Saturday, 12 July, 2008


I close my eyes and see lush green hillside, deep down way below is the sea. The sea looks grey and misty. Dark clouds have enveloped the sky. Pitter patter the rain starts. He looks out and sees her again. Who is she? Why does she come? Isn't this supposed to be a private domain? As far as he knows the tea garden is fenced. Then how does she enter, surpassing all barriers? He muses while staring at her silently. Too many questions flock his mind. His thoughts continue … is she real or a figment of his imagination? Is she at all aware of him?....... As usual she seemed engrossed searching for something.What is it that she searches for? What is her quest in life?She nods her head sadly; yet again she has not found what she had come searching for. She turns and starts to walk away in the rain and the mist.He feels stifled inside and rushes out. It is raining in torrents now. Yet she is walking in a slow pace as if asking the rain to soak her, to drench her, to feed her thirsty soul. He himself feels rejuvenated in the rain. He stands and watches her glide away. He stands long after she is gone.

Looking out of the window soon became a matter of intense happiness and frustration. Happiness when she was there in his garden, frustration when she was not. Several days he did not look out of the window fearing her absence. But he soon realized she always came, always searching. He longed to ask her what she was looking for. But he was afraid she would not answer him. How did she look like? He did not know. He did know her shape and her form. Sometimes through her eyes he felt he knew her very soul yet he did not know what she looked like. What were her eyes like, he often thought when he was alone. Were they bright shinning with life, laughter and sunshine? Or they sad, dull and lost? Did they reflect her quest? He was not sure; they said too many things in too less a time.What about her? Does she think? What does she think?...

One day while wandering alone she had found this tiny side gate, which was open. She peeped inside, there was no one about, but she could see a well tended garden. She had this urge which was very unlike her, to enter just once and see what the place was like. She entered. It was a beautiful garden. It seemed to her like the end and the beginning of the world—a place where the sky met the land, the mountains rolled into the sea. If there was ever heaven on earth, this was it she concluded. Her shattered soul was in search for peace, the serenity of the place welcomed her, enveloping her in its warmth, giving her refuge, healing her. She felt absolved of all pain. She stood transfixed, letting her senses be flooded with the atmosphere of this place. Suddenly she felt someone else was there too. She turned her head and saw him. He was standing still and unmoving, just like a marble statue. In the mist he looked strange and forbidding. Yet she was not afraid, it was as if this man was also in eternal quest like she was. She sensed this was his place, but she was too engrossed in her self to think beyond. Her tranquility broken she turned away. In her haste she dropped the rose she had in her hand. She sensed him following her in her wake and picking up the dropped flower. Departing her last thoughts were what would he do with the flower? Keep and preserve it or throw it away?

She never thought that she would visit this place again. But the next day her feet carried her there on their own. He was there again watching her silently from the distance. Although she saw him almost every day she never noticed what he looked like. Somehow it never mattered. But she did notice his eyes; they were like the gates to his soul. His eyes were beautiful, shinning with life. Mischief and passion seemed to be burning in his eyes with equal fervor. Some days he came, some days he did not. The days when he did not come she felt a strange disquiet, as if a part of her heart has stopped beating. He never came near her, they never spoke, just sometimes they looked at each other. They both seemed satisfied with that. Sometimes she wondered what he thought of her. She wanted to thank him for letting her come to his garden. But words never seemed adequate or eloquent enough. She was thankful that he never came near her, never asked her who she was, where she came from. But sometimes, just sometimes she had this intense urge to know what he had done with her rose which he had picked up. Somehow her very existence seemed inexorably connected with this. It seemed to satisfy him that she came to his garden, and she was happy that he was there whenever she came.

Who are this man and woman? Such questions would plague any mortal mind. Didn't the man and the woman burn with curiosity? Were they apart from normal human beings, cocooned in their own world away from the madding crowd? Did they ever meet, ever talk, ever become friends and parts of each other's lives? Or did they remain strangers? Strangers? Strange! How could two strangers share a common space with each other day after day and yet be strangers? Could their relationship have a name? Could any name do justice to their relationship? They were strangers in what context? In the standard of the world which stresses too much on propriety and superficiality? Yes maybe in that context they were strangers, they didn't know any details about each other, they didn't know their life story, all the sordid and the gory details, all the tiny prides and the joys, all the sadness and the shattered dreams. They would have most certainly passed each other on the street without a glance. Yes in that sense, they were strangers.Yet, these two connected in a way, even if they never meet, never talk, never share, they are connected by bonds which were beyond and above petty understanding.

Disclaimer: I wrote this years ago for a friend who had put this uo in his blog. One comment which was posted and which I cannot resist putting here goes like this---
"heyy, i am reading RL Stevenson's (the treasure island author) relativley unknown short story called Olalla....about some guy falling in love....written a lot like this. either u r just as good a writer or all guys thing alike in love ! "

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