The Vicarious Voyage

He quickly ducks to avoid being charred in the fiery vortex spewed by the dragon. The dragon was a gargantuan metallic beast. Chiselled bronze shards on its body, that are ornately arranged in order, shimmer in the conical columns of light that peep through the perforated roof of his uncle’s old barn. His presence infuriates the beast and its glowing red eyes are suggestive of it. Homer can feel the gravity of the discovery and is eager to find out what happens next.

 

He marvels at its metallic intricacies and decides he’ll one day manoeuver it. Months whizz by like hours. Before he even realized, Homer has become the master of the Dragon. He still vividly remembers the first time he thought he listened to the cadence of its gears, the clinking sound that reverberated in the empty barn every time it took a step or flapped its delicate metallic wings. Training the dragon for flight was daunting at first, but now it has become a cake-walk.

 

Homer isn’t afraid of heights anymore and all his fears seemed to have dissipated. He’s transformed into a warrior. A proficient dragon trainer with exuding confidence. Soon he finds himself going on mysterious quests, with each one more precarious than the one before. Behind enemy lines, hostility is in the air, but Homer can only taste victory.

 

He can flick a switch on his inconspicuous pen and it will suddenly transform into a sword. He’s the coolest 9-year-old in town and probably the youngest vigilante ever. Every kid is envious of him and they all covet his bronze dragon. The entire town showered him with love and ardour, and called him “The Protector”.

 

Days fly by and things seem to be going well…until today. He sets out on his dragon for a casual night watch. The town looks peaceful from this vantage point, that is the sky. Everything below seems fine but Homer cannot fathom what might hit him from above. He’s almost done with the vigilance and thusly plans to return home, when a blinding light, which closely resembled an elongated tree branch, nearly misses the duo.

 

The highly energized air sends them whirling towards the ground. A tempestuous storm rages and the whole town is engulfed in a deluge. He grips the dragon tight as they’re both taken for a spin in a wild hurricane. Homer hopes he’ll survive the commotion and wonders if he’ll ever see the light of day.

 

Thankfully, he does. But he doesn’t recognize the place in which he woke up drenched. He made it out of the storm unscathed and so did his dragon, for it was just mildly dented. He cannot wrap his head around what is going on and senses he needs to freshen up to clear his mind.

 

Homer’s surroundings seem picturesque, like he plunged into a painting. The land is characterized by merriment and eutopia. He almost pinches himself when he is greeted by a man whose lower half is a goat, and nearly clicks his tongue for calling him “Sir”. “Call me Malakh”, the half animal-half man insisted. After the awkward pleasantries got over, Malakh took him to their base camp in the woods.

 

It felt strange. Homer got the feeling that he’s being expected here. Every stranger he came across had two things in common:  They were all dressed in medieval-looking austere clothes and they all welcomed him with a cordial smile. They all know me?  But how?  He’s ushered into the most magnanimous of tents present at the camp.

 

It was as vacuous inside as it seemed grand from outside, and on its far end is a bearded old man in a high throne. The word “ZEUS” is engraved on the protracted backrest and his fingers tap anxiously on the armrest, eager for the arrival of him. The arrival of his earth-bound son.

 

When he’s told that he’s in the land of the Gods and that he is the illegitimate son of THE ZEUS Himself, he puts on an incredulous expression and pants for breath. Homer had heard that his mother had died of humiliation, by committing suicide, for people calling him a “bastard son”, but he was oblivious to the whereabouts of his father. Zeus notices the rage in his eyes when his hug gets turned down by him. It was expected.

 

Zeus holds himself back, little longer he tells himself and explains to him his premise: How he cannot contact an earthling once they have a kid…and how much he loved his mother…and how hard he had tried to stop her through indirect means. Homer thinks he sees a convolution of pain and love in his father’s eyes and decides to trust him.  They had suffered enough, it’s time they reunited.

 

Zeus offers him to stay with him in his camp and live a life of peace and immortality. But he politely refuses. He reminds his dad of his role on earth. How his town needs his vigilance.

