Continued from Chapter 3. Tara
Orgasmic, that’s the first word that came to Tara’s mind when she saw the spectacular view of Pattaya for the first time. The gauzy cloud curtain had lifted and the long stretches of curvy beaches along the bay on the Gulf of Thailand’s east coast took her breath away.
The flight landed on time and a taxi was waiting to take her to Naklua Beach where the 10 writers were given accommodation. She had got an invite from a friend who worked with Luna e Sol Literary Society. The workshop was part of a reading and writing festival. Tara was mainly lured by the star attraction of the fest. Asma Khan the literary diva was going to do a reading and question session on her new novel. She was one of the most celebrated and controversial authors of her time and Tara worshiped her.
Ron met her at the reception and introduced to two other visiting writers. She was the youngest member of the group. After a sumptuous dinner she retired to her luxurious room facing the picturesque beach. For a long time she stood in the balcony mesmerized by the moonbeams floating upon the waves letting the Zen moment seep into her.
The romantic couples enjoying the night on the beach sent a flush of memories through her. Neither Keshav nor she had called since she left. She wondered if at all this physical separation would ultimately bridge the distances of the hearts.
“Mine is the night with all its stars” she whispered and closed her eyes. Sleep was a bridge between despair and hope and she had a long day ahead.
Tara woke up as the first glow of the dawn lit the sky. Mornings were the best time to commune with the ocean. She witnessed the most electrifying sunrise streaked with colors she never associated with sunrises or sunsets. Wrapped in timeless serenity she stood at the beach in complete silence. Everything ceased to exist around her.
“Every moment is an irreplaceable miracle here. Exquisite and unforgettable” Ron’s voice brought her back to reality.
“The Fest begins at nine. I hate to call it a workshop. Takes all the romance out of it.” He winked.
“I’ll be there.” She gave him a bright smile.
She had attended literary festivals before but never on an international level and the excitement was making her nervous. Sitting under the shades of emerald-green palms writers joined together to celebrate creativity, to encourage new talents and to discuss their works. There was a different kind of intensity and devotion and a special kind of bonding. It almost felt like a spiritual quest to her. These fests provided insights that she couldn’t have found elsewhere. ‘An open platform for all to share their work’ was a fantastic idea and Ron had done a wonderful job.
Asma arrived late in the evening. Tara was in the lobby gazing at the intricate design on the walls when she saw her walk in, elegant, graceful and extremely attractive in her simplicity. Completely unfazed by the turbulence her latest book had caused. Her life was drenched with rumors, hoaxes and that’s what made her real. Asma was a strong woman and the only one who had mastered the art of writing crime noir, cult fiction and her bold take on sexuality always kept her in headlines. Beneath Asma’s sensuous exterior burned a fire that flowed like molten lava in her works. She led a bizarre life. Lived on her terms and strongly voiced her thoughts about social evils that were eating the very foundation of humanity. You could draw life from her words. Awed by her presence Tara watched her till she vanished in the dimly lit corridor. She took a deep breath to calm her unruly heart.
They met at dinner. Ron introduced Asma to the group. Many had met her before and it seemed like a little reunion. She sure was an enigma. Tara kicked herself for being an introvert. Stupefied she watched the animated group from a distance. They were all hustling for attention something she still hadn’t learned. Dinner was a chatty affair and it was only during the coffee session that Asma came to her.
“You are Tara, right? Angel of the evening,”
Tara felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “I admire you a lot, rather worship you.” She finally found her voice.
“I am no goddess sweetheart, it’s women like you who need to be worshiped for their relentless desire to learn and excel. Your passion for writing is very evident in your work. “She smiled warmly.
“No one ever said that to me. Thank you, I would love to be your student.”
“We are all students Tara, learning is an eternal process. We are all here to communicate, to express. Relax, enjoy your stay here. I am around if you need me.” The warmth brought tears in Tara’s eyes but she managed to keep them buried. Asma patted her cheek and said a quick goodnight.
Brimming with respect and gratitude Tara turned to get another coffee and saw Ron watching her.
“I see, so it was you? What have you told her Ron?” She asked.
“Nothing much but enough to make sure that you get what you came for.” His deep voice tugged at her heart. Ron was around fifty. He had helped her get many assignments in the past and treated her like a daughter. She hugged him gently. Her dark liquid eyes said all that her lips couldn’t
“Sleep well; we have two hectic days ahead. Work by day play by night “, he gave a mischievous smile. She laughed and wished him ‘night.
Tara felt a thousand different sensations as she watched the night sky’s reflection in the ocean.
Asma had called her an evening star. She remembered Blake’s lines.
Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed
Her eyes caught her own reflection in the mirror and she realized how long it had been since she had seen what her body looked like. She dropped the gown and stood gazing at herself as the cool breeze flirted with her raven hair. She was young, good-looking, intelligent and had an open heart and mind. She had a whole new world to explore. Picking up her gown she went to take a shower. Under the jets of cold water she let all the stress, all the pain wash away. Water always healed her, sort of renewal for her to start afresh. It was the first time in many years she felt complete. Guess it was a good sign. Saturated with prayers and dreams she closed her eyes and murmured
“And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.”
It was a prelude to the psalm of life. A time for the heart’s petals to open, time to blossom, to let the breeze carry her fragrance and she was ready.