Irrespective of from where and with whom you watch a sunset, each sunset is of its own kind and is perfect in its own way.
I witnessed the golden beauty submerging in the Indian ocean from the island of Nusa Penida, near Bali, and in the zen state that followed, I wrote this piece of writing which I am publishing here (with some editing).
The orange sun turns complete golden, like a ripe mango, just before dipping in the water.
The sky and the clouds follow the sun’s orders. Till he stays, they remain orange and red and golden. Shining light beams shoot out of the clouds that are curtaining the sinking sun. And the silver outlining of the clouds spread in front of the sun seems as if a string of light is tied around them.
The water still ripples softly. The tall coconut trees sway with the wind, only to make a soft rustling sound and remind you of their presence. While atop, the birds fly to their homes.
Children run up and down the dock, playing, getting ready for the evening, for the time they would spend with their families, in dinner, and then bed. They know it’s the last stretch of playfulness before they are called into their homes by their mothers who are waiting with warm plates of fried chicken and rice and sambal with some ice tea.
Men are working; Some of them are nailing wooden planks into the roof, while some are cleaning up the dock and putting the diving and snorkeling gear back onto the pier. The lady who grills mackerel over an open wood fire, waves at you, trying to sell some crispy fish, while the amber flames dance next to her. Maybe she expects many customers, or perhaps the fire is to attract people with its warmth and light.
A melting hue of orange floats on the sun’s surface, before it finally submerges. And then it is gone.
When the sun rises in the other side of the world, a crescent of the moon appears from nowhere, along with his friend the Dhruv tara. The shades of the sky are greyer now, with a light mix of orange and yellow, as if a thoughtful painter dipped his brush in a lemony paint and stroked the freshly painted grey canvas. A few slate-grey clouds float, deciding which way to go.
The coconut trees could only be resembled by their shapes now, for darkness has spread over them. Bats fly above our heads. A little puppy is looking for his mother on the shore, and the mother is scavenging the beach for food.
The sea is rowdier with every minute; the moon is pulling the water towards him. The golden strings of lights around the clouds are switched off. With every passing by minute, the painter melts more orange into the grey sky, giving it a deeper amber color.
The old boat rests next to the coconut trees. If you step back a little, the moon, the orange hues, the rippling water, the docked ships dancing over the rolling waves, the children running around make for a beautiful photo. So you click many.
Deep blue clouds hang so low near the horizon that you wonder if the sky has merged with the ocean. The volcano Agung, that erupted in June this year and is prohibited for climbing, is hidden behind the dollops of clouds. As if it has done his show for the day.
That is when you think of stepping down into the water from the extended dock and then you beat your legs in the warm water, splashing it all over you while looking into the horizon that is bereft of his sun.
You walk back. The fish lady splashes water on the fire and waves good night. And as you saunter towards your home for the day, a soft prayer plays from a loudspeaker in the temple canopied by pink frangipani. The Islanders have lit a few candles and lights in the temple.
At that moment you understand that people pray in the evening and light lamps and sing prayers to cut into the gloominess that has emerged from the evening darkness. They do all of this to call the sun back.
And you hear a soft melody releasing from your lips as you walk while brushing your palm against the narrow street walls and the trees that stand guarding your way.
Logistics — I saw this sunset on the island of Nusa Penida, an hour away from Bali by ferry. But, of course, you can go to any beach, preferably of an island, and try finding these colors on your own. Let us see if you also meet a puppy and his mother playing at the shore amongst the evening hues.
Do you love watching sunsets, too?