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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

THE DRAGONFLY By Sobhan Pramanik

THE DRAGONFLY
By
Sobhan Pramanik

Like always I was sunk into my old cane chair; the varnish from its handle faded to pale brown and the jute windings on its backrest, thinned; with its floral pattern now appearing to be a mesh of tangled sewing threads. With my head dropped back on the shoulder and a small red cushion crushed to the canes under my weight at my waist, I gaze at the wall ahead of me. Every time I shift to sit up straight with the cushion sliding further down on my back, the timber of the chair creak like a person cracking knuckles. Timid yet distinct.


I had been admiring the wall since long. One may even call it to be my favorite part of the house. But today it was the dragonfly on the veranda windows, with its broad head making repeated knocking at the panes and the buzz of its translucent wings going at about a tremendous frequency with the day light caught in it split into shades of seven vibrant colors, disrupting my focus on the wall. Its long pointed tail, green like a grassy thorn, wistfully dancing to the flutter of wings as it knocks and knocks on the shut windows for me to open up and let it escape into the garden down below.   



I try to ignore everything: the continuous knocking, the buzz of the wings and the tail wagging and focus on the wall, something that had been my center of admiration for long. It was today that I no longer met the wall with a praise in my heart. A line of crack caught my eyes as a millipede crawled into it, dragging its tubular body with alternate contractions on the rough of the wall. It was the first time I figured out that my favorite part of the house was no longer a wonder. The wall distinguishing my bedroom with the living, the mauve paint of which I admired glistening to the scatter of sunlight on it every new morning as the sun steadily rose up the clear white eastern sky, was no longer worthy of delight. Its silky paint has lost its shine. Patches of color have come off at places revealing the layer of brick and cement behind it. In the eaves fluttered mesh of cobwebs to the slowly moving electric fan. Beside the crack to where the millipede just receded, was another broad crack, like the opening of the earth during drought, running high up to the ceiling from behind the wall hangings in a dull wooden frame laden with dust. They comprised of pictures of my father guiding me walk my first steps, my baby pink foot pressing against the lawn with patches of short, green grass rising through the spaces between my toes. In the other frame was dad in a shiny tuxedo holding onto mom, as she with the drape of her orange chiffon saree fluttering from the edge of her shoulder, pose in intense for the photograph. There were many other frames deciphering the tale of my growing up playing in the garden lawns or my parent’s courtship, with their love and togetherness neatly captured behind frames with glass casings that had turned hazy to the layer of grey dust that had settled with time.

It was not this wall that I had met with such joy and spend hours flung in the cane chair looking at it in admiration. It was not one day that was responsible for the morose that had taken over it. It was a prolonged process, like the decay of littered leaves before it vanishes into the soil. For years the wall withstood the wrath of time that faded the purple tinge of the paint it was coated with. For decades it withstood my neglect or an overpowering admiration that made me overlook the opening of the cracks. For months a tiny spider had salivated thin strings to contribute to the network of cobwebs that it is today. I wonder why I didn’t pay any heed to the decay of something, I loved so much.

A feeling of disgust overpowers my patience. I hated myself for bringing the wall to a point where I no longer enjoyed its elegance. On one side was my distorted favorite lamenting before my ignorance in cracks and cobwebs and on the other was the knocking of the dragonfly. I couldn’t take any more as I sprang up the chair to free it of its captivation, of its desperation to escape into the endlessness of nature. The buzz of its wings seeming intolerable.
I walked to the window and pushed it open. In a sharp whistle of its rapid going wings, it flew out of the window down into the growth of wild bushes alongside the trimmed lawns. It flew through them before disappearing into the hedges of sunflower. The bright yellow burst of its flowers standing out with a radiant glow in the mid-morning light.

Soon it was silence that stood around me in absolute command. Not the still silence but the serene ones. Waft of cool breeze blowing into my face brought to me the various scent from the garden. Sparrows muttered in monotony on the branches of lemon tree. Drops of dew on its leaves vanishing to the streaming of the sun rays. Clouds glided merrily across the white sky, like waves in a tide. Far in the garden, beside the compound walls, stood the gardener in the shade of the lemon tree watering the grasses. Their blades bathing to the sprinkle of water, shine like newly opened leaves. Somewhere a stray dog barked. A vehicle honked. The wind pulled stronger. Scent of the grasses turns even more prominent.

There was so much around to be happy about than pondering in grief over the lost charm of the living room wall. Somewhere I believe that life is like that dragonfly. There is always a knocking somewhere waiting for us to acknowledge so that it may lead us to a world of freedom, peace and serenity. But we happen to bounded so much by pleasures of living that we end up overhearing the knocking of life. Had the window not been pushed open to the desperation of the dragonfly (to life’s calling), I would have missed out on the tranquility that lies outside that window. I would have remained locked in some kind of unhappiness for the lost charm of that living room wall. A charm that wasn't meant to last forever…

Little bit of alertness can bring to us the joy, nothing materialistic can match up to.  

Authored by - Sobhan Pramanik.  

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