 

He tells him that he loves fighting evil. The battle of swords, the war of words, the tackle of wits and the clash of powers. All the action invigorates him and makes him feel alive. As he keeps saying it, visions of those wars keep flashing in front of Homer’s eyes and his mind paints a beautiful picture before them.

 

Swords and arrows are flying around, causing commotion everywhere. As he continues to describe the importance of his return to earth, Zeus eventually agrees.

 

Homer is filled with ardour and respect for his new hero. He feels truly inspired and an unbridled satisfaction warms his heart. Although he didn’t want it to end, he couldn’t wait to turn to the last page. He closes the book he had been reading for the past 2 hours and takes a look around to find himself back in his room. Back to his normal self.

 

A Closing Note:

The Book I refer to above bears a vague resemblance to “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan. That happens to be my first book and I wanted to write how I felt while reading it.

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The Exhibition

She was hit by a flood of happiness when her dad had said, “We’re going to the exhibition today!”. The remainder of the day, spent in wait for that evening, was all a blur. Lessons taught in school were heard but not understood. Food was eaten but not savored. The hot topic of the day was her exhibition plan and she told it to everyone who greeted her. Every time she told someone, her excitement seemed to grow, proportional to the number of people she had enticed.

 

“Samyuktha! Tell me what’s 4 squared two?” She blinked for a second, regaining her senses as she reeled back into reality. But it wasn’t long before she answered. She was a topper. “Concentrate” her ma’am said sternly and she sat down embarrassed. She wanted to listen, so she did. Five minutes pass, and Snap! She was dreaming again.

 

The vast expanse of the exhibition was vivid in her imagination. The entrance was modeled after the ‘Taj Mahal’, which symbolically tried to suggest, that the exhibition resonated with the grandeur of the monument. Petite shelters were lined up at the entrance and were glowing in pink. Kids surrounding the stands, outstretched their hands over the counter in want of feather like cotton candy. Crowded lanes were all tangled up giving, every passerby stuck in the maze, the impression that the place was way bigger than what it really was. The relentless cries of hawkers and the humorless banter of customers, kept the place lively and abuzz.

 

What little solitude was left in the place, was gobbled up by the squeals of excited passengers on amusement rides. This was the second best attraction at any exhibition, and it was only next to shopping.

 

She imagined herself on every one of the rides. In her fantasy, she had the guts to get on the roller coaster. She was tall enough to drive a bumper car. She had the time to admire the city lights from the vantage point when the giant wheel reached it’s zenith. She would’ve imagined a merry-go-round but the continuous spinning makes her nauseous.

 

Food savored at the exhibition was always the same. Typical. It was always Pav Bhaji, Chole Bhature and Cutlet Ragada. It never got better, but it never got boring either. What happened after that wasn’t quite clear. She didn’t imagine anything beyond the fun part, maybe because she didn’t want it to end. But it had to. Cause the time had come for her dream to come true.

 

She wanted to make sure that she’d do every single thing she had imagined. Like a mental checklist. She filled her head with expectations and her heart with excitement. She couldn’t contain the enthusiasm any longer. The school’s final bell rang. She didn’t have to.

The Mesmerizing Rain

The breeze outside turns chilly and the sky hints of precipitation. She sits inside, completely engrossed in her phone, while the bus continues on it’s mundane journey.
 
She stopped texting momentarily, when a familiar scent of rain kissed soil wafted in through the window. She looks outside. Looks down at her phone, then looks outside again, this time longer. She sees buildings drenched in rain. Asphalt glistening like a black panther. Trees that look livelier than ever, fresh and green. Little plants droop, as if surrendering to it, as the rain pelts down on them.  Headlights of cars light a conical section of the rain, making it glimmer. 

She opens the window fully and puts her head out. She unclips her hair and lets it fall loose. Her bouncy tresses take a shower in the rain, turning moist and mellow. Raindrops trickling down her face rejuvenate her. For the first time in a long time, she feels alive. 

