Christ, It’s Mars

The sky is huge. You don’t know how huge it is and you will never know. The colours in it are so rich and the clouds make patterns so various that the eye will never stop getting constant nourishment. Sunsets cause the clouds to blush with the deepest red and the rest of the sky turns into an ocean with the deepest blue.

I walk around the bus stop through swarms of people oblivious to both their environment and to each other…each locked inside their own heads. I look at them and suddenly I’m afraid. I know what people can do to me.

The stars. They are white blue diamonds suspended in an impenetrable blackness. Each may be a sun to someone. If you look up at them and wonder whether there’s life in any, there might be someone else looking back, possibly entertaining the same absurd notion.

But people just don’t look up. They chose to look straight ahead instead of up. They wonder briefly – too briefly – and go back to their everyday routine. Emptiness swallows everybody’s heart sometimes and spreads and multiplies like a virus, until everyone of them has learned not to appreciate, love or wonder. Faces become blank, expressionless. Thats what people can do to me. the virus eats my heart too – its black tentacles erasing all that is wonderful and lovely. Thats the society I know. We’ve learnt not to learn…
I watch the vehicles pass by in the bus stop. The headlights are like white bullets against a black road…they pass by in a blur before you can see any detail. It feels as though the bullets are not in the road…maybe its inside my mind…

Thats how I feel like sometimes – as though someone has scribbled graffiti in my heart. Its all chaos and no order. I hoped my bus will turn up soon.

I look up, and thats it. The sky . There was a full moon rising. and above it was this beautiful blob of red light. It was Mars. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but whenever you do you feel all alone and desperate – like the planet itself. I feel like shouting, “Look up everybody! That’s Mars over there!”. Hmmmm. Doesn’t sound too encouraging. Unlike pictures from astrology magazines or romanticized movies, it was so tiny…

My friend showed up. We exchanged greetings and settled to an equilibrium state of watching the white bullets pass by. Silence hung like heavy air. I looked at him. His left profile was illuminated by moonlight – he looked almost ghastly. I couldn’t resist – I showed him Mars. I braced myself expecting a oh-no-don’t-start-again sort of look from him. Or worse – a sharp , piercing “So what?”

Instead, he was surprised and asked whether I was sure. He stared at it for…four, five, six, seven full seconds. Even in the presence of streetlights and white bullets, some of Mars’ terrifying charm reached both of us…..You look at Mars, Mars looks back at you. It’s an unblinking red eye in the sky.

I hoped I could stay with him a little longer, but my bus came. I wished him goodbye and boarded the bus.  There was nothing to do except watch through the window. If you don’t do that you have to stare at blank expressionless faces. I love windows. If you look through them, there are lots of things you can see – if you had an artist’s eye. There are millions of tiny details, textures, patterns, colours…enough to overwhelm anybody who tries to take it all in…and yet no one was overwhelmed.

When I finally reached home, I went directly to the top of the building. You can get a clear view of the sky from here –  not much trees or buildings, but still there were street lights. I sighed. Suddenly, everything went dark – as though someone drew a black blanket over the city. I took a while to realize that it was one of the occasional power cuts. Now, with no power, the only light came from the stars. there were atleast a hundred –  maybe a thousand…more and more seemed to be coming. The sky was beautiful. Life was calling. It was Christmas, after all.


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