Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aurore’a Borealis.

Men, they say, are prudent, and shall choose nothing but logic. Men, they also say, are impudent, to blind themselves from the possibilities henceforth. And well that is quite understandable. I’m the only one in Cierra who’s ever tasted the fruit of education, and believe you me; it’s a fruit that runs as much spleen, if not more, than the one that doomed the naïve’ Eve to livelong misery. Inarguably all, have a penchant for pieces that fit, for an equation derived from another, for the concept of evolution of something from an another something, and the idea of the slightest misfit is almost revolting. Faith has always been consumed by logic; and my story is just another story of the many, that talk of this untenable shift.

The miniature boats of the Eastern Lands, all bound to a huge single mass by rusted links that made rude creaking noises as each boat pulled the one behind it, and the two on either sides, while the one ahead hauled itself forwards; it was difficult to tell which pulled which, but then I never claimed the Cierrians to have brains enough for an intelligent formation. The boats, made of wood from the neighboring forests weren’t masterpieces either. The wood, to say the least, had quite an affinity for the waters, and was inviting enough to let them pass and drain a decent quarter of the regular boat. The only relief, if any, were the absolutely still waters of Panay, in which the hundred something boats and the thousand something natives, sailed.

I pulled out the silver dial from the left pocket of my voile cloak. Another hour of inexplicable foolery. Sigh.

Cierra has always been the land of mystical fables, and not only have the lands seen them twist and bruise when tossed from one tongue to another, but also seen them burl the feeble minds of its men; Cierra has not once known to have had a rather tragic tale. Legend has it that the first of the twenty nine Ohiaos of Cierra was the wise man who chose the wooden axe over the rest and was hence rewarded; clearly the storytellers here never realize where to draw the line. Men at Cierra are not quite the shrewd lot, or probably even sane to the world outside, but then they don’t need to be for the days are consumed cultivating grapevine and nights spent trading it with the Southern men. All can read and write though, but only things already known to the lands; that have too-oft been talked about to need any reading or writing, least of all, in vernacular. The men know all of love though, and its labyrinths, and the fine process of nurturing it carefully lest it rots and is lost forever. Grandpa says love is the white light, and only when you spin the wheel of a million unfathomable human emotions, with an intensity and vigor beyond immediate control, that immaculate love shall show, as simple and as entire as the white light. He thinks so, but I’m not quite sure if he knows so. I’ve spent the better half of my teens studying the sciences in Texas University, and none of my experiences all those years suggest anything, even remotely close to the concept of love that Grandpa so proudly endorses. I wish he knew what around the bent world lives on the other banks of Panay, how man has conveniently sided with the legions of the Satan and has devoted himself to Him and His vices, that Man no more remembers how to Love, but only to abhor, and how the Sun that lights those vile-vile lands brings forth a day, each day, of soul-stirring agony. I wish he only knew…

“Ay, drink mate?” It was the farmer from the boat on the immediate left.

“Thanks, but I think I’d pass” I smiled.

The farmer returned to his wife who sat rather sore in a boat that hardly had room for two, and this one carried three, that’s if we’re counting the cherub sleeping blissfully under the lady’s gown. Yes, the Cierrians do have strange ways with babies. The family looked rather content; the couple looked in their late thirties, both stout, both exceptionally brawny, and both, balding. Yet, happy. And that’s just the thing that makes me detest my men, and essentially Grandpa for patronizing all with fancy concepts that serve as a convenient refuge in a time that rather requires immediate trials, for stripping them of their aspirations and hence exterminating the slightest hint of progress in the lands. I remember having talked about it to Grandpa once, who dismissed it suggesting I’d know more in good time. But, would I, ever?

The silent night filled with the sound of hollow drums, there was no tune to it, but random reverberations that thence echoed from adjoining mountains and so the thuds from a dozen drums multiplied to make what sounded like a single, unbroken harmony. I checked the dial again…about time…

“ Laa re’ Ohiao!” shouted all to the empty skies.

I saw Grandpa stand up on the far end of the fleet. He’s pretty much done with his years, my grandfather; and a rather public rumor has it that the high numbers have reduced him to being barmy, and that he proposes the strangest remedies to the most trivial crisis, but that’s just a rumor; and an Ohiao never runs out on them. I’m not very fond of him and his ways though, to me, he’s just another haughty old man who can’t even thread a needle.

“I don’t stand here to grant no direction, Cierrians!” he pronounced, in a tone so gruff that it betrayed his years, “for there lies no direction; better, or worse. For all we can do as men, is wander, and wait for The Lights to find us!”

The stagnant streams of Panay shuddered to the clamors of a thousand men. Men and women stood up; children held precariously on raised shoulders, all to watch the wise Ohiao unfurl the route to the divine find. The Ohiao delivered a very pregnant pause, not quite to entertain doubts or any suspicions, for none have ever been received or expected from the Cierrians, but probably for a prolonged applause or even an ovation if the mob be ecstatic. And so did he receive, and how. I don’t appreciate him being much of a show-off either.

“The Aurora waters shall rain in no time my men, and The secrets be told this night; a night the first Cierrian longed all eternity. Let all rejoice, perform the dances and intoxicate the joyful Souls to utter foolishness”

I don’t remember the last time I’d heard anything this preposterous. Not only was the whole eerie feel to it so supremely bogus, but also revolting to any self respecting individual. But the Ohiaos’s utterance with shocking convenience immuned the shamness of the claptrap words to any further contemplation by the Cierrians, who cheered and applauded even if the words never reached them over the noise of the drums. Fools!

“The Aurora song!”