She’s reminded of her childhood days as she began to reminisce how she used to play in the rain. She vividly remembers one wintry night when she’d woken up to the sound of rain and thunder. She walked to the balcony and looked outside. Flashes of lightning lit the entire neighborhood, exposing all nocturnal life. The sound of the rain was unrivaled and melodious. She sticked her hand out and let it get soaked in the rain. She draped herself with her bedsheet and sat up all night staring outside, mesmerized. 

All these memories got her thinking, about the way her life had changed. She almost forgot what it is like to be wowed by nature. Watching it for herself, in person, felt so much better than viewing it on the phone. 

She put her phone away for the day and just sat by the window looking outside. Her hair now drenched with rain and her heart with nostalgia. 

The Pleasant Bus Journey

I stick my head out of the window. Wind gushes past my hair. I experience a soothing sensation of nirvana. A wide smirk smears across my face. I close my eyes to shelter them against the wind. Nothingness engulfs me momentarily and I’m detached from everything and everyone. Black. Empty. Serene. I like that.

 

I open my eyes and look up. Street lamps pass in successions. One by one. All identical. The light isn’t glaring, it’s soft on my eyes. And I like that.

 

I slowly lower my gaze, and stare off into the horizon.  A humongous matte white cloud drifts slowly in the sky. Ashened by the dark of the night, it looks like cotton dipped in light coffee. I cover miles on the road, but the cloud doesn’t seem to budge. I don’t imagine fancy shapes in it. I never see anything. I just continue to stare and admire the beauty in it’s simplicity. I like that.

 

A song rings in my ear which is in perfect resonance with my situation. I hum the song and mouth the words. I leave everything behind, pushed off to the back of my head.

 

I’m going too fast. My longing for that feeling seems to be longer that the moment itself. A tiny snippet of pleasure that is barely satisfying. I wish it could slow down. I wish the road was endless and the moment timeless. But would all that still make it priceless?

Hands in my pocket, I’m off on a lonely stroll,

Accompanied only by the whims of my heart, and the voice of my soul;

 

The thoughts, they twirl and fog my mind,

As I tread forward, I leave them all behind;

 

A flickering streetlight, struggling to stay,

Although clouded by leaves, fights to light my way;

 

The asphalt rests in the calm of the night,

Glinting shyly in the tangerine light;

 

These streets bring about a tranquil mood,

Offering a cordial welcome, not once they’re rude.

 

And if I maintain quite, I think I hear,

The innocent stories of my yesteryear;

 

The streets on which I laughed and played,

Hold sweet memories that never fade.

 

I’m lost in a world that seems so pure,

A little child again; with curiosity galore.

 

I snap back to reality, I heave a loud sigh,

I take a deep breath and look up at the sky;

A snowball in pitch black, the moon shines bright,

I wonder if it knows that it’s not its own light;

It scans the ethereal sky; but not a single star it finds,

Least it knows; it’s a polluted world, with polluted minds.

The Beautiful Monsoons

Drops of silver splash on the mud, splattering on the leaves that make them sway in rhythm. Birds chirp away their tensions, announcing the rain to far away places. The front yard is lush with bright green leaves that glint in the faint sunlight filtering through the clouds. The sweet smell of wet soil diffuses in the air. Little channels of water slither away to find pools of muddy water. Paper boats sail their way down the stream that blankets the road.

I sit by the window, and witness the magic unfold. It never seems to get boring because every scene happens to be unique. Although these events aren’t unprecedented, their randomness keeps my idle watch interesting. Rain, I feel, has a way of beautifying things.

Cloudy overcast gets me excited. I enjoy reading a novel by the window while sipping hot tea. I occasionally look out while flipping through pages. I put on my headphones and listen to songs sometimes. There’s always a conflict while choosing between the two pass-time activities.

At times I end up gazing aimlessly. The moody atmosphere makes me crave for tranquility. Random thoughts swirl in my mind. Memories surface, triggering nostalgia. It makes me poetic and rekindles the author in me. Hence this thought journal.