Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Intermittent Life of Pratti

The growing up years of Pratti was different from rest of the girls. She had developed a hobby of collecting the corpses of her earlier lives. She even made a transparent glass cupboard to keep them in. She had thrown away her dolls and spent the entire day tending the corpses. She would give them meals, brush their teeth, comb their hair and dress them up. Gradually her corpses grew up with her to become just a beautiful as her.

Pratti lost many of her friends in these growing up years. They abandoned her because they were jealous of the attention she paid to her corpses. So, her corpses were the only friend that Pratti was left with. In the evenings, she would run out of her house with her corpses following her through. They would arrive to a field nearby beside the brook where they would play different games. At the end of the evening, they would go for a swim in the brook. Pratti did it for fun, but her corpses needed the swim to get rid of the stench that the day had left back with them.

Pratti found her love in one of these dusks. The man was a metallic luster of the sun that had surely shone on him all day long. His feet were weary and he walked slowly as if dragging his body above the earth. Fighting against gravity. “He is the martyr of slowness”, Pratti thought “and he belongs to a world of a single pace. Of monotony. A world devoid of accidents and anomalies. And yet with an absolute absence of boredom: because boredom belongs to the world of speed. Boredom is the fastest spreading infection in the minds of serenity.”

“Take me to your kingdom of slowness”, Pratti wanted to say to the man but was too shy for the words. After all, she was only an adolescent girl who hadn’t encountered too many lovers in her life. Also, she felt she was not enough matured, beautiful and slow for the man.

For your sake, readers, let me assure you that Pratti was as beautiful as any of the heroines of a fairy tale are. When she walked down the road with her colorful corpses following her through, she seemed like a princess passing with her playmates. As for her maturity, she had the integration of all her earlier lives. She hadn’t got much experience of slowness as yet in this life of hers but was renowned for her slowness in her earlier lives. She could breathe in the rhythms of slowness, dance to it, make love in it.

The man looked at Pratti eagerly, hoping, perhaps, that Pratti would say something. When she didn’t he came towards her slowly, took her hand and walked away. All her corpses kept standing in a daze – they too, had fallen in love with him.

The next few days were even better than Pratti had imagined they could be. She had never known that souls can be exchanged in the union of two bodies. But that’s exactly what she found to be to be the most calming effect. The man had infused his slowness into her. She felt herself transforming into a courtesan of slowness. A world devoid of accidents and anomalies.

Gradually, as days passed she found out that she was not the only one the man made love to. The man slept variously with all her corpses. And even though she loved all her own corpses like her own sisters, this somehow infuriated her. One day she broke into a room smelling of fresh green chilies and found the man making love to one of her corpses, both of them screaming and tumbling on pepper dusts that was spread all over the floor. She went and picked his pepper covered body and slapped him on his face.

“You don’t love me”, she said.

But as she slapped him a few particles of the pepper flew and landed right inside her eyes. She couldn’t open her eyes. And they began to burn. The man picked her in his arms and led her to the fountain. There he washed her eyes with his hands.

“You’re different.” He said.

“From whom? From all my different corpses?” she shouted

“No. There’s something inside you that really interests me.”

“What is it?”

“Your life.”

“Why don’t you accept it, then?”

“Can you give it to me if I ask?”

“It’s all yours.”

And so he picked her up in his arms once again and led her to another room. It was the room of daggers. He pressed her body onto the wall where the daggers were, and made love to her. She groaned in pain and ecstacy as she found herself transforming to a corpse amongst her many orgasms. And slowly, as she found herself dying in his arms she realized that someone must come to claim her corpse as well. Someone from her future lives. Because it was a cycle of unending.

“You cannot keep me and my corpses forever”, she told him “Someone would come to claim us.”

“Someone already has, who is your subsequent life.”

She kept looking at him with an eyeful of unanswered questions. And waited until she died.

He picked her corpse in his arms and walked with all the corpses trailing behind; corpses that had belonged till now to Pratti’s earlier lives but now in the same cycle were his.

He walked towards the kingdom of slowness.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The World

I realized I was going blind for the first time when I started seeing things in the dark.... Things that couldn't have existed..... Like a figurine of love, a dead eagle on my window-sill and myself in the mirror. It was a matter of time until I lost my sight.

When light came back on earth I went searching for a blind man. I found a woman, instead.

"Teach me blindness", I told her. And thus, in a grey, cloudy afternoon our lessons began.

"Blindness is nothing but an alternative to the world you live in", she told me. "You believe your eyesight is the best gift you have..... But you see, you never know what infinite options you have. Your eyesight is a limitation to your pursuit of these options."

"What do you mean?"

"Eyes attach properties to objects. Blindness removes them. There are no particularities in blindness. As a blind person, you can see anything in as many ways as you wish. Tell me about your experience when you felt for the first time that you were going blind."

I told her about the figurine of love, the dead eagle and myself in the mirror.

"Do you remember seeing them before your attacks of blindness? See, that's what blindness gives you: Freedom of sight."

When I returned home that night her words kept returning back. I remembered the number of times she used the word "see" in her words. It sounded pretty awkward in the words of a blind woman. But I couldn't understand her purpose of using the word: Was it a mockery or enlightenment? I couldn't understand the meanings of the things I saw in the attacks of my blindness….. Or if they had any meaning at all. Only my complete blindness could help me find answers to those questions.

The next few days, I kept waiting eagerly for blindness.

But the woman came back to me before blindness did. I told her that I was confused.

"Well, all of us are, sometimes", she said taking my hand in hers.

I found she was looking into my eyes, constantly, without her eyes blinking even for a second. It took me some time to realize that she was blind. But aren't blind people meant to see better than people gifted with eyesight? Wasn’t she seeing into me much more clearly than any normal person would do?

"Are you in love with me?" I decided to ask her.

She left my hand as I asked her the question. And moved a little farther away from me.

"What makes you think so?" she asked, a little concerned.

"You were looking into my eyes in such a strange way."

Even though she was standing turning her back towards me, I could see her leaving a deep breath.

"Maybe, you should stop imagining things." She said, as she tried to leave in a hurry.

"Why are you going away?"

"Because...." She shouted; then, fell silent. At last, in a much calmer tone she said, "because it's fearful how you...." She fell silent, once again.

I waited for her to finish. But she never did.

"....Is it how I see into you? Is that what you were trying to say?" I asked.

"Not me, but everyone..... everything." She continued, "Let me tell you a secret – We can see ourselves in mirrors. You don't exactly need to go blind for that. It's true that blindness assures freedom. It's true that blindness is much, much more powerful than eyesight. Blindness in never dark, as the popular belief goes, but is capable of colors unimaginable by a common man. Only blindness gives you access to spaces intangible..... But you see it's very, very difficult to come in terms with the fact that you are blind."

"But I don't think it would be difficult for me to come to terms with the fact when I do go blind. You've already taught me so much." I said, hoping that I was able to understand what she tried to say.

"No. It's you who taught me all these."

Unable to understand I kept looking into her eyes, vaguely.

"The doctors did indeed, find you blind from the very day that you were born", she completed.

And she reminded me what the world always would, that I cannot go blind ever again.