My New Friend


Musings / Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Bangalore has been beautiful these last few weeks. At night, I sleep with a light quilt. The evenings and early mornings are edged with misty showers. My ‘walks’ on my terrace, therefore, had become less frequent with the rain. 

But one evening did draw a blue shade of promise for me, and I ventured up. 

The mynas, I spoke of earlier in this post, were still busy doing whatever mynas are supposed to be doing in the evenings.

mynas

I politely wished them and reached the roof where the solar panels form a little bit of a perch for me to sit on. Barely had I sat down, then I saw a flickering movement of black. 

It was a black dragonfly. I followed him with my eyes as he settled down a little further away. Now, I had seen dragonflies before. But this was the first time I was seeing a dragonfly with what seems like black wings. Is it even a dragonfly? I don’t know. 

I sat there and read for a while. When I got up 20 minutes later with dusk hugging me, I see the same fluttering movement in front of me. It’s him again. Or her? I am not well-versed with identifying dragonfly gender and I apologize for my gender-incorrect language to all the dragonflies of the world. He floats around and lands in the same spot he had been before I arrived. How cute, I thought, and then thought no more of it.

Until the other day when I go to the roof again. A shimmer. A dance. There he is again. In that same spot. He moves away when I come and settles down a little further. This time, I talk to a friend on the phone. He waits patiently until I finish before going back to his spot. 

Now, I am curious. Is this his home? You don’t really think of dragonflies as having a home to come back to. Where do they all go once night calls? Do they stay in the same place? Do they keep wandering? I glance around the roof to see if I can identify anything as a “dragonfly home.” Nothing. The solar panels. The water tank. Old tiles. A rope, for some reason. An old commode that is turned upside down, for even stranger reasons. What is making you, my dear dragonfly, call this home?

Another day, another evening. He is there again. The day before yesterday, he is still there. 

We are friends, I like to think. He doesn’t seem to mind my presence at all. In turn, I adore his presence. If I say I count a dragonfly and some mynas as friends, do I sound odd? I think it sounds beautiful. 

I search Google for the meaning of seeing a dragonfly. And it tells me that dragonflies are supposed to symbolize inner transformation. Is that you want from me, my dear dragonfly with those shimmery light wings? I wish I could fly like you. I wish I could be as light as you. I wish I could be everything you are. So, I try. I imagine myself as light. I imagine my thoughts to fly. I think of myself as someone with wings. I try. And during my weakest moments, I do feel I can. That I really can understand what Rumi meant when he said the wound is where the light enters. 

And then, I read this article on dragonflies. 

“The carefree dragonfly we see out in the sun is nearing the end of its life.” 

Life. Wounds. Light. Fragility. The inescapable fragility of life. 

I needed a dragonfly to teach me that. A dragonfly I didn’t know was nearing the end of its life. But what a glorious life, my dear dragonfly! What an utterly beautiful life. 

14 Replies to “My New Friend”

  1. Love the Rumi quote. You are writing more often, I see. Very happy to read more 🙂 The inescapable fragility of life, as you say, is what makes us value life so much, maybe? The fact that I will no longer be there one day, makes me want to live like that dragonfly, carefree in the sunlight. It also makes me want to leave behind a legacy. A legacy of words, perhaps.

    1. Oh, yes, Rumi. Have you read his books? I love ‘The Forty Rules of Love,’ which is based on Rumi’s work. Deeply beautiful. I soothe myself with that quote every time I think I am tired of being wounded. :-). Although, I think very little light has entered.

      The thing is, Restless, that fragility of life scares me – I feel panicky that somehow these years are running away from me, that I am wasting ‘time,’ and that nothing is going to remain. I have to do something! Be something! Not sure what I have to do or be. But I can spend sleepless nights over it. This feeling. I think it’s restlessness. Smile. Of not being enough or doing enough and before I know it, I will be 80.

      1. No, I have not read anything on Rumi. Thanks so much for pointing me to ‘Forty Rules of Love’. What a beautiful read! Left me feeling serene.
        Any other books on Rumi that you would recommend?

        I understand what you say, I have felt that way many a time. I too am searching for what to do or be. I believe that the searching and the restlessness will get us somewhere, SM!
        I remember this line from the book: “Although it is a fact that He cannot be found by seeking, only those who seek can find Him.”
        Maybe we do not find these answers by seeking, but it is important to seek them. 🙂

        1. Thank you, Restless, for that quote. I love it. It reminds me of a line one old friend of mine once told me: Ich Suche Nicht. Iche Finde. It’s attributed to Picasso. I don’t know German, but that quote has stuck to me. “I am not searching. I am finding.” How beautiful if we were to think it’s not a search after all, but us finding all the beauty we know is in us and outside us.

          I read ‘Rumi’s Daughter’ many years ago, but not one I am recommending. Instead, may I suggest you pick up ‘The Rabbit and the Squirrel: A Love Story about Friendship?’ Please buy the book in print, not the Kindle. Amazon is delivering books, as I found out to my surprise. It’s a beautiful story that I think you may love.

  2. Here in South Texas we love dragonflies. Not only are they lovely to watch, they eat lots of mosquitos of which we have way too many. If I can find the image, I will let you see the 30′ long dragonfly sculpture which hovered over a pond at our botanical gardens for a month or two several years back as part of a traveling show.

    Here’s my insect friend story. I had a “pet” bee last summer. As I sat out on our balcony in the afternoon, “he” would hover 20-30 cm in front of my face for minutes at a time, fly off for a while and return keeping this up for as much as a half hour. After a week or so of this, the bee failed to show up and I missed its visits. Happily, before it got so hot here, “he” or “his” replacement returned briefly this summer.

    Photographic footnote: Trying to capture an image of a flying bee on my Samsung phone proved to be impossible. Hundreds of images of my blurry bee with sharp-focused floral backgrounds.

    1. Haha. I took this one grimy shot too after a lot of hopeless pictures! Sigh. I guess some moments are just meant to be in our memories!

  3. The hustle bustle of nature has so much to admire ,adore and learn to everyone of us. I loved this post thoroughly.

  4. Aww, you wrote an entire post for our friend. Dragonflies seem to lead a poetically tragic life no? They spend only a few weeks as adults and that is filled with worry 🙁 Paapa. Next time you see him you should talk to him and make him laugh.

    1. I know. A life filled with worry. Saddens me too. :-(. I will talk to him more today. I was born comical so laughter is easy.

  5. Yes…. dragonflies are way beautiful creatures with lot of significance with energies to gift us. Somehow to me, every living being apart from humans are way more giving. Not that it’s a competition or comparison, it’s the feeling that feels they are more divine and innocent. Not being cynical about hoomans at all, the way you know me ;).
    We are juggling with our own life and death situations at home. Every moment has been a learning.Woof!

    1. Haha. You are being cynical but saying you aren’t. Hehe. It’s ok, my influence! I am the most cynical of all. 😉

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