10 August 2014

A kiss awaits you on page 223

People have up-days and down-days.  There are good times and bad times. Right places and wrong times, wrong times to be at the right place.  The world is made of mismatches, one might argue.  Anomalies.  Chasms that prohibit bridging, bridges that help your go from nowhere to nowhere. Saviours who are forced to wear devil-dress and of course the satanic that comes decked as messiah.  Liberators who deny freedom and tyrannies that build the solid foundation from which movements seeking freedoms of greater magnitude can be launched. 

The truth doesn’t come like sunlight or monsoon-ending rain. It does not in the manner of bee and butterfly flit from flower to flower engendering life and dream.  It is made also of scream and abandonment, choice-absence and wrong-pick, the safe-bet that tripped and the random shot in the dark that found its mark. 

There are times I really don’t know what is what, times when I wish that things retained their original names. And functions, I should add.  It is not that I don’t like ‘time’ to be defined in terms of the last sighting of the beloved, the distance to the last shared moment of bliss etc.  Metaphoring I’ve found has its down side.  When we think that road is journey and journey road, we sometimes end up thoroughly immobilized.  When we talk we stop seeing gap between letters and refuse to acknowledge the virtues of healthy conviviality between words, between sentences and among human beings.  

Cacophony drowns our hearts.  So we rely on the poorer logic of mind.  We cut and paste. Compare and contrast. Weigh and weigh.  We cost-benefit.   There are days of exhilaration of course, I do not doubt.  There are down-days too; days made of ‘impossible’ screaming ‘give in, give in’ or whispering with a sneer, ‘give up, give up!’ 

On such days we turn to what we believe are the wise words of wise people, we clasp hands in prayer. We put our baggage down, close our eyes to meditate (and find, when we open them, that someone has stolen all our suitcases.  We should laugh out loud at such times and proclaim to the world in soft conviction the good news of liberation, but we lament instead. Most times. 

I was not up or down, sideways or flat on my face.  Didn’t know where I was so the question of being in the right or wrong place did not arise.  Neither did the issue of right and wrong time come up because time had stopped. Just like that.  Was not looking at any of the many version of the truth-map given free with any purchase over 300 rupees in a used book store.  There were so many lies begging for embrace that I turned them all into a massive pile of dried leaves, jumped straight in and swam from end to end in the liquidity of colour and texture.  I came up colourless. 

I was not looking for anything in particular but I think something was looking for me.  So I opened a book. And the answer to the riddle of the universe kissed me on my forehead with all the love of a mother for a child and a lover for a lover at parting: 223.

Don’t stop what you are doing. Be.  A book will open before your eyes.  Trust me.  ‘Book’ as in a container of information and knowledge, insight and lie, buried in whose elusive dimensions is a kiss that delights and calms, ignites and humbles, embraces and leaves and leaves and leaves in an endless unending that brings you back to the irreducible semi-tones of your humanity.  Trust me.

Here’s the name of the kiss that floored me with a caress and lifted me with love: The Optimist.  No one knows where and when that kiss was born, but the love was witnessed and duly recorded on December 6, 1958 in Baku by Nazim Hikmet thus:

As a kid he didn’t pluck the wings off flies
tie tin cans to cats’ tails
lock beetles in matchboxes
or stomp anthills;
he grew up
and all those things were done to him.
I sat at his deathbed;
he said to read him a poem
about the sun and the sea
nuclear reactors and satellites
the greatness of humanity.

[This is from ‘Poems of Nazim Hikmet’ translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, Persia Books. Page 223.]

Open the book. It is there right in front of you.  It might be made of pages, have illustrations and diagrams. It might be an email from a stranger. The blemish on the surface of the table you left your glasses on, the particularities of the curl of pencil-shred that rolled out of sharpener, the loudness of the loudmouth next door, the word you wanted to hear but no one said. It doesn’t matter.  It is waiting to be opened.  To page 223. 

I was silenced.  That’s what kisses do to you by the way (among other things of course). 



Anonymous said...

Guess its about finding oneself.Interesting.