Mammoth silhouettes at the far end of the fleet began to bang onto gigantic hollow barrels with a new found vigor, drowning the pre-existing thumping of the drums, for the music that now flowed with the cold airs was far more raucous and intimidating. Alcohol in cups, giant-mugs and even wooden drums, began with its usual rounds across the boats, to do what it does best, to men who had the most insatiable appetite for it. The ships rocked hence and forth, with the aproportioned weight of wasted boogying men and women, all intoxicated on grape wine and the wondrousness of the paranormal night.

“Care not for the feeble, for no spirit is so” said the Ohiao, eyes hard bent onto the farmer’s wife on my left, who was rocking her baby to sleep against her bosom, “It’s a journey to be embarked upon alone, quite like the one we all shall, one day, after The Great Sleep. Let not temptation bind you.”

The mother, after a moment that perhaps ran a million doubts and endless rounds of deliberation, smiled, and resigned to the situation stoically. She placed her baby carefully on the centre of the cold wooden plank that served as seating, and like all other women, pulled-up her gown from the hem of the skirt, and whirled around ecstatically, singing The Aurora Song.

“Au-ro-re’-aa Au-re’ naa laaa
Au-ro-re’-aa se deee, aamaa..”

The mantra gained tempo at an incredible rate, all; the dancers, the drummers, the near pass-outs, the Ohiao, joined it; and the jingle, with the clamors and the hoarse music of the barrels, seemed to uncannily fit the mood of the mystical night.

I wasn’t party to the foolery though. The initial infuriation had now mellowed to utmost hilarity, watching black stout drunk men and beefy scruffy women dance irrepressibly with no moves and technically to no music, was quite a treat. The hubbub continued to agitate the peace of the night, and just when I thought things couldn’t get more bizarre, an outrageously nasty sight caught my eye.

The Ohiao with three other men, and a woman, all stripped to their skin, spinned around hysterically, with arms extended out to the black skies, eyes shut, and lips still mouthing the Aurora song. I, though armed with absolute hostility for any scene this bizarre, couldn’t help but feel the airs fill in with the magic, a sensation that I doubt any words in any tongue could ever surmise. And the magic only grew. The dances were no more being performed, the barrels sang though, and all men; shirts unbuttoned, and women; ungowned, spinned unsteadily to the beat. Many missed steps, and even fell, only to stand up again, and do what was to be done- spin and sing, spin and sing. There was no shame to be taken, not in the nudity, or in the utter foolishness that the Ohiao suggested, for there is no shame from Him.

“Au-ro-re’-aa Au-re’ naa laaa
Au-ro-re’-aa se deee, aamaa..”

A ripple cracked at the right end of the fleet. The disturbance spread out swiftly, birthing undulating circles that grew in diameter as they travelled out, only to fade eventually, and mother similar impressions, doomed with a similar fate. The waters splashed hard against the inferior woods, swaying the boats wildly which in no time broke out of formation. None of the thousands seemed to have noticed though, or probably didn’t care for it in the slightest. All they knew the time required of them was to spin and dance sincerely, inviting the Gods, and even death seemed like a fair trade for it.

“Au-ro-re’-aa Au-re’ naa laaa
Au-ro-re’-aa se deee, aamaa..”

It was then that I saw it happen. At first I thought something had spilled from one of the boats, but the effect was far too incredulous for that. The chief watercourse seemed to have been marched into by thicker streams that ran fluids of varying colors; colors not the usual ones, but odder and more brilliant. The streams swiveled and turned as they swam through the clear waters, only to smash into one another and form wider and more compulsive currents, which tinted the river with strange, radiant dyes. And in no time, the once still and translucent waters of Panay achieved an overpowering rate, throwing its waters rash over the Cierrian boats, all dressed in the loudest colors. I remember Grandpa once mentioning about a palette more colorful than The Ribbon of Seven, this could quite be it..

“The Aurora!! The Aurora!! It arrives!!” cried an old hag frantically, hands hard cupped against her bewildered mouth, eyes running unobedient emotions, saggy hands wide stretched towards the skies..

Reality hit me. It wasn’t the waters or the streams that the magic dwelled in, they were merely carting it; mediating between the inaccessible lumber rooms and the juvenile human mind, having endured a lifetime of absolute stagnancy, only to break away and do, what had probably been ordained for them since ages unlived. It was the opposite direction altogether. It had always been the skies....

I looked up. The elaborately hued streams that moments ago frequented the gushing rivers below my feet, now danced blissfully in the dark skies above, slithering in and out of the shadowy clouds, and into each other, changing in appearance and contour every few seconds. The luminous beams lengthened from one end of the horizon to another, illuminating each fraction of the picturesque valley, in colors that never before served the human eye. The night, all of a sudden, turned effortlessly divine.

The Cierrians didn’t forget to sing the Aurora song though, or to spin around naked in all insanity; the drummers didn’t discontinue the music either, there are roles they know men are to play in life, and not even a night as significant as this , calls from them to quit so.

Miniscule blotches of gleaming colors structured in the higher skies above. Ravenous smiles stole the faces of most Cierrians, who spinned and sang slower now, all in absolute awe of the vista they had awaited all life…it was there and then, and it was happening…the Auroras were going to rain! The dots grew larger and heavier each passing moment, the lights above shone with all their brilliance, and men and women, bedazzled at the sight and at their Luck, spinned around unclothed, desperate to soak each drop of the Aurora rains with their dry starving skins.

I felt my eyes scorch and leak in disbelieve, my hands unbutton my shirt, the Aurora song escape my trembling lips…

The Tradition had only begun.


Suchreet said...

some1 recommended that i read this.. clapping..

Rohit said...

same here...very well written..

mayank said...

a prodigy as they say..well done:)..