Conversations…

by sunil on January 18, 2009

Old one, when the words and the interpretations of the experiences were more linear.

Close your eyes, and think of this..

How many conversations you had in your life you still remember?
Hmm…Hardly a few, and this one, a few summers back, on a silent night, was on a tiled terrace. I remember this almost verbatim, because I laid myself open to a girl who dared to understand me, probably because she wanted to understand herself. We were, like anyone of that age, two lone-rangers, on our own, searching for answers, in the big big world that was opened to us; may be that is what brought us together.

‘Why’? I whispered , placing her lovely tresses behind her ear. She had just told me she hadn’t yet made her peace with God.
She continued, as though floating in her own words ‘Hmm, I guess I’m not prepared, as if there’s something wrong somewhere and I feel responsible. I’ve even tried to overcome that why even get around, but you know its just there’.

‘Would you know when you have had your peace’? She stared intently into my eyes, ‘How do you mean’?
That’s the first shot of defence, of anyone, any given day. ‘Would you be happy’? I paused, taking time to study her expressions ‘or perhaps sad’? I added almost suggesting the latter. She was too clever for a denial.

I went on ‘Are you afraid? That all these intense excursions may lead to a destiny, so trivial, where you feel you rather not be. Do you fear drifting into ordinary, being a wife, into a family, and blaming yourself for everything you wanted to do but couldn’t’??
I stopped there, ours was a relationship built on the interest of understanding, not what people call trust or sharing; we both knew that couldn’t exist.
‘You know, this is what I hate about you, you make me feel like I am trivial, a non-entity, doing this to me.. reading my mind like a newspaper; when I look into your eyes it’s as if you have figured out everything, from A to Z, and every time you speak, I hear a Dean Moriarty [1] inside me saying yes.. yes.. yes, this is it. Why?  There’s a party going on over there and I’m here with you, I love listening to you? I love you and why’?

There was what is often referred to as a pregnant silence. It was our graduation party and she’s not the type who demands attention by confessing love, that too never so banally. I noticed the so much emotions in the talk which is so unlike both of us.
‘Hmm, what’s with all these emotion ? Where does it take us’? I tried to consolidate.
‘You tell me you stoic bastard, why are we here speaking nonsense, and not like others over there- eating, drinking, smiling, getting our photos taken, and blah, blah blah…’ she was hitting me on my forearm.
‘Hey stop, I’m no stoic, it hurts’ I said pointing to my forearm. She smiled, I smiled too.‘ Now tell me’? she quipped point blank.
‘Hmmmm, I began tentatively..Well, let me tell you just this, I’m not the one who has everything figured out, just that I haven’t got a self or may be I have and I want to lose it. Even if I succeed its just another moment like any other; its just a choice not an end by itself.Why do you want to listen to all these, most of this is unrealistic anyway’?
‘Oh! Dear Sir, let me be the judge of that, how do you mean by no self? Is that what makes you, so detached from everyone and everything around? To me that’s rather shallow, we are invariably in a premise to be held accountable, if not for others at least for ourselves’.

‘True……. but there’s more beyond that, to be held accountable even to oneself is a choice and have you wondered who chooses that, it’s you, your ego, your sense of self, that you are unique from others. Picture this…every second, every minute, every hour of our lives we are our best, there’s no second best, the way we smile, eat, converse, make love, at any given moment we are already our best, because there is no other way we want to smile, eat, converse or make love at that moment. Probably we may learn our’s is not the best smile but we’ll realise that is our best smile.We are here because we wanted to be here. Every drop of blood, every cell, every proton, every will in us wanted to be here than anywhere else in the universe. It’s a choice, which otherwise means we have an ego, small, big doesn’t matter. We have one and you just cant escape that.I became aware. Now, which is why I don’t resist, I don’t whine, I just adapt, I flow. And I know I cant be battered or bruised, I can’t be changed, neither do people nor circumstances affect me, I just know of a choice and am waiting for the next one.. call it choice, ego, shit, god, blah whatever. It doesn’t mean a penny. That’s what I meant by no self’.

She had moved close to me, listening obediently devouring every word.‘Interesting, you mean its not the same as self surrender spoken of in religions is it? I see many parallels. Has someone or somewhere said this before’?

‘It would be a mistake if you start thinking about this as a big deal. It’s just a choice in want of a better choice. As I said there’s no question of surrender involved, that’s a joke nobody wants to laugh at, I think Nietzsche [2] came close, in his aphorisms he said there’s no sacrifice anywhere, you give up something here to have something there …to that effect. So if your Mother says that she sacrificed a lot to bring you up, it means she had something more in bringing you up than doing something else somewhere else at that moment. Which, plainly put it is ego, a sense of self and not sacrifice, in other words it means there are no room for emotions in this world’.

‘No’ ?

‘No. Not in the sense we know emotions’.
‘Then how do you explain the entire world? Then are all the feelings a delusion, a fanciful reaction?? Nobody says don’t value your emotions’?
Right, we believe in our emotions with religious conviction because we are governed by our choices, we as a species are defined by what we feel that’s what gives us identity as humans.It’s hard for anyone to look beyond emotion, that’s the human limit, well, almost. Nietzsche didn’t realise that or may be he did it too well; he had moved so far he wanted to laugh about all these. If you put some of his and some of Kierkegaard [3] together you have most answers, for most of the time, but not all. Hindus probably formed an extreme, Islam was a reformation movement and Buddha realised too much that he was forced to lie. Romans invented lifestyle while Christians invented propaganda’.

