A single, visible, small bead of sweat on your forehead, the sardonic smirk on your youthful face, the black and white dream that you narrate to me, the last tinge of lust.. all disappear into thin air and leave her groping for sense. That's when I enter, stand face-to-face with her and ask, "Is everything okay ?" Before she can gather words, you are gone. And she knows ! She trembles. Only slightly and whispers, "No more."
The ticking of the clock makes me impatient. As though I am at the mercy of time. Perhaps I am! As I write this journal minutes before the event of my life, our lives, I don't really see if time is playing with me or against me. For reasons I know very clearly, Divya fills my thoughts. It was this day that we had dreamed for. A day when we would be united in wedding. Me and her. I distinctly remember the night when we walked uphill , hand in hand, only to buy a small vanilla ice cream cup. And I know her perfume as mine ! Wasn't it one of those sultry Tuesday afternoons that we realized we knew each other so well ? She had got me a big bunch of red roses the next morning . Today is a big day for us ! Me and her. Life is going to be very different from tomorrow. Or that's what everyone says. We both always thought we would do things that we wanted. But I guess what we did lack was the courage. Was it known and thus unsaid ? Why then did we build dreams ? Any moment now, Anand will be here. And he will call out my name.. "Apra.." He always does that. Before he begins to say anything else. In few more minutes me and Divya would be married. To different people of course. I know our lives won't have much meaning after this! But we knew we had to celebrate our failures at the same time. And do it big !
...and she realized how she'd been wondering all night about how his hair was and whether he liked crayons and whether he always wore a watch. And she shook her head about making too little sense.
...and hey, he did like the cartoon idea and thought she would be a nice cartoon character! And wished how he could hold her hand and say that they would keep talking . Like they did all night. And he looked outside the window to see her once again!
... and they sat by the river counting pebbles. Perhaps building a small grass hut. Oh not that they wanted to live there forever. Maybe they liked the sound of water. With butterflies and bubble tanks, one doesn't think about colors too much. "I have to go", he said. "If so, we go together", she said. While walking together, one doesn't think about the destination too much.
... and she wanted to say nothing to him. For a long time,
... and so they walked hand-in-hand enjoying all that they saw. There were leaves and trees and flowers and there was the breeze. There was the evening blue and there was sunset and there were birds . "Green is not all that bad", he said smiling. "I told you ", she said. And then, as though, nothing else could have happened, they looked into the eyes of the other. There was love. A whole lot of love. There was perhaps a hug. Unhurried. Although brief. They talked of rainbows and butterflies and rabbits and squirrels and walked away..
...and there were four lines. A poem. A song. A story !
... and once in a riverbed there was a castle where a pretty princess lived. She was charming, loving and loved . And once she saw a stranger in her garden. The stranger was soon a friend of sorts. And soon he was a friend. Alas, he lived in a desert far away. The princess longed to see him everyday. But the desert was too long a distance from the garden that they first met ! And one day there was a fairy. Who could grant anything that the princess wanted ! But it had to be a single wish.. The princess said that she wanted to see the stranger-friend whenever she wanted to, wherever she wanted to.. The fairy smiled. To this day, no one knows what happened of the wish!
There were two cats. A big cat and a small cat. Both of them liked milk a lot. They played together most of the time! The small cat always teased the big cat for being so big. "You're a big big cat!", it would say. As the days went by, their liking towards milk increased. And the small cat teased the big cat all the more. The big cat found it increasingly difficult to play with the small cat when it was being teased so much. But the big cat did not want to hurt the small cat in any manner.
Then, the big cat bought a really huge can of milk and gave it to the small cat. The small cat was overjoyed. And it drank the entire can of milk. Now something happened.. The small cat had drunk so much milk that it now grew bigger than the big cat!
Now there were two cats. A big cat and a bigger cat. Now they played together as before. Though the big cat was now smaller than the bigger cat, it never teased the bigger cat of being big. They still liked milk. And they lived happily ever after.
"What dreams may come" is a brilliant movie. Not for the story, though. The story was painted with wet paint all through and left me thinking about reality, life and death. And it reminded me of this! Though am almost sure I never read it as seriously and never realized how fantastic this was. William Shakespeare - To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1) To be, or not to be : that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than to fly to others that we know not of ? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose their name of action. - Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd.
