The silence of the city at midnight is almost eerie. All that my auditory sense perceives is the hum of the air conditioner and the clitter-clatter of keyboards. I peep out from my 17th floor office window and the city stretches for miles. The lights fade away only at the horizon. A few dark spots here and there. Power cuts, maybe. Daytime is so different, so many people around. Night brings along solitude and loneliness. Both so different, yet so similar. Both ways I’m lost, in the crowd or in myself.

Light is said to be life and darkness death. But in absence of darkness what significance does light have? Day dazzles and night soothes. Ever been to the countryside when the moon is a waxing crescent? Full moon nights are almost like the day, just filtered through. New moon nights have nothing to show. On one such night, many moons past when I, perched on my late granduncle’s shoulders wandered through the paddy fields. The stars sparkled. I recited a newly memorised rhyme. The silhouetted trees swayed by the easterly, a glistening brook gurgled past. Restless tadpoles created ripples on the tranquil waters of the pond, the sickle shaped moon danced amongst the stars in reflection. The silence of the usually cacophonous crickets left only the wind and the brook as accompaniments to my singsong rhyme.

Whenever the beauty and the enigma of the darkness whelm me, I can’t help but recall that night. Perhaps that memory has something to do with me losing my first-ever slingshot (which my granduncle had crafted for me) sometime during that nocturnal wandering.

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