June 23, 2010

The Birth Of A River

She peers hard into the massive wall of water that is twenty feet away from her. The wall that has drenched her entirely from so far away, she is too scared to go anywhere close to it. She is no longer sure if the water is tumbling down in giant gushes to the ground at her feet or if the river is travelling backwards to the top of the cliff. She knows that should she hold out a hand under that liquid force, her bones will be powdered beyond restoration.

How she is going to walk through that water into the cave that's hidden behind this apparently wall of solid water , is possibly the toughest question she has faced in a long, long time.

When she last left him here, there was no massive waterfall, just a small wisp of a stream makings its way down calmly on the vertical rocky expanse. When she last left him here, the cave was well lit from the light that shimmered from the river it was placed over. The river she now stood in, the waters gushing around her shoulders as she waded sideways, wondering if there was some way to find the cave again - the cave he had disappeared into, his lips sealed shut, his eyes hiding the vision that would change their life forever, his back turned to her as he disappeared, forbidding her with one small gesture to follow him.

She did not. She returned quietly to a life that would be screaming its vacuum back to her, the vacuum he had left behind. If it were death, she would probably heal over time. But this? No reason, no explanation, no warning and just like that, one evening, he was running, running and she followed him all the way to the cave's entrance.

She returned everyday but dared not enter. She knew he hadn't left it. She had stayed for several days, nights, expecting he would emerge but he did not. She was forced to go back, hungry and hopeless. Everyday, she stayed and waited, afraid to call, afraid to enter and everyday, the waterfall grew and grew until she knew it had finally barricaded her successfully, entirely, from all possibilities of reaching him.

Five hundred years later, she is wading through these new waters, determined to enter the cave. Splinters of ice cascade down, hitting the water with immense force, melting immediately, and she edges in closer every second, the spray turning into slaps on her face. Until she is standing inside the spray. She feels the force of water, lethal and firm like her inability to enter the cave for centuries.

She can wait no more. She steps in, slipping and falling, while the water smashes on her like boulders, her flesh peeling under its power, her eyes blinded to everything from the stinging foam.

She is in the cave. An empty cave with a blind chimney hole that winds its way into the heart of the cliff. She climbs, her limbs numb from the cold, her eyes burning furiously, her ears still echoing the gushing water that rages and denies entry to the world she has left outside, finally. Hours seem to slip by and she still isn't sure if it has only been minutes. It does not matter, these minutes in the face of five hundred years of waiting to see a stream turn into a menacing waterfall.

The hole ends abruptly. She climbs out into a wide, white space, her fingers cracking from the ice she has been clutching. The snow blinds her and she blinks. Twice. Thrice. But the vision does not go. He stands there, frozen, a figurine of white, his surface sparkling in the light that does not come from any sun. An endless white sky and an endless white landscape of snow and a block of ice that resembles a human being. He doesn't move, his glassy eyes looking into worlds she may not see. Not yet. His lips are lifeless.

But only so. Trickling from his head is a tiny drop of water, that winds its way down his icy white cheeks, his chin, the sculpted chest and belly and hip, his left leg and finally making its way toward her. Gradually turning from a drop to a spillage of water from a cup perhaps, passing by her all the way, transforming into a very tiny channel of water. She turns back, following its path.

A sharp fall. A cliff that ends into an ocean of water several thousand feet below, before winding into distances her eyes cannot gauge. Not yet.

The mighty Ganga, curving her path toward the land of disillusioned mortals, from the forehead of her son, who once ran away, for reasons we will never know.

6 comments:

Mea Culpa said...

Oh! The end surprised me. The pain seemed so human. Beautiful.

Navaneet Krishnan Venkatesan said...

I can only think of Muttuswami Dikshitar's composition on Ganga after reading this: "गङ्गे मां पाहि गिरीशशिरस्थिते
गम्भीर गाये सङ्गीत वाद्य प्रिये - Protect me O Mother Ganga! situated on the head of the Lord of the Mountains, Lord Shiva. One who indulges in serious music and who loves music and musical instruments."
"अङ्गज तात मुदे असि वरणा मध्ये
अक्रूर पूजिते अखिल जनानन्दे
सकल तीर्थ मूले सद्गुरु गुह लीले
वर जह्नु बाले व्यासादि कृपाले - One who pleases Mahavishnu - Father of Cupid (Angaja); situated betwixt the rivers Asi and Varana, worshipped by the great Rshi Akrura and who gives immense joy to all peoples of this world. The origin of all Sacred Waters (Teerthas), the place where the noble Guruguha sports, daughter of Sage Jahnu, You showed compassion to Vyasa and others, similarly protect me O Mother Ganga!"

inquisitiveguurl said...

fantastic! loved it!

Anonymous Someone said...

Is this in the mythology too?

Interesting, really interesting.

The Wandering Minstrel said...

@Hams: :) It usrprised me too when I finished writing it because i had no idea it wud turn to this when i started.

@Nav: :) U know I miss those days, dont u? :)

@IG: Thanks!

@AS: Not technically part of mythology as we all agree upon, but this is how mythology may be built too. of course, i keep saying this blog is fiction, but then again, who knows?

Palak Vasant said...

I am totally shocked to say something, the end took me away...Captivating! Lots of layers :)