‘But there is a storm raging outside.’ I look at the shadow of my grandfather.
‘Yes! There is a storm raging outside and there is all chaos. There will always be a storm raging and there will always be chaos.’ He smiles.
‘But remember Son! Chaos is the fire and ashes from which a phoenix is born anew.
Be the phoenix.
Come to terms with the chaos. Understand it. Know it.
Let it envelop you and seep through you.
Be the tree and let the harsh wind blow through your branches.
Dance with the chaos and sway with the wind.
Ultimately the wind will pass and you will stand proud.’
ROUND – 1: Monday, 7:45 AM
‘Please tie your hair.’ I politely request my teenage daughter, while unlocking the car.
‘I will. Later!’ She replies nonchalantly.
‘You will. Now!’ I muster up a deep bass voice from somewhere.
She looks at me. I look back. We keep on staring at each other. I win. She ties her hair.
I won round one. I am pretty proud of myself.
‘Dreams can either be the most terrible or most wonderful of all experiences, God has ever created.’ The turtle slowly opened his sleepy eyes.
‘Why terrible?’ I was taken aback at the turtle’s response. I thought he was a dreamer like me.
‘Dreams are terrible when they remain dreams. They try to survive by raising their delicate heads and breathing in the air of imagination. But a time comes when they die. And when they breathe their last, they lose their vibrant colors and turn into the grey dust of regret.’ The turtle said, sadly prodding the dry leaves littering the pale grass.
‘But I thought dreams were beautiful things –romance, adventure and imagination.’ I felt my legs weakening and I sat down on the pale grass besides the turtle.
‘Yes they are sometimes beautiful. They are beautiful once they evolve into something meaningful; something which can be cherished and something which can become a legacy. But when you allow them to die, they become the ugly remnants of their former majestic selves. And most of the dreamers do just that – they let their dreams die.’
It is a story of times long gone by. It is the story from ancient Egypt – long before the time of the pharaohs. Rather it belongs to the times when man still worshiped the old gods. The new God came long after. Ofcourse, one can say that man was still exploring and conceiving the idea of God. It is the story of souls becoming creatures – either of the light or darkness.
‘Baba!’ my ten years old son pulls my hand, ‘was it very difficult?’
‘What was very difficult, my dear?’ I smile into his curious dark eyes.
‘Was it very difficult becoming your own father?’
‘Let me tell you a story. A story of the time when God left the house, Devil played the fiddle and the people cried Hallelujah!’
I had separated from the caravan. When I woke up, the camels were nowhere to be seen. Only the steaming piles of their dung and the smoldering fires remained. The sun had risen in the desert sky – it was already midday. A few vultures sat at a distance, watching me with hungry eyes.
The house of God was in order. Bowing angels stood in humble attendance.
Death begged admittance, wrapped within dark shadows.
‘What do you want…..the most despised conception of mine?’ the Godly voice thundered.
‘I want….I want a heart!’ death stuttered.
‘Do you know what’s the problem with what you write?’ my filmmaker friend asked me.
Naqi and I are old friends. He knows me well. I write and sometimes he is kind enough to animate my words.
‘Please enlighten me.’
‘The world needs to be a happier place.’ His voice resonated of exasperation.
‘The world needs to hear happy words. People need to forget the dark side. They need a light at the end of their personal tunnels. But you my friend write only of heartbreak and sadness.’
‘Yeah! I guess you are right.’ I nodded. ‘But this is what I am. I can write of happiness and joy and laughter. But I don’t want to.’