Continued from I. Like a river flowing
Chapter 2. Kite strings
Rejection had been a constant companion to her. ” This isn’t love, this is business”, someone had told her.
The package had arrived by morning mail. The editor, a silver-haired man she admired, had said in his letter that she had potential but not ripe enough to be published with them as yet. “You are emerging. I’m proud to be a part of your blossoming. No limits. Just stay with it. Endurance is 90% of the art. I sense a good heart–and I know a good mind. Keep your faith and your discipline. I really hope for your success–and your happiness. An ally here.” She admired the man. At least he has not discarded her like many.
She sighed and looked at the autumn sky full of kites. Her perspective about kites had changed over the years. She was more balanced now. The swing swayed slowly with the breeze and she closed her eyes.
She had a love hate relationship with kites as a girl. Her heart took a leap and sailed with the kites as she sat enviously watching the boys flying them. It seemed like a long time back but the sting of humiliation still made her cringe. She was determined to learn kite flying despite of all the hooting from boys but could never get it up in the sky. Her brother had taken pity on her plight and allowed her to manage his favorite kite for a little while . She had been ecstatic to have the control in her hands but controlling was not instilled in her and the kite went wild with the shifting winds sending the boy hysteric. Before he could do anything it released itself from the string and vanished in the vastness of the gray-blue sky. Fuming with rage he jumped on her and slapped, pulled her hair ,abused in full view of friends and neighbors until their father separated them.
She never forgot the insult and the very next day shredded and set fire to all his trophy kites which he had chased and collected. The reels were given away to friends and it marked the end of kite flying in her house. The siblings never spoke to each other after that. Ever.
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back .” It was 25 years since someone mentioned kites to her. She looked in the eyes of her beloved. She smiled.
“Have you ever known what it is like to be on the brink of freedom and not taste it? Like a kite that flies in the blue skies but cannot escape because of the string that tugs it down? To be held down? To be controlled? To be cut down by another ruthless kite before you fall to the ground gracelessly? I do. ”
He loved her but never understood her eccentricities, the fire that burned inside her and her disquiet. She was talented, had potential but was extremely unpredictable. Playful and child like on one hand wistful and dejected on the other. Full of contradiction and yet balanced in her unique way.
He understood her viewpoint, felt for her , wanted to escape his own prejudices and limitations and soar with her dreams but could not for various reasons.
They were like two parallel rivers flowing but in different directions. It was fate that had thrown them together. In his interaction with her a vein had slit open and he wasn’t able to control the gush that poured out of him. It left him weak at times, he wasn’t ready for it. She was a string-less kite wandering aimlessly in merciless sky. He wanted to catch her, give her direction, the flight of freedom she needed and yet hold the strings in his hands if she began to lose herself or is caught in a ruthless battle for survival.
There was a conflict. Inner as well as outer. In her heart and his .
The cacophony of birds on the flaming Gulmohar tree woke her up. A tear had silently escaped her eye and ended on her lips. The sky was saturated with colors. She collected the fluttering papers , the empty coffee mug , her new spectacles and reluctantly went indoors.
The fridge held remnant of yesterday. She was too listless to eat. The events of last two days had drained her. With a bowl full of ice-cream she tugged herself in bed and began to read.
The new spectacles had helped her look at the world and herself in a different light.
Somewhere a nightingale sang a soulful song.
to be continued ……