Friday, March 18, 2011
Why People Fall in Love- A Few Words about Love- To My Children 10
There is some difficulty in defining love. Right from materialists to spiritualists, from occultists to underground practitioners, from poets to painters, from scientists to anarchists, every one has tried to define love. And I don’t think any definition of love so far made by anyone is a satisfactory definition; and the reason for people even today thinking about defining it is the best proof to substantiate my observation. Love is an intensively subjective feeling; it is not only a feeling but also a response to the situation and sensations that caused such a feeling. This feeling changes man into an angel and at times a brute. Don’t you remember the famous scene in Othello, where in their nuptial chamber Othello brutally strangulates Desdemona only to keep his love for her eternal and intact? I have heard one of my friends, looking deeply into the eyes of a cute child and mumbling to himself, “Shall I kill you my child? I love you so much.”
What had triggered in me when I saw your left hand fingers burnt, to flush out all those revulsion that otherwise I would have felt in seeing someone’s burnt body, my child? When you grow up, my daughter, while looking at the faint scar (a minor de-coloration may remain) on the fingers of your left hand you might not even remember the kind of agony that I had in seeing your discolored and swollen skin on that fateful day. When you put your fingers now slowly recovering from the ugly blisters, I don’t avert my eyes. When you, without knowing what you are doing, push your wounded fingers in my mouth, I don’t find my body stiffening out of horror. When you show the rosy fingers with the peeled off skin to my face and expect me to puff air on them and kiss them, I do it with more pleasure than the sense of parental duty, while my heart brimming with a sensation that no other incidents have evoked in me during my life. Why, I ask myself? Was it not for my unconditional love for you, would I have been able to touch your wounds? Taken those fingers to my lips and kissed them? I asked a question several times during these days: would I do the same to a child who is of your age, had she been suffering from a burn injury or any other injury?
I don’t know. But I know that love is one of the most selfish feelings that makes man (and woman too) be so insensitive. For love, the most sensitive and sensual of emotions, man becomes insensitive and selfish. Today, when I look into the eyes of my kids, I see a universe reflected there. I tell myself that I could spend my whole life looking into their eyes and dreaming about my happiness that I feel when I look into their eyes. I could imagine myself getting reflected into their eyes as if our eyes were two mirrors set parallel so that our reflections could be endless and infinite. I would imagine that I need not even meet anyone in the world because my life has founds its supreme joy in the playful deeds of my kids. When they climb over my shoulders, I feel like empowered. I started hating the world outside me where I meet with harsh behavior and rage of strangers who don’t have anything to do with my life. Then I start to think that I should create a world for myself and my children where access should be denied to all the people who harbor negative thoughts in their lives. I imagine myself to be living eternally in this happiness. I tell myself that I am the watchdog of my kids. And I am the best caretaker of my kids. I can see them growing every day an inch in their mind. When my son speaks about Tokyo and Osaka, I wonder from where he got these names. It could be television channels that teach him all these. But I feel the elation of being his father. And the secret pride is infectious and I think of all those parents who take pride in their children’s growth. We, the parents slowly make this world a selfish place, a place not worth living and we say we do everything is done for you, my children.
This reverie at times take me to this question: Had my parents too felt the same for me? Had they too seen reveries, woven dreams and imagined scenes for me? Had they too thought that I should remain with them forever and ever? Had they too thought that I should not grow at all so that, by the end of a dreary and weary day they could come back to home after office hours and lose themselves into our innocent eyes where expectation of meeting them in the evening them had transformed into the greed for the eatables that they bring everyday from the wayside shops. Had they too thought that I would remain eternally theirs and serve them the way they expected me to? Then I review my life and find all negative answers for these questions. First of all, I betrayed my parents by growing up. Then I betrayed them by wandering off to the shores of dreamy places where I could be alone. I betrayed them by forcefully ejecting the innocence in my eyes and replacing it with the perpetual greed. I betrayed them by going against her wills and wishes. And find my solace in the feeling that all sons and daughters do the same to their parents. Our parents also might have done the same to their parents. And it goes on like that as if in the reflections in the two parallel mirrors.
I wake up with a shudder from my reveries. If it has to be so, then one day, these kids are also going to leave me. After a point of time, they would think that I am trespassing into their privacies. My touch and caressing would make them shrink, if it is before their friends. The shoulders that were once the branches of an unshakable tree for them now would look like something that had failed in its mission. Then one day you would realize that they too are doing this to you for the love they start believing in as they grow up. Parental care becomes a sort of facilitating for the kids for future betrayals. And the interesting thing is that this is done on almost a mutual agreement. The parents inherit the betrayal from their parents and pass it on to their progenies and the story of straying away keeps on happening as if the dog in the children’s story book: He has to stray then only he could be brought back to the fold. But when you are a grown up boy or girl, straying becomes a compulsion and the difference between you and the dog in the story is this that the straying dog does not know that he strays but you know very well that you are about to stray and you find a lot of happiness in it.
