked him in chorus.
“I had a beautiful dream” — He said
“What was it?” — His sister asked.
“Can’t quite remember it” — He replied.
His father did not really ask him anything, he knew waking up early was a sign of change within him, which he was not even aware of yet.
Since, his father knew, something as simple as waking up early in the morning, brings a tremendous change in a person’s life.
He had his breakfast, and got to his room and sat down to get some work done.
Also, he was thinking about the dream, trying to remember it.
He recalls some sort of bleakness within the dream, not that he was sure of it.
A feeling dullness took over and he was aware of it, he felt cold so he slid the curtain drapes to let the sunlight in.
He pulled up a picture of an old man he captured in Udaipur.
The old man’s face was dull, as if filled with sorrow and unrealized pain.
It was a hot afternoon in Udaipur and he reached Gangaur Ghat and was looking for shade to just sit and observe the surroundings. He happened to notice all kinds of people there performers, travellers, tourists, vendors, hawkers, beggars, Sadhus, kids asking tourists for money, street food sellers etc..,
But, this old man was just walking around observing everything and his expression has not changed a bit for so long. One could sense a sort of sadness or regret on his face. It was some specific sorrow that was bothering him.
And he tried to capture it on camera.
So it would remind him to be humble of the opportunities presented to him.
It could all be his assumption; the old man’s face could be like that at all times. But, that’s what he felt and remembered from that moment of observing him.
He quickly reached out to his diary, because he remembered writing something about the old man in that moment.
In the diary, it read:
“The Face of regret
The Eyes of regret
would you face fear rather than regret?
Facing fear is momentous, while facing regret is for a lifetime.
I’d rather have a failure in my life rather than regret.
Failure teaches you, regret eats you up.
We need to have courage to fail.
Fail, to learn.
Fail, to grow.
Fail, to succeed.”
These lines comforted him and the waft of melancholy he felt before was nowhere to be seen.
He resumed his work.
Then, it was about lunch time, after having food he started watching a movie on his laptop.
He fell asleep half way into the movie.
It was raining heavily in the distance, and there was a person wearing black standing in front of a house that was burnt.
The person was sad and in pain, that was unknown.
The person looked at the burnt house, and then looked up, but could not see the sky. It was cloudy and smoke covered all the light from the sun. It was dark.
The sun was setting, but felt so far.
This person looked around, to see if there was anyone else to help.
The person noticed a rainbow, also in distance. Albeit, could not see the colors properly.
It was a dark rainbow, in a world that felt monochrome.
The person was too tired to sob, even though the urge to weep was deep.
The person felt something in pocket, felt a box.
The person took it out, and it was a box of matches.
A deafening thunder struck.
This snapped him out of sleep, he looked out of the room, his mother was watching a TV show, and the titles included a lightning and thunder effect.
It was all a dream.
He was taken aback. Given the nature of the dreams he had on the same day.
They were polar opposites.
One was bright and full of hope.
Other was dark and melancholic.
Both had rainbows.
He sighed in amusing way and closed his laptop.
He noticed others were taking a nap so he made some coffee and headed for the terrace to get some fresh air.
He leaned against the wall looked at the horizon with sharp eyes as though he was in some deep thought.
A feeling of newness was brewing, which he could not quite comprehend yet. Still, his focus did not shift from the horizon. The eyes started watering a bit as he did not blink.
He then rubbed both eyes with his palms slicked back his hair and it felt relaxing.
Then he sat down, closed his eyes and covered his ears, put his head between his legs and thought about his time he visited a beach.
He heard the sounds of Deep Ocean, the one that emerges from a sea-shell. It was coming from his mind.
He felt like a fully grown fetus.
He psychologically landed on the beach, with feet submerged in the sand, and he could see the waves, but with a blurry vision.
He does this sometimes, slipping into multiple memory realms of the imaginative sub-conscious.
He started to think about the dreams again. The divergent nature of them, it felt balanced, like the day and night on the earth. He did not want to quite venture into it, so he opened his eyes, picked up the coffee mug and got back to his room.
He resumed working on his laptop.
By the time he was done with his work, it was almost dinner time.
He had light food as usual, couple of oil less chapathis (wheat flatbread) with an omelette. Helped his mother with the dishes, and got into his bed.
This particular night, he did not have to struggle much to sleep, he fell asleep right away.
The boy was running across the grasslands as he was singing, crossing the little streams, a golden dog joined him in this journey of his.
They were headed towards the rainbow, the boy noticed a series of puddles, he followed them out of curiosity but the dog did not. It stopped, stayed where it was and barked. The boy reached a bigger puddle and stared at the reflection.
It was a reflection of a house, that looked burnt and there was somebody standing in front of it.
The boy raised his head, and was visually horrified by the image.
He gathered courage and went nearer and that person turned his head to look at the boy. Both of them were motionless for a moment.
The person looked up into the sky, and pointed to the smoke, then the house. The boy walked to the person, and held his hand.
That person felt a spark and took back his hand, and as he was looking at it, the soot was no more in the place where his hand was held.
The person was astonished.
The person touched the boy’s forehead with his fingertips, and the darkness on his fingertips disappeared.
The boy signaled the person to follow him.
The person was initially reluctant, but he did slowly walk away from the burnt house. He ventured into the grasslands and started sprinting in excitement.
He found the boy and the dog along the way.
The fresh air filled the person’s lungs and it felt like he was breathing freely for the first time in ages.
As three of them ran towards the rainbow the gloominess of the person was shedding away.
He felt like a bright ray of sunshine that cut through the dark clouds.
He started seeing the rainbow, with the colors.
They continued running till they reached the edge of a cliff.
All they could see from there was clear ocean waters that spread in to the eternity.
The boy and the person took a deep breath and sharply looked at the horizon.
Then looked at each other and shared a smile.
The darkness on the person had fully worn off.
The person was the boy.
They closed their eyes and jumped off the cliff, as the wind brushed against the hair, they slowly opened their eyes.
They were flying over the clouds, and into the rainbow, and in to the light.
The sunlight entered his room through the split between the drapes and tried to wake him up by lighting up his eyelid.
He woke up, with a sense of complacence on his face. Something felt right from within. Like he was born again or like he found something or someone that was lost. He realized the grit that was within, that was fueling his will to create.
He got up, walked to the balcony and embraced the silence and sounds of nature.
The nothingness and everythingness of the world, he could sense it.
With his eyes wide open and hopeful, he looked away into the skies.