I remember trekking up the hills with my home in a backpack, and a little instruction manual on how to assemble it that I knew by heart. That I remember, is marvelous, because this story is from the time I used to have expectations, and I do not quite expect myself to remember that time.
I went there looking for stars to lie under because when I turned 16 and heard that the sky knows no limits, ma’s Mukaish chunni that I had been lying beneath suddenly seemed a little too small. But clouds could never obstruct ma’s chunni, and I don’t know why I thought the same for the sky.
The first few nights were gorgeous, they were the ones on which I do not remember blinking. But soon enough the lights in the sky shut down one after the other the way the streetlights of my city do when dawn breaks. When dawn breaks, but maybe clouds and stars don’t care for that. I still stayed. I stayed still, staring into the same nothingness that used to smile at me mysteriously from between Delhi streets. The nothingness I had run from, at least it was full of voices of the people I love…
If you have ever heard a fresh stream bubble over rocks and pebbles, you would know how a heart sounds like when it breaks. A swift shatter easily lost amongst crisp burbles. I know, because now every time I move, from my chest I can hear a brook. The damned nothingness started to heave inside of me and it was now, when it maliciously pumped blood through my veins, that I realised it was in me and so it was in Delhi streets and mountain skies.
This doesn’t mean I have stopped looking for places where I do not feel the void, but since that day I have only laughed when Ma opens the door wearing a yellow chunni over a navy blue suit, and runs to check if someone left a tap open every time I walk in.