Gray smells rain. And feels a sense of peace. As he lazily picks up a cigar and thinks of rain, his over-worked body seems to cry for a good night's sleep. 'Oh the night is still young', thinks Gray, while trying to see an image of cat in the smoke patterns of the cigar. He remembers how he kissed that woman all through the entire Gin soaked boy ! 'Like a teenager!', he thinks and smiles slightly.
Gray is a simple man with simple needs. He has this enviable life. Money, sex and TV ! He knows that someone would kill to live his life. But he remains unsure about whether to like his life. Not that he has a lot of choice.
A series of surreal, anachronistic encounters with the woman makes Gray rather excited. They lie on his couch, drinking just enough whiskey to feel happy, while he paints her yellow and blue and the man who sold the world plays along .
He talks to her about his life. And her view on their indulgence, sometimes, surprises him. 'I am a fan of your mind as much as I am of your body', he whispers into her ears after they have made love to Bob Dylan singing in loops. But she invariably smiles noncommittally and asks him 'what's my mind!'. After a lot of passionate exchanges, he strokes her face gently and says 'Your kids would be beautiful'. 'Yeah..', she tells him, 'I have to pick them up when I go back'. He smiles slightly and tells her , 'I like that the 'us' is uncomplicated'. She thinks she knows why she's with him .
Gray sleeps less and he likes that he wants the woman. He likes her mindfulness. Her scent. Her vanity. And her eyes. And once when their bare bodies lie entangled as they hear Can you take me higher , he asks her with the twinkle in his eyes ' How long will this last?' . She tries to ask him, ' This would mean... ?' . Before which he says 'As long as it can ..' .
And as they prepare to get along with the rest of the world, it plays All in all is all we are..
I know what 'love her madly' would sound like if it were not a perfume. And the melody that it would be, would look like the horizon if it were not a sound. A purple horizon !
But the purple horizon seems surreal and thus cannot be a real perfume if it were not a sight . Thus the ethereal perfume that the purple horizon would be if it were something that can be felt and if it were not a perfume would be something elastic and sticky.
Something that is perceived as real by one sense might be surreal for other senses.
Yogi traveled back and forth in time. As though it was his second nature. He couldn't, of course, prove it to others. But he knew he did. And others believed him. Yogi was enlightened since he knew the way the universe was structured in time. He had the ability to see how the present would affect the future. Rather how it wouldn't. And that was the singular truth that one needed to cognize the purpose of existence. Rather the absence of one such.
"Guilt, my dear", he told Subha, "is the biggest of delusions! For when you know that there is no purpose for existence, there is nothing that is wrong or right. And thus guilt is baseless! " Subha felt he was ever more mysterious whenever they talked about the big questions. Yogi knew too many details about too many things. Rather unnaturally too much for someone who talked spiritedly about the pointlessness of existence! Subha had even ventured to ask him on multiple occassions about why he bothered to know so many things when he believed all of those were of no final avail . And he would flash his slight, mysterious smile and say " It's tricky, my dear." " We are fed the ideas of happiness and sadness whether we want it or not . And while we exist, we are bound by this learning to continue doing something to increase the feeling of apparent happiness. I know it's useless but I do it for the sake of doing it. And yeah, of course, feel the apparent happiness along the way ". She would refuse to think on all those deeper. She feared she would lose her simplicity. He liked her because she was beautiful !
Yogi was not a very helpful person. He was an interesting character and others who kept his company knew not a second of boredom when he was around. Since he was an enlightened person, there was a kind of implicit trust that others placed in him. That he could never do anything wrong to anyone.
Until one day when Subha lost both her legs in an unfortunate event and Yogi left her forever. She had asked him, "Don't the good old days of happiness mean anything ? Don't you feel you're wronging me ? Leaving me in this state! " And he had said with the same evil - then mysterious - smile, "Guilt , my dear, is the biggest of delusions. I know I woudn't feel happy with you any longer and thus I leave".
Subha was shattered. Yogi, however, remained enlightened !
It seems funny that you were gone . Just like that . The evenings and mornings don't bring the same delight anymore. But you know, even the hope of immanence disappeared into darkness. For he was but a shadow all along !
