23 June, 2009

The Pit Stop

The gull opened out its wings and glided into the sea breeze. The flight was as graceful as a swan and my eyes followed his flight completely fascinated. The wind ruffling my hair carried to the ears stray words of a song from a radio playing somewhere.

Der se leheron se kamal sambhale huey mun ka....
Jeevan taal me bhatak rahan re tera hansa....
O hansini, meri hansini, kahan ud chali....
Mere armanon ko, pankh lagaaakey, kahan ud chali...

Kishore Kumar, Zahreela Insaan, automatically the mind started processing the information. Is this a co-incidence or what… the flying bird, the song everything just fitted in? The wind died for a moment & the words bobbing on the ear tapered off. The bird too was now lost from sight. It’s a wonder how nature links up events and displays them for you. One only has to look with the eyes of the heart and mind. Both of whom always relaxed at this spot. I could see and feel better by just being here. There was a time in my life when one would find me sitting here, often. Offlate that had not happened. The spot though had not changed much and it still had the same effect on me. I looked on.

Some gulls were flying in pairs, skimming the waters and squawking loudly. They seemed like couples well into their marriages arguing and talking at the same time; almost human. There were human signs too. An endless stream of people were walking across to a monument right in the middle of the sea. From this distance the path used by them was not visible and they seemed to be walking on water. A smile tugged my lips as the gaze moved from across the sea & halted at the marble white monument. It was sitting right in the sea linked to the mainland by a thin rocky causeway. Those walking across, were devotees of the Saint (Pir) Haji Ali, the monument was the Dargah built and named for him. From here they looked like colorful ants crawling to a huge sugar mound. The mosque was sparkling white against the sky and horizon and did seem to be made up of white candy.

This monument is unique to Bombay (Mumbai now) and makes it a landmark to be preserved by the Archeological Society of India. I loved the sight and the spot where I sat now. It was not just the sea or the mosque or the signs of people and their faith but a seeming confluence of all spirits that converged at this spot. I had a curious sense of being very alive, every single time I sat here, like now, looking out facing the sea. The mosque was in my peripheral vision and was far enough to not have the huge crowd around me. It was the wrong side. When I turned the other way I could see the Annie Besant road and its traffic. Fast moving cars, interspaced with the crawling BEST buses and even some stray horse driven carriages and two wheelers zipping about. These were chased by enthusiastic mongrels on the road for some distance until they ran out of bark and breath. The manner in which these curs returned from their chase had the signs of victorious warriors coming home after a hard fought battle. For a while they sat with heaving chests and foamy lips and once the breathing returned to normal the yipping and chasing started again.

Beyond me in the shade on the same long winding promenade were the lovers. Not one pair but many, some couples clinched up in embraces so fierce that even the sea breeze wouldn’t pass through them; another sign of love and life. Nothing cooled their ardor, neither the stick wielding cops nor the unpredictable sea that in some moments of spite would lash out on the rocks and spray all with sparkling foam and brine. The sea reflected all the moods of those who passed by at different times of the day. The naughty saucy mood of the lovers in those mischievous splashes. To the passionate fervor of the devotees crossing in it’s bubbling. An icy calm and restlessness of the senior citizens who walked on the promenade with aids, to the friskiness of the urchins who jumped about playing on the rocks and jumping in to avoid the heat. The waves rose higher when the heavens split and couples fought , it was mystic how the sea sensed all the emotions around it and played them back, or was it the other way around? Had not quite figured that out yet.

From here have observed the sea in all its myriad moods from sunrise to sunset. This place has seen me over many moons, at times in company but largely alone. This was my space in this city, the one wherefrom I communed with the elements and restored my balance. It soothed and charged me up at the same time. Whether on my way to work or coming back from it, even the times when I simply passed it by, a sense of peaceful calm would settle over me. I have never been able to articulate exactly what the place meant. If one would still persist on an explanation then it was & is, a pit stop for refueling the soul just off the main track, a slight detour from destiny.

12 comments:

veena said...

Dainty ! liked it. Man has all those things inside him which he doesn't want to peek... but outside of him, wants everything to seek ! the sea, the breeze, the mountains...god said to Man,'For you to play...have these !'.

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

That is saying it quite well Veena..Bingo...on the button

Sudhir said...

Nice, you were able to take me back to Worli, Haji Ali and Mumbai, thanks.

Can I ask you write about the upcoming Mumbai rains.

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Thanks Sudhir,

Yup the monsoon mania will strike me too...but ek baar total bheegna zaroori hai...once that happens then the piece would automatically write itself

dotcomgirl said...

Lovely post...different from your other ones though.

Have you ever been inside the Dargah? Have always wanted to but havent yet!

Nilesh said...

:-) Thats exactly how i used to feel at Marine Drive during my days in Bombay. You have given words to my feelings. You can sometimes never find a reason but some places make you come back over and over again!

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Thank You DCG...Yes, I have been inside the Dargah many a time...initially for the curiosity later because of the peaceful place it is...now I believe they are doing it up..a restoration.

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

True Nilesh, its a special connect..

pradnya said...

Really well written!!!!

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Thanks Pradnya...

Evelyn said...

Very well expressed Kau..this is amchi mumbai right? Brought back many a memories of mid 80s visiting specially Colaba.. Marine Drive along with my late brother. Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose..

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Yes Evelyn..it is aamchi Mumbai...but seaside promenades are same across geographies...

I like what u hint at about link of memory and wanting to holding on...