It’s hard to sleep on a cloudless night.
The sky, bare and beautiful, holds back no secrets on such nights. Rather it sings entire love songs, songs that seem nothing less than spells being cast upon.
I get lost quite often, overwhelmed by my hunger. Most of the times the forgetful mind I managed to keep intact still, has been a blessing. But under those spells, I can’t help but get lost. The past seems quite a desirable landmark.
Last night was a summer night, a breezy night. A night, when I sat on an uncomfortable broken stool by the window of my old room with two cigarettes. Both of them were of different brands and sizes. While spending my last twenty bucks for the day on nicotine-cylinders, I bought a larger fifteen bucks worth, the greed for which left me with just enough money to spend on a cheaper, smaller one.
So by 2 o’clock in the morning, I was there, by that window, sitting on that discarded stool. The stool, crooked with very bad lumbar support, hence discarded, barely qualifies as one. But you don’t complain much on a sleepless night.
My senses dulled by the flickering street lamp, crickets calling desperately to grab the attention of their partners playing hide and seek, some midnight crow confused by the darkness just like I was, I too was awake on this cloudless night.
The stars were talking too loud. They whispered sometimes out of decency but that breeze brought in every bit of gossip to my ears. So I just lit my cigarette and listened. They were calling but I knew not any way to reach them.
All of it reminds me now of Vincent’s last letter to Theo. In it he said —
“Painters — to speak only of them — being dead and buried, speak to a following generation or to several following generations through their works. Is that all, or is there more, even? In the life of the painter, death may perhaps not be the most difficult thing.
For myself, I declare I don’t know anything about it. But the sight of the stars always makes me dream in as simple a way as the black spots on the map, representing towns and villages, make me dream.
Why I say to myself, should the spots of light in the firmament be less accessible to us than the black spots on the map of France?
Just as we take the train to go to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to go to a star. What’s certainly true in this argument is that while alive, we cannot go to a star, any more than once dead we’d be able to take the train. So it seems to me not impossible that cholera, the stone, consumption, cancer are celestial means of locomotion, just as steamboats, omnibuses and the railway are terrestrial ones.
To die peacefully of old age would be to go there on foot.”
Those are nothing but beautiful horrid thoughts to me which sometimes makes me crave to catch that freight train and reach those stars that long for me.
Can I be patient enough to walk that far, I ask myself often? Are those stars patient enough to wait?
I can feel they want me closer, but there are others in this world who want the same too. Others, I love truly and don’t manage to drive away whatsoever.
So for the moment, I choose this terrestrial love of mine over this yearning celestial infatuation.
I am fine, I always have been. Sometimes, I do experience a momentary lapse of reason, I do go insane but I believe they have been necessary at every single point of time. Those phases of insanity led me to be who I am now, let me be saner somehow, even though some did not like it. But then again I have ceased to care for them as well.
And I am happy for ink still flows from the nib of my pen, my brushes still manage to impress the blank canvas with colors and I am happy that after everything I’ve been through, the meager turn of the clock those stars laugh at, I still can’t sleep on a cloudless night.
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The picture is Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone. That guy was a genius.