I have been walking in the rain. I have looked out the window for signs of storms, and I have spotted the skies come alive with monsoons. That is when the heart is made glad, for in the possibility of a downpour there always comes the probability of new poetry forging itself on the anvil of the soul. This is what I tell my friend. She does not believe me, or at best she thinks I am on a suicidal course. She will not visit my grave, says she, for if she can not have the living me for a companion, she will not have a dead me to grieve over. I laugh, for I know she cares. She screams back at me, and when I invite her to join me in a rain dance, she says no thank you and walks out the door of the heart. Outside, it is the thunder trying to sing. As she stalks off, I watch her. In her anger, she reminds me of the great commotion which sometimes descends on Olympian heights. A gleam comes to her eyes when she is angry with me. It is the gleam that presages the arrival of tears. There are times when she lets the shower pour in the bathroom as she weeps copious tears. She does it, again, in anger. That is the way she loves.
It is an evening of darkness as I wend my way into the heart of the city. The willingness to be lonely, the readiness to be sad, all come alive in me. No, there is no rain dance. One does not dance alone. And music comes into the soul when the loved one swivel in fury in the storm and in the thunder. My friend, sad at home because she can not locate me….and I can not be located because I will not tell her where I am headed…..is caught between calling me over or telling me to make an exit from her life. I know she will not do the latter. But, as the drops of rain begin to strike the road and I pray for more darkness to envelop the heart, I understand the immensity of the degree to which I miss her. There were mugs of coffee once, in times of innocence. There were meetings once, there where we both went into a post-mortem of literature. We go, even in these days of excruciating banality, to the department of English to link up with people who once taught us, and teach us still in a broad manner of speaking. Together, we are the center of the world. Alone and away from each other, we are fragmented worlds of experience. When a tear falls from her eyes, it is a world that comes close to collapsing. In that solitary ride in the rain, I hope separately she is not in tears. She will not tell me she cries. But I know she does.
The storm inside me never subsides. It blows away all the butterflies, all the lilies of the pond, and all the dreams of glory when it comes. But do you know that every storm is a necessary part of me, that little bit of life’s chaotic shades which tells me I must break everything, break my heart before I can reconnect with the heart in one who waits for me at the periphery of monsoon? Yes, she waits. She will wait for a lifetime because there is the world of the convention that comes between her yearning for a waltz in the moon-touched rain and her desire for me to read poetry to her. We read Neruda once. Once, on a night of summer stars, we played at being Aeneas and Dido. But we have not come by our Carthage. We keep searching. As I browse through the books in the shop from where I do not return without a renewed temptation to be part of the world of light, I know that there is darkness sweeping me up, and sweeping her up, in its wildness. There is a macabre charm in the dark. There is murderous excitement in being part of the dark. This is why I leaf through the book in my hand, enter its field of the unreal even as I penetrate the depths of loneliness in the black hole drawing the universe in. And then I walk out into the storm. Monsoons must be walked in. They do a couple of things to the soul. They stab at it and rekindle in it the helplessness of being lonely. And they remind it that for gloom to be made captivating, a ceaseless load of rain is imperative.
There are landscapes that take on life in the depths of the rain. And in the wastelands of the mind, you tend to find meaning, loads of it, in the meaninglessness of the universe. In the downpour, then, I go traveling all through the cosmic patterns-colliding into asteroids, bumping into blazing stars, and sweeping by long-dead planets. I am in search of things elusive. People do search for things not within their grasp, don’t they? I am in that class of individuals who dream on, forever sailing across the seas of the soul. Sometimes I would like to be Ulysses. But where’s my Telemachus? And where’s the kingdom I would like to bequeath to him? Ah, a man in search of God, in quest of nirvana, has his kingdom grafted in his aging heart. So let it be with me. I pass into the ring of Saturn and do not wish to return to earth. I think of songs on the emptiness of Jupiter.
It is late when I follow the watery tracks back home. My friend calls and, camouflaging her feelings of fear and anger, asks if I am all right. How can I be, with that lightning burning up the mountain paths leading to her valley? As the wind rises, and the leaves on the trees are once more startled into a state of terror, she shoots warmth my way. I have dreams of her in the dark. And I lose her in the nightmare of dawn.