On land. Yet at Sea- Haritha Hariprasad


Walking along the edge of the sea,
I pick a handful of sparkling sand,
bit-lings tossed between land and water,
each no different from the other.
“Aimless drifters”, I mutter
and granting them a sense of self,
I make them ‘the sand grains in my hand’.
And as I press them within the heat of my palm,
the finer ones stick onto my sweaty fingers,
the coarser dislike and prick me back.
Tiny needles, I say. Strangely, I love the feel.

I clench my fist tighter, strengthening my hold,
but oh no! I feel them slipping past,
slipping between my fingers, but why?
“weren’t you glistening in my hand, despite the sun?
Or was it the sun? My bad, I paid no heed.”
And as I grip them tighter they hasten,
maybe that’s what they always wanted.
So, I let them go, fall onto the ground
to be lost among the countless, wild and free.
Free for what? To be tossed again back and forth?

All I’m left with is a sticky-salty palm.
Saltiness that I would never want to taste.
That could be washed off, perhaps,
but what about those clingy grains
still stuck under my brittle nails?
I scooped them up myself, and so
I must rid them off my myself,
would that be enough of a cleanse?

But why should that matter at all,
for when the waves receded,
I saw them again, wet and glistening
beckoning me all over once again!
Determined to reach before the sun goes down,
I rush to the sea to start anew.
But the sea could wash just footprints away,
not the grainy imprints of the mind.
“Why would it be any different this time?”
Ah, I get it! It’s not the sand, it’s me
that’s being tossed around by the sea!

Nah! Not again!And I decide to change myself.
Moulding the sand into a castle, I craft it to my desire.
“My sand castle, basking under the sun!”
And when this castle shall break,as all castles ought to,
it’s not from me that the grains break free,
but from my magical touch that gave them shape.
As I let it break free and drift away,
no longer do I feel my grip ebbing away,
because long before my charm wore off,
I was off the waters, all on my own!

Image courtesy: Paul Levesley on Unsplash


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