Summer was at its peak with hot sultry afternoons a norm, and despite an air-conditioned night, the mind & body feeling heavy due to unabated onslaught of higher temperature – well, this was me just a couple of weeks ago. Even a Thanda Thanda Cool Cool jingle was seeming like a cruel joke on the masses as all it managed to do was to remind one again of the heat & humidity. Ashish Mantri shares the tale of how he could not even see on the horizon any trip to cooler climes, and how a few drops of rain refreshed his soul….
The mind drifted away while eyes keep scanning the sky, looking for some solace. And then they started appearing, in a trickle – initially as solitary apparitions, before slowly turning into a horde of foot soldier at the front of an army marching in. The overheated earth, the thirsty throats & the parched souls, all were more than willing to be captured – by this army of clouds – a welcome sight after long months of summer.
My fascination for the clouds is not because of the body seeking respite from the heat. Actually, Lazy I may sound, but irrespective of the season, sitting at the banks of a lake, watching these cotton-candies moving across the vision while changing their shapes regularly is an activity one must indulge in occasionally. I do it, because to me, a passionate traveler, these clouds, nature’s own immortal nomads, are inspiring and yet enviable.
Enviable? Yes, simply because they take to the sky as a traveler as soon as they are born, almost like the birds, their companion in the sky. As Victor Hugo said – they are the only birds that never sleep. They move constantly, albeit like a tramp, unattached, wandering seemingly aimlessly, lonely, the way Wordsworth saw it, or in a group – just moving with their instincts about the wind. As a traveler, they have one of the best seats available for taking a peek at the treasures of the earth & sky and everything in between, and they choose their own pace – leisurely sometimes and sometimes hurling through the sky like travelers on a package tour, with a time bound itinerary.
The clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations – each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by cosmic harmony. ~ Ruth Bernhard
But more than being enviable, they are inspiring because these cotton-fluffs roaming in the sky, aptly called a soufflé while in a group, actually can conjure lots of magic. As they breeze through the sky, like an army on prowl, their ability to shape themselves to our imagination, is just one of their bag-full of tricks which they showcase on a regular basis for the kids & the adults alike. Even Aristophane, the Greek known to be father of Old comedy could not stop wondering looking at the Centaur, the bull, the wolf et all among the clouds.
A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed…It feels an impulsion…this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. ~ Richard Bach
Add to all this, the fact that the clouds, having born to the Sun & the Water, actually make a pretty family together. Their games of hide-n-seek with the Sun in the sky theatre actually manage to create such dramatic effects that the best of the poets & painters have remained captivated for a life time. Little wonder, that I, a much lesser mortal, have also remained hooked on to the magic of clouds and have tried to capture the same from time to time with my lenses. So here is a tribute to these yayawars with verse from some of the finest poetry written as an ode to them.
O! it is pleasant with a heart at ease,
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,
To make the shifting clouds be what you please,
Or let the easily persuaded eyes
Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould
Of a friend’s fancy; or with head bent low
And cheek aslant see rivers flow of gold
‘Twixt crimson banks; and then, a traveller, go
From mount to mount through Cloudland, gorgeous land!
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
…. to be continued