She watches “Frozen” for the umpteenth time and nudges me with a sullen contour asking me to leave her alone. I smile inwardly at the innocent wonder that lives within her; and showing discontent at her repeated viewing of the same movie, walk out. Leave her alone.
I left her alone. That is it. All of us live with our past. All of us allow it to shape our future. But some of us know how to shrug the past. I think that is who I am…….I have plunged into abysmal depths and have emerged scathed and burnt. The scars still appear somewhere; only for my eyes to see. A something boils within rapidly and threatens to blow me up. That fateful night dances about my circumference when Ili had forced me to….to leave her alone.
That is what angels do; they tell us to leave them when it is time for them to mingle in dust. I have shrugged it all away and so I believe Jasper too has. He wags his tail in the same fashion he did on that dark night.
It was the darkest time of the year. When the skies are besot with jewelled studs and icy cold winds knock at every door, as if needing some warmth, so they howl incessantly till we let them in. Sid lounges in the easy chair beside me; sipping wine, while his tongue licks the insides of his jaws. He cherishes these moments when he is back from work with Jasper obediently licking his toe. Sid believes Jasper can read……definitely so…..because every time Sid leafs through the newspaper, Jasper whines as if saying he is still on the same page; looking expectantly as if hanging on to every word.
All this while I snap back and forth from the kitchen, supplying niceties while Ili is glued to the cartoons on television.
I am not an adept story teller, but Sid is, so he calls her every now and then regaling her with stories about weird people he met while returning from work. Sometimes it was a bearded man who asked him if Ili was his daughter. Sid was shocked (showing the horror while he said this), and with a profoundly horrified gesture, he told her that the bearded man wanted to know if Ili had gorged on all the muffins in the pantry. Ili has her gape well registered for stories such as these. She follows Sid’s gaze that has come to rest upon the window as if the bearded man would show up any minute. She beats his chest for scaring her so and hides herself in his huge frame. This moment in time is my sapphire, my blue sapphire, where all else stalls and I’m frozen there.
Soon enough, a disgruntled Jasper is eager for his walk.
“Neena, take him out, will you?
My reverie is broken as Sid’s baritone pierces the stillness of the dark evening.
“And what are you so busy with, apart from the chuckles and weird licking of your jaws, tell me…”
We rant on, mumbling, firing acerbic puns at each other till Jasper has climbed atop the couch, and is hungrily leaping down and ascending his throne and all the while his forlorn, dejected eyes plod me to take him outside. My sapphire is so blue today. Ever since the tempestuous road accident that had almost snatched Ili away from me, moments such as this have a profound impact on my mind and I cherish each one of them like I’m recollecting valuables from the rubble after an earthquake.
I acquiesce and Jasper knows it full well that his wish is fulfilled. Ili too jumps up, flabbergasted as she is after Sid’s stories have driven her insane. But I’m in a hurry and snap at Ili, asking her to stay back with Sid. The clouds would break open any time soon and rains in this part of the city immediately swamp the roads. Ili is inconsolable and Sid is now busy on his call. Perplexed, I charm her with another bowl of her favourite marshmallows. This never fails. So a little less grumpy Ili settles down at my behest.
“I’ll be gone for only ten minutes, sweetheart”, I implore.
“Don’t come back if you don’t wish to……,” Ili snaps back…….I love this sullen Ili rendering sugary complaints.
“I will, my baby, I will come. Jasper, boy, run, or Ili will not have us back”
And as I’m out, in the midst of my favourite haunt, I look at my sapphire, it has never been this blue. I wonder why today, of all days, I feel humbled when I look at my quiet abode, bougainvilleas that arch my doorway, everything lights up like the glow of a hundred diamonds, all put together.
Jasper and I trod along; he, his usual sniffing self is a little uneasy today. Maybe it is the sugary treat Ili has bestowed upon him. My reveried self walks at a brisk pace; I can’t keep Ili waiting for long. There isn’t much traffic today so I can easily go where Jasper saunters. I am almost in the middle of the road when a deafening screech of an engine rushes to me from behind. I’m thrown wildly into the air and land among the wild thorns that seemed to be aghast at this sudden intrusion. I have bruises all over and I cannot breathe. But feel no pain. I see blurred faces bending over, trying to pull me out. Suddenly I’m above all heads. It is strange, to be bleeding, yet not to feel any pain. Am I……?.
I cannot go back home, so I meander among my ruins for a while. I see my sapphire at its bluest and wonder if it has the power to bring me back. I try desperately to wake me up and am hit hard by the memory of the previous accident when I had kissed the sapphire and prayed to let my remaining years be added to those of Ili.
The sapphire heard me right to the point of letting me go into the realm of spirits that are doomed to wander near their loved ones. My wish is done, Ili is safe, without me……..
Sid keeps the sapphire right by his bedside and every night I draw aside the curtains when the blinding blue rays demean the blue of the clear sky. So blue is my sapphire……….