| | | | | | | | | |

Quest of Ambrosia

Thursday, 4th July. American Independence Day!

Nandini couldn’t ever forget that hapless day.

“Boston” she recalled Arnab’s smiling face “To deliver a ship. Maybe we could take a trip to the Niagara Falls”

“How long?”

“Not long. A flight to Niagara and back”

Nandini was thrilled at the idea of likely break from dreary chores. Except for her painting interest, she hardly had a flue. This was not the first she was out at sea with Arnab. It was fine for a few days. But a longer journey was boring. Aneesh, only seven, was ecstatic.

After finishing his errands, Arnab said “Off to Niagara”

Niagara fitted their interests – Nandini’s painting and Arnab’s photography.

Aneesh jumped in glee “Exciting”

Ought to be. So was Nandini and Arnab. She woke early on Thursday morn to finish the last bit of packing with the extras Arnab had dumped the last moment “Don’t forget my camera. Shove it in the side bag” Arnab reminded her.

“Leave it to me” she grinned stepping into the shower to release her mind from the domestic chores.

A three-hour flight from Boston to Buffalo, losing a couple in jet lag, they reached Buffalo at 2:30 PM.

“Get one with GPS” Nandini reminded Arnab as he advanced towards the Hertz Car Rental.

“All have one here” Arnab reassured.

Aneesh settled at the rear seat was peckish “I’m starving. Can I have some nut-nuggets please?”

“Yes…but no soda” Arnab settled on the wheels to check the controls.

A twenty-minute drive took them to the hotel beside the highway overlooking a grandee lake. As Nandini gaped at the breath-taking landscape, where the firmament kissed the acreage, she was swept by a strange feeling of frailty. Aneesh was over-excited of the imminent helicopter ride over the falls next day. It was the first for all of them. After weighing in, they boarded the copter. Aneesh nervous, clung to mom while gazing out. Arnab seated beside the pilot beamed as he fitted the zoom “We’re closer to heaven”

They were enthralled as the copter circled the falls. Arnab sighed at the lifetime dream, blossom into reality. Spellbound Nandini too was lost in the grandeur of the mist and rainbow frisking over the falls.  Nature at its pristine best.

“What’s the colour of water? Grey? Blue? Or white?”

“Blue” Aneesh promptly replied.

Arnab was continuously clicking every frame before catching on the next. He was fond of photography from youth. In those days when there weren’t any digital ones, he had saved every rupee to buy a Nikon SLR. He would click each and everything he fancied – beggars, rain-drenched Esplanade, to dewdrops on a leaf. Nature was his forte. Piles were stuffed in boxes waiting for a space in the album.

Euphoric in glee, he mused ‘Would she kiss me if I jumped off the copter? Could I soar free like the birds? Would she still love me if I didn’t return?’

“Are you OK?” he was back to the senses at the pilot’s gesture.

“Fine”

“We’re going down.

Riveted Aneesh flooded Nandini with a volley of questions. Ride over, they walked out of the helipad with memoir of a lifetime marvel. Hopping into the car Arnab said “Let’s have lunch at the hotel. We’d be out in the evening to see the fireworks”

“Want to click a few more while you laze”

Arnab had a strange feel of unease. He walked out, leaving them to their afternoon siesta. Nandini hit the bed sheet, hoping to grab an hour’s catnap. Arnab could feel the azure alluring him to the orgasmic blue. He walked towards the falls until the rails blocked him like a virgin’s hymen. He leant over to get the right frame.

Click… click… click …

His head whirled, legs trembled, specks of sweat piled on his forehead. In throbbing expectation, he could feel the lure of Nature. Wiping his forehead with the lens wiper, he wanted to seize the dream frame in his SD card. Fingers trembling, heart pounding, he could hear the beat of the distant drums. Amid the clatter of cliques, the camera slipped. In the split of a sec he lost his foothold. His dangling body detached from the soil, floating mid-air, drifted from riddle to the crib of mystic twilight, never to be seen again. The azure mingled into the greyish dark.

The fuzzy portrait stayed numinous before Nandini could splash any colour to its vague outline. Her sentient being was trying to plumb her subliminal. The colours of life wiped from the palette with nothing leftover for a figurine. The array of rainbow was sinking in the deepest nadirs of her sorrow.

She posted in Facebook, the vista of the blue turning dusty grey, merging into the dark.

This is the jingle of life. It reveals in dappled awnings, slopping horde of colours on an empty canvas, with its unique verve of veiled dreams in its sheath. The beauty is amid the trusses and verges of life in varied shades, until the demon leers with snooty jape.

“Are you a dreamer?” someone remarked.

“Why?”

“The setting airs your illusory brush” without realising she had tried to bring forth her reality.

“Why do you say?”

"The colours are wacky”

If the order of the spectrum didn’t follow a defined range, which colour could illustrate the soul of her fictional image? Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange or red? He was in quest of the myth of a vivid spectre. He was taught to applaud the tailored concept.

But the realism lay far beyond the myopic visibility, into the aura of fallow canopies. Maybe she had to wait for that piercing awareness, amid the lonely twilight, onto the cuddle of sleepless nights. She strode through the snug rims of the dusty alleys, in quest of her destiny.