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November 8, 2013

Platinum day of magic

You might wonder what imagination is capable of. What it could mean to let the mind roam about unimpeded throughout the universe of possibilities and impossibilities. No shackles of reality to tie us down, no limiting laws of time and space to constrain us. Unbounded, unfettered, unshackled, unchained. The fringes of our minds hammering against the curtain of reality, willing it to bulge and spread out. After all, the feathers in our wings grow tired in the suffocating confines of life's nest. And this is why, people invented magic.

I am a magician. You will scoff at it, I know. I would have scoffed at such ridiculous claims made by another. But the universe doesn't care what you believe. You can believe whatever lies you want to. And since I am a magician, I think the truth is overrated. I am the devil. An accomplished sinner. I manufacture altered realities. I twist the logic of fates and destinies. I create chaos out of order and meaninglessness out of purpose. And by extension, lies out of truths.

Ah, and now you must be getting restless. Wasn't this supposed to be about the Platinum Day of Love? Where you could have sat back, relaxed and enjoyed a warm tale of lovers celebrating the innocence and purity of a delightful sojourn into love. But you know nothing is really innocent and pure, right? Which is why we need magic. To set things right. To fashion worlds and circumstances where happy endings stay forever.

The story begins on a starry night. We are lying on wet sand, you and I. Holding hands, gazing at the glittering stars in the sky. The lulling sound of sea waves nuzzles into our eardrums. I hear you snort. So much talk on imagination and I come up with the most trite and hackneyed of settings. But you have to grant me some liberties. It's what magicians do. They show you something mundane and ordinary. Like a hat or wand or a box. And then proceed to craft something incredible out of it.

"Has it ever occurred to you that the stars could just be an illusion?" you ask me, without taking your eyes off the sparkling sky.

"Uh-huh?" I say, lifting an eyebrow.

"Some of these stars died millions of years ago. And yet they are bright and alive in our skies." You turn and smile at me. "Illusion."

"Just like love," I say, my fingers gripping the crevices between your fingers more firmly.

You frown and say, "What?"

"Look around you. Love between two people fades. And yet they cling on to each other out of a misplaced sense of loyalty."

"Maybe the loyalty isn't as misplaced as you think." There is a faint indignation creeping into your voice. And funnily enough, it turns me on.

"Of course not." My lips curve rightward into a smirk.

You shake your head affectionately, a smile parting your face. "You're a piece of work, you know that?"

"That's general knowledge. Now close your eyes."

"What? Why?"

"Just close your eyes."

"Hell, no! You aren't pulling that trick on me again. Last time you stole a kiss."

I smile. I fancy it would be an indulgent smile. Like a father smiles when he sees his kid trying in vain to guess the ending of a bed-time story.

"All right, don't close your eyes. Look around you."

And you look. It's no longer night. Someone has magically snapped it away with the flick of a celestial switch. The sun is bright and strong. And that's not even the most wonderful thing. All around you the sand has changed. No longer the dull, listless yellow. But vibrant red. As if on cue, the sea has changed its hue too. It is turquoise now and alongside it, the sand's redness dazzles in a startling contrast.

You're dazed. Your wide eyes have become shiny black bubbles of bafflement. I start grinning.

"Red sand beach. Maui. Welcome to Hawaii," I say with relish.

Source:Flickr.com

Confusion and surprise cling to your eyes and face as you open your mouth to speak.

"H-how?"

I'm smug. "I told you I'm a magician."  
 
You don't reply. And stoop to collect some of the red sand in your palms. When you stand up straight again, we are no longer in Hawaii.

All around us now are blue and white bumpy pyramids reaching into the clouds. Snow-capped mountains piercing through white mounds of cotton candy. And before us we are beholding the most amazing sunrise ever. The bright globe rising in the center and spreading its soft and warm rays all around. And on both sides of it, like arms, two golden-yellow, thin and never-ending paint-strokes over the mountainous horizon in the east. The paint-strokes fade upwards into a dazzling, serene blue of the sky.

Source: huffingtonpost.ca

"Time to get high," I laugh. "8848 meters above sea-level."

Your eyes seem to have got wider with bewilderment, if that is even possible. "You m-mean we are at-"

"Mount Everest at your service, your Highness. And that's our sun rising in China." 

The sand slips between your fingers. The snow starts melting where the sand falls. We watch as the red of the sand melts in a miniature pool. With the snow all around, it looks like a drop of blood on a white satin sheet.

"How are we even breathing at this altitude?" Your voice is all skepticism and awe.

"Or freezing to death for that matter. Or not having our lungs blow up from edema," I reply.