When I picked up this book by U.R. Ananthamurthy, I thought the meaning of the word "bhava" was "to become". But "bhava" is used in the sense of wordly ties or "bhava bandhana"! Now that's a fascinating topic indeed. This was the first book by URA that I read and it wasn't disappointing at all. The story is interesting - a slightly complicated plot - the story telling quite good though simple and linear. Although I thought that there were some technical weaknesses in the plot, like the too much ado on "is-he-my-son" , "who-is-my-father", "i-don't know-who-is-the-cause-for-this-pregnancy" complexes, the same cliches repeating conveniently, I did develop some kind of an appreciation for the idea that he was trying to convey. His idea on the complexity and variety of worldy ties , the power of bondages and concept of liberation were interesting. I also liked the way in which each character was developed throughout the book. The book was very readable and compact! It made me think a little about liberation . About how it's foolishness to seek liberation by running away from something. If it be sought, it should be within. However, it's not a book that's going to be haunting like Bhyrappa's ! It's good but will be forgotten.
What I liked the most about this book is the honesty. Satrapi is not trying to create an image of any kind . She is neither a conceited person nor someone who is trying make a sorry figure. And thus the story doesn't restrict itself to a mere mockery of the system or a graphical depiction of the war horrors . It goes beyond and tells the story of humanness . The ability to gel humor with tragedy is special, but not very rare. But what is indeed rare is to not focus on any of these aspects greatly! It's the human nature that is the hero. The way in which people get accustomed to war being a part of their lives is brilliantly picturized ! And I was greatly impressed by the personality of Satrapi which gets unravelled through the entire book. Her intellect, outspokenness, weakness, needs, addictions, love life , drugs, cigarettes , books and her keenness towards life were all something that I could relate to very easily . I was glad that it wasn't a story of some super hero. Or some smug outsider . Nor of a frustrated insider . It was a story of a person as human as I am, having lived in eventful circumstances and possessing envious skills of story telling and expression. Another book which has had a really great influence on me and whose effect will , I'm sure, last for a long time to come.
How do you know if you're socially acceptable ? If you have people from the society interacting with you and if you have a job and if you're not a psychotic (to the extent of causing harm to others), then you can be classified as socially acceptable ?
Numbers are like Gods. Symbols having unknowable forms . Perhaps formless . These are concepts which are useful despite the fact that they don't have any feature that can be perceived by the senses ! They don't have a smell, taste, can't be heard or felt and do not have a form . They have symbols. But the symbol is not the number .
What makes anything that is beyond the senses useful ? Especially when all that we do, directly or indirectly, is for the senses .
He was perplexed . He thought he had hit the final road block and that he cannot go any further. 'Why are things so tough?', he thought to himself. He was into exploring things. And he thought he was quite good at that. There were a lot of things he had found in the recent past. But not all of them could be shared. He hoped she had seen it all ! but sometimes, even she wouldn't understand.
This time, he had taken up a mighty task for himself. Not only did he have to explore a certain thing in detail, but he also had to move it all to its destined location. It needed too much of alone time and detailed planning. And he hated to work when people were around. Like today . There were just too many people ! And it was during such days, he could see so less of her as well. He missed her. And hoped she knew .
They were all in a cheerful mood. Talking loudly, making fun of each other and laughing at the slightest joke . She was busy talking to all the people who she hadn't met for a long time. She did think that she should talk to him. She always knew when he missed her. But she hoped now that the evening would make him feel better ! She just wished he would like the whole thing !
It was now getting impossible to concentrate. And he also thought he was working on something which the humankind had never ever done before. It was not easy to put circular objects in square shaped holes. And there were these people smiling to him without any reason! Sometimes he smiled back, not knowing what else to do. And other times he showed irritation. Even when he showed irritation, they smiled back to him. And sometimes , even laughed aloud ! He was almost certain that they were all mad. But he knew she would never be mad like these people.
She tried convincing him that he should look good for that evening. It was going to be special !
Now he was beginning to lose hope! Even she had joined their group and was trying to get him off his work. He knew he had to trust her. But how could he , when she behaved like them who smiled and chuckled and laughed pointlessly. He had so much to do that day . However, he decided to trust her . One last time. And stalled his work for the day . He got up and walked with her .
She beamed with joy as she walked with him towards all those people who had gathered to celebrate his birthday. He had turned two that day.
