Monday, March 2, 2015

A Hatred of Heights 

I dreamed that I was in Mumbai, on Juhu beach, standing in knee-deep water, feeling the pull of the sand below my feet as the waves crashed and then receded. The sun was setting, a ball of orange-red light. Against the darkening purple sky, a flock of rosy starlings spread outwards like smoke. A few stars were already visible, little points of brightness, winking in and out. Behind me, I could hear faintly, the screams of my friends who were riding on the Ferris wheel.

Soon, I would join them at the stall selling eye-wateringly spicy bhelpuri and panipuri and stuff myself till I was sick. I hated heights. I preferred the water and could gaze at the sea for hours. Sometimes, there were ships on the far horizon and to me they seemed like self-contained worlds. I often wished I could sail away and travel, looking in wonder at new people, places and things.

I came awake, the dream fragmenting, but the taste of stinging bhel still on my tongue, and walked over to the window.

You know, my wish came true. I got to sail, not in a ship, but in a spaceship. The glass bubble in which I live floats in an ocean of brilliant stars in the Andromeda Galaxy. I am still terrified of heights. Ironical isn’t it? I have all the sunsets (and sunrises) I could possibly want. Sometimes, just sometimes, though, I yearn for the undulating landscapes, the gentle blue skies and restless seas of home. It was called Earth I think.

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