I love playing the smart Alec  I feast on opportunities of pointing out things missed by others. It's a vice I will carry to my grave. "We are in a protective cocoon. Invisible. There. Stretch your hand. You'll feel your fingers squeak against its fabric."

You do as told. Gingerly with your right hand first. And then getting bolder, you start probing with both hands.

I can hear your heart-beat getting wilder. I can see the blood rush into your face. Your breath gets tangled in your throat.

I can sense all this. And more, if I try. At my best, I can hear all your thoughts so loud that they will feel like hurricanes roaring on my eardrums. But I don't. That's the thing about magic. It's so easy to be tempted, to lose control. It's an effort not to breach another person's rights.

I shuffle backwards a few steps, till I can feel the fabric of the cocoon against my back. It's reassuring. We'll need it even more at our next stop.

Our cocoon shoots upwards, carrying its human payload with it. The snow below it violently sprays outwards, as if hurled by a tempest. And we are airborne. Zooming out from earth's atmosphere, into our solar system and then blasting through hyperspace, hurtling at ten million times the speed of light. The distance of 1400 light years is covered in a matter of twelve eye-blinks.

"Where are we now?" Fear makes you clutch my arm. And your face still carries the ceaseless wonder of a child.

"We were talking about dead stars, remember? So I thought why don't we focus on something brighter instead?  Like the birth of one."

In front of us, a huge dark mass of gas and dust swirls in space. Like a menacing cloud of locusts. Somewhere nearby another star explodes, and a shock wave travels through the cloud. Massive jets of purple and pink, orange and green gases erupt from it and torpedo outwards at speeds of 1 million kilometers per hour.

You shield your dumbstruck eyes as the blazing gases streams collide with the objects surrounding the cloud, causing them to dazzle with a blinding glow.

The cloud begins to shrink and divide into even smaller swirling clouds. We watch the center of the cloud getting hotter and hotter until it ignites with a terrifying ferocity and a new star is born.

Source:wikipedia.com
Of course, these events take place over millions of years. But for a magician, time and space really don't mean much. I can hook up the universe to serve as a super-gigantic projector for time-lapse photography, where a million years compress into a tiny second.

"Where exactly are we?" you whisper, incredulous.

"Southern constellation of Vela, 1400 light years from Earth," I say in the same tone as I had announced the Red Sand Beach in Hawaii.

You blink your eyes. Once. Twice. "This is just i-n-c-r-e-d-i-"

But you never get the chance to finish. I slip a Platinum love band with pave set diamonds on your finger. The male of that pair of bands glimmers on my right index finger.

Source: preciousplatinum.in


Your eyebrows furrow. "What's this for?"

I give my shit-eating smirk. "At the risk of sounding corny, you're the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. And I don't think, any metal can do justice to everlasting love than platinum."

Your eyes twinkle with naughty humor. You put your hands on your hips, challenging me. "Oh yeah? Could you please tell me why, Mr. Magician?"

I roll my eyes. I can ramble on and on about how platinum is naturally white so will not cast any color into a diamond or that it will never fade or tarnish or the fact that it is hypoallergenic, so it is ideal for your sensitive skin. I can point out that platinum is 30 times more rare than gold. That it is exclusive, a statement of individuality and desired by those in the know. Platinum's durability and resistance mean your jewelry will last for a lifetime of wear. Platinum does not wear away so it holds precious stones securely.

But I don't. Because you already know all that. And even more because- although you don't show it, I can sense a discomfort within you.

"What's the matter?" I ask, my eyebrows stitched together in concern; my smirk has vanished and my lips have compressed into a thin serious line.

"Nothing." You turn away, refusing to meet my eye.

But I already know what you're thinking.

"You don't believe in everlasting love, do you?"

You sigh. "I wish I could. But no. I sincerely doubt it."

"Any particular reason?" I ask, but I am already unraveling and untangling your neurons and neural pathways, scanning your memory archives, watching your hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex light up, as images from the past play in your mind.

I know half the story even before you begin to explain it.

"I have a cousin. Very pretty, very good in studies. People used to fall all over her. Love caught her young. Despite her parents' protests, she married an unemployed guy while she was still in her teens. Had a baby before twenty. But her husband was still unemployed. And unfortunately, he passed away. Leaving her with their son."

I flinch a bit. I know what is about to come.

"Her in-laws, insensitive louts, drove her and her kid out of their home. And thus at twenty, she was left to fend for herself and her baby."

You stop for a moment. I can see your eyes getting teary and even deeper, the pain receptors in your brain lighting up like bonfires.

I let my fingers brush against yours. You don't seem to notice though. Your eyes remain sad and far as you resume speaking.

