A new-age mantra counsels that the pain of discipline is easier to bear than the pain of regret. Sound advice, as most would agree. To be able to write something worthwhile one needs more than an extraordinary vocabulary and command over a language; one requires to be extremely well read, substantially informed, with incisive thought, reasoning, observation, discernment, understanding, a sense of dewy-eyed wonder and acceptance. It is a disciplined workout that constantly exercises the gray cells and 'makes' some writers, while others like me struggle on, one sporadic article after another, hoping someone, somewhere, reading it will have found it worth his intelligence and time.
Paradoxically, words and language are very restrictive. Each time I want to articulate a deep thought, transmit a feeling or describe something that has moved me unabashedly, words become impotent. Vocabulary dries up, phrases and sentences, figures of speech ' all evaporate and I am left, well, expressionless ' mutely pregnant, the poignancy of an unwanted abortion looming menacingly over my wanting-to-be-birthed experiences.
Shackled by the throttling confines of idiom and expression, I still want to share an indelible experience of rainbows. Yes rainbows. A rather common occurrence during the monsoons, but these particular ones left us speechlessly ecstatic.
The rainy season had set in earlier than usual this year in Munnar. The rain came with a chilling wind driving it in white sheets. Sometimes a thick, visually impenetrable shroud of mist encompassed the surroundings, with temperatures falling low. One fine afternoon when the rain decided to call it a day and the sun shone through the clouds, a spectacular rainbow embraced the sweep of the eastern sky with its enchanting, pastel-hued arm. The next day the rain gods again wanted some rest. We were strolling in the garden enjoying a soft drizzle, taking in the sparkle of raindrops on the washed and gleaming leaves, petals and blades of grass. The garden and the verdant environs were lusciously enrapturing. Intermittent clouds and sunshine created a bewitching aura all around. Impulsively I looked up at the sky. A phenomenon I had not seen before filled my wondrous gaze. A brilliant rainbow ring formed right around the partially hidden sun! Riveting, amazingly grand! Unbelievably ravishing!
It was a veritable banquet of fantastic rainbows in two days but none of us had envisaged what we saw on the fourth day. It was unbeatable, indescribable in its extravaganza!
It was a very wet, gray day as we lazed in the bungalow on the Chokanad Tea Estate. Green, tea-planted hills gently sprawled in front and to the right of the bungalow; high, forested hills formed a charming backdrop to these emerald ones. To the left and stretching to the back, tall hills were carpeted with thick undergrowth of shrub and their towering silver oaks swayed precariously in a stormy wake. A blanket of dark rain-clouds covered the mountains to the right towards the southwest. Rain poured incessantly and like a magic wand transformed the not so distant mountains and trees into hazy indistinct shapes. After a good lunch, there wasn't much to do except take a nap and wait for the weather to clear up.
Suddenly through the gloom the sun decided to show up. I heard an enthralled scream 'Rainbow! Come quickly, its beautiful!' Flinging away blankets, throwing aside whatever each one was doing, we dashed out.
And, we stood transfixed, suspended in a momentous timeframe, dumbstruck by the grandeur of the fabulous pageant unfolding before us! Painter and painting fused in a florid dance of colors across the vista of hills. A magnificent rainbow rose from the low hills, arched up into the higher ones and traversing the expanse fell again into the low hills of the plantation. Resplendent, it bathed all it spanned in its flamboyance, producing a stupendous panorama at eye-level! As it splashed and curved dazzlingly across the hills each hill was suffused with the rich, lustrous hue/hues of the gorgeous seven, creating a feast never before visualized by any of us five glued to that exquisite manifestation of nature! The sheer magnanimity and its unparalleled loveliness compelled us to look for the mythical pot of gold at either end. As with childlike exuberance we gazed at this stunner, the only words that came to mind were the memorable ones from a vintage song sung by Mukesh '
Yeh kaun chitrakaar hain, yeh kaun chitrakaar?
(Who is this painter? Who is He?)
We reveled in this mesmerizing marvel for minutes before it softly dimmed, reappeared in its entire mind blowing radiance and then finally faded, but not from our memories. Imprinted though it is like a photograph on the canvas of my mind, words fail to do justice to the sublimity and majesty of those awe-struck moments. In the words of a contemporary of Mirza Ghalib:
Mere alfaaz mere dushman hain
Meri zubaan meri hareef hain
'My words are my enemies
My language is my rival'