25 October 2011

On blindness, blindfolding and eye-transparency

Conversations don’t end when people take leave of one another.  We are made of conversation remnant, other people’s thoughts interacting with conversations heard, information culled from people, event and the encyclopedias we have perused with senses.  Words have legs, thoughts have wings. 
Last Friday, I made an observation: ‘if someone’s eyes are not transparent, I will never trust him’.  There was a referent, a real person.  It was just a mentioning of a rule-of-thumb I’ve picked up along the way through lives and living, being used and abused, just like any other detection-device that people develop through experience.
My friend, who was present, wrote a beautiful commentary based on that single assertion, titled ‘Blindfolding the charms of transparent eyes’. It was a reflection on eyes and transparency, those who knew, especially those belonging to women.  It had occurred to him that he hadn’t really looked into their eyes and examined them for transparency. He submitted that he had instead chosen to blindfold himself with love and other sentiments.  When the blindfold was removed little was left, he wrote.
He maintained that some eyes prevented him from seeing hearts, some delusional (‘most’, he added).
He made me re-think eyes. 
I wondered, given the number of times that I have trusted eyes and believed them to mirror heart, whether there’s any truth about the transparency or otherwise of eyes in the matter of revelation. I wondered if it was the flaws of seeing rather than the seen that made for misreading. 
Took me to a short story written by Liyanage Amarakeerthi almost twenty years ago.  If I remember right, a woman asks a man if he is deceiving her (‘maava ravattanavada?  Or was it ‘maava ravattannada hadadde’, are you trying to deceive me?).  The man responds ‘mata one oyaava ravattanna nemie, oyath ekka revatenna!’ (I don’t want to deceive you; I want to be deceived with you).   
Love-blindness explains a lot and maybe whoever came up with the dictum ‘love is blind’ might have been on to something regarding eyes and transparency. 
My friend seems to have seen something important: ‘yes, I know some eyes are non-transparent, but I love them’. 
People change, eyes change and transparency can be compromised. There are always degrees, in the transparent and the opaque when it comes to people we love and people who love us.  It holds for other too.  I was not talking of love when I came up with that line.  ‘Shifty eyes’ is a term that has connotations.  Back in the eighties there entered the Sinhala lexicon a term called ‘Rubber Ehe’ or the rubber-eye, meaning a false eye.  Someone who ‘puts’ the rubber-ehe is one who looks through you, refuses to acknowledge or deliberately snubs.  Lovers do these things, either because they’ve stopped seeing or are not interested in seeing or, in some cases, to feign un-seeing.  Sometimes people hurt just to test love. 
I am no eye-expert but I think for all their deceiving potential, eyes reveal even when they are ‘opaqued’. Or else, I like to think so, for I have over the years learned to be more wary than average when I encounter non-transparent eyes. 
But here’s something my articulate and perceptive friend, Rasika Jayakody can reflect on and perhaps write an equally beautiful comment about:
‘Is the finality with which doors are closed designed to test the blindness of blind love?’
It is something I wrote about 7 years ago.  It was love-wrought and about an ‘de-transparenting’ of eyes.  In the un-blinding that followed, though, I found things to be more transparent than I believed them to be.  Those eyes that inspired the question were, all things considered, more honest than most eyes I’ve encountered.  Maybe it was because she un-blindfolded herself. 

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