She was thinking furiously, the silver moonlight flowed through her tresses, painting her lovely face in shades of grey and white. She looked elegant, like an impressionist painting. Sublime.

Now add to that a tinge of anger,
‘That can’t be true, if you don’t have a self, then what makes me like you and what makes you like me, there has to be something in there which wants to like and be liked. There has to be some value in this moment’?

 
‘Of course, but this moment is not an excuse, it’s not an end, it’s only a means to an end, or may be there’s no end. So are you and I, choices, it’s only at this moment that you discover a part of my choice and me your’s. And the liking is inherent in the choice too. We do not like something beyond ourselves, beyond our very own choices; we like something we always wanted to like about ourselves’.

She looked at me and slowly pulled her eyes away; I saw them vacant and askew. May be that was too much for her. I wanted to stop. But she surprised me.
‘You mean there is something for you and me here than in that party and they have something important there than elsewhere’? That relieved me; I knew she was not lost and grappled unable to fathom. If she did she didn’t pretend; she was not of such types, probably which is why I was stupidly telling her all these.
Right, try to see it as just a choice, not with the weight of value system’.
‘But that’s hardly possible isn’t it’?
It’s hard yes. Not impossible. I thought and believed that for a long time too, lot of it depends on the way we are brought up, but with a bit of will, that can be changed. Like most of us I believed in an absolute end point, then one night on a treetop in a forest, while I was reading Bergson [4]’s concept of élan vital, it came to me in all force, the absolute contradiction of the absolute, I sat there gazing at the woods and the mountains, I saw all the faces, thoughts, feelings and patterns and me sauntering through all. And the choice’.
‘Was it something mystical, a sort of volcano, ineffable’?
‘Bollocks, nothing like that, it was no special than this very moment, but it had some rare power there was no more fear onwards, or I don’t know if it was fear. But anyway, I was not stupid enough to deny, project, or rationalise it into an experience of a superhuman or of a spiritual nature. Imagine, you tie yourself by choice to a thread and rotate around in time, space and matter and by consciousness come in contact with many other adjacent choices. Some you hate, some you like, some you admire, some you desire, and when you have worn out the choice you had made, you then choose from your accumulated desires and cognition – the next locus to tie yourself and so on so forth, you give, you take…. its dynamic . And in one frame, in that moment I saw all the choices, in the form of tiny modules, made, unmade, dying growing, fulfilled, influencing’. First I was skeptical, but I figured, if I wanted to understand it, I should try it, to go through it, slowly it dawned and affirmed, for the first time there were no exceptions.

‘Well, you see, I wont be able to know about that. Probably not as you described, may be it’s my choice, may be it’s the same or may be we want it not to be the same. Geeeez! I’m sounding like you, you know, this is what makes me dig you; you seem to be very convincing in explaining. How is that? This is what I wanted all my life, to be someone like you’.

I said, ‘ Well, frankly, that applies to me as well. You are all I seek, you see, you are like a Clarice Starling [5], you need plight. That’s your fuel. That explains your fear, your need to for approval. There could be a silence but it’s only momentary. I am like a Jack Crawford [6], plight has no value to me, I’m just driving straight into an opportunity, which means nothing to me, but we need each other. Has it occurred to you, though being so intimate, privy for all our, thoughts, secrets we haven’t spoken of marriage? In all chances we might not find a better partner to spend the rest of our lives, yet we are not worried about that; we don’t give a damn, we are ourselves, in other words we have no insight about future life. Give me a reason or an explanation’?

‘How I wish I was married to you and had kids and went out for dinner together, but come to reflect on it, that’s not appealing, me and you are not like that. Gosh its hard to even picture that, I don’t want us to go dull, quarrelling over who should pay the bills or pick up the kids from school etc. Imagine me and you rationalizing the whole process as love, are we really that desperate?’  Thoughtfully she giggled, like she does. I couldn’t have agreed more.

The night was slightly chilly but soft. Side by side, we lay on our backs, gazing at the lights from million and millions years away, and the moon was divine. She pointed out to me, ‘Look, how even if the moon dominates the night sky, it’s only a second-hand light, a borrowed beauty… while the real light are distant, barely making their presence felt’.
‘Life’s like this it’s never fair, I said. ‘In fact its not fair to expect it to be fair. We care for each other too much, because we want to find out? We don’t want it to end, we don’t want to undervalue anything precious, it’s for our own reasons, you may say it’s not appealing, I may say it’s only a choice. But beyond that, we know we love each other, I guess we know more than that, we know we always love each other, anywhere, anytime, and may be we know that too well to be bothered by marriage. We don’t want to be a moon, we want to know, even if it’s hurt and pain, we want to learn, we want to be stars, distant and far away, but still trying to make light on our own’.
I didn’t notice she had moved closer, may be I was too occupied with what I was saying. Her eyes were sharp and bright, she leaned over me and said,‘ Did Clarice ever make love to Crawford  in the silence of the lambs’? I was taken aback by the sudden change of topic, I replied promptly ‘ err..No why?’.
‘Ah! She forgot’ she quipped back climbing over me and I felt her lips over mine and soon, her tongue.

The End.

References:

[1] Dean Moriarty: protagonist in Jack Kerouac’s novel ‘On the road’.
[2] Frederich Nietzsche: German philosopher.
[3] Kierkegaard:Danish philosopher.
[4] Bergson: French philosopher
[5] Clarice Starling: FBI trainee/protagonist in Thomas Harris’ novel ‘silence of the lambs’.
[6] Jack Crawford: FBI unit chief and Clarice’s boss in the same novel.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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