Random Ramblings from Christchurch – I

The sky is the colour of cornflowers. Gossamer, wispy clouds chase each other across the languid skies. A lawn mower hums to itself on a distant grassy knoll. The symphony of silence is broken by the occasional buzz of a dragonfly on the stained glass window panes. A brave ray of sunlight tiptoes in through a door left ajar, ever so slightly. The air is crisp and fresh and smells of pine cones and summer and newly cut grass.  The air also smells familiar, an old all-comforting sense pervades even as the newness of brave shoots asserts itself all along the cobbled side walk. I could live here and I would be home the minute I moved in. I could walk past the rickety, old, timber- slat homes with varnished armchairs standing proudly in the bleak afternoon sun. There is a harmony here; of grass,of brambles and of sweet smelling frangipani that is all inclusive.

The roads like to meander along as do the lazy side walks, where the last remnants of snow are already becoming melting memories. Purple mountains hold hands in the distance and proclaim the arrival of warmer days and warmer nights. Summer hangs around like an old buddy, her golden arms around my bare neck, even as she side steps with me and whispers promises of seasons yet unnamed. In the town square, they are heralding the arrival of dusk. Sunset has painted the steeple of the old corner church with rich earthy hues. The owner of the alfresco café brings out a basket of cinders, all aglow and the warm colours blend in with the air and light up the palette that evening has spread around her. The air is now redolent with the woody scent of warmth. A busker plays his violin even as the shops around him light up for the evening. The gondola is gently led back to its resting place for the night and the boatman anchors it to the dock even as waves from the river lull the boat to a sleepy stop.  The tram driver starts his last trip around the square, the weeping willows in the central park retire for another night. The great lights in the town’s dining hall are lit for another meal and the stained glass windows make enigamatic patterns on the lawns.

Evening eases out, night has fallen even as the first stars light up the night sky. “Do you want to get off near the taxi stand?”, the tram driver asks me.  I nod and he stops for me. “Are you a long way from home?”, he asks me, perhaps because I am taking in the sights with the eager eyes of a tourist, perhaps because I have a map but my heart is charting out my path and perhaps because I have been on the tram all evening. As the giant tower clock chimes nine times, I wonder if he will understand that somewhere on a marked map of an alien city, you look at the parted curtains of a house set behind a lavender hedge and you know that you could walk in there and be home. You dont though, you read the maps and linger for a moment and pass the hedge and take the road. And yet as the shooting star goes and as the crow flies and as the map reads, I dont need to be anywhere else. For now, for sometime.

As Hagley Park sleeps and as the taxi speeds through Christchurch’s inner lanes, I make the journey from a home to a home, punctuated by the stillness of the night.

-To be Continued-


And you shall be perfect in all ways…

I find the jacket staring at me from across a crowded aisle in the afternoon hustle of the city’s most expensive departmental store. It is in brown corduroy with burnished gold buttons. Its has a smart cut and a waist hugging outline. I linger in front of it for a good 10 minutes and then finally try it on. “Don’t look at yourself in the mirror, you are going to end up buying it”, the best friend pleads. “Probably right, I don’t need a jacket with summer around the corner”, I tell her and look wistfully at the price tag. It is on a special at the moment and I would actually get 50% of the price if I bought it today. And it is summer and the streets are ablaze with orange sunshine and that jacket would probably be relegated to the wardrobe till the next winter breeze makes it rounds. So I put it back and walk away from it giving it one last glance. One hour of shopping, a two hour soul to soul chat over laksa and two strong coffees later, it feels like the jacket is still on my shoulders. As if on cue the sunshine falls away and a cold southern breeze chases the sunshine away from the mall.  We both find ourselves back in the store in front of the jacket. I wear it again and it feels right. “The price”, she says as she waves the price tag in front of me. “You know what”, I tell her, “I am going to buy it. I am going to wait for the winter if that is what it takes”. This jacket with its burnished buttons is pushing me towards the counter. As I am about to pay for it, my friend notices that one of the buttons is missing. It is like the button has disappeared, it has vamoosed leaving a space in its wake. “Do you still want to buy it?”, the sales lady asks me. She looks around to see if she can find a replacement button or if any extras came with the jacket but she finds nothing.  

In that split second, I know that the idea of perfection is defined by want more than anything else. And so I ask her to go ahead and pack it. The missing button doesn’t matter to me, I will just have to work around it. I like what is present more than what is absent. That will do for now. As she folds it up, she stops and feels the pockets and looks up at me triumphantly…for wedged in a corner of the right pocket is the missing button, away from its place but still very much around. “It is your lucky day”, she exclaims as she carefully packs the button for me. “You can sew it on tonight and the jacket will be perfect”, she says. I don’t think I will sew the button back on. It will stay in the side pocket as a reminder of that fact that most deals when they present themselves to you are package deals and are far less than perfect. If you think about it, it is all about taking a chance isn’t it? The button will stay unattached as a lesson that for the most part what is handed to us is often a work in progress, not exactly where you wanted something to be. And then maybe, just maybe, you will give the odds a go, take a chance and perhaps, just perhaps the odds will defy themselves.  

Oh the endless possibilities of believing in something, isn’t that how a dream is born? 

Beneath The Jacaranda….

Down the stairs
Up the cobbled road
Past the over-grown brambles
And beneath the jacaranda
Where incomplete stories linger on…

Journeys made
Paths not taken
Goodbyes not uttered
A doorway waiting
For the traveller who wont return

A painted sunset
Gossamer dreams
The first promise of spring
Hidden beneath old snow
Never to be retrieved

On a silent night
When the stars spin yarns
And the inky darkness sighs
The stoic jacaranda
Sometimes weeps for the stories that linger on…