Nov 23, 2011


By Farwa Haider

Q. Write a description of a sunset/sunrise from the perspective of a character who is sad.

The sun is sinking the same way my heart did when I realised she wasn't coming. It almost looks like it's being swallowed by the iron-grey water. I laugh sardonically as I imagine a giant hand stirring this sea with a dirty, used paint-brush.

I hate the sand on this beach. Like the sea, it's an ugly dark-grey colour and is the kind that sticks to everything no matter how hard one tries to remove it. Well, I couldn't care less what it'll do to my shoes.

I was supposed to meet her on this beach two hours ago. Instead of hearing her footsteps on the pavement, all I heard were the piercing cries of the gulls and the thunderous sound of the sea.

The sea itself looks heavy with human misery. It takes so many lives, causes such a lot of pain. No wonder the colour is so disgusting. The decomposition of all the bodies lost to it must have caused the colour to change. That explains the smell too- it is also putrid.

The sky is a suffocating blue. Just looking at it makes it harder to breathe. Ironically, the dusty clouds of brown, ash-grey and white make me want to sneeze.

Sneezing- such a simple, ordinary thing to do now that I've been rejected. Nothing will ever be normal again.

The clouds actually make me wonder whether a flock of birds got lost up there whilst migrating. The absurdities one comes up with in times of grief!

The horizon is the sickly colour of sulphur and the sun itself looks like a giant light bulb with an orange-coloured, bland lampshade. The light it casts around the burnt clouds surrounding it makes them look like an inferno. However, if one leans forward and squints just a little, then it appears to be a barren desert landscape, just like my heart is now.

The light bulb burns a path of light across the uneven surface of the sea. I know it's for me. I know what to do.

Q. Describe the same scene from the perspective of a happy character.

I say good morning to my baby son as he stirs in my arms. He has woken up just as the sun has risen over what I like to call 'the rim' of the huge tea-cup we call the world. He seems bewildered by the spectacle. He's going to be looking at it for quite a a while so I make him wear the tiny sunglasses we got for him before we set sail.

In all my years I have never seen such a spectacular sunrise, let alone at sea. The sea itself is calm and placid. Its effect is similar too. It looks like a vast indigo-coloured velvet shawl, much like the one my wife wore the day I first saw her. If one looks closely then one can see the warm, subtle reflection of pink and orange in the water.

The sky! It bears a stark resemblance to the murals in the Sistine Chapel. That Michelangelo truly was brilliant to paint such an almost-accurate image of this sky.

Up high, it looks like the cobalt blue is fading away to make room for baby blue. I know the colour because my desperate-for-a-grandson mother knitted a woollen blanket of that shade. Speaking of babies, there are adorable flecks of baby pink in the wisps of clouds. They remind me of cotton and cake icing.

Cakes! Two hundred days till my son gets his first. Parents always speak of how their proudest days are when their children graduate or get married. I don't want to think that I have to wait years for my proudest days to arrive. Every day that my bundle of joy breathes, blinks and smiles is my proudest. And I'll be over the moon on his birthdays.

Speaking of moon, the silver white sickle is slowly fading into the blue around it.

Interestingly, like the sea the clouds are perfectly still. That's comforting because clouds sailing by always remind me that I have to be somewhere. Presently, I'm happy where I am, with my son whose adorable yawns are becoming more frequent, I guess the hum from the engines is making him sleepy.

The clouds near the sun are dark chocolate-coloured, and with their golden lining one wonders whether there's really Heaven behind them.

The sun itself looks like a glowing orange ball, making the horizon saffron-orange. Its halo looks as if from a dream.

I glance down at my son. He is fast asleep, his little chest rising and falling as peacefully as the waves of the sea.


Afnan Imran said...

"I imagine a giant hand stirring this sea with a dirty, used paint-brush." I just love this line!!

Farwa Haider said...

Believe me, the story behind this line is very silly. But I'm glad you like, nay- love, it =)

Shumaila Abbasi said...

Awesome description Farwa. I love it:)

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