The Window — An Unappreciated Marvel
Sitting in a dark room, I notice the window and I am reminded of the blinding light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Just as the end of the tunnel leads to a whole new world, the window itself leads to a realm of unknown possibilities. The bright glass patch in the middle of the wall opens up a portal from unending nothingness on this side to innumerable moments of happenstance on the other. I have to merely glance through the window and all the secrets of the universe reveal themselves to me.
I see a kid riding a bicycle, wind breezing through her curly long hair as if the unfettered waves of the sea are raging on her head, waiting to be set free. If this was a fairytale, she would be the one courageous enough to fight the evil dragon in the cave thereby bringing harmony to the kingdom. A nostalgia-evoking smile plastered on her face reminds me of my own worry-free childhood. How the time has flown me by, and I think to myself if only this window could also be a time machine. If only…
Would I use it to go back?
Oh! But there’s more to our magical window! Yes, “our window”. You have a window too, right? Look outside.
I look up and notice the birds flying in the sky in a boomerang-shaped pattern, and I wonder if the birds are putting up a display for their peers or for us humans. Or maybe none? Maybe, they simply fly in impressive patterns just for the heck of it. Just because they can. After all, these are formidable flying miracles of free will that put our million-dollar machines to shame. And then there are the birds that are more of the lone-ranger variety. They just fly all by themselves, not a care in their heads. And then of course we have the eagles, the hawks, and one of those other big blood-thirsty beasts that would take your eyes out if you’re not careful. Ah… nature! The window would be a birdwatcher’s paradise. Does this make me a birdwatcher? If so, you must be a birdwatcher as well.
Another random thought suddenly takes hold of my mostly distracted mind. The window is also a kaleidoscope, full of unimaginable colors and shapes that mix into one another to create beautiful paintings that even Picasso would envy. One moment I see a serene yellow beach lined with tall green and brown trees, blue water gently grazing the sand as if to tease a lover that can never have her, dampening it with every touch. I blink my eyes and all of it is replaced by tiny brown houses patiently getting covered in white, as tiny fractals of heavenly snowfall upon the now white ground as if to show me that there’s beauty in the absence of colors as well. Or maybe it is the beauty of the presence of all the colors in white? Isn’t that what white really is? An amalgamation of every color as if all the colors in the rainbow were blended into one. I wonder if all this is just a roll of the dice or is there some otherworldly da Vinci painting these montages, connecting art with science and nature, just to dazzle us mortals. Or is it just a dopamine-fueled fantasy my brain has created to befool me for some evolutionary reasons I cannot fathom? Will this all be over if I took the red pill? Whatever be the case, the window is truly a canvas upon which real beauty is realized, perpetually changing.
I wonder what other people see when they look outside their windows. I wonder what you see outside your window. Or have you not looked yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Look outside the animated painting hanging in the middle of the wall. What do you see?
Do you see the entire skyline of the city or is your view obstructed by the neighboring building, its wall full of cracks upon which you could visualize the tapestry of your family? Do you see the sun slowly rising and showering everything with its warmth or is everything getting bathed in crimson as it slowly sets only to rise again on the other side of the globe? Or maybe you see the moon, shining mightily in all its glory, proud of its imperfections as it pulls the seas toward itself. Maybe you’re sitting in a plane, flying across the planet, and you see the pillow-like clouds outside your window? If only you could just walk outside and lie down on them. They do look comfortable. Maybe you’re an astronaut, and you look outside the space station and see the big ball of blue and green and brown, and you just think to yourself how did we get so lucky? One moment there is the Big Bang and the next moment we have this beautiful home called Earth. As Eliza exclaims to Hamilton, “Look around! Look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now!”. No matter what you see, are you not absolutely flabbergasted by this magical glass that rests in the middle of the wall? I hope you feel the same way I feel… optimistic. I’ll take the blue pill, please and thank you.
