When was the last time I sat down to write something for myself? Months ago, probably. Writing is my job and in the past few days, I have typed scores of imaginable, unimaginable words on my laptop and in desktops across the many workplaces I work. This kind of a whore-like career seems so unfathomable to people. The risks that come with it are again, hard to imagine or speculate. But, when has been anything easy to imagine?
Doing things for one’s own happiness is more important than what most people think. That is how you deal with the world. Yes, it can give you soul-crashing, gut-wrenching pain too, if you are not careful. But, it can also be one of the most liberating, exhilarating experiences. I am testimony to the same.
I am merely reminded of a certain story I heard.
Ever been to the mountains? No, I am a beach person. But this story is of the mountains. Of a first-timer to the mountains.
Those far-fetched lands, the mountains, and a lone girl. A figment of imagination. Longing for a figure in the distance, but also holding on to her own past, finding it hard to let go. You see, that figure she saw was not alone. He was with another. And, it had never been the girl’s intention to forcibly make a dent somewhere and sneak in between. She wanted the figure to create space for her.
A man’s heart is a wretched thing. It is not like a mother’s womb; it will never stretch itself to make room for you. Well, the man who wrote this was right and the lonesome girl had experienced it thoroughly, alright. Yet, what happened amidst those mountains, those eyes wandering towards her and the words that would be uttered solely for her could not be shaken off. She was hesitant to feel this way. The last time it happened, she had to pay a heavy price for it. Or rather, she made herself suffer because she needed the lesson permanently ingrained in her. If only people would teach a woman to look after herself instead of a stranger she is forced to marry!!
He wasn’t the same! But, wait! Isn’t that what everybody thinks? He is not the same. He is different. Yada yada….!!! It never ends well. A heart completely squashed doesn’t need another false sense of hope to make her loneliness go away. Yet, she loved the silences. She had begun to love them, again. She would let her mind wander. And let her thoughts dissect. Often when he’d be around, she’d wish the silences to just come and make everything stand still. You know your heart is risking itself whenever you find yourself loving the silences. Why should there be any need of words when both of them would ultimately suppress all that they really wanted to do?
Battered, betrayed hearts connect in such radical ways! Judgments, labels, morality, commitments, you name it and you have judges sitting in everywhere ready to mark you! Like those professors judging your ridiculous presentations! He hated them, she hated them. He wandered off thinking “let them all go to hell.” She would cut everyone off and stay in her hidden chamber, thinking of everything he’d say about her reluctance to be judged. Sure, desires did exist and her fantasies knew no bounds. He had come to live there now and his words replaced almost everything she had imagined someone else would say. She had a place in her heart for just one! He? Who knew?
The lonesome girl found her solace in Krishna. If there’s any mythological character the girl had come to love, it was that flirty blue-bodied fella who’d harass women, taking away their clothes! Yet he was the one who came in when Draupadi had none to protect her. Or when Rukmini had confessed how crazy she was about him! Or when all those queens were abducted by Narkasur and the flute guy married all of them. Krishna was an enigma and equally misunderstood. Parents would consider Ram to be way more virtuous since he had just one wife! Really?? You should judge people by their actions, no? God forbid if my husband banishes me!! The rebellious lonesome girl could see the hypocrisy and decided, “Nah! Krishna is better! Way better! Maybe, Vishnu came in again so he could do something better for the womenfolk!” Crazy thoughts! Did I tell you crazy was her middle name?
Krishna was everybody’s, yet he was nobody’s. She wondered if those scores of playboys would come to be classified as someone like him. Playboy, really? There were other derogatory terms for women who did the same stuff! Was he one among them? Maybe. Or, maybe he detested it. Or liked it. Or had a love-hate relationship with it. He is nobody’s, right? Not even hers. And yet, he was beyond what she thought him to be.
In those moments when he’d let himself loose around her, she’d see the vulnerability she works so hard to hide in her own self. She’d see a person thoroughly misunderstood, judged and lonely. She loved to listen to him share. She knew men don’t open up. And she also understood just how acutely important it is to open up! You see, she was struggling with it too. And she had found someone who was also struggling to deal with the labels the world had put on him, without his consent.
You see that connection there? Yeah, bodies and sex do not give you that! Intimacy lies in opening up. Even if for a moment. The solace it provides is unlike any you’d experience. The lonesome girl knew it.
And that is why she’d let him talk.
Even when it meant finding it hard to hold herself back.