Image by adambradway0 from Pixabay 

Purple, pink, yellow, orange, blue, and everything in between. The sunsets of my life have coloured my palette like a rainbow peeping out after a dreary, rainy morning. One for every day, one for every fear that haunted my mind, one for every tear that merged into a river at the bottom of my chin, one for every overwhelming moment that I didn’t think I’d get through, and one for every win that I celebrated after a gruesome battle with myself. The sunsets of my life have led me towards meaning at every point in my life, moulding and shaping me into the person I am today.

A wise man I deeply admire, Kim Namjoon, once said something along the lines of how the sky helps us find our reasons to live for. That thought altered me in ways I can never fathom, at a time when I really needed something to hold on to. A global pandemic, accumulating burnout, and depression were weighing down on my heart like a paperweight, keeping me from flying away freely into the horizon and achieving the joy I always dreamt of. Stepping foot out of the house meant putting myself and my family into the perils of disease, but the air inside was suffocating me as if I’d swallowed a kilogram of soot and smoke. That’s when I decided to climb up the stairs. Maybe I couldn’t go out, but I still had my terrace to look out of; dream of the world beyond the railings that bound me and kept me from realizing what made me tick.

Therein began the daily ritual of sky watching. Sunset watching, to be precise. Every day, without fail, no matter how many assignments I had to submit that night before the clock hit 12, and no matter how loudly the thoughts in my mind screamed at me, I walked up the stairs to my terrace so I could watch the sun setting in all its glory. Maybe I was lucky, but almost every time, the sky put on a show for my weary soul. Some days were gloomy, but I believe that the sky was only mirroring my own mind on those. Music kept me company, and I’d rest myself for a brief moment from the worries that swam around my head at every other moment of the day. When I went to watch the sunset was the only time when I’d find myself breathing slowly, mindfully. The colours I saw made me gasp in awe without fail, and helped me dream of a softer, more wholesome future. A pocketful of warmth and a ray of light kept me going on the worst of days.

Beaches and sunsets are best friends who invite one into their kind company. As someone who is a sucker for both, the first family trip after the pandemic we took, took me to the very place I loved, and I couldn’t be happier. I vividly remember the feeling of sand between my toes, saltwater gushing at my ankles and holding my sister’s hand tight in mine as I looked out at the sky glowing in front of me. I believe that sunsets are when the sky is at its most vulnerable, baring its entire beauty and pain to the world watching it, without abandon for what the onlookers think of it. Colours mixing on a painter’s palette, where the sky is the canvas, and the sun being the artist who is set to change the world with their brilliance and originality. Art is meant to calm, soothe, and invite introspection, and that was what I experienced that day at the beach. A little piece of calm amidst all the chaos that was the world. And that right there, was my world then. Watching the sunset that day felt like standing at the edge of the cliff, the only difference being - the cliff gave way to a serene place where I could soar high into the sight ahead of me instead of falling into a bottomless abyss. I truly remember feeling invincible that day, like I could conquer everything life threw at me. You, the reader, might think that I am exaggerating, but I only wish for you to have witnessed the glorious show that the sky had put on that particular day.

Fast forward to a few months. Visiting my sister in the US, and I knew that the sunsets that greet me here would be nothing less than spectacular. It is summer, and I wasn't wrong in thinking so. It is weird because I am not used to it, but the sun sets around 9 pm here, what with the place being so far up north. Isn’t it lovely how the sky prolongs the sunsets during summers, the further up from the equator you go? As if it wants you to feel the warmth just a little bit longer, gather some more hope into your arms so that you can store it for when the rain and the snow make an appearance; for when you can’t see the way forward and all you want to do is crawl into your blanket and sleep until it’s warm again. As ‘Inner child’ by BTS plays in my earphones, and I drive past another pretty sunset on another pretty end of a pretty day, I think I can heal. It has to happen; slowly, but with the surety of sunsets at the end of every sunny, rainy, windy and not-so-eventful day. The healing comes in bits and pieces, but it comes nonetheless. As it has come in every hour I spent watching the sunset on my terrace when I felt stuck in a relentless, exhausting loop; as it has come in every leap of faith I took while I let the music play and the clouds pass by me; as it has come in every breath I willed myself to take while my lungs were fighting for an ounce of oxygen. I hope it will keep coming, even in bursts and streams. Because hope and joy don’t have to be a grander piece of everything, they don't have to be chased after or achieved as a prize; they are hidden in every word, lyric, minute, hug, and sunset.

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