“The true joy of a moonlit night is something we no longer understand. Only the men of older times, when there were no lights, could understand the real joy of a moonlit night.”
I came across this quote just a couple of days back and I couldn’t believe how true the words spoken were. Immediately I was transported back to a different place and time. I saw an old man sitting with his nine or ten year old grand-daughter in the verandah. There was no light except for the moon, which shone down upon them. The old man’s soulful voice perforated the semi-darkness of the night as he sang “Chander hashir badh bhengechhe, uchle pare aalo. O rojonigondha tomar gandhasudha dhalo.” The little girl joined him, but was stopped abruptly. He corrected her and they both started singing the song together.
As I thought about them, unknowingly a smile crossed my face. I was nudged out of my reverie by my son. “Why are you smiling Mama?”
I looked at him and thought for a second. ‘Will he understand if I tell him this story? Does he know the joy of little things? This Gen-Alpha, who cannot bear even a minute in the power cut; will he understand the beauty of a moonlit night?’
I decided to tell him the story, and leave the rest up to his understanding . And I began narrating the story of the old man and his little granddaughter; the story of my childhood.
It was like any normal day in Calcutta some three decades back. My studies were interrupted by the power cut which was quite frequent those days. Since it was sultry inside, my grandmother asked me to sit in the verandah with my grandfather till she finished preparing the dinner. We started having small talks, and then my grandfather started singing the song that I have heard him sing so many times. It’s strange that he never sang beyond those two lines! But it was sheer magic whenever he sang that song.
As we sat singing, we heard a knock on the door. It was my father, who entered with a bag of ice. I think the fridge was under repair. After a couple of minutes my grandmother handed us chilled glasses of ‘Aam Panna’ which is a tangy green mango drink made during the summer season. We sat on the verandah, and beat the summer heat with that appetizing drink. Just the four of us and the moonlit night.
“Can there be anything more joyful than that?” I asked my son.
“Did you really find a hot night without any power, joyful Mama! Maybe those days you had nothing else to do!” He sighed and left me to my thoughts. I knew he wouldn’t really understand. To think of it, even I wonder at times how we stayed without gadgets and electricity and still not complain! Maybe because we lived in the moment and the little day to day things made us more happy.
Today, whenever I see the full moon I am reminded of that night. The beauty of that moment and many such moments are etched in my heart forever. I feel I can give up anything to relive that joy again.
In the above blog, the song mentioned is a famous Rabindra Sangeet. I only know the first two lines, which roughly speak about how the moonlight shines as if it’s smiling and illuminates every dark corner of this world.