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My 10 O' Clock flowers have been out of sorts, of late. They have been dormant for several weeks now. It is if they have suffered a deep cut in their soul and the wound has stopped them from blooming and bursting into a song like they used to before they wound themselves up into this listless state.

It’s not in the character of the 10 O' Clock to be so reticent; it is born to spread mirth and speak with the elements even when there is no rain; even when there is no puddle collecting around its feet from the gardener’s indulgent sprayer. Their continued torpor makes me worry. I wonder if they are sinking into some inexplicable sadness, like humans these days are, everywhere.

At this point, I want to give my 10 O' clocks a name for easy reference. Not the biological Portulaca. But something closer to the heart. Love Dots, perhaps?

Love is the word that first comes to my mind when I think of them dotting the pots over which their green shoots hang with gay abandon. But now a days they don’t materialize to charm and serenade me. They don’t sing ballads of love to me anymore. The Love Dots in my balcony have withdrawn to some anonymous corner of the desert.

Do deserts have corners, by the way? I do not know. But if there were, that’s probably were depressed souls of this part of the world would retreat. In the poles, it might be deep under the ice sheets. In every age and place, sombre, aching hearts need a place to hide. A place to bury their yesterday’s tales; a casket to hold their tomorrow’s fears and a chalice to hold their today’s tears. My Love Dots must have found a cover between the sandy layers of the ochre expanse.

I want to hold its hand and have a talk, soul to soul. Perhaps then, it may tell its poignant tale. It might reveal its secret sorrows that turned it into a mass of bare overgrowth.

The Love Dots have a flaw. They are by nature bright and beautiful, and a definite delight to the human eye. Now, how is that a flaw, a disadvantage? A happy-looking thing like that is not expected to tell sad stories from its life, and it cannot cry openly. Did my Love Dots too hold their angst inside for too long, and when they began to suffocate, finding no means to channelize, escape to the corners of the desert to wet the dunes with their tears?

I want to spend time with what remains of my Love Dots’ life in the pots outside. Perhaps, during our discourse we will realize that what’s going on inside me is what is going on inside it too. I may then be able to see that we have similar stories. Black and brown stories that we embellish with our colours for the world to see as flowers and poetry.

I will then tell my barren Love Dots, holding it so close to me that it will mistake my heartbeats for its own, and whisper, ‘You are not alone. The whole world is in disquiet. There is melancholy in every falling leaf. There is fear in every blade of grass. But there is sunshine too falling through the dense woods. The darkness that you harbour in your heart will flee one day and there will be Light.

I know it for certain, because this conviction is what has kept me alive. It isn’t a fallacy; it is an insight that dripped into me over countless nights. Without it, I too would have fled to the obscurest end of the earth or to the bottomless sea when terror welled up in my eyes and clouded the vistas outside. When waves of an unknown numbness began to take the shape of life. When little spider ran amok in the head building cobwebs. When I lost myself more often than I discovered in this long winding maze.

I still go astray every now and then and mill around aimlessly. There are days when I stare into the vast sea from my window and see only a blanket of grey, meaningless expanse. And like you, I imagine myself becoming a bloomless mop bereft of all joys, and then suddenly, as if ordained by a celestial power, I see a meteor shower in my soul. I see a million reasons to bloom and smile. The fears and the pains abate for a while. I am inspired to flail my hands and fly. In those moments I see Light.

My Love Dots,

I am waiting for you to troop back into my balcony. Your absence makes my life weirdly incomplete. Return from wherever you have gone to heal your wounds. There is nothing for you to love or anyone to love you in the wilderness. It is here that your life’s purpose lies. It’s here that the Light shines. It is here that Love thrives. Let’s bask in it together. And when at times, there is an eclipse and a shadow falls upon us, we will light a candle, for our sake and for the rest wallowing in the darkness here.

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