Whatever was left did not seem right . And whatever was indeed right wasn't left. But as they realized they had taken too many lefts before the final right , they were not sure anymore of what was right . At which point, she asked half-asleep.. "Have we come too far ?" . He said "Yes, possibly". She longed to sleep off but knew she couldn't. She looked at him intently and asked again "Too far to go back ? ". He sighed . And feigned indifference. Exactly at the same moment, she remembered a question she had wanted to ask him for a long time ! "Do you like windows and colors ?", she quizzed . He smiled slightly-- as always-- and said " Colors yeah. I like paint ! The smell of paint", "But windows ?" She looked at him with ever brighter eyes and a childlike excitement. And said " Yea ! I feel a window is sometimes surreal. You can see a whole wide world through a small opening" "I like windows !"
He looked at her half appreciatively. But he thought they had lost their way and a strange fear had started to set in .They did speak of other things.
When they got to wherever they wanted , that night, the first thing he did on entering was to close the door. And then stood by the window. Wondering whether to open it . Because they had left while the paint was still wet .
It's like you've got everything you ever wanted. It's like dusk . A feeling of light and darkness mixed together and inseparable. It's like this feeling that you get after hearing a really old favorite song after a really long time. It's like lazing all day . It's like walking aimlessly on an empty street on a warm , late morning . It's like smelling old books. It's like walking in the rains . It's like sitting in the rains . It's like a lonely song on the ipod playlist and winamp playlist which plays when you are awake and asleep for five days and nights. It's like the single text message on your cell phone. It's like that folder in your email . It's like a starry night when you recognize those two constellations. It's like sleep. It's like standing on the edge. It's like love. Losing love . And it's like looking for it all over. And finding it. Within yourself !
I had thought it was really a one way and that we wouldn't go any further. I thought I had seen the signs . The signboards . But I quickly understood that those were not meant for us. Maybe it was your slight smile and the hidden sadness in your eyes or maybe it was the somewhat cool breeze on an almost sultry night . But I understood . And though I have always liked a faint light in pitch dark, did you know how I hated it when the lights turned red .. And I had to leave .
"Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. "
- George Eliot in Middlemarch .
I need to thank Sangeetha for pointing it out to me.
I know it is still not a complete answer for all my questions which led me to close this blog. But it did give me the inspiration to keep going !
They seemed to speak a lot . But they talked less. The game was not about words. One would wonder if it was about winning. Though all games were eventually about winning! It was unsure when the game would begin. He had lit a strawberry scented candle. The light was less.
"Hey, I like your earrings", he said . She smiled . Resplendent. That was how she was. If anything.
Perhaps the game had begun. It was in making the right moves . Strong, focussed, mindful moves. No one would know how far the game would last. They played. Sometimes they played to overpower the other. Some other times they let the other lead . There were fierce exchanges. A lot of them violent. But they had to play along. It was violence of an interesting nature. Things were given and taken. Every action reciprocated. Every sign understood . And acknowledged. There was a voluntary darkness sometimes . Though they never lost sight of the game. A few times they played together. Against the game. There were prolonged periods of silence. When they even felt the other breathe. And deep breaths broke the silence. There were smiles, giggles and exclamations. Like all games, there was excitement. And indulgence. There was wait and expectation. There was a sense of not being able to distinguish between thought and action. One dissolved into the other. Exactly the way the strawberry scent got mixed up with her perfume. And his. The anxiety peaked when they knew the game was going to end. And they held on . The game did not dissapoint them ! The fine climax to the game came as a fulfillment for having played it . They tried not to think about who won !The candle had burnt completely. There was no light. The scent remained, however.
"Do you really like my earrings? ", she now asked .
She knew that she was very close to the solution. Very close. Two loops had to be closed , five outputs had to be driven and a few extra wires had to be removed. And that would be it . The elegant solution would stand right there, in all its glory! But suddenly, she remembered 'Dil chahta hai' and some other black and white movie, the name of which she couldn't recall . She tried to get back to the solution but there was her friend calling on the phone. But the call supposedly ended before she could answer it. She somehow knew it was her friend who had tried to call without even looking at the phone. Now she had started seeing green and blue together. She knew that colors would distract her. But she couldn't help. The colors were so bright that she felt blind once they were gone. Deep inside, she knew she had to solve the problem. Oh now there was this irresistible perfume. It was tea ! And she remembered how it was so long since she took a nice tea. Tea was nostalgia! Too many beautiful memories were tied to tea . Suddenly she realized that she was just imagining the perfume of tea while it was actually that of orange juice. And she had not seen blue or green. It was orange that she saw. She started getting worried. She realized she did not have a phone! So how could her friend call her .. And the solution. She tried hard to focus. But it appeared as though she had forgotten the problem . She knew no way to get back to where she was. How would she find what the problem was .. Oh and the black and white movie was Shrek !
