Delhi was overflowing with broken flowers; flowers crushed under the feet of pertinent dreams; flowers plucked to death by promises of adolescent love; flowers betrayed by dishonest poems. Flowers, languishing under the fluorescent Moons that line the city streets, waiting for the Sun and the man who would sweep them to their destinies. The man would more-often-than-not be an old NDMC/MCD worker, too tired to take a minute and appreciate the crashing beauty of these casual bystanders to the vicissitudes of a metropolis lifestyle, and the flowers in their own way had accepted the banality of their existence.
But the ones that bloomed in North Campus were different.
Walking around North Campus, for my after-college reveries, I’d often see flowers lying idly in the corners of the sandstone pavements. There was something extremely self-aware about them. Their shades of red and yellow exuded a sense of finality, unlike the usual despair; a subtle declaration of a conclusion reached, and a purpose fulfilled. The way their petals wilted, into themselves, or onto the streets, reminded me of my first conscious rebellion, against the supposed tyrannies of life.
I had painted three beautiful canvases, with all the colors I could find, and then I had set them on fire, aided by gasoline and a decade-old metal vase.
It was as if the flowers were conscious of their sojourn on this planet, and did not want to stop asserting their beauty, asserting that for several students who walked up and down those roads every day they were the only respite from homesickness and the sheepish realization of the monotony that awaits them. They were confident of their shades and hues and the brilliance with which they shone through against the whites and blues of political propaganda posters, and litter from the Ridge, and on the days of my afternoon walks, they would lie just a tad-bit too unperturbed, just a tad-bit too suggestive of an underlying smirk at my humanity.
If they had to bend down to the whims and fancy of some evolution theory, they weren’t going to do it smooth and easy. They were going to burn, and with them, they were going to burn beauty.