"Ten years passed. She was earning enough in her job. But she was lonely. My dad and a couple of other relatives decided to get her remarried. And you can imagine the type of prospects which arrived. Forty year olds with bulging pot-bellies, social rejects who couldn't lay their hands on a firsthand bride. And none of them wanted anything to have to do with the kid. Five years have gone by. And we are still searching for a suitable groom. And you know what pains us the most? It's that she has lost all hope. Of ever being happy again. She has resigned herself to her loneliness. She loved someone with all her heart and this is how fate rewarded her. So when people give me that bullshit about everlasting love, you know why I tend to be a little skeptical."

You meet my gaze now. Searching my eyes for something.

"Look at the diamonds," I simply say.

"Excuse me?"

"I said look at the diamonds on your band. Look closely."

You look at me in a funny sort of a way and then focus on the diamonds set in your love band.

I smile inwardly as your expression changes. From annoyance to surprise and finally elation.

I know what you see. Inside the beautiful, shimmery faces of the diamonds, the most wonderful scenes are playing out. Your cousin is giving birth to a baby girl. The father is all smiles as he holds his child. And then he carefully hands the little bundle of joy to a fifteen year old boy. The boy is your cousin's son. He has a new father who loves him and  now also a baby sister to play with.

I can see the boy's affectionate smile reflect in your eyes when you say, "Is t-this....real?"

"As real as you and me."

"But h-how?"

"Everlasting love," I smile and say.

"Huh?"

"The father. He lived in the same neighborhood your cousin grew up in. Loved her since childhood. But by the time he mustered enough courage to tell your cousin's dad about his desire to marry her, she was already married. Heartbroken, he left the city to get over her."

"But then how did all this happen?" you ask, staring astounded at the diamonds and then staring at me.

"I went back in time, hon. Cast an astral projection of myself five years back into our timeline. I sought him out and explained to him the situation. He works in the railways. On hearing what I had to say, he immediately boarded the next train to his city. After getting off at the station, he headed straight to your cousin's father. He told him he was willing to take responsibility of the mother as well as the kid. And the rest, as they say, is his and her story."

"YOU MEAN YOU CAN DO ALL THAT? ALTER TIME STREAMS?" You are now a perfect picture of amazement and flabbergasted fascination.

It's my turn to look away and avoid your gaze. "At a price, yes."

"What price?" you ask, half apprehending, half anticipating the answer.

"Magic is not infinite. It has its limitations. Every feat I pull off subtracts a certain amount of time from my life."

"How much did all of what you did today cost you?" The concern in your tone becomes palpable.

"Seven years."

I lie. It cost me fifteen. But you don't need to know that.

After all, the very mention of your name makes a smile break free on my face. Quick-witted, silver-tongued, tempestuous - dutiful daughter, doting friend, with eyes the color of smoldering charcoal. My love.

"Take it back," you snap, as I knew you would. "Take all of it back."

"I can't."

"Why?"

"Rewriting on the fabric of reality too many times will cause its cohesiveness to break. And if that happens, even I don't know what will be the consequences."

I lie again, of course. I can take it all back. But what's fifteen years compared to your happiness?

"I don't want to lose you so fast." Your worry creeps into your gut and ties knots there. I can feel all of it. I can feel all of it as if it is happening to me.

"I'll be fine," I reply.

But my voice breaks in the middle, and the next thing I know, you are right next to me and your arms are awkwardly wrapped around me and you are kissing my forehead, my cheeks, my lips.

“Oh sweetheart, I am so happy, yet so scared…”

I breathe in as deeply as I dare. Your familiar, beloved scent eases the ache in my head and the dryness of my throat. I run my fingers through your silky hair, savoring your nearness. You are my platinum. As long as you are with me, I can get through anything. Even this.

 P.S. This post is written as an entry for Indiblogger Platinum Day Of Love Contest organised by Indiblogger.in and preciousplatinum.in. Please do visit their wonderful site Platinum Day Of Love. The site will make you fall in love with platinum if you aren't already. :) 

Reactions:

10 comments:

  1. Welcome back to blogging :D That was one mushy post, literally an out of the world proposal :P Cute, nonetheless. Good luck with the contest :)

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    1. Thanks Swarnali. :) Hope you liked the way I integrated the story about your cousin into my post.

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  2. : ) I see you are back! Great post.. pretty amazing write up actually!!

    P.S. How are you doing? : )

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    1. Thanks Radhika. I am f9. How are you? :)

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  3. welcome back..:)
    great story..:) Good luck for the contest..

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    1. Thanks Jemina. :-) I hope you are doing good. Take care. Best of luck for your exams.

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  4. It is such a refreshing love story! Loved it Rahul! :)

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  5. Its really a well written piece. Great work. all the best
    please read my post too
    http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=295492

    ReplyDelete