I live on the fourth, the topmost floor, of a building that has no lift. Every night when I get home, which is around midnight, I have to negotiate eight flights of stairs in total darkness since the watchman would have long switched off the lights and gone to sleep. Since I can climb the stairs blind-folded, thanks to years of familiarity, I haven't felt the need to ask the watchman to keep the lights on.
But the other night, something magical happened. As I got into the staircase, mentally prepared to climb up in darkness, I found it gently lit up. I looked up. The tubelight was switched off, as usual. Perhaps a neighbour's door was open, letting the light out? That was the not the case either. Then I spotted the source of the silvery light: the moon. Oh, I had forgotten that the moon gives light. So I climbed slowly, guided by the natural light of the night at every alternate flight of stairs, trying to recall when was the last time I did something under the moonlight.
I could not recall then, but I remember now. It was in Kanpur, four or five summers ago, when I was drinking with my brother on the terrace of our house. It was like drinking under the glow of nature's zero-watt lamp: gentle, but bright enough to see the facial features of people around you and even read the label on the whiskey bottle. It is only when you do nothing that you notice the moon, and it is only in Kanpur that I do nothing.
The moon, however, has always been there. It still shines the way it shone when poets and songwriters were inspired by it. Only that we don't notice it anymore because we neither have the time nor the place. Today we all live in flats, in which the sky visible from the window is as good as a wall; and even if we have a terrace, who really has the time to go there and bathe in the moonlight? I can only hope that Uncle Moon, pissed off by the lack of attention and admiration he has been enjoying for centuries, does not decide to stop shining. You never know know, he might just tell you one fine day: "You silly buggers, you deserve tubelights and neon lights. I am off. Don't call me again."
I hope the day doesn't come till I've fulfilled two desires of mine. One, to throw a moonlight, or moonlit, bash in a farmhouse (preferably by the sea) where the dance floor and the bar are illuminated solely by the full moon. How gorgeous the women would look in the silvery glow!
Desire number two, to make love on a charpoy on the terrace of a house in a small town where no building is tall and close enough to overlook the terrace you are holed up in. The gentle light of the moon lets you see what you want to see, and yet it doesn't let you see what she doesn't want you to see.