One day I woke up and looked out of the window. To my surprise, I saw that my house was floating high up in the sky. I quickly ran to my door and a vast colony of clouds lay in front of me. Their laughter was thunderous. Every cloud was pointing in the direction of my house, their roars filling the endless sky. I went back in and slammed the door behind me. My house looked alright. The pen stand on my desk was just as I had left it the previous night. Three blue pens, a pencil, a highlighter and a red pen. The papers just the same, were stacked in an incomplete manuscript. I valued my manuscript more than anything in the world and now that I was apparently on the top of it, I had to make sure nothing had been lost – or far worse, stolen.
I sat down again on my reading chair holding a cushion close to my chest and tried to slip into a nap. Maybe I was simply dreaming. Maybe I needed to complete my sleep to be back on Plot no. 72, Radio Colony, not floating above. Silence fell as I closed my eyes. But I knew that I was wide awake in my thoughts. My mind ran across a spectrum of possible answers, strangely, not to the question of why my house was floating over clouds, but to why the clouds pointed at me roaring out bouts of laughter. Laughter brought to me disgrace. I disliked everyone on earth who laughed. I never laughed. I never bore any expression at all. Before the mirror, I couldn’t stand my face for long. The shape and size of my spectacles mattered, though. I only liked them to be round and the frame half rimmed, black. I was sinking in my thoughts. I should rush back to my manuscript before they fade away, the words.
Outside the window, the view hadn’t changed. At all. It was all sky, blue and brightly lit.
“Focus. I cannot let that bother me. Pour words out on the paper. It is no use wasting them on the sky. But the clouds… not important. Write. Write fast. Don’t let the words fade away.”
It was unusual. The light was fading away earlier than regular evenings. Maybe it is the way things worked here, above. Faster. I rushed to the switch board. I had a peculiar switch board with a single switch. It would light up the whole house at once. The timings were fixed. Switch on at 6 in the evening and switch off at 12 midnight. Simple and less time consuming. The manuscript had to be given more time.
It showed 6.00 p.m. on my wall clock. But it was highly impossible. How can time fly so soon and so far? So, I counted the number of pages I had added to my manuscript in the last sitting. It was unusual. Double. Double the number I would usually write down in one sitting. Maybe the clock was working alright. Maybe my thoughts were fast. Maybe it is all the same here, above. Maybe I had sped through my writing today. Unusual.
Nothing lit up when I tickled the switch board. No thumping worked. No electricity among the clouds, maybe. All dark. But through the window pane, the skyline was very visible, illuminated by distant stars. Should I go out? Maybe. I picked up a fortunately intact candle and stroke a match to its wick. Following the light, I caught hold of the door latch. It flung open. In the verandah, a cloud sat snoring. Or maybe it was laid on its back. You can never tell that about clouds. But the snoring was definite. The sight of that snoring cloud was strangely comforting. For a moment, I felt a sudden rush to push myself against the grey fluff and retire.
There was no one there. Only a vast skyline stretched before my eyes, illuminated by distant stars. All the laughter gone. All the clouds gone. Vanished. I could not go back inside. My feet wouldn’t agree. Nor would my heart. The sight of a lone cloud stirred feelings in me. Unusual. My eyes swelled up and then blurred, a drop fell, then another and a few more followed. A drop fell on the grey fluff of the lone cloud. Those were its feet. I hadn’t noticed that they were right below my chest. The snoring ceased. The cloud stood up, very silently and looked into my eyes.
When I actually woke up that day, I loved my laughing neighbors, my face, my smile, for the first time. I stood before the mirror and dressed myself for the first time. My love for my manuscript hadn’t changed, though. But that day, in the stead of my long, empty, rushing thoughts, I wrote my first character and loved it well, unlike the first time.