Wednesday, April 20, 2011

As light wanes, the heart searches for love

I love nights. I love the shroud of silence and contemplation nights throw on my mind. There is an involuntary stillness that enters my heart, as I find nature tucking in for the day despite human beings’ frenzied activity around them. Crows start turning to their nests at the stroke of sunset, trees fold up for the day and draw their leaves tighter around themselves like shawls, self-respecting insects (unlike mosquitoes) disappear for the day. A while later children’s eyelids start getting heavier despite the TV and homework. As the night bleeds and spreads its black fingers over lamp shades, the mist of sleep overpowers thoughtful minds and restless hearts. It is time to draw the curtains, not just on the day but on the rerun of events of the day in our minds. Nights are for rejuvenation, reconsideration and revival. In simpler terms, when the moon appears at your window it is time to hibernate, shut down or do an Alt+Ctrl+del.

For me, the beauty of nights has much to do with the colour black — the hue of absorption, mystery, seduction and death. As I look up at the fickle moon bobbing like a ball in the dark November sky with stars flitting around like fireflies I wonder which ignoramus labelled nights as the hour of the demons. What can match the cool beauty, subtle fragrance and deep sexuality of the night? Mornings and noon explode with activity and shake you up for necessary and unnecessary actions. The nature of light is such. It demands movement. Aristotle hypothesised on the nature of light as “a disturbance in the element air”. But as light wanes and movements subside, mind and body seeks its nest and the heart searches for love. If day is a factory to feed your body, night is the spa for pampering your self.

When I was breaking into my teens, I used to feel a ravenous hunger in the pit of my stomach at exactly the stroke of sunset and I would gorge. Noticing my habit, my mother’s music teacher mentioned in passing, “only rakshashis eat at sunset.” What was stated intentionally to shame me out of the habit in fact had the opposite effect. I fell in love with idea of being a rakshashi and “fuelling myself for the night” at sunset, which I supposed was dawn for rakshashis. In fact as days passed I not only had “breakfast” at 6 pm but also “lunch” at the stroke of midnight. Amma shaking her head would leave rasam and rice for me. At midnight, while the house was dunked in dark slumber, I would toss the food, top it with pickle and pappad shreds and go into the balcony.

We lived in government quarters then, on the seventh floor and the dining table was in that open balcony of sorts. I would sit, not at the table but on it. As the wind whooshed through my hair, as I watched the distant city lights and supped on the delicious gruel, I used to feel an incredible high, an insatiable thirst to “create”, throughout the night. On those special nights when I wrote particularly well, I understood it as a “female night”, a Rajni, a Nisha and not just another ratri.

I heard this lovely story about Adam and his first experience of night. It is Adam’s first day of being born. He feels comfortable in the light but fearfully anticipates the sunset as that would mean he is left in the dark. But

as night approaches Adam sees the moon emerge with her stars, the evening flowers bloom exuding their fragrance and the creatures of the night materialise to sing their nightly songs, Adam discovers life in the dark and falls in love with night too.


  1. Nice poetic description of the night time....even i too feel comfortable at night...i feel NIGHT TIME IS MY TIME...great job Mrs. jaya...please check out my blogs at

  2. It's good. Unfortunately I'm so used to your humour that serious stuff coming from you gives me a big jolt. Thankfully the "Rakshasi" part convinced me that it's indeed Jaya Madhavan who's writing. :)