Imagine a narrow road. With flickering lamps from a different age. Gingerly placed atop tall posts. Shadows against the sky. Just before their daily demise at the hands of the morning light. Night into day. A cross fade. Like it does in black and white films. Stretching uphill into a horizon gradually coming to life. Its silver beginning to make its presence known. The dew washed cobblestones rubbing their eyes. Stretching sideways. Waking up. Becoming aware of the dawn light caressing them. Aslant. The road paved in silver. A feast of glitter. A scene that started like a silhouette as in shadow plays and gradually discovered its own identity as the dawn made way for the first rays of the sun. And the sounds of the morning. For which I find I am responsible. Though I know not how. Or why. I cant for the life of me choose the sound track. The effects. I know that for continuity’s’ sake I need the horse drawn milk cart. What with cobblestones and flickering lamps. But I keep hitting the wrong buttons. Loud honking trucks and cars in a hurry. The cycles and the morning joggers with their dogs running beside them. Clearly a confused set of cues. In the midst of this growing irritation I am stopped dead in my tracks by a falling body. Just like that. With not a single tall building in sight. This being a small town at the edge of the world where the strictest of architecture laws prevail. One plus one. That’s it. A ground floor and a first floor. Tiled roofs. Wood and earth. So where did this thing this body fall from? Nothing to be done. Since nobody else seems to have noticed anything amiss. I stop in my tracks. Go over to the body. White. Completely covered in a body suit made up of a fabric I do not recognize. Familiar but not known. Bend over it. Gently straightening its twisted wings. Lifting the weight of the torso to free the left one. The legs are splayed and need straightening. The feet bare. Showing signs of burns. I cradle the body in such a manner that the face and head are leaning against my chest as I sit on the road. The narrow one that walks into the horizon. The one with cobblestones. No longer silver. The sun having seen to that. I notice the face. The shut eyes. The nose. The mouth. The ears. Something tells me I have seen this person with the wings before. Not in a dream. Nor in a painting. Elsewhere. But I cannot remember where. I see no visible signs of injury. The breathing is gentle. So I know he is alive. I touch the forehead. Then gently try and open each eye with my fingers. I notice that the first one has a vivid dream playing under the eyelids. Compelling. Grand. Evocative. I shut it hurriedly. Feeling a sense of guilt. Like I am intruding. I slowly open the other eye. Recoiling like you would from an electric shock. Burning my fingers and being thrown backwards by the force of a shattered dream. The eye behind the eyelid was raging. In fury. Destroying everything that had been evocative. Grand. Compelling in the other eye. Dream into nightmare.
On that dark and moonless night a restless and invisible moon flitted from one tree to another. Seeking absolution.
That same night. Under a cloak of darkness. The angel shed the weight of his wings. Deciding to run barefoot. So as to make a hurried escape.
Elsewhere. A man punished for something he had not done. Condemned to a life of imprisonment. No longer wishing to count the days. The woman sat patiently. Waiting at the window. Staring at where the moon had once resided. Where all that now remained was a black hole in the sky.
Naveen Kishore, publisher Seagull Books and photographer.
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