The splendor of nocturnal night filled my mind with love, beauty, and serenity as I continued to gaze at the millions, laughing sparkles. I sometimes wonder how I missed the awesome lifetime treat to be an astronomer and roam in the meadows of the cosmological panorama. The dark, looming clouds spilled my imagination to slip inside a borderless world of dreams, hope, adventure. I walked down after dinner for a stroll hoping to catch an incubation below the rhinestone-studded sky.

A few steps, I stopped outside my old neighbor’s lawn. The old man was resting in his reclining chair, staring and smiling at the sky. He was lost in an abstract conversation with some invisible angel, unaware I was peeping into his privacy. After a while, I thought to engage with the unheard dialogues and entered into his open lawn. The old man was disturbed by the sounds of my footsteps and greeted me with a welcome smile.

After a brief inquiry about my family, health, a career he resumed a pause and glanced at me. I removed the night slippers to feel the soothing grass beneath my feet.

With a little courage, I glanced into uncle’s deep-set eyes and asked politely, “I am a bit inquisitive to enter your thoughts. Would you share some of your experiences, emotional feelings to help me in my blind-fast journey of life?”

His wrinkles folded into a contented smile. Again, looking up at the sky, he uttered a few soft words, even the breeze may not overhear them. His face had an innate look, I can identify but not comprehend the underlying meaning. He gave a soft laugh, lifted a glass of sparkling water in the air, and said, “Cheers”.

I felt a bit weird, even though it to be some old-age psycho problem. I was busy relating his behavior as he gulped down the water instantly.

“What you want to know”, his elderly voice distracted me.

“Anything, uncle,” I replied, assuming it would be a not so useful session.

“We are not experts like your generation. You, people, are smart, tech-savvy, educated in the best universities, google runs to attend your queries. What piece of my advice would be useful.”, he cross-questioned me to avoid the conversation.

“Whom do you see in the sky”, I spoke abruptly unaware of myself, and then feared the reaction.

His eyes bent down, there was a glimpse of sorrow on his face. He held his walking stick firmly and uttered, “Wabi-Sabi”.

“Wabi-Sabi, Err… rrrr, what?”, I looked at him with strange eyes and asked, “Is it the name of some celestial being, Gods or angels or magic.”

His lips opened to a peal of hearty laughter, he placed his palm upon my head and said, “You will realize it one day. Your life is young, much to explore and learn, when you get this gray hair as a crown of wisdom, it will enlighten you with Wabi-Sabi.”

“Please explain”, I pressed my voice feeling a sense of delight to catch a creative wonder.

He realized a deep breath, looked up at the stars, and opened the cork of his tight feelings, “ Wabi means to find beauty in imperfection and love those flaws. Your aunt loved my imperfections more than me. Her abundant love had the power to dissolve my imperfections and accept me.”

“No one is perfect”, I uttered as if it was no big deal.

He kept quiet and glaring at me like a wounded fox, swooped in his memories to unveil like the sky.

“I had a bad temper, use to be angry at small things, things use to be my way only. I had the voice over every decision of this house. She was ever silent. I felt that to be her weakness, but it was her love for me. I never expressed my emotions because I had taken her for granted. Her needs were never my priority. Nor did I ever care for her hunger for love and affection. She lived by her own; praying, working, smiling, and serving me.”

His tears fell like pearls upon the green grass and dissolved in the earthly layers as a penance. He continued and I knew he would not stop now.

“She was my support in every event of life. Her infinite love wrapped me as life surged up and down constantly. Sometimes financial issues or addiction or legal battles with brothers her presence was always beside me like a Goddess shielded me. But I will always remember she stood by me and loved me despite my biggest imperfection. I was incapable to fulfill her only desire to be a mother.

He soaked into tears.

After a prolonged silence, he expressed his heart out, “She accepted my flaw as her gift. Her adoption wish was rejected by me and she turned to animals and nature to pour her affection. This garden is her intrinsic creation, her womb blossoming into green, strong plants. Her love for me never decreased neither her respect for me diminished. To keep my pride in the family and society, she labeled my flaw in her name.

She was a Wabi artist, inherited the secret of love from God. Even God is a Wabi lover, hence he has kept asymmetry in mountains, hills, streams, lakes, trees. If you see even the earth is not a perfect round, but an imperfect, oblate spheroid. She had God’s love within her, she had a Wabi heart.”

“And Sabi?”, I said in a soft voice with a curious look.

“Sabi, dear girl, it is an art of finding love in faded things.” His voice misted.

“Your generation is racing behind goals, results, and brands, someday, learn this emotional philosophy and use the principles in your married and personal life. It reveals a lot about inner consciousness and love.”

His face was towards the open constellation, he enhanced his tone and said, “I still look for her imprints in this home. I feel her touch in every part of this ancient home. Sometimes, on the lawn mover, or the door or inside the kitchen where she silently sobbed near the washbasin, or see her reflection in the wardrobe mirror of our bedroom. I have not changed anything in this house for the last twelve years to feel her love for these precious things. Even today all the old things in my home connect me towards her. A thousand births would not be enough for me to give her the happiness she deserved. I know her place is within these glitters to decorate the night sky like once she embellished my life. I find her in this contrasting sky that swallowed her away without letting me apologize. I am a Sabi heart resonating my true love, profound feelings to her deep from the soul. And believe me, this is authentic.”

I stood up to find the Wabi heart where supreme love reigned above in the canopy of darkness and looked down at the vibrating old man, a Sabi heart lost in a mystical journey of discovering faded love or repenting to his aged love.

There I could sense an invisible thread floating down from the aerial heights to our grass-root level earth connecting the two hearts to create an enriched fusion of energy, love, and celebrations, entitled, ‘Wabi: Sabi = Love: Love’.

What another beautiful wonder, could I discover in the depths of nights?

– Harshada Pathare

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