The sun was at the top mocking me with its glare, I was sitting in the balcony of my house waiting for my mother to reach home, while I was reading one of my favorite books “Jonathan Livingston’s Seagull”. I don’t know why but I always come back to this book, it might be because it gives me hope that everything is achievable and nothing is impossible. I like to think that just like the seagull I can also accomplish the tasks that I can think of.
I was just reaching towards the end of the novel when I heard the doorbell; I turned around to see my mother standing right outside the main door, my elder sister who is pursuing English literature as her major opened the gate for her. I sometimes feel like I am an outcast, like a weed in a crop; for, my father, my mother and my sister all are in the field of literature. Not that I don’t like literature, I love reading about the old works of Milton, Shakespeare, and many more, I have in a way grown up to like them but it’s just the ‘Whys’ that I concentrate on not the ‘Hows’ and ‘Whens’.
It’s just that I like to think that there is a reason behind everything we have and everything we do in life. Aah! ‘Life’, what a stranger this word looks like to me, you might ask how life can be a stranger to a living person? Right in the middle of this thought I heard my mother’s voice, she was going to cook my favorite meal. Knowing that she will be busy and my sister’s doing some stuff, I realized that I had some time for rest. So I rested my head on my palm and keeping the book aside, decided to close my eyes for a minute.
Oh! How calm can it be? It’s a shockingly beautiful and a serene place where I am sitting right now. I am somehow at peace in here, this place is filled with my memories that I cherish; it is filled with monuments that I have visited and those that I would love to visit someday; it has my loved possessions that are dear to me like my books but it feels different this time. It is not like the other times I drifted to this sort of mind matrix that is built in the depths of my squishy brain. This place is where imagination meets reality; it is a place where dreams meet the goals.
I am sitting at the side of a road that winds out as far as the ends of my vision stretch. On the one side of the road lies a vast stretch of endless sea and on the other side lays a forest too dark and damp, where resides my worst fears (the ones I can never even get myself to talk about). I realized why it was different this time, because just before drifting off I was thinking of ‘life’ the stranger. I sometimes wonder what life really is, what is the meaning of living a life? People keep saying that so and so person lived a great life but, then, what makes it great? Is it the amount of money they earned? Or is it the Respect they received. Is it how high they climbed the social ladder? Or is it how low they stooped to achieve that material position. Questions lurk behind in the shadows of my cerebral cortex is: is life worth living for? Certainly it has its own embellishments and blemishes, its own ups and downs.
Sure the likes of Da Vinci, Einstein, Shakespeare and countless more realized the answer to that question and immortalized their lives in doing so. I want all that (who doesn’t?) but I want to realize my reason for living. I glare at the beautiful, warm sunset in front of me, the sun going down appearing bigger than it really was. Split in half; with some part over road and other hovering above the sea. And suddenly it dawned on me like a wave or a splash of warm water a sudden surge of energy which I could not understand, the whole world started changing in front of me.
Since I was little I used to enjoy looking at the horizon, I realized one day that the whole sky we see above us is just like a roof or pinnacle; I used to dream of reaching and touching that roof and used to think what would be above it, some divine power perhaps. I used to think that there might be portals through which our dreams and our prayers pass through the roof.
The place around me was changing very quickly; suddenly the ground started shaking. I thought it was an earthquake, so I ducked. But there were no hovering constructions to fall on me. The Road which was there a second ago disappeared and a never ending field of grassland surrounded me from three sides, with the forest being far-far back, and the sea being covering the other side. Then the ground below me began cracking. I jumped and saw something coming out of the ground. I turned around and saw the water in the sea swirling around in circles in various places and from the whirlpools, erupting from the ground were tall shafts coming out in all directions a few meters apart. I realized that they were made from stone and they just kept shooting upwards towards the velvety blue sky, and then a sound startled me causing me to trip on my feet. I saw the source of that sound which was of the pillars striking the sky. I was amazed and astonished because the very thing around me was somehow holding the sky. For a few minutes I sat there but it felt like hours just staring at the obelisks around me like some Greek Building with all its glory. It was a breathtaking display of great work of art.
These pillars were like what you find in temples, carved all around from some type of stone which has a bright yellow glare about it, a little unsettling to look at. They looked so grand that I felt like an ant to an elephant, it was a feeling I can’t describe. After sometime, I got up and decided to explore and take a look at the pillars. In all the obelisks there were statues at the top; huge statues with their hands above their head as if someone had asked them to raise their hands and the sky was balanced on those hands carved beautifully in a stone that looked like limestone.
I realized that I had seen his face somewhere, the statue standing with all its might in front of me was none other than Leonardo Da Vinci, it was a magnificent piece of art of an artist who rendered the world differently, who changed the world as it was. All around him were his famous art pieces like Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and Vitruvian Man; he had in his hand a replica of flying machine he invented and around him was his other work all in its grace.
I started studying the rest of the statues and I found one with shabby hair and an all knowing smirk on his face. It was Einstein! His famous equation about relativity was written on his satchel. Then I saw an old looking man’s statue who was wearing just a single piece of garment and with his walking stick it was none other than Gandhi, with one word written on it ‘Nonviolence’.
I saw various other statues with all of their contribution duly inscribed and with their hands above their head and happily taking the colossal weight of the sky. Then I saw my grandparents’ statues, ahead in the sea with the brilliant luminescence coming from them. There were endless pillars and at the edge of the forest that I was so afraid of, so near at my worst fears, were a large number of small pillars which were just coming out of the ground as if they were infants. It was then I realized that the sudden strange warm feeling which came on me was the realization of the truth, and the true reason of living life. It was this feeling which overwhelmed me as I realized at that instant that this was why I was alive. I had to carve my life out of this divine stone. This was the reason to live so that I can also take my share of the sky above. I need to find my own ‘Pillar of Life’, my own pillar of reality and carve it, inscribe it so that someone else may see what it is and just like me get the reason of life. I need to carve this Obelisk with my Journey, my sorrow, my deeds. Though there will be pain as the pillars are so close to the forest of fear, I would need to face my fears with steadfast determination because the destination, the ocean far behind is worth living for. The Ocean is where I will go once fully carved and where I will take my mark to hold up that sky. The deeds, the feasts that we achieve are what we hold up this world from being destroyed. It is our life which does not let this sky fall and being shattered to bits and pieces of Humanity’s sorrow, its pain, its sins, its greed, its thirst.
Suddenly just like that the whole world broke in front of me, the whole place just darkened and I snapped back to reality. It took a minute to realize a soothing and calm voice calling from behind me somewhere, it was calling my name. It was my mother’s voice, I opened my eyes to find myself sitting in my balcony and it’s not the first time that I had drifted to the world behind my cerebrum but this time I knew it was different, this time I somehow knew what I had to do, I knew what everyone in this world needed to do, I got up taking my novella with me and entered my room, without realizing opened the main door of the house and stepped out.
I took the fresh air, breathed in the power of knowledge and I heard my mother coming out behind me and asking me where I was going. I realized that I did not have my destination; I only knew the path which will be difficult but I knew I had a reason to survive, this time I had a reason to take on any obstacle lying in the path.
She asked me again, “Where are you going?”
And I turned to her with a desperate look, a satisfying smile and replied with a strange new confidence “To build my Pillar of life.”
About the Author
Atiyab Zafar is a freshman in Dyal Singh College, Delhi University, pursuing Physics as his major in Bachelor. He has a passion for Photography and writing, He likes to write reviews on various movies and has a knack for Cinema. He is currently living in Delhi, India