Saturday, February 14, 2009

European Beauty

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and its too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst.

And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.

-Lester Burnham in American Beauty

It is 7 AM on a Saturday in Bratislava. There are Magpies flying in the sky, sitting on rooftops and hopping in the snow…their black feathers standing out upon the glistening sheets of fresh snow. The sky is just about beginning to lighten up and there is a mix of colours each fighting for attention…the train of the departing night’s dress leaves everything washed in blue while there is still the orange from the sodium vapour lamps falling on the snow around the corners of the pavements…the sky is whitening at the edges.

The small brown-walled convenience store in the corner with sloping roofs and white snow over it has been open since 5 AM and every once in a while an early riser steps out with a bag of goodies in his hands. A man or two are walking the pavements in the blue-light of the morning.

Dawn broke a while ago after a night of snowfall…under an orange sodium vapour lamp it seemed like pieces of magic falling from the sky…soft and gentle. There were scattered footsteps in the snow when we returned to the office close to morning…there had been wayfarers who had been up in this beautiful night… while most people were dreaming under warm coverlets…a night when the wind blew magic all over the city.

Honestly it is hard to stay either sad or mad when you see beauty around you. And there is a whole lot of it in the world. On snowy days like this…

…Or on clear days when I wake up in a quiet apartment…my flatmate in deep sleep. I sit in bed dressed in my grey pyjamas and grey T-shirt and contemplate upon what to do. I do not want to leave the warmth of the soft blanket but I do not feel like staying in bed any longer either. So I step onto the warm wooden floor and amble into the rather spacious living room. And I catch God painting at leisure…strokes of orange, pink and lavender. I stand at the window mesmerized listening to the sounds of the house and watching…collecting myself after witnessing such splendour.


…On days when it is raining and there is a bevy of cars on the street below, their red lights decorating the road like a string of Christmas lights…and the yellow traffic light watching its blinking reflection on the empty wet street, a tram passing in the background.

…Or on sunny days when the sky is a stark shade of blue and there is a slight wind blowing. One steps out on empty roads on a clear Sunday morning and owns the whole city…an occasional cyclist or a couple on a walk passes by. One walks through the stone cobbled lanes of the old town, ambling into parks that have shaken the snow off and invite you to sit on a sunny bench with a book…lose yourself into your own world.

One sees sculptures from another era washed in bright sunlight and set against the clear blue sky. It is as if new life were infused into the city after weeks of hibernation. Walking up to the castle, one sees a lone plastic coffee cup make its way up, dancing in the wind and on the winding pathway. It rattles against the stone, bounces off the sidewalk and continues upward.

And I remember American Beauty…the plastic bag dancing in the wind…and I realize what I have been witnessing all this while…my own version of European Beauty.

And that makes feel nothing but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…

2 Thinkers Pondered:

Utsarg said...

Beautiful post. Makes the entire moment of daybreak come alive in front of eyes.

Sowmya said...

Nice post Anu. Anyone reading this would know how much you are enjoying all the beauty around you... How I wish I could be in Eurpoe soon...

I loved the analogy ...
"the train of the departing night’s dress leaves everything washed in blue"

The picture is indeed beautiful...