What does ‘Home’ mean to a poet? Definitely not an enclosure of four walls, a roof and a floor, in fact that is not home for anyone! We can make rooms, houses, mansions and even palaces with brick, mortar, wood and stone but home can neither be made materially nor with matters. Instead of complicating the storyboard with theories of incarnations and the nature of home, let us assume for the time being that Poetry is what the word ‘home’ means to a poet. That is to say that unless a poet has found his or her poetry, a poet is never home. Poets without poetry are like homeless refugees, drifting in thoughtless motion. It is only when a poet is one with his or her poetry, the poet is at home, complete! The following is a brief account of how I came to find my home through the help of an angelic guiding star.
This piece is partly inspired by Eternal Spring, a great poem with rich and varied imageries but mostly by its poet Manan Unleashed‘s pure devotion to Poetry! However, the journey detailed below was as much an internal one as it was outreaching in nature. So I must humbly post a cautionary notice to readers here, that if the external features of the event are unduly focused upon, it might result in unwarranted (mis)interpretations. With this out of the way, I dearly hope that you all may enjoy the most memorable event of my life so far.
The late autumn was in full swing, if my sepia memories serve me right. The wind lacked the chill but one could already smell the hint of winter in the air, see his footprints around the edges of a leaf and feel his breath on the dryness of the skin. Being a grey lump of wrinkled flesh and brittle bones, I was preparing for the umpteenth winter of my life, drooling over the changes that mark the end or herald the beginning of a season, more accurately though, I was thinking about their inconspicuous absence from the nature.
I was thinking and feeling amazed at how ruthlessly the cycle of seasons had adapted to human greed and insolence. In the beginning there were six seasons, namely the summer, monsoon, fall, autumn, winter and spring. The first one to succumb was fall, the queen of seasons, as it is known among the natives of the land. She was as majestic as a queen, in many aspects, with those cotton clouds so joyously dispersed across the azure sky. It was the welcome lull between the torrents of the monsoon and the ripeness of autumn. Gradually she was pushed into a tight corner by her cousin sister monsoon. In time the queen was trampled on and made extinct forever. I guess monsoon had her reasons too, as her survival was also threatened by the rise of summer, not his growth though but the scorching barrenness. Once the queen was gone, in a few years summer took over spring, the king, too. Thus the first phase of the industrial uprising was successfully completed by deposing both the king and the queen.
So, the land and his people were left with only four seasons, i.e. the heat and growth of summer, the monsoon, autumn and winter. Though fading with time from the nature and our heritage, autumn still maintained her yellow vestiges among the poets and other devotees of aesthetics. In reality it was just summer and winter that still thrived with a helpless monsoon stuck between her two overzealous suitors. Monsoon had nowhere to go! As long as the vast oceans in the south kept panting beneath the merciless equatorial sun and giving birth to those floating clouds of rain, monsoon had to come. The impassable solidity of the Himalayan range is not going anywhere, so as long as the wind keeps flowing from the south and bring the clouds to their rocky home, monsoon will just have to come along as well. Still, to the eyes familiar with the sharp and equally delicate contrasts of the seasons, the cycle had been transformed into a bi-seasonal year, the summer and the winter, with one part of the summer very dry and the other very wet but both equally hot.
Nevertheless the winter was nigh and the Northwesters had been significantly vicious and devastating that year. The first one of the season was the hardest that had ever hit me in my life, until then. I had to quit my job, lose my family and barely managed to escape with my life hanging from a mere thread. However the calamitous season reminded me of that age old universal truth, troubles that do not kill you can only let you grow stronger. Be that as it may, a winter is a winter, so despite my new found strength and wisdom, albeit painful and cruel too, the chill will not have any mercy on me, back then I thought but little did I know what was in store for me. As I recall now, my mouth still turns sour from the taste of hatred for winter. I hated winter with ferocity. Well but that is only half of the truth. In the beginning I loved winter but not since witnessing how he victimizes the humble folks of the world and creates opportunities for the affluent aliens to bask in the pseudo warmth of their self glorified images of kindness. Let alone the fact that he also keeps me warm by feeding a little life with dried tubers, if I may borrow the words from my ancestral stock.
I realized that I desperately need my home. I knew how my home would look like but I did not have any means to navigate my ways towards it. It was like having the image of a home inside the brain with no information on its address available anywhere in the memory. So far I have tried to steer through with guidance from each and every heavenly body available in the solar system. With the Sun, the Moon and every planet from the Mercury to Neptune, I have followed to find my way back but on every occasion I suffered from a shipwreck. The deadliest one was Venus, undoubtedly. Twice she fooled me and had me killed almost when I followed her treks and got pulled into a swirling whirlpool of dark despair. The first time she did it as the morning star and on second occasion I thought I was following the evening star. After too many times being threshed beneath the nature’s flail, I gave up on the solar system and started looking further.
Finally on that evening I found my homing beacon, almost four hundred light years away from earth. Exactly two hundred thirty nine years one hundred and fifty three days after the declaration of independence was adopted in the continental congress of the thirteen American colonies, fate smiled on me. She showed me the location of the Polaris, the North Star that never flutters. Once I found the Polaris, the steering part became as easy as navigating through the lines on my palm. So I came home and embraced my eternal spring. I have not been ridiculed by summer or bullied by winter ever since, rather now the new leaves and budding colors in my home seem to last forever.