Sunday, 30 May 2021

Canta Dadlaney, Prose 500 2021 Longlist

 Silhouettes for Solace 

Dusk had long vanished into the darkened night. The pandemic had had an unsettling effect on everyone. ‘Work from home’ had become the norm but there were some who were still commuting to isolated offices.

Through the shadows cast outside and the quietude of his own home, the extremely bright lights of a house in a building, not too far away caught his eye. He stared as if to get a closer look but saw no one. The lights were too bright and yet looked appealing. 

Suddenly, he saw a female silhouette walk into the balcony and settle on a chair. Within minutes, a male silhouette stood beside her. A-ha! Finally! Dark figurines set against flood lights.

Even as his mind tried to figure what they could be discussing; the balcony was empty again but the lights continued to shine. It was late and he fell asleep.

The evening lights drew his attention to the house and he noticed the windows were shut. “Hmm, working couple, perhaps! Wonder if they work in the same organization or” … 

He continued with his work and decided to check later, not understanding, his curiosity.  At precisely the same time as the previous night, he stared outside again, peeping cautiously through his window, not wanting to be noticed. “That’s them”! He exclaimed as if he had discovered a new law of physics. The male silhouette always seemed to stand next to the female silhouette while she sat on the chair.  “Are they sharing their work-place experiences or the status of the pandemic? Looks like they have been married in the recent past”. Even as his very imaginative mind took to a range of conclusions, he realized the couple had retired into their living room but the lights were left on for long, sometimes way beyond midnight.

Was the pandemic doing things to him? Making him peer into the lives of complete strangers, that too, from afar?  Something was surely wrong but he couldn’t put a finger to it. The lights seemed to lend some solace to a situation that had enveloped the entire planet.

Days turned to weeks as did his observation of the silhouettes. Just before hitting the sack every night, one last peep, to see the bright lights and the two silhouettes made him smile. For some reason, he had connected with them. It was unique perhaps, different or was it because it was at a distance?

The summer heat and the prolonged days made him dismiss the habit, probably because, well, it seemed stupid.

It was twenty hundred hours and as he stepped inside his home, he first thought of viewing the beacon in the dark. To his surprise, the place was dark. 

This continued for a week. “Have they gone on a holiday. In the midst of this pandemic, impossible!”. He laughed at his silly thought.

Another week, a hot Sunday afternoon. He peeped through the window. He saw a family of six standing, in the balcony! 

Canta Dadlaney

 

No comments:

Post a Comment