Thief

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The Sun was worried today. 

He recounted the bottles of glory for the 7th time. 183. He could have sworn that he had 185! He looked around suddenly, as if he could surprise the thief. The innocent walls stared back with that dull look, which walls all over the universe have. He looked around baffled, and the walls stared back stoically. He was getting late. He adjusted his robes and picked up one of the numbered bottles hastily. He knew how the God gets angry when he’s late. He sprayed the content on him, emptying the bottle. He replaced the bottle on the rack, looked around suspiciously for the last time and went to the counter to sign in.

The dark and pretty Night was already there at the huge counter near the gate of heaven and was signing out. She waved to Sun, who waved back absently and looked with suspicion at the small kid tagging her. Sun had never seen a small child before, and stared. Furthermore, he also knew that Night, desired by many, was still unmarried and was curious. The child stared back insolently. What a repulsive kid! Sun thought while accepting the baton from the keeper of heaven.

Sun was given 185 bottles of glory by the Lord God, Keeper of the Universe, each differing in intensity. The world had 370 days in a year. 185 bottles were for each equinox. Once the summer equinox was over, Sun had to get another 185 and move to the winter equinox. Recently he had found some mischievous acts in his locker. He saw a streak of luminensce on the walls, which shouldn’t have been there. The luminensce, which belonged to one of the bottles of glory! He saw small footprints. There were no kids in heavens. Some of the minor gods even wondered, how can a place without kids can be called heaven! Rules are made by elders, who have little patience with kids. They forget that they have a small kid in their own soul, which is raring to prance around. But, as this fact is not related to this tale, we will pass on it.

He counted the bottles and found two of them missing. He still had four days to go before the turn of equinox and had only two bottles of glory left. A worried Sun mounted his chariot and galloped through the inky skies. The fresh horses fumed fire through their nostrils, lighting the way. Sun pulled out a large spherical globe and spun it away. The globe went spinning ahead of the charging stallions, matching their pace. Like a newly lit petromax lantern, it glowed a gentle orange initially, then went white with fierce heat, its glory drawn from the majestic Sun.

The world woke up after its nightly rest. The worms, which were fool enough to wake up while the dark Night was handing over her duty to Sun, were snapped up by early birds. The trees yawned and smiled at the orange ball rising from the East, and waved their leafy arms. The world was kicked into gear to face another day. The Sun shined. The world was in business. God nodded with approval.

Sun continued his journey to his western post, before handing over his baton at the counter. He was preoccupied. He had one bottle left now and had three days to cover. He knew what’s going to happen once he runs over his allocated quota of glory and didn’t relish the idea. He looked at the dark woman absently and nodded. Night smiled at him.

“How was your trip?” Her husky voice asked the miserable Sun.

“Fine. Nothing noteworthy. Got ambushed by a few clouds. Nothing I couldn’t handle.” Sun smiled tentatively. “By the way, I’m missing few bottles of glory. Any ideas about it?” He asked anxiously.

The Night pouted with her shapely lips. “Not that I know of.” She looked at the Sun sensuously. A wave of need rushed everywhere. The oceans inched towards the young mountains amorously. A look wasted on Sun’s rugged face, as he still was mentally counting his bottles and was worried out of his senses. He absently noticed the small child following Night, who stared at him curiously. Sun didn’t register him and climbed his chariot, while Night spread her pail of darkness painting the world black.

Night is a narcotic, which affects all the living things in different ways. She’s very beautiful and a great equilizor. She beautifies ugliness and subdues beauty. Everything loses its own nature and texture in her influence and turns into an indescribable gray. The world was relaxed, as if they were in the influence of some strong and delightful concoction of magical drugs. Man – The Destroyer, wasn’t born then. The world enjoyed the serenity and peace  but irked by the darkness, though. The ephemeral drug called Night was abroad.

Night was humming a long forgotten song and was painting the world with her bucket of black. The small child romped about happily. “Mother, can I play on this black velvet?” The kid asked with his large eyes. She stared in those eyes and smiled.

