It was 4am in the morning. Silence prevailed, with nothing but an occasional buzz of night-crawling crickets. The trees stood tall and grand, as their silhouettes appeared in the dim light of the nearby cottage. The moon never turned up, neither did the stars. The sky was an ominous pitch black that paid heed to no one, and then suddenly, everything disappeared. In the blink of an eye, everything was a sea of white. As thick as hail, but as fluffy as wool. It was the clouds, but nothing like you had ever seen before.
Anything and everything within a feet’s reach simply disappeared. It was hard to see your own hands, and everything beyond that became a ghastly shape. Just a mass of thick white enveloping all in its reach. Swirling. Churning. Agitated and alive, like one big existence. It didn’t come alone. An intense chill followed, not long after, slowly but surely, numbing the senses as it spread. The clock ticked away, and in the eerie silence, another shock hit us — out of nowhere, our blankets were soaking wet.
At 1800 ft above sea level and without a trace of rain anywhere, we were sitting in the middle of nowhere at Sajek valley, like marigolds drenched in dew. It was almost unbelievable how these little beads spontaneously formed over mere moments.
That’s how my first encounter with clouds unfolded. Clouds were always a personal favourite.
Whether they were in the form of their glistening, white grandiose, or the arrogant, enraged, grey; they were always a topic of mystery. A phenomenon wrapped in enigma, that only provoked my love and awe for them. In every form, they were beautiful.
On the other hand, being the dreamer I had always been, the summer clouds gave me the impression of being balls of fluff and joy. Call it the influence of the writers’ countless depictions, or my own defiance to accept otherwise, this was definitely the portrait I always carried in my mind. Clouds: Far far above, out of one’s grasp, fickle minded and with no worries of the world.
They solely exist to impart a smile on one’s face. Never actually grasping its scale or the concept behind this phenomena, nor diving in to accept the underlying beauty they had to offer. The scientific explanations behind it’s existence never mattered. Or they were just purposefully ignored and consequently shoved under heaps of knowledge. My mind had probably subconsciously buried them, not wanting to know the empirical details in this unparalleled piece of art. Anything to assure the purity of their poetic and dreamer version in my mind. Worried that the admiration would disappear and its beauty would lose its gleam once marred by scientific facts.
Despite all that, this sudden hands-on experience of what clouds actually are, not only opened a new realm of understanding but made me fall in love with them even harder. They are more alluring and grand than ever but now, with a touch of surreal.