I have spent a lot of time simply looking out of windows, more so in the past year. And I have come to the realization that windows are under-appreciated and taken for granted, just like a pair of comfy warm socks on a cold winter morning. But the past year has been the year of the windows as innumerable eyes looked past them, pining for moments of intimacy with their loved ones they can’t get close to. Craving for adventures that seem as unattainable as the horizon. And yet, the entire world genuinely felt happy when a 12-year-old kid got a birthday parade from his friends right outside his window, and the old lover sang songs to his bedridden wife through her window. As hundreds of people in Italy sang their hearts out in harmony through their windows, it lifted the spirits of the entire world. Whose heart didn’t break when little kids cried to hug their parents or grandparents but all they could do was pine for a touch that they couldn’t have, like a heartbroken lover pining for an unattainable love? And yet, we all watched through these miraculous glass canvases as time went on and the world kept spinning. You changed. I changed. The world changed. Yet, the window remains as if eternally frozen in time, here only to evoke every possible emotion the human heart knows.
I sit here in the dark, staring through my window. It is dark outside but not as dark as inside. I see lights in some windows across the street. The streetlamp flickers now and then, as if running through the last leg of the sprint, telling me it’s tired. The trees dance a little as the wind grazes their leaves. Sometimes, a car passes by. I wonder who’s inside these cars. Could it be an old friend or a future acquaintance? A layer of water blankets the entire street as the snow melts slowly, different lights reflecting from its shiny surface just like the stars shine in a moonless night sky.
I sit here in the dark, staring through my window. And it suddenly hits me. The question that’s been nagging me. What is so fascinating about this window? And I think I have the answer now. Of course, I don’t claim to have the perfect answer because I’m sure there are a million things that are fascinating about this window. And maybe, since you have a different window, you’ll have another set of million things that you find fascinating about your window. The quest to answer what makes the window so fascinating is akin to answering what is the meaning of life. Both questions have an infinite number of possible answers. What is the meaning of life? 42? Love? To live? To die? I don’t know. Maybe I will know once I have lived it. Maybe, we only find the answer at the end of it. Nevertheless, we have more important matters to address today. A much more important question looms over us, like a dagger hanging over our head, ready to drop at any moment. And the answer is fleeting, like the golden snitch in Harry Potter; blink and we’ll miss it. The question is: What is so fascinating about the window? The answer: Hope. The window is a beacon of hope. Just like the light at the end of a dark tunnel gives the stranded hiker hope, the window gives hope to each one of us. Everyone on this side of the window looks outside and is blasted with hope and optimism. No matter how dark it is, a mere glance through the window and suddenly, it feels as if the entire body is slowly absorbing hope, blood transporting it slowly to every corner of the body. It really is magical. I don’t know what gives the window these magical powers. Is it the people outside? Or is it the trees and the cars? Maybe it is the countless adventures that await us outside. Maybe it is the unicorns and the leprechauns. Whatever the reason may be, the window gives me hope. I’m ok and you’re ok.
A weary-eyed 21-year-old who has been locked up in a library for 15 hours because of an upcoming exam looks outside the window and suddenly feels more energized. A tired 33-year-old who has been running through an endless string of pointless meetings all day, drained of all light, waiting to go home to tuck his kids into bed looks outside the window. He feels the world is still alright. It’s not so bad. Another hour. Whether it is the 12-year-old bored out of his mind in class or the 74-year-old fighting the battle of her life in a hospital, the window gives them both the hope to keep going. I think about Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. Would he have been more hopeful if only he’d looked out of his window? Would a simple glance outside have saved him from aimlessly wandering the streets of the city all night?
There is a reason one of the harshest punishments in the prison is to throw the person into a windowless cell. Not only is the person solitary, but there is no window to give him hope. A life without hope is no life at all. I think about the dementors in those Harry Potter novels, crafted to be the vilest creatures to ever exist as they sucked the soul out of their victims. I wonder if the soul is simply another name for hope. For if hope is lost then so is one’s soul. Without hope, only the physical body remains while the person within is lost. Can the window help such a lost soul? I hope so. I believe in the magic of the window.
What do you see outside the window? Have you still not looked? Are you looking? What do you see? What do you feel? Do you feel a million thoughts racing through your mind, each one trying to beat the other to the finish line? Do you think about the meaning of life? About the purpose of your life? As the harrowing fear of not being enough sinks you into the ground, does the window give you hope as it slowly lifts you up? Do you feel the optimism rush through your veins? Do you feel like you are enough? I hope you feel what I feel. I hope you feel like you are enough. I hope you feel… hopeful.
I sit here in the dark, staring through my window. And it fills me with hope. The world’s alright and I’m ok. I’m grateful for the window and the magic it brings to my life. I’m happy. I hope you are too.