The Sun-Man

When the East Coast Blizzard unleashed its ferocity last year, several snowmen were made. And, my cousin, and his wife created a snowwoman. The statuette was gorgeous. She almost asked for a story to be written about her. The figurine became my cousin’s muse, and he wrote a moving story.

Because the snowwoman was adorable, I couldn’t resist the urge to spin a tiny tale too about her, and I shared stole his muse. 😉 When we exchanged our flash fiction, I was amazed at how similarly, yet differently we had looked at her.

This year, my cousin observed that we must write something about the sun-man.

While all other celestial objects are celebrated, our poor sun is always scolded. “He is either burning, or hiding. He never strikes a balance.” Someone should cut him some slack.

So, my cousin’s idea sounded like a tribute to the sun. A paean for the unsung hero. 🙂

And we wrote two stories on the theme The Sun-Man.

My cousin’s story warmed my heart instantly. It was adequately awww-inducing, thoughtful, and look out for a tiny twist that’s cleverly presented.

Here is the Sun-Man, written by Navin Radha — http://navinradha.blogspot.in/?zx=9d36978717ac582a

His website, which is a charming old soul, is a treasure chest of stories. ❤

Please allow me to share a little, yet important trivia. I began writing only after I read Navin Radha’s blogs, and flash fiction. He is quite an inspiration to me. (Arav, stop feeling embarrassed, and say, “Nandri hai!”

And, of course, we would love to hear about his story. 🙂

*****

Yours truly sat on Navin Radha’s idea for 234 years. Then, I wrestled with my head, and wrote this story on our Sun-Man. I hope you will enjoy our stories.

The Sun-Man

20170415_124641If I could sweat, I would. If I knew to knit, I would. If I knew to doodle, I would. I must do something to cope with my anxiety. But I am an enormous fireball that can’t adopt any of the human methods to alleviate my pain. All that I can do is burn.

It’s been five days since he paid me a visit; he hasn’t been this elusive. Disappearing is not his way. He is the one who shows up.

Tharangambadi. It was a lonely morning. The moon and the stars were exhausted. I was tired to rise too. But they needed a break. I dusted the stardust on my face, pushed a cloud to cover the moon, and rose to face another day.

He was sitting on a rock. He was more tired than all of us. As I lifted myself higher, he squinted, cocked his head, and whispered, “You are gorgeous!” I was shy. His face broke into a smile.

I saw his worn backpack, torn shoes, and sunburnt face. One of those clichéd bikers. Just when I was about to dismiss him, I saw him dropping his camera in his bag. He folded his knees, and hugged them, as he sat straight. I was used to people staring at me. But this man’s unwavering attention made me feel awkward.

I slowly rose with my gaze fixed on his enchanted face. The man continued to talk to me. “What is happening! I drove 723 kilometres. No. I didn’t intend to see you. I couldn’t sleep. Instead of tossing and turning in my bed, I rode a few more kilometres, and decided to rest here for a while. Then I see you.”

I did not know if he spoke to everybody like that. Did he know I was listening?

“I am sure you are listening,” he said. I was so surprised that I would have fallen into Bay of Bengal. But folks like me can’t succumb to such impulses. “In your presence, I am not lonely. You are all that I need. Your measured warmth. Your silent companionship. Your unassuming beauty,” he mumbled.

We were two lonely souls with few words, and more feelings.

He tore his heart open, and allowed me to illuminate his chamber of vulnerabilities, regrets, and pain. I touched his gentle soul with my morning rays.

In that short moment, I knew he would be my friend. My man. The Sun-Man.

Kanyakumari. I was all yellow, orange, and red. The blue was gone. 16 minutes before I could go down, he sat on a rock, holding a girl’s hand. She didn’t make me feel jealous.
From the way she looked at him, when he gushed about our soulful-connection, I knew she was going to love me.

With a heart that brimmed with joy and contentment, I drew the blanket of darkness over me. He stole a kiss from her. She held his hand, but kept smiling at me. Even if the darkness chose to stay for eternity, I wouldn’t have regretted. I wanted their moment to last forever.

