“Hush hush! fly away you Gothic Birds. Your spell has gnawed my wit and rotten all that I remember. Fly away, I now deem you an illusion. You are no more than fog of desires, more I seek you, more you blur my clear sight. My longing of you and my ever renovating utopia is not but a dream of fool. Oh you! run away run away, you have wronged me enough. You encapsulate me when darkness is already enough and you let people mock at me for when I present you, you prove to be a mirage. Oh you have stuffed my brains to a limit that nothing else finds a place. Perish away, Perish away. Be gone, for I have been cursed for too long.”
Fly Away , You Gothic Birds
A beggar in the lime light of moon was saying such words while I stood amazed and perplexed. I wondered how a beggar in rags would speak in such fine tone. Out of curiosity, I approached him and asked: “Oh sir, how are you and what are you longing for? ”
He stared me strangely and said;
” Be gone, for what you hear is not my word but that of my possessor!”
At the sound of what I heard, my curiosity was poisoned with some dark fear and I could not sustain its spell in that late hour of night.
I almost started running away while I heard a bleak crack of laughter that fueled the fear that invaded me and my pace grew faster….
Next day I woke up in the little town of Warrah, where I had come to for winter vacations. I was stilled filled with the weirdness of old man. So after having breakfast, I went out to find him again in clear sunlight. I searched every corner and street of the little town but to no avail. Warrah was a small town, where every people knew every other. So I went straight to my uncle and asked:
“Uncle, do you know the old man in rags who speak in English at that hour when moon is full?”
He laughed at it and said:
“My dear, yes that poor old beggar had come to our town many years ago. We don’t know who is he or what is his name but people call him ‘Maandhho’. He usually sits near the Gateway of this town and there is though no benefit for you to seek for he speaks to none save himself”
I thanked him and moved towards the Gateway. When I reached there, a family of five was entering the town and besides the stream than flowed nearby, I saw him sitting. I approached him but the closing distance didn’t distract him. He was murmuring ‘Five, five more……. yes !’ I sat down at a distance for the fear had still not fainted well.
I intended to strike a conversation but could not get a clue, How? So after long hours of patience, I shouted loud; ‘Hear O’ sky, for the water that you long for flows beneath my feet’ That subtle try to provoke him but he was unmoved as was a big stone near me. The time was passing by and I could hear his same murmur continually. I tried again and whispered loud enough that he may hear me; ‘ Who shall have me? O’ Earth O’ Sky?’ Nothing happened as my whisper was absorbed in the mist of air. I waited and I don’t know why? As the sun was about to run out of fuel, I sensed a change in the tone and murmur. He was now saying; ‘HUsh Hush!’ and jerking his hands as if he was flying some birds away. His tone grew grave and anguish filled his face. Then after a moment or so, his murmur ceased and so did his hands. The sun was about to fall and I departed as I feared the arrival of his Gothic possessor.
I could not sleep that night. I wondered why did the old man reply me at my first encounter and to whom or what he was saying ‘Hush, hush!’? The mystery was now rooted deep in me and I could not find a clue! I, however started sitting beside him and would retire when sun got tired. After all my sittings, I noticed one peculiar thing in him though. He would count people coming in and out of town and when there wasn’t any, he would count the pebbles that he always had in his lap.
A week passed by and then another but for me, I was still at the same point of strangeness as I was at my first encounter. Although people had told me many things about him. Some said, he is a sorcerer and some called him saint. Some deemed him a rich businessman who was struck with a huge loss and some portrayed him a true lover that was betrayed. But I knew such speculations were only rumors. I had been patient enough and my time to depart was near but I could not help my wits.
One day I was sitting beside him that I noticed that he did not murmur the whole day. Neither he counted the people nor he had pebbles in his lap. It was a strange silence itself. When the sun grew pale and feeble, I sensed a sign of fear in him and he moved his lips without an audible utterance. I had to go after two days, so I braved my self and decided to stay a few moments more. When sun set finally, his words started being audible and I could hear him say; ‘Come, for I don’t loathe you, at-least’
Moon rose on its night shift and the sun was finally relieved. The old man in rags and walked into the city like a Victorian. He went on to the same place where I first encountered him. I followed him. After long, he raised his voice and prophetically said:
“Come home, O’ pigeon of sorrow. Drink from my waters of ecstasy. O’ eagle of misery, filled with wine of conscious, feed on my flesh. Come here, come here for you hunger may re-awaken.”
He sat down elegantly on a rock nearby. The fear of my first night rekindled but my curious longing managed to give me boost of bravery to stand my ground and hear him say a little more. He was however prophetic indeed. He did not ever looked at me the whole time. But only at a moment, when moon was full, his gaze struck me like a thunderstorm but froze in a cool breeze soon enough to have me hold my ground. And then, he was again taken away as if he did not see but a clump of clay.
That night, I stood there for many long hours while the old man kept walking to & fro, speaking in a shallow tone. What I could comprehend was little but I now recall that he said:
“I am cursed, why you don’t let go of me. Oh my Thought, O’ my Love, Why I let you in, why I let you in!!!! “