Today you decide to spend some time in the less crowded, less "pretty" part of the park. Where things grow wild and the bats hang from the giant trees like dark fruits, their screeches cutting through the early morning stillness. There are a few runners you see along the edges, but otherwise you have the space to yourself. You slip on solitude with ease, your well-worn cloak.
And you notice that the light has returned. The light of September that you wait for all year. The crystal-clearness of it, after months of monsoon darkness. Under the giant canopies up there, you are in a house of dappled speckled light coming in from the East, slanted liquid rays.
September arrives in orange. In the bright lush burning orange of the Rudrapalaash that lines the streets of your beloved city. Spathodea Campanulata. Family Bignoniaceae. Poetry rolling off your tongue. You know these names by-heart. You know every one of these trees in the park, and some have names on them.
When you walk back into the sunlight from under the tree cover, you see them - the dragonflies you have been waiting for all year! The dragonflies always follow the Rudrapalaash - as you learned from observing their connection for years. They will be here for three months and then disappear. They bring you unending joy. Their lightness, their translucence, their dance of delight against the blue.
As your start the long walk to your silk cotton tree, the day brightens. The patterns of shadow and light under the trees turn even more magical. Under your favourite gulmohar-tamarind grove, the light is to die for. You feel your quota of happiness is over. Can so much be given to a mere mortal?
At the silk cotton tree, it is pure heaven. The wind. The wind in the leaves, the sound of water. You are hungry, but you cannot leave for breakfast. The perfect light, the perfect coolness in the air. You want to stay here forever. You watch people stopping to admire your tree. You notice yet another old gentleman folding his hands in prayer, approaching the tree. You know that feeling.
And then a young girl and her mother come to the cement platform where you sit. Your overhear the girl excitedly telling her mother that this is her favourite tree, her best friend. And you smile, and start a conversation. A delightful time, listening to their stories, their love for history, for the city, for the trees. Such beautiful people.
The previous Sunday another stranger had come up to speak to you, another lover of trees, a foreigner. Who taught you how the age of trees can be measured, by arms spread across the girth, and how this one must be at least 150 years old.
Two new people in your email contacts. Funny. You have always been known to be a connector. And now the silk cotton tree is connecting you to people. :)
With great reluctance, you finally decide to leave. It is 11, and though you had missed dinner the previous night, and breakfast, you don't feel very hungry anymore. You feel satiated, in this ocean of light you are walking through. Your contentment is complete.
As you get on to your bike at the closed gate, you cannot help looking back into the park, into your favourite rain tree boulevard. You get off and go back to the gate, and look in to the dappled luminous corridor, just one more time. You cannot tear yourself away.
Home. This is home. This house of light.
The full series here: http://whiletheworldisgoingplaces.blogspot.in/search/label/Notes_from_a_Ritual