Pulicat. The Sun-Man hurled a pebble into the quiet backwater. When the ripples settled, I saw his son’s face. Amaan. He was like his parents; I was not surprised. He looked at me like I was the most beautiful marvel.

“How many sunsets have you seen, Appa?” Amaan wondered. My man wore his signature smile. “Many, many! Maybe, more than 200.” The little child couldn’t count. “200. Is it greater than five?” The Sun-Man threw another stone. “Not really…” He held Amaan’s chin. “Sometimes, one sunset would make you feel like you saw hundreds of them,” he looked at me.

I remembered that look; I wanted to hug him. “You are resplendent today,” he observed. A thin ray of light kissed him. It was my way of ruffling his hair.

He lifted Amaan, and they both left on the Sun-Man’s vintage bike. They rode, and rode, as though they rode into the sunset itself.

Pondicherry. He lives here. His schedule is unpredictable, but he comes to meet me everyday. The Sun-Man’s gait has changed. His pace has become slow. His heart is light, and joyful all the same.

When he sits on the promenade, and looks at me going about my chores, our souls hold hands, and dance on the waves that rise and crash. He doesn’t talk at all these days. But I listen to his silence.

He waits till I go home. Then he looks at the moonbeam that falls on the ancient ocean. The sheet of silver on the water fills his heart with peace, and when he takes a deep breath then, I know how much he loves me, and the moon, the light, and the darkness.

Five days have gone. What is wrong with him? Why would he neglect me? That’s so unlike him.

I have spent 22 days without embracing the Sun-Man. I am livid. I want to burn and burn and burn, and set fire to the world, and the clouds, and the universe. But, I am going to wait. He will come back.

81 days. No signs of the Sun-Man yet. My friends in the cosmos are supposed to form a search party. But they can’t help me. They have to befriend one like the Sun-Man to know what friendship means.

Wadi Rum. I just spotted Amaan, 134 days after my friend went missing. Where was he all this while? Where is the Sun-Man? I thought Amaan’s like his parents. Maybe, I was wrong. This boy doesn’t recognise me. Dude! I am your father’s best friend. No! He is writing something on a journal. I am going to ask the desert winds to throw sand into his eyes. I miss my friend. What happens when I cry?

Amaan writes feverishly, and darts a quick glance at me. I could understand his father’s silence. But this boy seems mysterious. He pushes the notebook aside, lies on the sand, and closes his eyes. Boy! Where is the Sun-Man?

I linger over his head for a while. He must be lost in a dreamless slumber. I hold my anxious heart, and look at his journal. The shapes do not make sense to me. “The Jordanian desert accentuates the sun’s beauty. What makes the sun more beautiful here? My muddled head can’t grasp the soul of Jordan. Without him, nothing makes sense to me. Will this desert, and the sand, and the sun give Appa back?”

He wakes up with a start because I was too severe on him. Amaan doesn’t talk to me. From the way, he ignores me, I know that he needs me the most now. I should stop being harsh. The boy needs a hug.

I ask a stray cloud to cover me a bit; I wink at Amaan. He gives me a lopsided smile. Will you listen to me, boy? “When I met the Sun-Man in Tharangambadi, we shared our souls. I do not know where he is now. But a leaf of his soul lives with me. That is the lantern to my dark life. That is my universe. He is my universe. I will wait and wait and wait to see him again. I might die. The universe might collapse. But I will wait to give him a warm hug one more time. Till then, I carry his soul. Look at me when you want to talk to him. Look at me when you want to hear his voice. Look at me when you feel lonely. I am here. Because I am waiting for the Sun-Man.”

Amaan wakes up. Torrential tears streak down his cheeks. “Appa!” he whispers. The desert wind brings the word to me. “Boy! I am collecting your words, smiles, tears, and memories.We are in this together.”

*****

PS: My story is a loud tribute to the man who carries a pebble in his pocket. You know who you are. 🙂 ❤

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4 thoughts on “The Sun-Man

  1. Deepikaaa! I could give you a hug for this piece of writing. This is so, so, soo beautifully illustrated! Your writing tugs me right at my heartstrings! And for some reason, I found myself dabbing the corner of my eye as I reached the end of this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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