[Photo credit - Nirmala Patil]

Spring has slowly ripened into summer. The earth is moving-in closer to the sun and the air is unbearably humid. Even as we go about our days with sticky skin and fretting minds, the Gulmohar tree bent with flowery clusters, resounds with the Koel’s song. I look out from my window, lured. A sweet respite amidst the sharp heat. And a beautiful reminder to love this world for the songs it sings for us. 

One evening, a new friend comes home. And as with all new things, there’s an unfamiliarity. As we welcome him in, his eyes welcomes us into his heart. We begin talking; he shares himself sincerely and asks questions that makes us want to speak. The unfamiliar slowly melts into comfort and our simple exchange of thoughts turns into a connection. Later, he brings out a tiny packet of sunflower seeds as a gift for our daughter. We plan to buy a large flower pot and sow those seeds. And hope - our evening of connection will sprout into green saplings. 

Love is not always songs and sunflowers. It is also the fog that blinds us and tears that fertile humankind. Every day I read and see stories of people who breathe and live and dream just as I do, being killed. My heart opens up to this big world that is bruised and crying. Right now, a war is raging in Europe. An unimaginable threat of a new world war hangs over us. And I am repeatedly reminded that everything that exists is now. Everything I should do is today. Even if I cannot do much, I can do. So I pray. And choose to love the world today. Because Ukraine is waiting. Waiting for love that can heal wounds.

On the player, a favourite ghazal written more than one and half centuries ago by Mirza Ghalib comes on.

dil hi to hai na sang-o-KHisht dard se bhar na aae kyun 

roenge hum hazar bar koi hamein satae kyun

It's just a heart, no stony shard; why shouldn't it fill with pain 

I will cry a thousand times, why should someone complain?

(English translation from rekha.org)

As I listen to it for a hundredth time, I’m moved yet again. It is as if those personal words born from a profound place of anguish in his heart has travelled through time like a letter sent from the future into the past. All our combined tears of now glinting in his words from before. When the ghazal ends, I am once again in love with the great poet of yesterday, today. 

The moon grows in the sky. Even when you are not looking. Each night, one silver petal after another, blooming into a celestial flower. Look at the moon tonight. Soak up and swallow its dribbling light. Until the minutes are forgotten and the magic seeps into your skin, into your softly beating veins, into your yearning heart. Don’t just take pictures of the moon to post on social media pages. Love the moon tonight.   

In old forgotten gardens, broken steps wait for someone to sit by them. And someday, when a little girl with her untainted eight-year-old heart chooses to perch over it, the fallen pieces offer themselves to hands that always find joy in making art. Soon, small wonky stars appear and tattoo the neglected steps with cheer. Because art is love made visible.

 A little child perched over on a broken step, creating art with chalk on a summer day. [Photo credit - Nirmala Patil]

As I gather all the songs, friendships, wounds, poetry, brokenness, and magic this world offers, the stark sun of this May afternoon slowly climbs up my wall through the gap in the curtains, beaming beautifully. Another reason to love the world today. And everyday.

[Nirmala Patil]

May 11, 2022 — Dipna Daryanani

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