Here I am, writing at dawn, while the world is sound asleep, deep in slumbers.

I hardly have sleeping problems. I just keep waking up too often.
Tonight again, as usual, I woke up amidst a dream.
A sudden impulse made me not get back into bed
but take out my diary from the bedside table and pick up the pen and begin writing.
So, here I am, half-awake, rubbing my eyes, perched on the window-sill, writing at dawn.

It is 4:00 am. 4:13 to be precise.
And I wonder if it means anything.
Being a horror movie buff, I remember 3:00 am is a peculiar time
in the night when paranormal activities are known to occur, or so is believed.
So I know, it’s only me and the slow ticking of the clock
that I should expect. Nothing disturbing.

Looking out the window, I feel, the night is quite like any other night.
A typical winter night. Quiet. Deserted. Cold. Starless stretch of sky.
Through my window, I see only a vast expanse of towering buildings and
shadowed black blocks that mean tight-shut windows.
And I wish for the umpteenth time
if I could rather be facing a sea or a wide-spread garden.
One of the many reasons I hate modernization.

Gazing in the far distance,
I see radiant colored lights appearing hazy from the window panes
that I think are perhaps, the Christmas decorations.
It renders such an appealing look and I almost cannot take my eyes off it.
Almost immediately a thought crosses my mind.
Why do we shut the windows at night?
There is so much more out there that calls for our attention.
Somewhere inside my mind,
a voice answers – from fear of robbery, from cold,
for many so reasons.

I have never liked shutting down window panes or pulling curtains at night.
Why barricade the beauty of the night from entering your world?
But then the point also is that do we really have the time to sit back and think on this,
to look out at the sky and bask in its enormity?
Aren’t we the busiest of souls on the planet?
And what about me? Of all these years, I think about it only this night.

With the festive season just around the corner, there is soaring
tranquility in the air which is otherwise missing.
The steady wind and the chillness in the atmosphere nothing but
adds to the beauty of the night.
The wind tickles me in the exposed areas of my neck and in the
hollow of my ears which are left uncovered by my loose hair.
There’s something sickly sweet about the chillness of the wintry night
settling on the bare skin of my hands and face.
I can’t avoid but feel something magical about the solitude nature of the night
which is so quiet yet alluring, encompassing all and everything.

Somewhere far away I hear dogs howling, an argument of sorts (rather barks) follows.
The constant bark-commotion draws closer.
It feels mighty unpleasant about the stillness of the night being thus disturbed.
I can’t see the padfoots from where I am seated.
Suddenly, Alfey joins me trying to peer out on the street and all at once ready to growl if need be.
Just then, a biker speeds past them, enjoying the quarantine road devoid of person or pollution.
It is all hushed up again.

I enjoy the furry feel of Alfey’s presence while I rub below his ears.
He peers into the darkness.
Unlike me, he not once does blink his eye. And I think.
What does he see? What does he feel?
Does he know what it feels like to be thus enticed by the calmest face of nature that is night?
Does he also feel what I feel at this moment – my heart and mind enveloped by the immense peace?
Does he also see the picture that I so ardently paint through words and that would remain
in my memories for long yet to come?
What is he thinking when he glances at me, what thought does occupy his mind?
Perhaps, I may never know.
Except that both our hearts are in sync with the moment,
passing through the same set of feelings.
He slowly puts his head in my lap and drifts to sleep.

In the distance,
the midnight hues slowly change to the shades of faint amber.
It’s past five now. Almost dawn.
Soon, the first streaks of sunlight will burst in the sky.
I rehearse the upcoming day in my mind.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is going to occupy most part of it.
I feel excited. Oh! For how long have I wanted to read that book!
But presently,
I wish I was a painter and could arrest this moment in oils.
But instead, I capture the passing minutes in words while I sit writing at dawn.

And before I take leave,
there’s someone here who would like to wish you a belated Merry Christmas
and hopes you all had a splendid time.
Well, better late than never, right?

alfey
Alfey wishes Christmas!

-Asha Seth