No Quarter: Abhinaya Rao

Haunting-- the call of a bird in the night. Macabre, the wailing of street dogs below my window under the cover of darkness, the shadow of trees. The moonless night. The cold.

I awoke with no reason for waking last night, shivering under my eider that has never been warm enough for winter and is always too warm for summer. The only time I really love it is when it rains; there is something about looking out from a misty pane of glass with streams of water running down; condensation coating the inside that always makes me reach for that eiderdown. I've had it since I was 9.

Cold. I awoke with a sudden clear perception that I was awake; funny how that happens sometimes. I awoke knowing it was the dead of night and that I would not go back to sleep for a while and that I had no reason to be so shockingly awake but there it was-- undeniable as the wall behind me. I was awake. In the darkness I reached out for the player and turned it on. It was so cold. My eider enveloped my belly and legs but my hands were freezing. The darkness surrounded my open eyes. I was in a cold womb, moving slowly underwater.

Strange otherworldly tune! The words circled slowly into my bloodstream before transforming it.Fusion."...The snow falls hard don't you know...the winds of Thor are blowing cold…"

No Quarter. Led Zeppelin. Images of snow, frozen landscapes, a Gothic castle draughty and cold, a giant bed with an eiderdown that will never be warm enough. A sleeping face. An old woman looking in from the doorway, her face lit by the lamp she carries. The sleeping face in the lamplight appears so innocent in its stillness. A passing strange look on her wrinkled features as she gazes at the form-- she leaves.

Blue light of a winter night falls on the cold stone floor, and on the white bed with its enclosing drapes.

A figure rises from the bed; a young man in a thin white shirt. Look at his ribs through the thin cloth, the muscles of his arms. His face is still and white. Joyous in its solemnity. His lips are red, eyes bright. There is a silence about him that is unsettling in its beauty. In its unnaturalness, an immense sadness lingers about him, revealed by the snow covered land outside. He walks unhurriedly under the moonlight. The land is frozen and still. Nothing astir.

Do you know what I saw in my fantasy in the night? Led Zeppelin aided, a snowy love story of vampires and the tragic love of caretakers, the immense mystery of the inexplicable...dubbed as evil for want of any understanding. How much beauty there is in death! In blood! In the cry silenced, in the arm that glows, in the robes that can never outshine the body! In the silence of snow, the night, in the bleakness.

The elemental nature of a reality beyond human understanding.

A legion of children playing in a snow-filled landscape. Sparse scrub. Breaths misting in the night as the houses sleep around their owners. The strangeness of night. The cold.









Web graphics and design by Smita Maitra Background image by Kabir Kashyap