A Story by Elizabeth Shaji

The oceans used to be blue, according to my grandmother. She is seventy-five, has no hobby except staring of into space, suffers from dementia and is scared of fireworks.
In other words, she is not the most reliable source of information. However, whenever she talks about the period before war, her eyes shine bright, her voice becomes clear and appears the most sane.

But what sane person would say that the ocean is blue?

I remember asking my mom for confirmation. "Really, ma? Were the oceans really blue?", expecting her to wave her hand as she usually would, telling me not to pay much attention to what grandmother says. Instead, her gaze turns contemplative and she slowly nods.

"It changed colours right before my eyes"

The ocean was always red for me, from the bloodshed and pollution. I couldn't wrap my head around it being any other colour.

"Grandma, you're lying to me, aren't you" I once confronted her.

My grandmother who was combing her hair in slow, gentle strokes put down her comb and looked at me, her head tilted in confusion.

"What are you talking about?" she asks softly.

"About the oceans"

"What about the oceans?"

"It is impossible for it to be blue"

My grandmother sighs.

"Why won't you believe me''?"

"Look" I hold a glass of water in front of her. "This is clear, drinking water."

She looks at the glass, already expecting my question.

"Even if the oceans weren't as polluted before, it would be transparent in colour, and not blue." I smile triumphantly, knowing that I've already won this battle.

"The oceans reflected the colours of the skies above."

"The skies? So you mean to say-" It was no use. My grandmother's eyes had turned hazy, and it was clear that she was no longer with me right now. Her mind and soul were roaming the earliest parts of her memory.

I sighed in exasperation and disappointment. Why did I even try to have a sane conversation with my grandmother anyways? She really isn't in the right state of mind.

Blue skies? What a joke. It has to be a prank. A sick, twisted prank that my grandmother is playing on me.

And yet, I couldn't shake the image of the sky being blue. Even when I look up to see the dull, grey skies, I imagine it to be blue.

I started talking to my grandmother daily.

"Grandma, please tell me about the time before war" I would ask her.

She would light up, her hazy eyes becoming focused as she begins to narrate tall tales.

And even if I know that it's all a lie, I couldn't stop listening. I'd listen, and then I'd envy her.

I'd envy her for being able to live in a dreamland where there are living creatures flying in the blue skies, where no one needed an oxygen mask, where the trees were tall with leaves like shining emeralds.

The oceans were always red for me. Oh, how I wish that it could be blue.

© 2021 Elizabeth Shaji

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Added on November 6, 2021
Last Updated on November 6, 2021


Elizabeth Shaji
Elizabeth Shaji

Pune, Maharashtra, India

just someone trying to write what I feel more..

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