Love is the aggregate of all these situations. Once, while speaking to a friend I asked this question to him: People say all women are the same. Then why do we, men, chase so many skirts? If everyone is the same, and one knows for sure that only the exterior is different and core is the same, why do we behave madly, why kings abdicate, sane turn insane and brilliant ones commit suicide and level headed men and women spend endless hours in chat rooms and meeting points of online communities? My friend said, “It’s simple a question though you made it sound like someone who is newly converted to French theories speaking to a professor who is a hardcore believer of neo-American theores, while both of them live in India, in some inconspicuous University with no aid from the University Grant Commission. The answer is that each person loves differently.”
That was an eye opener for me. People seek out for different people despite having permanent partners and permanent loves in their lives because they seek different people who could love them differently. So what makes these different people different from the ones whom you know very well? What is that magic that makes the realities vanish and in its place illusions are conjured up? What is that alchemy that suddenly makes the man who out of routine and ordinariness has turned into a piece of led, into gold and shine like one? What is that sight suddenly makes the disbeliever believe? What is that note that makes the mute sing? What is that color that makes a naïve scribbler paint? What is that movement that makes a clumsy ordinary man move his body like a swan? What is that cloud suddenly brings a torrent of rain into the deserted dunes of your mind? What is that eternal high that dips you into the intoxication of no drinks? What is that finger touch that makes you bloom like a forest in spring? What is that fire that burns the deadwood of custom in your mind and brings you out as a shining metal? What is that mountain creak that breaks you open as a little brook? What is that bird that gives you wings to fly? What is that drop that teaches you to hang like a dew drop from the tip of your life?
Different people in this world and they are so many, How many one could love and in that expression does there any kind of love exist between this craving for the different people and the actual need for them? In fact, I believe, it is not just that someone wants a different person or different people in one’s life in order to love and experience love differently, but this perennial craving for a multitude of lovers originates from the man’s innate efforts to be someone else than what he is now. It is the same with the women too. Everyday, you get up in the morning, go to the washroom, look at the mirror there. You see someone whom you remember vaguely; he or she was the one who was with you when you had your last glass of whiskey and the last morsel of food wiped off from the steel plate, as you watched the television programs as if your were in a trance and your fingers moved across the plate making a squeaking sound, irritating the people at the table to their wit’s end. He was with you then, looking at from a distance, scrutinizing your deeds on which you by then did not have any control. You don’t want that person to assess you. You don’t want that person to pass judgment on you because the person who is watching you is none other than you. All these while you have been trying to become someone else who you think has been residing in you from time immemorial.
With bleary eyes you look at that person now looking at you with some sort of contempt hanging at the tips of his lips, from the mirror. How much you hate him because that is you who is watching you now; the you that you don’t want to become anymore. You at that moment wish that the face that looks at back you with an enigmatic smile from the mirror was a specter or a made up face, which you remember last night you had worn when you went out for a party. You wish that with the first splash of water you could wash that face off. You wish it would peel off from your countenance the way you could peel off a baked potato. You imagine that this specter would run away, leaving you alone. But it lingers on. So you pour water on your face and look at the mirror again and to your dismay you realize that the man in the mirror, instead of fading away, has become clearer and sharper. His contours shine from the light emitted by the white light above the mirror and the contempt at the corner of his mouth becomes more visible. And you hate it. As the last effort to get rid of this man on the mirror, you brush your teeth, shave your stubble, sit in the commode and think about empty spaces, hark to your bowel movements until you hate yourself for being just an eating and defecating machine, open the hot water pipe, then the cold water pipe, while the water pours into the bucket you masturbate, finally you wash yourself and come out drenched in steam, sweat and water. You want to feel fresh and good about yourself as you could flush him out of your system and to confirm that you did, you stealthily throw a last glance at the mirror before you come out of the bathroom. And you see your fresh face there and from behind your shining skin on the face, there, yes, he looks at your again with a smile.
And that must be the reason why people look for different people in their lives. They want to be someone else and as they come to know over a period of time that it is very difficult to become someone else, they need to become that they want to become through aligning themselves with different people. Like some famous actors do, we collect people and we are better than the famous actors because they collect people in order to reassure themselves that they are them only and they remain to be them. But people like us collect people in order to become someone else. That’s why in the lives of famous film actors there is no love, there are only rendezvous. In our lives, there need not be rendezvous but there is a constant search for love.
Now, if you ask me is there any definition for love from my side, I would say, all what I did here was an effort to steer myself away from giving or even attempting any definition to love. One thing is for sure that people love and people get disappointed because they love someone who could be a mirror for them and interestingly the other person also think the same and what do you see is the endless and infinite reflection of people looking at each other in pursuit of something called happiness. They search for the one who is not he/she and in the process they realize the persistence of themselves. And the more they want to get rid of themselves the more they would fall in love or they simply love and in both cases, my dear children, betrayals cannot be far behind.