I am descending from Jotsoma village. The little car adopts the serpentine nature of the road and performs its motion in a dreamlike manner. Dusk has covered the hills, the crescent moon hangs low in the sky. The fog wraps the low hills with such candour as is visible in intimate romances. Only the headlights of the vehicle pronounce the road ahead and the road left behind. Surrounding it, we are in the depth of imperceptible darkness.
“What are your contemplating upon?”, I am asked by my co-travellers.
The memory of the moon, I say. A quiver rises in my throat as I admit to these words.
Long ago, when I had aged little, I would lie down in the moonlight, looking at the face of the full moon. I would try to find my face in its soft, white fluorescence folding my arms in humble prayers.
I would want to travel the world someday, moon. I would want to become confident and well-spoken too. Could you help me? Before the moon could answer, I would close my childlike eyes in one last glimpse and sleep with hardened hopes. My sleep would be fitful, lined with dreams characteristic of a teenaged child. Then, as the morning would arise and swallow the moon, I would become an absolute invisible entity walking in the world. Under the dire events that would fold eventually, I would move to different places, without ever again getting to lie down in the moonlight.
Fourteen years later, in my descent to Kohima, I see the moon’s face again.
We have traversed another boulder landing into absolute safety. An aurora is seen in the distance as the headlights of passing cars fall over the settled fog. I can hear my co-travellers talking in the backseat of the car. And, recognition forms inside my heart.
The moon had stored my prayers and it has released them one by one, even as I had forgotten them in the growing mundanity of my age and wisdom. I travelled between the hills and dipped my feet in the seas. I had the mountain air sail into my lungs and camouflage there as the resting peace. And, I met people, vibrationally young and profoundly old, teaching me that pain remains but grows duller.
How did it all happen? The moon made it happen. So, if you ask me, I can tell you, I believe in the memory of the moon.