At dusk

at dusk

on the banks of soft grass
reaching into the night
for pin pricks of starlight
longing to be caressed
by the cool November breeze

this is the me who dreams
of lying by a creek
this is the me who fades
with wisps of morning mist

This came to me at an odd moment. I was staring at my About page, which has remained unchanged for years now. I felt like I should explain the blog title you see at the top. An idea hit me. A mental picture, really. The background came to me first… I could make out a stretch of open, green plains in my mind’s eye.

Then I remembered how it felt to lie spread-eagled on the field back home in the RI field (my high school) in the late evenings. With nobody around there was a stillness in the air, as if time itself were suspended. The empty field surrounding me seemed to grow impossibly large and melancholy. The ground would still be warm with the day’s heat, but a light evening breeze made sure I never grew uncomfortably warm. Off in the distance I would hear the faint murmurs of evening traffic, almost drowned out by incessant cricket calls. As night fell, tiny pin pricks of light would peek out from behind the cover of darkness. I tried my best to track each one as they appear but I would soon lose count and give up. I would then close my eyes and let myself drown in the darkness instead, willing time to come to a standstill.

I started with a jumble of unremarkable prose, but a few phrases jumped out at me, demanding to be felt. Slowly the poem took shape, revolving around those phrases. An empty field seemed kind of sad, so I added a creek to spruce up my mental picture.

Writing all of it down was the easiest part. I didn’t make a special effort with rhyme schemes, but there was a pleasing rhythm to it, something that felt organic and natural. I also made a conscious decision to omit any capitalisation or punctuation because each lines flows into the next and so it felt wrong to dictate how my words should be read. A half hour later, it was time to put on the finishing touches. And then I sat back, satisfied to have captured the moment.

Having lived in a city all my life, I’ve never actually had the chance to go out to the countryside and lie by a creek; to quietly wait for stars to fall while watching the world go by. This is the closest thing I’ve had. So this — is what I think it must feel like.

More than five years after I first crafted my blog title “Under the starry night sky | Open plains and the cool November breeze”, I finally penned down what that phrase really means to me. Now it’s up on my updated About page. Pretty neat, huh?

Redesigned: A new theme for 2015

For those of you who frequent my blog enough to remember the old theme I’ve used on this blog since the turn of decade, thank you for being such a loyal reader. I’m honoured that you availed yourself of what little my sparse and callow writing has to offer.

I’m a nostalgic person. That much is evident from the collection of thoughts I have penned down over the years. So the old theme (pictured below), darker and more sombre, was a reflection of that wellspring of sadness within me. At every turn of my head, something reminded me of what was gone for good. I saw little children laughing at the playground and was reminded of a carefree childhood that would never return. At a family reunion I was shocked by how different my favourite cousins looked, but then I remembered that I myself mirrored their grown-up look and was left pining for the moments of innocent fun we once shared. I recalled a time when holidays meant we were left to our own devices and truly free, instead of being a life-saving breather to catch up with schoolwork.

Old theme

Old theme from before

But then I finally took the most drastic step of all. I left the cocoon that had nested me for all two decades of my life. I left home.

Now that I’m studying abroad, things around me are unprecedentedly unfamiliar. There is little to remind me of what I have left behind, but ironically that makes me miss home now more than ever. Standing in the middle of Times Square, surrounded by an endless stream of faceless people jostling past you, can be immensely lonely.

But months of living abroad alone also gave me a fresh perspective. There is something empowering about walking down a busy street entirely foreign to you and yet being able to hold your own. Sans the familiarity of home, I started out hesitant, but my footsteps soon settled into a firm, rhythmic clop-clop-clop as I strode down the world-famous Broadway in New York City. And then I realised that I had finally grown up — not just in mannerisms and appearance, but emotionally as well. I was ready to step into the world without relying on family to catch me if I fall.

So today I finally paid less heed to my nostalgia. I steeled myself to abandon the old theme for this brighter and cheerier one you see now, with significantly more modern design elements. But the site title and tagline “Under the starry night sky | Open plains and the cool November breeze”, I left unchanged.

After all some things — like home — are worth holding on to. Hope you like the new look!