Instances have great impact. Small instances, some of them, can have greater significance than your whole life until that particular, life-defining, life-changing moment. These are such moments which reveal to you that you’re alive; that you have a human body, a soul, and a fluttering heart. Such instances make you realize that life is all about uncertainties, and about unexplored, unknown beauty, such beauty that you couldn’t fathom in your dreams. And it is such small instances which have the magical ability and power to cloud your judgment and all your matured sensibility gained until that very point in the meaningless, routine-revolving life you have led. It is such small instances which pull you away from the indefinite black hole you have been edging towards, and push you outside the galaxy only to reveal that it is the light sources you should be fascinated with.
These instances push you to the boundaries of the life you have known only too well in your entire existence. They push you over the cliffs of all the rules you have formed around you, and drag you in the very belly of the ocean of impossibility you have created with your mind. And by the time you realize the true nature of such instances, they reveal that your life had been a lie all along, or rather just another insignificant life that moves on and on in this world unaware everything that exists around it in the universe.
My moment of truth, my ephemeral awakening came on a Wednesday. And like all such instances it was pure chance, unintended and unplanned. As on any regular Wednesday, I was walking to my department. It was a bright autumn morning, the sun shone lightly on the road, filtered through the lines of trees present on both sides of the road. The rays had appeasing warmth about them. A light breeze blew in my face as I groomed my hair with my fingers and readjusted the earphones. The air still had leftover chills from the winter that had just passed. Frank Sinatra’s strangers in the night buzzed in my ears as I walked lightly and swiftly towards my destination.
The road was almost deserted except for a few people in the distance. There was a man sweeping the fallen leaves off the road and making them into a heap. Just behind him were two men walking towards my direction, talking loudly in coarse voices. I say loud because even though I had my earphones, I could unwantedly hear bits of their conversation which revolved around some professor’s lecture on socialist economy. I say coarse voices because their voices felt like scraping my ears, hurting them. I quickened my pace to pass them as soon as possible.
I noticed a scooter at the far end of the road’s curvature. A motorcycle zoomed past me. I saw the number plate of the bike: 4556. My mind raced to work. I have a peculiar habit of finding relations between the digits on the number plates. The digits can be linked by any algebraic operation, and then equated to each other. For example,
4556 => (5-4) = (6-5), or (4+6) = (5+5)
A time passing tactic, it is. And it keeps my mind engaged, though not for long. I shifted my bag from one shoulder to another and hummed the song.
As the pink scooter approached nearer, I saw it was a girl who was driving. She drove slowly, continuously looking sideways at the hostels and houses names, seemingly lost. She did not have any helmet on but her face was covered with a colorful scarf, tied around like a hijab. She wore a light pink tee, a dark jeans, had a pink scooter with a number plate etched with 3426.
Easy, I murmured, as I figured out the expression.
The scooter stopped on the other side of the road. I shifted my bag again, the song had changed. As I was about to pass the girl, I thought I saw her hand wave. I looked around only to find that she was waving at me, asking for some help.
I looked across the road, and then along the road. There was no vehicle coming. I crossed the road, still light-footed and now singing along in my mind the song by Cole Porter, let’s do it. As I crossed the road my eyes fell upon the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life, her eyes, and within the smallest fraction of time that could ever exist, everything came to a hiatus.
The rays filtered through the leaves fell directly on her eyelids, and for the first time in my life I saw luminescent eyes. The rays penetrated just enough to make the eyes radiate back. The glowing eyes then made a movement, and the eyelids parted apart to reveal large, white pearls set with light brown lenses. Heavily embroidered with kohl, her eyelids moved slowly enough to capture a thousand glances. The cloaking scarf, if anything, only accentuated their every single move.
It was in such a moment that I forgot about myself. It was in such a moment that I knew I had fallen for those eyes. It was in such a moment, a moment of having witnessed those translucent eyes, that I realized I was just a mortal being. It was then that I realized that even if I died then and there, I would have witnessed something extraordinary in this world of ordinary men. It was then that I came to know of the existence of a beauty in this universe that transcends everything you have ever known; that is more beautiful than the sunrises you have seen, and the butterflies you have caught; that is more beautiful than what you can even think of, surpassing even the meaning of beauty as it is etched in your mind.
She took off her scarf before asking me the directions for the temple in the campus, and though she had a pretty face, it was the eyes which were carved in my mind. As she left, using the directions I had given her, my sparkling eyes followed her until she was lost in another curvature of the road, wishing silently that maybe, sometime in the future if I might be worthy of it I would again witness those life-taking, life-giving eyes.