Oh, the river seems to flow the way it has always done. It looks pretty much the same as it always did. You sit on its bank and look at it and slowly, ever so slowly it casts its spell on you. Your rhythm slows down and you become one with the river and its pace. You put your feet in, one at a time and squeal in surprise. Was it always this cold? And, as you stand there in absolute stillness allowing the slow currents to tease you, to touch you and to envelop your feet … in a few minutes, you are cold no more. You delight in the rush of old forgotten joys of the familiar that were pushed into oblivion with time, crowded with experiences of oceans and seas that were faster, bigger and more dangerous than a silly old river.
You walk facing the small currents, indulgent and complacent in pandering to an old river’s whims. Did it always run this way before? It seems to have changed its course. Did it narrow down to just a trickle at this point? Is it the end of the river? Curious you walk on and discover that just around the corner, a little almost after you gave up on it, when you thought it almost done, it picks up its strength and gathers itself about and you progress on to find it running to its full majesty and silent strength a little later on.
Your feet touch the pebbles and you pick one up. Smooth, glistening and glowing. Perfect and rounded. How many countless wear down by the river before the pebbles gave up fighting to reach this state?How much the river fights with those yonder rocks relentlessly pushing before it wears the rocks down? Was the current this strong always? The branches of the trees beside the bank lean over and seem to whisper to the busy river as she runs past asking her to pause and converse for a while. The butterflies and bees are abuzz with the news of your presence excitedly running about and the blue skies look on, the clouds lazily floating about indulging themselves by looking on at the scene.
The river is not the same. You ‘see’ it has changed. You can ‘feel’ the change. There are things you see now that you did not see before. It just seems the same. When you actually go with the flow, slow down your pace or speeden up to match its course, the river is not the same any more.
You caress the small stone stolen from the river, smoothened over countless wars with the river, cold initially and now warm in your hands.
--- Srividya Srinivasan 18.12.2010