“Of course, Moon. Go ahead. Just don’t go very far, because the world still isn’t a safe place. Keep to the black path.” Night replied fondly to the child.

She had met this orphan kid on one of her dark trips and found him cute in an endearing way. He was neither beautiful nor ugly, because he didn’t have a face. He was crying helplessly when she saw him. Faceless and loveless, he was pleading to the pantheon of gods, who ignored him as usual. The first beggar of the world begged for love and affection, and was accepted by the all embracing Night. She hugged him to her ample bosom with love.

Moon picked up his bag and walked off. He looked down from the black pathway. The world was dark as sin. Sin wasn’t discovered or classified in its myriad categories then, though. He looked behind warily and couldn’t see his adopted mom Night. He opened his bag and took out two bottles. Each bottle had a balloon attached to it. He caressed it and smiled mischievously. Then he pulled out the balloon and watched it grow. He pulled out the stopper of the bottle and sprinkled a bit of glory on the balloon, which started to glow mildly. He hated darkness. His own existence was a result of blackness. He loved light and stole it from Sun, when he could. He knew that this stolen glory won’t last forever.

The dimly lit globe rose up in heavens. The world was glorified. Distant stars applauded and hooted. They loved this mischievous child and didn’t much care about God, who ruled the universe. Moon smiled consciously and shyly. He sprayed some of the contents of the bottle  on himself and pranced around in stolen glory. He looked down and saw a white flower smiling up at him, its tiny face upturned and bathed in the glory. The milky world loved this thief. Moon glowed like he never did. He loved that affection, for which he lived! He walked the entire black turf, lighting it up with stolen SunShine. Moon banished the darkness.

Night was tired. She wanted to go home, but her Godchild was missing. Suddenly she looked down and was confused. The world was bathed in a milky light. Her darkness was diffused by a glorious orb, which hung high up in the heavens. The world was much happier than she ever could make it! As a manager of cosmos, she always questioned her own existence, as although she could manage rest and repose, there was no happiness in her realm. She saw the happiness far above! She saw her Godchild smiling at her. She saw Moon, preening and posing before the stars and called out to him. The dancing Moon froze and hastened back to his mother.

The shamefaced child finally admitted before her stern mother that he couldn’t tolerate the dull world and decided to take matters in his own hands. Night was one worried mother!

*************

Sun approached the God and handed his badge on 14th of January in today’s count and sheepishly asked for the next equinox’s quota. God looked at the badge, puzzled, and smiled. “Early coming isn’t appreciated at times, Sun.”

Sun was more worried about that dot on his fiery shoes and didn’t say anything.

“Ah! two days short! May I ask about the lost glory?” God asked, His eyes twinkling.

Sun mumbled something to his toes.

God looked up at him and said gently. “The equinox is two days later, but you know why I accept this breach in custom? Look down at the happiness.”

Sun looked down and saw the world. It wasn’t all black and dark as he expected it to be in Night’s realm. He could see dolphins playing. Far above he could see a small child glowing and playing with a glowing orb. A child he had seen somewhere! Sun was confused and looked at God for enlightenment.

God, in His Infinite Mercy smiled. “Although it will entail a huge amount of recalculations, let’s end this equinox today. You take the next 185 bottles and please do take care this time.”

Sun whooshed a sigh while he accepted the coupon. He counted and recounted the bottles, and pulled out his blazing sword. He carried and deposited the bottles in his locker, then named and numbered each. He looked around. The walls stared back with the same dull eyes. He cursed and kicked a few walls in anger. Today the Sun was late in rising.

The tiny child tiptoed in the huge cavern. The walls smiled to him. He smiled back and tickled them. They guffawed. The kid went to the huge safe and was baffled by the new lock. He looked at the walls pleadingly. One of the walls turned blank and displayed an intricate combination. Moon looked at it. He smiled and kissed the wall. He entered the combination and the huge safe whooshed open. It was very hot inside. He picked up three bottles at random and slammed the door shut. He ran away while waving to the walls. The walls winked back lovingly at moon.

