Face The Moon

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I am humbled by the response I've received for Face The Sun. So much that the next day of posting it, I wrote the second part to the story. This is a different setting, and though it doesn't need a read of the first part, you might relate better if you did. 

I was also touched by friends who reached out to me, worried that I was writing about myself and concerned that I went through so much. I extend my gratitude to them. Now, on to the end.

Have you ever felt like running so fast that your feet take off from the ground? You no longer step on the gravel but find yourself floating. Probably, giving it a few more seconds, you'd not need your legs at all. You'd be pushing yourself forward through your hands. Leaving everything behind. All the rush, all the pain and all the formalities you need to go through to live your life.

Can you hear the wind whistling to you? The night is trying to calm you down but the city lights anger you more. Higher and higher you go, leaving the world below until the sky tears open. A thunderclap disguises your disappearance and you leave the material world for ever.

Can you feel it now?

He had been feeling it since the sky had started darkening. But he wasn't running. His pace was slower. He was bound by the physics of real world, as much as he wanted to be an exception. All his life he'd been brought up to believe in superheroes. That realm was obviously so stupid and unreal.

Despite his internal struggle, he was walking down a busy Bangalore road looking for a temple. Iskcon, as he expected, must calm him down. Being an atheist, it was an absurd idea to seek shelter in the court of God, but he was breaking down. He needed hope. He needed peace. And he needed solitude. Luckily, the bus' last stop was a kilometer before Iskcon. That had motivated him.

He didn't think he'd ever find it. He noticed a very old couple walking past him. They clutched each other tighter and jerked in horror when he called out. With a shaky hand (Parkinson's maybe?) the wife pointed him the direction. He smiled at them and walked faster. The shoes were still hurting him but he needed hope.

The road had a metro track overhead. It was still under construction. The noise was pressing and urgent. It demanded attention. And he ignored it until he spotted the towering domes. The temple wasn't crowded tonight. Though, the long corridors built to handle queues were being operated. He took off his shoes and deposited them in a stand in the middle of his walk to meet the agents of God. In ten minutes he found himself facing the idols.

There were no self-proclaimed pundits bothering him. Everything was quiet. The air inside almost seemed lazy to him. He had switched off his phone. Nobody knew where he was. But who cared anyway? He'd turn it on to find no calls missed. He was away from his circle of people, from his family and his most concerned friend and yet everybody had errands to run.

He knew it wasn't anybody's fault that they didn't relate with the pain and struggle he was going through. He didn't expect anyone to anyway. This was his fight. All that he was experiencing, he had brought it on himself through the decisions he had taken in the course of his life. If push came to shove, the blame was on him, and nobody else. And he was thankful that he moved to a new city to look for jobs, everybody did that in the folk lore he'd read in childhood. It was a tradition being followed since centuries. A man moves his settlement to where he can earn livelihood.

But if it was the right thing to do, why wasn't he happy?

He turned his thoughts back to the Gods that should have been talking to him through voices inside his head. If today was the day he would start believing in Gods, then so be it. He was ready to bask in the glory if it helped him find peace. He was ready to bloom as the brightest flower if facing the sun was his only way, but.

Nothing. He heard nothing and he felt nothing. He was disappointed again. Of course it meant nothing to him! He backed into a corner and sat down on the floor along with some defeated devotees. The atmosphere reeked of sadness. He could feel it enveloping him too. What was the rest of the audience thinking? He dropped his face in his hands and almost gave up to the coat of despair.

Then he smiled. The sadness was trying very hard to penetrate him. And that made him smile. In a few minutes, thinking about it made him laugh too. The temple echoed his loud guffaws. Sadness! He could feel it scarpering now. Nobody except he understood what was happening. Sadness is a silly concept. He was at the lowest point of his life. He was away from everybody he ever loved. He was scaling the roads of a city synonymous with unemployment. And he was hugely undervaluing himself.

Now that the graph of his life was touching bottom, could sadness break him any further? What happens to the smallest particle in the universe? It becomes God. You can't touch it anymore. It is indivisible. That was what he was. Invincible. Nothing could get him lower than this.

He felt powerful now. If you've seen what it feels like to be floored, would you ever be scared of it ever again? Never! He resolved. Never again.

He quickly waded out of the temple. Unnecessary establishments that fool people into disbelieving themselves. Why would you trust somebody you've never met so much and not the people who're sitting before you begging for a job whilst trying their hardest to impress you? The entire system is flawed. He realized.

He passed the shoe stand and didn't even pause to think. He didn't need to bring so much pain in his life. He walked barefoot out of the temple and hit the road. He saw a bus going to his abode but he avoided it. He wanted to walk.

He thought about his words. All that he was experiencing, he had brought it on himself through the decisions he had taken in the course of his life. Then why was he was bringing sadness in? He was such an idiot! Why does he have to beat himself down with sorrow? When all of it is in his hands, why doesn't he lift himself up instead of going down? He laughed again. The din of the city's hustle masked his voice but he could hear it. He could feel his heart getting out of the cage he'd trapped it in.

If it was so simple, why wasn't he doing what he felt like? He crossed over to face the traffic and broke into a run on the footpath. This was his choice. This was his life. He was tired of long shadows. With his face flushing with sweat he realized that to get up and fly into the face of the moon, you have to face the sun first. The process of learning is always one way. And what he'd learned today, he would never be able to unlearn, try as hard as he may.

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