I don’t know when this realisation dawned on me. I don’t even remember when I fell in love. The reasons do not matter much. The point is that my extensive love story with sunsets never fails to teach me lessons on life and living.
I absolutely fail to express in words, what it is about sunsets that enthuses me. Genuine sunsets (The sham ones are those which occur during monsoon) have an extremely romantic (read: exaggerated) notion attached to them. Think of all the drama ascribed to sunsets in a Bollywood movie. Or think of the last time you witnessed a sunset and sighed, ruminating about your crush or partner.
My reasons for adoring the setting of the sun are all of that and much more. For one, I feel this childish awe, wondering how on earth (pun intended) can a 2×1030 kg mass go gliding down each evening, like butter melting in a hot pan (This is beginning to sound like an article on astrophysics!)! Such a smooth criminal! Another basis for my intimidation is the astonishing feeling- a feeling of sheer delight at having witnessed an orangish-golden hue, that spreads in the sky and warns the earth of the impending night- A sign that things will not always remain bright and sunny in our lives and we must prepare ourselves for the bad times as well. In our times of joy, we tend to forget the impermanence of it. If this realization sets in, we would be in a better position to deal with the bad times.
For millions of years now, the sun has tirelessly & unconditionally provided the earth with the warmth and light; we so often take for granted. Each one of us is living their lives in the great pursuit of happiness. Happiness for us means the rigidly defined notion, that if the conditions we characterize for ourselves are fulfilled, only then shall happiness prevail in our lives. These conditional essentials could be materialistic, such as the expensive house we are hankering after or they could be physical such as “If only I was 3 kgs thinner, then I would truly be happy”. They could also be emotional conditions that we inflict on our loved ones: “If you could only give me more time and attention, then I would truly be happy!” What if the Sun was to say to the Earth: “If only you would give me something in return, I would provide you the warmth and the light”. What if we were to drop the “If” and the “then” and just let it remain a simple and unconstrained “I will be happy”?
The last two times I’ve been to the tekdi, my perfect sunset has eluded me. This, in spite of the fact that I had planned my visit in accordance with the weather reports (Never trust them I say!). This, in spite of the fact that I made sure I reached there at the precise moment that I had witnessed it the last time. But to no avail. This time my sunset had its own whims. It was too shy to show its pretty face. We also live our lives in the delusion that every moment that we breathe, must be joyous. This is a redundant and an ignorant belief, which leads us to be stuck either in our pleasing past memories or then be caught up in mapping out a cheery future. Neither of these strategies ultimately brings us the bliss that we are always sprinting after! We must realize the fact that we cannot be control freaks of every moment of our lives. What if we were to decide and believe that our life is perfect as it is- in this very moment? What if I were to be glad about the clouds that covered my cherished sunset that day? Perhaps, I wouldn’t return so disappointed.
On my way back I questioned the disappointment that I was feeling. After a point, I don’t think I was really disappointed about not being able to witness the golden ball floating away. I had my share of cheerfulness and contentment gazing at Nature’s additional wonders. So if I could be happy without witnessing the sunset after all, I would be happier when I would finally witness it the next time I would go there, armed with my new philosophy in tow!
Definitely some sunny food for thought, eh?
Photo credits: Sneha Hukmani (A.K.A Didi)