Sun was worried. He had all the bottles and couldn’t afford to lose a single anymore. He donned his garb and opened the safe. He froze!

182!

How? He asked the impassive walls, who stared him down. How!

Crestfallen. He checked the Day Counter. World had 365 days per year, instead of the earlier 370. He was incensed and pressed the plunger, which could initiate an emergency audience with God. He was summoned instantly.

“Lord! Please help!”, He whined.

The Almighty smiled in His infinite wisdom. “What’s bothering you now, Sun?”

“Oh, Lord! I toil myself all the 370 days without a leave. I work myself out. Now someone is stealing my glory! Last time it was two bottles, but now it’s three! Please, God!”

God smiled in His whiskers. He pushed a small child and boomed, “Meet your thief. He’s Moon. He managed what you couldn’t. He brought light when it mattered. Your stolen five bottles are granted to him. He will shine all nights.” He looked affectionately at the abashed kid. “As he’s just a child, and can’t work as tirelessly as you, the equinox will be divided into 6 months and he’s allowed a leave per month. The years have 365 days now.” He smiled again, “Consider it as a 5 days leave per year for you.”

God walked off in a skirl of dress. Sun looked at the kid morosely and tried to scuff his ears, who ran away screaming to his mother.

Since that day, years have 365 days with 12 months. Moon is granted one day off per month as per the arrangements, whereas the grumbling Sun trudges across the galaxy everyday. Moon ensures to avoid him and hides behind his mother Night till Sun is safely out of sight. As the glory used by Moon is stolen, the intensity of shine and the size of the orb isn’t constant each day and varies. Once in a while Sun is able to catch the moon and that causes eclipses.

Oh, reader, if you still don’t believe the above facts, all you need to do is to climb out of your life and look above to verify its veracity. You will see a milky ball. That’s the stolen SunShine. That’s Moon: The Naughty Kid, Who Stole.

********

We all have stories within.

This story was inspired by a heated discussion with a friend of mine over the morality of cosmic bodies. She told me what a thief Moon is, who thrives on stolen glory. This was one of the few points we both agreed upon in that battle of wits, which I actually lost. Well, this shows that as an Argumentative Benarasi I can debate on anything!

Moon, according to me, is a deprived child. Born ugly, spurned by his mother Earth, embraced by the passing Night, hated by the powerful Sun; he’s the epitome of an underdog. If anyone is entitled to be glorified as a thief, it’s him.

Presenting the Arch Thief Moon, Ladies and Gentlemen!

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19 responses to “Thief

  1. I missed it!!

    What creativity and imagination you’ve used in this piece! A perfect concoction. I loved the way you’ve described the night here, I always love the night. She is undoubtedly a seductress with an exotic beauty who paints everything with a slithery coat of black magic.

    Just LOVED the story. Kudos… 🙂

    Like

  2. This is sheer brilliance! Moon is a thief of glory! You have said it in many of your stories, and whenever I look upwards at nights I feel it steals sleep too. Moon has an inevitable charm and it never ceases to amaze me with it’s mysterious beauty.
    But, can anyone else visualize the moon the way you do? Well, I don’t think so. What an imagination. Moon, the orphan…..Night, the enchantress and Sun, the workaholic scribe who has to keep a count over his brilliance! This is artistry at it’s best! Seriously! I’m left wide-eyed!

    Like

    • The Lune tends to make people lunatic and lunacy is the basic requirement to dream! May be, that’s why I look at things at a whimsical angle! Naam ka asar lagta hai! 😀

      I totally agree about the mesmerizing beauty of moon, which enchants the lovers and romantics all over the world. May be, some of the night’s narcotic charm has made the moon more seductive. Incidentally, narco stands for dark in Latin.

