Fire In The City

Pure, white, hot snow falling on a relentlessly glowing fire, made the night live a lifetime.

It must be a miracle, of god if not science.

Water is supposed to dowse whatever fire there is. It does not bother with the kind of fire; wood, charcoal, skin or heart. The absurdity of the moment was not lost on the soulless surrounds. There must be a better word than soulless, to describe the moonlit mountains casting their overwhelming reflection in the lake just across that amiable cliff. Such a mixed collection of reality is a strange experience to amass after a really long day.

The day started abruptly, in the middle of a dark alley filled with puddles of muddy rain, mixed with black snow melting under footsteps just passed. In search of a blinding source of light, of fire, men stormed past their shadows. The alley ended, the search did not. Turning back to retrace lost thoughts, just to grab hold of that crucial moment where everything became incoherent. Arriving at a cave, with an entrance so dark it couldn’t possibly enshrine something so luminous, there was a sense of accomplishment, and relief. Accomplishment one understands, but why relief? Maybe it is one of those subconscious foresights that lead us on to an emotion, in this case relief.

The day skipped a beat, again. The mountains grew taller with the rising moon, the constantly changing moon, from orange to grey to blue. There was a fire that simmered under the windless night like a last source of life that looks ill and in desperate need of some air. Looking at its lethargy, hope became so essential. The fire needed to live through life, let alone the night. It cannot die. All the promise of light and rest was blowing away, but where was the wind? This despair must have resonated out to touch the stillness around. Everything shook back to place and a beat later the fire caught some life at long last. Such beautiful poetry was never read before in such mundane-ness. Crackle of each flame grew louder than silence and finally engulfed all around, to spread a sense of calm. If there is fire in hell, then it must be heaven.

Snow falling in the night is almost criminal. Somehow it feels like a dream. The sensation on the flesh leaves a slight burn and the eyes react to it through the sense of touch rather than relying on their own faculty. The net effect could be summed up as a rain of burning embers. Of course, this lasts only for an instant. But here’s the trap of absurdity, if this feels like a dream, then an instant can be a lifetime or more. This hot snow could never stop this life giving fire, no matter how hard it tried. And so the light continued to glow, willing the night not to surrender and egging the pure snowy ash to keep falling. It was truly a miracle.

The city is made up of fire and metal. To steal away from the city is impossible. It’s a sink of garbage; of humans as well as living things. But the irony of the city lies in the fact that it is so easy to detach from it, even after being deep inside its filth. How? Dreams. Right in the middle of an open terrace, with the scrapes of wood burning over the red coals, and sensing a harmless drizzle fall, the city let go. Mountains sprung up with all their paraphernalia, and the metal evaporated. The day that was, seemed ages away and finally it was time to rest, away from the city. Oh! It was almost perfect. The almost irks a little, but it can’t be helped.  The fire burnt ceaselessly still, impossibly so, sucking the surroundings soulless.

The damned city is a master at creating mirages. Unfair!

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