Essays & Short Stories

The stories within a sunset

The many moods and shades of a sunset. Photo credit: Sheema Shireen

From where I stand now, I can watch the sun slowly sinking. There is something majestic and spectacular about the way the sun goes down. The vermillion trail he leaves behind often makes me compare him to a seasoned artist who creates masterpieces every time he sways his brush. I remember reading somewhere that ‘the first stab of love is like the sunset, a blaze of colour’. I don’t usually stand here for more than five minutes. But today seems different. Today the lingering colours on the sky are so inviting that I decided to bask in them, to take in the message, nature has left there, as an afterthought.

My balcony is my vantage point. I can observe almost everything happening around me without being noticed. It faces the national highway to Ras al Khaimah. I live in Dubai, but my apartment is far from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is like living on an island surrounded mostly by desert. Nevertheless, the eight lined national highway with an unending flow of vehicles reminds me of the urgency of the city I am living in. I am amazed that every second, someone is racing towards somewhere, or maybe someone.

On the other side of the highway, after a stretch of deserted land, lies a number of small apartments and villas which appear to be small cardboard boxes, during the daytime, when watched from here. At night they give the impression of a number of small Chinese lanterns scattered on the desert, lit and waiting to be flown. Looking at them, I wonder what the people inside might be doing. Some may be offering their evening prayer, while some may be busy cooking dinner. Each and every window says a different story. Each home is a world in itself, with all its dreams and misgivings, yearnings and desires, hope and affection.

Across the highway, I can see the silhouette of a building under construction. The labourers have already left. On many a hot and sultry afternoon, I have watched in awe the way these labourers worked there with the scorching sun above their heads. While I sit comfortably inside the air-conditioned room of my apartment, they were there, working hard to earn a livelihood so that their kins back home may live comfortably. The highway often seemed to be symbolic of the divide between us and them. The worlds which never mingle but co-exist.

As my thoughts wander seamlessly, I realize that it is already night and I have been standing here for quite some time. The influx of vehicles now seemed to be a race of glow worms when viewed from here. Earth is so illuminated that I can’t see the stars in the sky.  I can see Burj ‘Khalifa, standing tall in a rather hazy night, far away. Burj stands as a symbol of man’s aspiration to reach heights. I have once been at the top of it and I had actually felt as if I were on top of the world. It was intimidating and exciting at the same time. Well, heights have always bothered me.

I sigh at my own thoughts and look again at the lights in front of me. It is past summer here and the beginning of winter. A cool, gentle breeze is blowing now and it makes me want to stay here for some more time. These meditative moments make us realize that we are alive and breathing. That we are only a tiny speck on this giant of a universe.

As Wordsworth sang, “It was a beauteous evening, calm and free.” As I turn towards the door, I feel a tranquillity seeping inside me.

Sheema Shireen

Contributor: Sheema Shireen

About our Writing Program Student
Hailing from God’s own country, I am a teacher by profession. Apart from reading and gardening, I try a hand at writing poetry when inspired. I believe that an independent woman is a happy and content one, and I am on my route to achieve that.

The Lifestyle Portal

Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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