      The thing I like about your comment is that you not only review the story in a nutshell, but also analyze it in details. Thanks a lot! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kya likhte ho yaar! I am sure the debate would have been amazing one with your friend. Btw, you should have chosen a teaching career, nobody would have dared bunk your class…thorough entertainment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh heh! Thank you, Alok! 🙂

      I’m not a good teacher, in fact. Never had that patience to do shape the uninitiated mind and lose my temper! But, loved the compliment! Glad that you liked it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Take a bow. I just used one part of the setting and used it as a character. You used every thing in the setting and gave life to it. Wow to that. The writing is lyrical at places and kind of rough in others. The flow could have been a little more smooth. That is my only nit. Otherwise, well done. I am so proud of you. Keep writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Usha! I’d love to read the part you mentioned, though I’m not sure which! The point about flow is noted. Thanks again! 🙂

      Like

  5. Superbly innovative and I must say this is creativity at its best!
    Sheer poetry at places like the dawning and yawning of trees… Loved some expressions like “narcotic night,” “bucket of black,” “stars applauded” “moon preening”! I think you are a poet at heart and a very sensitive one!
    Moon an orphan? What makes you think so? And a thief? I disagree. Moon is my majestic hero and has been for all the poets it has inspired for times immemorial. Even Almighty granted him that light!! 🙂
    Thank you for a wonderful story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! That was so nice! 🙂

      I’m not much of a poet. Used to write shayari, till I met a few masters in the blogging world, who ruled poetry, and stopped. I decided to try fiction. An artesian fount will find its way through mountains. Shayad isiliye poetic sound hua.

      As I told Sunita, you love moon at his youth. This story is about his childhood. Mohammed Ali was a thief during his childhood, so was Krishna. One turned out to be an ace boxer, whereas another the best of everything! Both were technically orphans!

      Moon is an orphan, because he was separated from his mother at birth and Sun hates him. Why would he eat him in eclipses? Year on year?

      Moon is a thief. Because, he shines on stolen light. He has nothing of his own, except a heartless barren desolation!

      Liked by 1 person

        • As you said, it’s one interpretation.

          We made the galaxies glorious, although they were without us naming them. However, that shouldn’t shackle our imagination, na!

          What if when we die and are asked in the afterworld… How was heaven?

          Dreams within dreams! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right, Sweety! I always hated history and geography during my school days and was a dud in both. Then I met Prof Kulkarni during my architecture days, who handled History of Architecture, a 3k page book, which we are expected to learn in five years. His method of teaching was so beautiful, that he made me fall in love with history. Geography is still the lowest point in my life! Till three years ago, I thought that Shillong is near Shimla, till one of my friends showed me the light. 😀

      Hope the teachers all over the world follow what a doctor prescribed! 🙂

      Thanks much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • absolutely. My mom made History so interesting, while schools all over make it a chore of remembering dates, dates and dates (tareekh pe tareekh pe tareekh!)
        Thank you for the info – Now I know Shillong is far from Shimla 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Heh heh! Aisa nahi. Ab to mujhe bhi pata hai. It’s just that I could never keep states and capitals straight. I still get confused about geography. Some day I still hope to find a teacher, who’d make geography romantic! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Take a bow at your immense creative talent and the undoubtedly Banarasi talents to argue and win hands down!
    “Moon, according to me, is a deprived child. Born ugly, spurned by his mother Earth, embraced by the passing Night, hated by the powerful Sun; he’s the epitome of an underdog. If anyone is entitled to be glorified as a thief, it’s him.”
    However, the connotations on the Moon is different..the romance, the lunacy, the tides, …how can he be an under dog or a black sheep?
    Mythology says that “Allah” was the name of a Moon God in pre Islamic Arabic period…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well! Consider it his childhood. 😀

      The romance, control over psyche and moods, mastery of the deep oceans… all these he picked along the way. I’ve found that those, who are repressed and have led a deprived childhood, usually bounce back with different talents. Moon is considered a thief and a mischief monger across various mythologies, and still is loved by young and old alike for his antics. May be, except his brother-in-arms, fellow thieves, who hate his glory. 😀

      You are right about moon worship, as Islamic calendar is based on phases of moon. The English word moon is derived by Arabic Mah, which means moon. Mahtab is the moonlight.

      But, I love the loony and mischievous aspect of that heavenly body!

      Thank you so much for your comment and appreciation, Sunita! They prove that I’m still going on the right track! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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