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Friday, December 24, 2010

tears in heaven

It was cold that evening in December but if there had been a thermometer, it would not have been the cold in degrees as we know today. Rather, it was a chill that was thick in the air, a sadness that had enveloped everything. The angels walked about with no cheer, so out of character, their beautiful faces crestfallen and wings drooping. And there was a group of the wisest looking men that sat together, speaking in words solemn that came out of mouths that knew not exactly what to say. The golden streets seemed to have lost their sheen for they lay dull and the bubbling brooks could not flow merrily for everyone was sad. In the big throne sat the saddest of them all, with a countenance that seemed to wish there was some other way things could have been done.

The scene became animated with the appearance of the gentlest of creatures who walked with steps that knew he was leaving soon. His face held a glory unsurpassed by anything a human head could imagine and that glory in an instant drew all about him towards the warm heart he bore inside. Walking straight to the big throne, he appeared to console the greatest of the great. The love between them was impossible to miss. And to the men who were sitting, he gave a smile that seemed to take away the guilt they obviously bore.

For this was Christmas Eve in heaven. And it had come to pass that the light that brings the place alive was bidding them all goodbye. Not because he wanted to go but because he knew he had to. The world below did not yet know that it was soon to play host to the prince of glory, did not know it needed him and would have cared little even if they had known. This was known to him on the throne although the wise-looking men felt they had not done enough during their time on the earth. All they could say to each other, repeatedly, was that they had tried, but each of them felt they might have tried harder. But the Glory on the throne and the brightest star in heaven knew this was not so. That this was to come to pass although everyone wished it were not so.

As he walked about, all eyes followed him. It was a scene that would bring a tear to one’s eye with no words spoken, for every eye was misty and tears flowed freely. The eyes that followed this prince were eyes that said they would gladly change places with him had there been a way to do so. They could not think of tomorrow when he would no longer be there with them; or of the years when he would live like every other mortal soul on earth. And everyone knew there would be pain, suffering and rejection where he was going and they knew he would not deserve any of that.
Yet the glorious man walked, his face showing none of what was seen all about him. The chill had given way to a sad warmth, lighting a fire that would soon go out, the last embers fighting to live for fear of not doing enough for those who needed it so. And when he had passed, he went and wept alone. No man, however glorious, would choose to do what he was about to, even with the knowledge that he needed to. Yet it was love that gave him strength, it was love that could not see a world dying without knowing there was a way.

It was love that brought tears in heaven that first Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Many Moons

The digital clock on the display screen of my rather boring mobile phone showed 4:22 am when I sat up in bed unable to sleep for reasons I have never learned- the third time this week, less frequent than what they used to be. There was a beautiful light in the room and I saw it was the moon, bright and round showing through a slice of my window the curtains did not cover. It reminded me of the two other moon-shines that have so touched me and thought it fit subject for a Christmas blog, this being my third best moon-shine-

First Moon: In a time that seems so long ago it almost feels like a dream. At Shimla through the window of my prefect cubicle, on a cold October night with soft Hindi film music playing through my earphones. There was this beautiful orb of the brightest white light over the Medical College right across the hill from ours and I could see it clearly with my head comfortably on the pillow. To the young teenager with the most romantic dreams and hopes of the brightest future, there could not have been a more beautiful expression of everything the heart feels that the human tongue has not learnt to express. That was the age when one stands at the fork of a road that only showed a better thing after a good one. Unreal were many of the dreams one chose to have and the knowledge of their illusory nature never made one strive too hard to realize them. If someone had then told me I was good at something I did and if I so choose, I could have had some of these dreams come to life in the lifetime to come, I might have believed them. But believing does not necessarily translate into motivation and the hard work it takes for every hope to become substance. But dream we did and the freedom to do that has remained captive to the First Moon phase.

Second Moon: Many Christmases after the first, when life had taught you lessons, some of which you wish you had not learnt came the second moon. It is no wonder I take pains to make my bed comfortable because my ‘moons’ have always been best viewed with my head on the pillow and this one was no different. In a small town a few hours out of Delhi, with the sound of passing trucks and the slow rhythm of the fan keeping me up, the white beauty looking in on my window seemed to want me for company- and she looked so happy that I was awake. It’s clear now that I had only been projecting what I felt to this star that has spoken to generations of lovers, for that night I was truly happy! There had been friends for company, one closer than the others, who was able to make me feel we could rule the world had we chosen to do so. The teenager of the first moon had given way to a woman who liked to think so hard for herself that admitting she was wrong had become the hardest thing she had ever had to do. Education in institutions had taught her what the world thought was right and life seemed to have said she walked the line rather well; mistakes were allowed and had definitely been made. The best thing though was that the head had learnt to point the all-important finger, never realizing three others usually pointed back. By then, one knew what ABBA meant when they sang “slipping through my fingers” and was grounded enough in reality to know she will always be one among a million, never shining bright enough to fill the moon’s shoes any day soon. But still, the heart was content to shine for one.

Third Moon: was last night of course. With many Christmases having been celebrated, there just aren’t many new ways to welcome the season. Every breath a blessing, every mistake my own, every undeserved praise a warm spot in the heart and all the love received, a gesture one never learns to reciprocate quite adequately. One has now learnt it’s not the novel that makes Christmas special. Like the moon that has never tired of making a tired soul happy, that has been the face of a happy heart and the companion for every lonely heart, it’s the miracle of Christmas that makes it special- old but not aged, beautiful because it shines with the hopes, dreams and the actuality of every life it has ever spoken to.