Author: Saadut
•12:34 PM

As I was seated on the bank of the lake, a light breeze blew into my face and touched me as if wanting to say something. I could still feel your warmth around me, although you had left me. I could still smell your fragrance that had become so much an integral part of my breath now. The waves seemed to be enjoying being tossed around. Their merry making seemed to be an endless affair. And I sat there quite unaware of the world around me. I sat there in expectation of somebody’s arrival, in anticipation of a rendezvous that had been promised and promised till eternity.
And I believed in it. I may not have been the essence of the rendezvous to be, merely a detail, but I had pinned all my hopes on it. I had almost forgotten my being, as the silence of the gloomy trees on the banks was whispering something about me. The world around me was going about its usual business, but it hardly mattered to me as I was lost in thoughts of you. The anticipation of your coming was proving too much for me.
As I sat there, the young saplings had turned into trees gaining strength and size, providence and nature having nurtured them with hope. The same hope did not let me give up. Whenever I was about to loose heart, a recollection of events of the time that was would grip me, getting back those oaths and promises and my cherished memories would infuse a new faith in me, strengthening my pledge more.
As I sat down through time, dense and heavy fog lay on the lake, then a drizzle as fine as water dust fell steadily from morning to morning, and turned the clayey roads and footpaths into a thick mass of mud. Although it may have made my body wet, it surely did not dampen my spirits. And then a fierce storm blew, the tree tops rocked and heaved like waves in gale, and at night the iron roofing houses rattled as if some one in heavy boots was running over them. Window frames shook, doors banged and there was a wild howling of chimneys. Far away shikaras were being fastened close to houseboats, so as not to allow the wind sweep them. The whisper of the trees had turned into a roar. Were these not the same trees that I had watched growing from humble saplings? They sure had achieved something now in their efforts to touch the skies. And there were clouds all over the sky.
And then dark, dense clouds crept to the top of hills. The lake wore a deserted look. The landscape changed all white. It must have snowed ‘cause I could see people huddled up in their pherans and scurrying to their places. The snow reflected gloom all over. There was a strange peace in this gloomy shine. The lake stood still. The snow had covered the trees which had been forced by the fall to shed their leaves. An act of mutual reconciliation I thought. For all this I could not feel the cold, the light within my soul must have kept it all away from me. I sat still through all this watching it quietly. And I waited there.
Then the weather changed. There came calm, cloudless days that were sunnier and mellower than they had been. The trees restored to their quietude, were meekly putting on their leaves and grace. The bloom of flowers was like a carpet of multiple colors. Their fragrance must have been enthralling but the only fragrance that I could sense was your fragrance that had become so much a part of me. The lovely days, the calm, the solitude and pure air, the swallows twittering on the wires as they flocked fly further and the caressing breeze that drifted gently from the lake would have infused joy and peace in any soul. But I was not to be moved as I sat still in anticipation of you. All through this I had not account of time as I sat all alone in my spot, waiting. And then the long autumn sunset came through the narrow crimson slit glowing on the edge of the horizon, between the light bluish loud and the valley faded out. Now the earth, trees and the sky could no longer be seen. A haze a fog had taken over all things. I remember when I was a kid this fog played all kind of tricks to us in Kashmir. Children used to love to bump into things, and grownups cursed the fog for allowing them limited visibility options.
And then the fog and haze cleared out. Overhead big stars shimmered with their eyelashes in the blackness of then night. And the blue beam of Hazratbal dome shot upwards in a thin column that seemed to splash into a liquid, blurred circle of light as it stuck the firmament. Far away the Muezzins call could be heard calling the faithful. As the autumn moved on I could sense people preparing for the coming winter. Optimism is a part of human nature. We may not be sure if tomorrow will be there, but we sure will be prepared for tomorrow. And the same optimism held me to my spot. As the passing days weaken the autumn sun further I could see the trees shedding their leaves which had turned golden with the onset of autumn. The distant paddy fields presented a deserted look with stacks of golden hay kept in pockets of these fields. How rejoicing it must be, I thought to reap your crop after toiling hard for months. But rejoicing was not yet for me as I sat down there waiting or you.
As I waited I could see in the horizon far away the sun was finally setting down. I passed my hand through my hair and I could feel it had turned coarse, probably of age. I did not know how much time had elapsed since I lay waiting but as I could see in the reflection of the water down below, the wrinkles on my face told it all.
Although there was no desire within me to move from my place, I could feel my legs giving way. Even as the sunset was approaching me, the flame within me refused to die out. I remember how you used to spread out your elbows, popping out your chin on your cupped hands. I could see your eyes gleaming into mine, your innocent looking face smiling at me. I remember your vows and promises. There had always been a cozy charm about your unhurried speech, every word of which lay cherished within me. As my hand moves to touch you, the vision melts away into thin air and I realize you are so far away. I refuse to give up although I can feel that moments are slipping away. The Greeks knew the unstoppable nature of time and I think that is why they had kept sand in the sand clocks.
I am waiting for you, I am still waiting. As I look into the horizon, a warm crimson red light has lithe sky. I can feel the sun giving away.

Thursday October 2, 1997