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The Colour of Heaven

RISHIKA BHATTACHARJEE

The iron ladder climbed uninterruptedly up to the sky. A sky beyond many skies. I thought I had invaded enough layers of clouds but they continued to float above my head as I kept climbing up until the ladder vanished into one such mushy cotton ball of vapour. I was apprehensive of placing my naked feet on the cloud. What if it poured? What if my weight made it cry? In between my unearthly doubts, a canoe came sailing by near me. A royal indigo in colour. Nobody was rowing it though. I knew right about then that this was heaven I had climbed on to. The canoe slowed its pace and afloat near my feet in soft rhythm of the sloth-moving cloud below. I stepped on to it.

The boat set sail again. As I sailed through soft clouds, stiff clouds, bumpy clouds, bear clouds, witch clouds and some naughty fast disappearing clouds, I gazed at the heaven around and before me. Heaven was pure indigo! Perhaps the rainbow was in love with heaven and chose to spill over its favourite colour dancing all over the place. An indigo bird, much like a kingfisher, came and sat on the edge of my canoe. The bird chirped a note and the canoe set sail on a different direction. I could see a bank afar. As we moved to closer quarters till where the clouds fogged up into thick air, what I could look at through the blur, seemed like an indigo hall of mirrors with the mirrored floor and ceiling. I stepped out of the canoe and onto the bank. The hall was an infinite stretch of mirrors and retrospection. I do not know if it were solely personal, but each of the tiny mirror there asked me a question that I had left unanswered in my life so far. I did not feel comfortable, and disliked the thought that a place like heaven could have such a pinching chamber. The tiny bird flapped its wings near my ears and so did the infinite other ones in the mirrors. The susurrus of the infinite wings was the only sound in the silence of the indigo heaven. The glass below my feet felt cold but I walked on carefully, habituated by gift shop tags of ‘Sold if broken’. The royal recruit of heaven fluttered swiftly onto a right corridor that suddenly became dark. I was afraid of having to face the darker shades of my life and be judged, perhaps. How shameful it must be to fail a test in the halls of heaven! Nevertheless, I strode on. The chamber was so dark it took me a few minutes to adjust my eyes. The corridor was narrow enough for only one person to fit in with ease. Midway, the corridor lit up. A light posse of fireflies torching indigo sparkles formed constellations on both sides of my passage. It looked so beautiful that I forgot all my apprehensions about the dark. With a re-established faith on sweet heaven, I put up a sheepish smile and kept walking on. The dark wall on both sides smelt like the entrance of a movie theatre. I wanted to smell some reasonably priced cheese and popcorn too. Just when I was starting to warm up a little with fun thoughts, the fireflies suddenly centred in front of me making loops. Maze like loops. A puzzled I, hopped on to a loop and was carried away by the Blue Ghosts to a distance apart. They dropped me on a board of snow clouds again. But thank Heavens, it did not pour off my weight!

On the cold pole of heaven, I stared at a scenery, as typical as one can be. A cottage, a tree and a lagoon. The cottage was built of indigo painted wood with windows and doors camouflaging in the colour. The tree was broadly branched and had neat indigo leaves growing all over it. And the lagoon had water the colour of indigo with no ripples in it at all. It looked more eerie than aesthetic. I looked around for my known first friend from heaven with whom I had traversed so much of the journey but the bird was gone. I was selfishly preoccupied to have even noticed that so far. Now I had only unfamiliarity ahead of me. I staggered slowly and sat on the portico of the indigo cottage. I felt a bit drowsy from all the walking and my stomach rumbled for some food. I also wanted to see the sun or hear the traffic perhaps. I was ashamed at my unending list of demands even when I was placed in heaven. Perhaps my salvation could never be pure. Or maybe more books on Earth really waited to be read. One leaf from the big fat tree dropped on the snow clouds. I went forward to pick it up: a leaf that I could have so easily ignored on my other days. As I bent to pick up the indigo leaf, I saw a reflection of a glowing light moving past the lagoon and the glossy veins of the leaf. I looked up to see an indigo paper lantern floating above. A giant size paper lantern that could well fit in as a parachute. It swayed slowly and launched itself on the porch of the cottage, as quiet as a ballerina. I, who wanted to get back to Earth now, merrily hopped on to the paper transport without even taking an alternate guess of some other station of heaven as its destination.

I shall write back from where I land.


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