Rusty Hills

Living a whole week in Shillong, I was high the whole time, intoxicated by all the green and grey shades, the trees misting away in the clouds, the gushing sounds of water (there were many tiny waterfalls) along the roads. Nothing could have prepared me for the sights which bewitched me and I was soon missing the abode of clouds on my way to Assam.

I could still feel the kind, peaceful, earthy atmosphere that kept me safe while I shed my outer walls, insecurities, fears which I worn around as Alexander's shield and sword. I was naked, with my arms stretched - unafraid, brave. My hair unbound, wild and free, like everything my eyes could see, my skin could touch, my heart could feel right in that very moment. The clear water cascading downstream, the gushing sounds of it, lulled me to unknown dreamlands - love, I felt it all there.

Nothing felt the same anymore. After a year of severe crippling mental aches, and gloom, I looked forward to falling in love with something new, someone new to cope up with my tattered life. Yes, I did fall in love with all of Shillong, and the people I met, but a heaviness in my heart still tugged my grin down and I couldn't fathom why.

I sat in the airport, dejected. My dad pulled me to go to the bookstore with him, trying to make me happy but this time my heart was stuck to a place I had already left behind. "Bring me whatever you like," I told him, grimly, not having the energy to fake enthusiasm.

Scrolling through this random post on the internet, I saw this picture which resonated with me, wholeheartedly.

I was entertaining this notion and how true these words rang in my ears I couldn't help but smile sadly. Then, as if the universe was doing everything to make my unknown, unspoken wishes true (which it always does, trust it!) my dad bought me a book by Ruskin Bond - falling in love again. Stories of Love and Romance.

The overall purple hues drove a certain magic into me and flipping to the back cover, reading the first five lines I honestly, fall a little in love with him again.

'Once I saw her,
leaning over the balcony railing.
I stopped the taxi and waved back to her.
She waved back, smiling like
the sun breaking through clouds.'

I'm nowhere in these lines, my existence unknown to both her and Rusty yet I feel as if I'm walking down memory lane and I wait every day, looking down my balcony railing to catch him waiting down there for me. Alas, that will always be just wishful thinking.

In the Introduction to the book, he said that 'Falling in love is probably the best thing that can happen to a young writer; it gives a certain spontaneity and intensity to his writing.'

I instantly opened my notes and started typing in it, musing about all those things I loved. That glass restaurant on the way to Shillong; the narrow roads which went up and down in the city; the bright pink, red, blue, yellow, orange coloured houses with glass windows, at least three types of potted plants hanging or stationed at those windows; the animated skies; the canopy of tall, long, handsome trees; the kind-hearted people who talked sweet and smiled sweeter; all of it looked straight out of fairytales.

From the hills, I went on to rivers, from that I went on to the other people I've loved in my life and how I wished I'd bring them to these very Khasi Hills to experience this heavenly magic going on. And then as fast as I started writing, I halted. Too soon, for my liking. Desolation creeping in.

Am I loving too many things, too hard too fast? Doubt wrecking up my insides. Jolting me out from the gorgeous fantasy that is Shillong.

I mindlessly read through the book, but once again stopped in my tracks, reading his words.

"I haven't stopped writing about love. My life have been one long love story, and I have loved people, I have loved books, I have loved flowers, the sun, moon and stars, old roads, old trees, children, grannies, butterflies, seashells, fairies... And of course I keep falling in love, for where love begins, there is the border of heaven."

(And people still ask why I think about eloping away to him!)

I smiled. Closed the book, clutched it close to my heart. My head cocked to the side, I brought it up to smell the fresh aroma of a new book. I smiled again. I promised him and myself then that I would never stop writing about love. No matter how much it's lacking in my life at the moment or hurting me, I'd think of all the past loves of mine and all the loves which are perennial.

His name might be Rusty, but after all these years of loving, he's anything but that.

//Featured Image is from here.

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