Dates with a Star

Star Male (T28) at Rajbagh, Ranthambhore. © Santosh Saligram
When I draw under starless skies memories of midday mimes, on sunlit days and a fairy land, the fondly kept tell vivid tales of a deathless date.  For the present is so vast that in it even the past resides.

There was an untanned patch of hallow ground, from which there sprang grass green and brown.  There was a lake clean and white, through which storks and stilts waded and issued.  There was a sky clear and still, and so blue, pale and sans a cloud, that it seemed dead and gone in search of shade from the baleful sun, and you could see right through.

There was the crowing of peacocks, the cackling of lapwings, the muttering of mynahs. Then, without much ado, there was an odd parting of the brush bringing normalcy to a hush.

There was a calming force that threw a spirited punch – the kind that causes quite a stir post-lunch.  There was a yawn and there was a roar, such like the ones heard in lore. And then he rose, and there was a quake in the mind.  Such was his weight that the plates moved sub-terrain.

There was a great walk – a walk that thumped on quietly with many a lesson – a lesson on grace, on gravitas, on throwing the wind at time.  There was a lesson on presence, so acute that you doubted yours all the same.  

There was a rival star, as the sun prepared its daily plunge.  There he was, an oddity of beauty, a monument of grace.  Like a dome of moon-marble pure and white, ambling on four minarets of lissome legs.  

There were dates and there was Star, and little of anything else.  And if the moment’s passing still rankles in the heart, I lament not, for the present is so vast that in it even the past resides with a gentle fragrance when I open the jar…to smell of the times when there were dates with a star.

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