Like a pony fettered to a carousel, I’ve been travelling miles after circular miles and yet not have moved a millimetre from the pole I am suspended. I am not in charge of this motion, nor do I control this stasis. I cannot even choose the music or the riders that cling to my back at intervals. Try as I might, I cannot relate to their fear or delight, for they are free of the shackles of the gravity while I am a slave to the carousel’s periphery.
I fret the elephant and the camel no longer, who will forever lead and trail me on this voyage with placid looks carved in their faces. I am unknown too, to the turmoil or torpor my fellow serfs might be undergoing, time after time, spin after spin.
My other life is an evanescent dream where I am a galloping steed in a grassland. The shrubs of this pasture are verdant and velvety, oozing with juice and scent. Before the day spills its brightness on the land of rabble I wake up to a dawn under dulcet skies, lyrical and winged like birds. And when the sun turns yellow in the firmament I trot to a stream, the wind rustling through my flaming mane.
I am saying this to you as if it all were a fragment of truth, but I am saying this for it’s not a figment of my fancy; that world is as real as this roundabout is cruel. But what has shrivelled over the countless gyrations is the silken wings of my sleep.
When I was a freshly hewn colt from the trunk of an oak the woodcutter had painted fat eyelids on my hopeful visage, a kind god that he was, so that I could dream even in my drudgery. Those eyes lasted rains and countless summers, surviving siroccos and mistrals of the planet, till the talons of time scraped away the brows and lashes. And I would sleep lesser and lesser, falling farther and farther from my somnolent treasures, eventually ending up having a pair of mouldy grey eyes that would just not close, just not swim.
Then a fool turned up one day with cans of paint and painted me a shade of mustard yellow as if I were a clueless carthorse, and he left me with huge white lidless vision so that I could focus ahead rather than glaze in my fantasies. Worse fates befell to the elephant and the camel too who were painted green and pink with same horrid eyes. Now whoever has seen a green elephant or a camel that is pink, except in his wildest trance? The bitter truth remains then, you have to trot to the tune of your masters if you don’t want to be a part of a landfill, like the black swan who broke free from the pole the other day thinking he could fly away like a real avian.
Such is the sad fate of my other life, friends, and that is why it has been increasingly hard to be swirling my pen. We all want to stay put and retain our utility lest we are discarded by the heartless crowds. So unless the clown of the park who came to me the other day and whispered in my ears that they are conspiring to install a roller-coaster in this cold, whirling ground, all fibre and steel, and that probably he will buy me in the ensuing auction to make me a part of the wooden canoe he is building for the lake across the palm trees, I will zoom ad nauseam about my life till the dead end. The small chance that I may get to become a part of the canoe will mean I’ll be able to sail along the bank of a lake with the breeze dancing on the grass.