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River Ride

The ride across the river soothed him. There was something in the gentle flapping of the sail, and in the way the prow cut through the still water that eased the clamor in his soul. The river flowed around him like his dreams at night, lazy and indulgent. He looked at the horizon and thought of the love he had lost, found and was in the process of losing again. The sky looked like a painter’s canvas waiting to be filled with the fluffy figures of clouds, transformed by experience.

He wondered where he was going wrong. Had he not said the right words? Was he not trying to do the right things? Was his habitual silence to be interpreted as indifference and coldness at best and even malice at worst? Was it hard to see that it would be the same on this side of the mirror too? But then he had always misunderstood relationships. Invariably, he would be caught on the defensive unable to put his point across. Inevitably, he would succumb to what was being said and thrown in his face like a dirty shower of autumn leaves, dried and aged. It was an endless circle of poignant pain.

The boat executed a slow turn around a bend. A bird flew overhead calling for its lost mate mirroring his quest. The trees on the bank stood like wise old men conferring over some important detail not understood by life. He ran his fingers through his hair and was reminded of a similar action from the past. How different things were then! Everything was new and innocent. The shape of things experienced could be caught in the hollow of the palm like an earthen lamp aglow for a festive evening. Nothing was to be lost but there was everything to be gained and stored in the form of burnished memories.

Now on the horizon he could see his approaching destination. The time had come again. Should he follow the path laid down by his heart…or by his mind? Once before he had followed the path laid down by his heart and had thought he had succeeded. But that path had been a disguised circle and he was back to where he had started. He wondered idly whether life was a series of concentric circles arranged to look like the ups and downs of a mountain road. Everybody came back to the same point in the end. Perhaps it was only perspective that changed, not the path.

The boat bumped gently against the jetty and people gathered at the gangway and jostled to be among the first ones to get off. Yes, he thought, the time to face the truth had come again.

6 responses to “River Ride”

  1. Mermaid says:

    “The boat executed a slow turn around a bend. A bird flew overhead calling for its lost mate mirroring his quest. The trees on the bank stood like wise old men conferring over some important detail not understood by life.”

    I love the way Nature hears you, mirrors your longing and confusion.

    Should head or heart win? I still say heart, but that’s not surprising, coming from me, is it? I’m not sure if one can “succeed” in matters of the heart. One can only send their love, and hope the wind will carry it to the right person.

    Bizarre how I just put up a post about sailing and the horizon, though from a different perspective.

  2. transience says:

    filled with imagery and the little nuances of movement. i like how you make this work.

  3. anil says:

    Mermaid: yeah, that is true, one cannot always win in the matters of the heart….but then I keep hoping all the time…an incurable optimist in the garb of a cynical pessimist…

    transience: thank you!

  4. Wow this is an amazing blog…Loved being and would like to visit you more ofter (inshallah)

  5. finnegan says:

    Anil, this is a richly languid and translucent reverie of time and emotional experience you’ve distilled. The reader glides along water en route from a recent bitter past that plays havoc with much sweeter but distant innocence. The memories of the past are kidney punch not only to his present state, but the future that seems headed (fated) to a shore that is even less sure than the river itself.

    This is first-rate writing—one of the best things I’ve read on any blog yet.

    You deserve an octopus hug for this. If only I had 6 more arms to offer!

  6. anil says:

    Nasra: a warm welcome to you here…thank you so much for all your wonderful comments…loved reading them!

    finnegan: wow..wow! what can I say? such nice words you say about my words..dont know if they deserve such high praise…I woudn’t mind that octopus hug…not at all! thank you so very much..I shall treasure your words…

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