It was just too hard to resist. The feeling that she got everytime he was around was almost ecstatic. It was so because she didn't know what she felt. Everyone she knew told her that it was perfect . That is how it had to be.
She knew she had to think about it . She knew she would fall a prey again to the addiction of this seeming ecstasy. But at times. knowing is not everything. And so she just silenced herself to keep enjoying the feeling. Strangely, she did not dream . And even when she did, they were not together in those dreams. But she just felt that she should keep it going. As far as she could. As long as he would.
She planned, however, for them. Him and her. And she figured that made him happy. So she continued. Though she was always unsure of the expressions. She thought she knew. That she knew pretty well. It was interesting that she was both unsure and confident at the same time. Being unsure of things was almost inherent for her . She was never ever sure. Of anything. More so, of him.
He wanted perfection. That's what made him attractive. But perfection was a word from another world for her. He knew it for long . And she knew that he knew.
And she also knew when he started pretending that he didn't know. When he suddenly wanted to not-know all that he knew.
She felt ominous as she sat down waiting for him. Waiting for him to get up. For some reason, she had been up for long.
In a while, they were conversing . She could see him . Clearly.
And she had noticed it again ! And she sensed there wasn't much point not talking about it .
She asked him "What are you looking at ?"
He answered, "Nothing. Just outside the window "
"Why ? ", she probed .
He had to answer, not- looking outside the window, "Oh... for better things".
Then she knew, she had to look outside their window .
I am not what you think I am. I am not even what I think I am. I never was anything that anyone ever thought . Between the deafening noises that pierce through these walls that I fail to clearly know as invisible or non-existent, I am still hoping and hopefully searching for that simple monotone. Strangely I feel blind. It's a feeling and not experience and it is real. You don't see it. Do you ? The last of my senses painfully end and I fear at the thought of still having to look for you. I am groping, hanging on, waiting, failing but still wanting to see you. I know sight doesn't have any meaning when my senses are gone, but I don't know what else to call it. Would I lose my fear too then? I think not. What is thought without senses? The boundaries elude me and make me wretched and lost before I realize how virtual they are . They fondly bind me in their magic painted in words. I long to return to where I was only to realize I have come too far. So far that I don't recognize the older time any more. Freedom scares me . And what am I without an anchor. What am I without You !
They had waited for a while for the rain to stop. But when it only got darker, they thought they should move on. Divya held his hand . The expressions on their face were unclear. Anand : Do you still think you love me ? Divya : Yes . Anand : I always thought love is something that liberates. If you lose freedom by being in love, it is not worth it ! Divya : I always think of love as happiness. As long as I am happy being in love, I don't really care if I am free . It all seemed overwhelming. And also painful . Rain and night. Uncertainty and passion. Hope and loss . Divya : Wish you the very best ! Take care.. Will you ? Anand : Yeah. I will miss you .. Divya : :)
When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide, Doth God exact day-labour, light denied? I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts, who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best, his state Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o'er land and ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait.
How sure can someone be of oneself ? Isn't it scary to even think about a possibility that all that we know today could be wrong ? And a possibility that such a realization might even happen in our lifetimes .
Twice, three times, four times and finally for the fifth time she told herself that it did not matter . That things were all okay !
She was almost exhausted. She felt that she did not have the strength to move even a step ahead. Winning was a tough task. But winning without having to regret about it later was tougher. She thought rather indefinitely about her state.
Was she wrong in having decided to take the lonely, dark path home ? Would she be happier had she seen the star-studded party photos adorning her luxurious apartment ? It would have looked perfect , a part of her said . What would be more fulfilling than love which also would promise security for a lifetime ! And a memory of that would indeed be a source of joy forever..
But quickly the chain of thought ended.
She had to look ahead. Suddenly she remembered a question that she had asked him. Did he know what he wanted in life ? Knowing the very random person that she was he had told without much thought "Not really.... And it doesn't matter much! "
She couldn't but smile . It was unclear whether it was a happy smile, though. As it seemed, she found her asking herself if she knew what she wanted out of all victories. Out of the struggles to be someone different and irreplaceable . Not too long before she started thinking deeper, she could hear his voice in her head . As though just to remind her of his existence ..