Saturday, 19 September 2015

episode 103 let there be fairy light

khushi ulajh gayi.

khushi is entangled. in feelings and sensations that glitter like fairy lights and beckon her. but she's not supposed to feel like that, so how can she go to them... and let them glow on her skin, touch her heart, free her fantasy? how could she not listen to what everyone was telling her to do? so much is happening at home, yet why is she spending all her time thinking of that laad governor. there he is giving her milk ever so tenderly, the look in his eyes is making her heart thump. and there she is, running across the cold hospital corridor and flinging herself into the warmth of his arms, the reassurance of his solid chest, and he is there. 

he's there by her side as she weeps for her father, helpless, and his hand comes up and rests on her head... what is this, a promise, an assurance, a commitment forever? why does it make her feel better? calm her down? and why is his hand brushing against her back so delicate, so gentle, that she feels a shiver, his breath so warm and near that her breath is all in a tumble, a mess, racing? his eyes so intent on her, never moving away, why can't she look away? why does she want this moment to never end? but this moment can never end. for here is hamesha. isn't it?

devi maiyya, what's happening to me?

khushi was never meant to feel anything of this nature for a man like asr. or so said her upbringing, and her own head by the time she was old enough to thing of such things. if anything, she was meant to be attracted to a man who exhibited traits shyam did on the surface. an educated, pleasant man, with a great knowledge of the shastras, the cultural texts, polite, respectful of elders, modest, the sort that blends easily with people, environments, and doesn't dominate it, kind and concerned, certainly not so attractive both sensually and emotionally that you can't stop thinking about him.

marriage in india was never really about the one man one woman and helpless absolute love idea. there was always the reference of krishna with his lovely radha, but he was divine, even radharani for many is the incarnation of lakshmi come to unite with her eternal mate, vishnu. 

for us mere mortals the plan was somewhat mundane. it was well thought out and tried its best to eliminate risk. very much a social construct. it was about matching two people similar in background and outlook, able to stay the long haul together, the families as much a part of this coming together as the couple. if anything, this crazy, heady thing called love was looked at askance. so exciting, so absorbing, so dhakdhak giving, how could it possibly be good for you?

even today, exactly like khushi, people ask, so your's was a love marriage? even today it seems like the "other" way to find a life mate, the "arranged", still a norm across many parts of society. the difference now though is that certainly "love" marriage has an edge of aspiration to it.

which is the only reason perhaps khushi had even considered a thing called "pyaar". but in this also she had incorporated the image of the kind of person she would feel this elusive but precious feeling for. and that man was nothing like this arrogant, young devil of a rich guy with the most lethal temper, the deepest eyes, the gorgeous smile, who when he came near or showed her concern, made her heart just melt. her breath began to rush.

but for some time now, it is becoming impossible not to notice feelings inside her. that telltale tear the other day was a clear sign of how deep the feeling had gone. and now after his intoxicating nearness as he peeled off the layers of light, her head just refused to move away from his thoughts.
we live in layers perhaps. not always aware of each one. but the layers are always on, doing what they have to. 

so at one level we are doing what we believe is what must be done, as is khushi. still aiding and abetting la in her quest to make her relationship with asr permanent. khushi is not pretending this whole thing, she is genuinely interested in the two finding happiness together.

yet, unknown to her, her instincts, her inner her is reaching out for eternity in its own way.

and her layer that is pure material, physical, is so immersed in the sensation of the man, it just can't stop and go inert and sedate again. that dhakdhak is its call.

i could feel those fingers on her back, her tremble within, she was electrified, and not by that simple alternating current running through the wires. was she entangled? or was she really wrapped in twinkling lights that sparkle in and around you when there's love and desire and their expectant upbeat air? why take off the lights? let them be. perhaps that's exactly what dm was doing, by not giving her easy, straight forward answers. stay a little entangled, khushi.

because asr is in not so different a place.

he has stood here by the pool thinking of her before. deep in the night, all by himself. once he stood with her payal in his hand... lost, khushi had returned on the day he thought she was gone forever.. hamesha. he stood thinking here of her, on a windy evening, holding the curtain away, its billow perhaps reminding him of her dupatta. it was the evening he'd brought lavanya home to be his live in girlfriend yet in his hour of solitude, his thoughts strayed to khushi.

again those layers it seems, the ones in which we live. our conscious self doing its own thing, our subconscious its own. we try to hear the voice of our most rational layer, but is it always possible? is it even right? he never meant to cheat on lavanya. in his wildest also he hadn't imagined there would be this compelling, convulsive attraction for this lucknow chat, samosa, jalebi, naan with bahut saara makkhan girl. 

he had no idea that her tears would disturb the heck out of him, or to see her smile would mean everything.

of course, to preserve his image in his own eyes, his sardonic, smart cool layer would pretend it's all nonsense. he'd walk up to her perhaps because he just had to, but then would say in a mean little boy voice "itna uchhal kyun rahi ho..." why are you jumping so much? and cut into the girl's extreme joy (so much jumping, i couldn't even catch a cap). and then threaten her with familiar salary cut in the fear that his utterly telltale tender loving act would give him away to all, most importantly himself. he'd walk away of course after breaking up the party, but not without looking back when no one is watching. and let her obvious glee bring happiness and a sense of satisfaction to his heart.

she was under so much pressure, he had to do something to give her a sense of fun and lightness, her kind of happiness so she felt less hurt, lost, sad. so the tycoon sat with a packet of miss chamko detergent powder and slipped in two silver coins (uff too generous again and almost got caught for it) into the packet then sealed it carefully. oh, he also told the servant not to tell anyone. that was so faraq nahin padta, dear shatir asr.

and speaking of shatir, what happened to the fabled dimaag, when he saw the girl in tight unfashionable churidar with pompom and gota, entangled in gleaming fairy lights? he was entranced, his eyes never left her face, as she stood there glowing, enchanting. he forgot he had to switch off the electricity...mind not functioning of course.

another layer had taken over. he had to close the gap between them, had to look at her and let every bit of his desire and wonder show, had to hold her hand with authority and start taking the wires down slowly, turning her with gentleness, his hand so tender yet so right on her shoulder.

she never thought to protest, he never thought to ask.

his arm on her shoulder he turned her around, in my mind a rite from the bengali wedding ceremony, when a man stands behind his wife and puts his arm around her as together they pour beaten rice into fire. always a stirring visual, no matter how ordinary looking the couple.

something terribly sensuous about this man holding this woman from the back, his breath on her shoulder, she just sensing his body his breath his presence, he but moments away from burying his face in the crook of her neck, feeling her silken hair on his face and just inhaling her essence. perhaps all of that happened somewhere unseen and the excitement of that permeated this scene.

she could feel it, he could feel it. no one thought it was crazy to leave the lights on, too much was happening to even think of such things. "tum theek ho?" he had to ask her when the last wire was off. and again, are you sure?

neither was ok, how could they be. when anjali finally arrived and switched off the lights it was as though a spell broke. a fairy tale tried hard to return to reality.

but seemed to fail.

it lingered in his "khushi ulajh gayi," in her instant tremulous look, and his absolute inability to look away from her as she left. di noticed how he kept staring. good thing she didn't see the look in his eyes. nothing would protect him then, she'd know his "saansey ruk gayi" girl is here. the one he can't stop thinking about, whose visage his eyes seek morning and night, whose every suffering he wants to take away instantly. and the next day when she tells them that's how you know you love someone, would he make the connection? would khushi?

but at some layer of his he already knows. that's why he stands there willingly lost in her thought, enjoying her touch, her feel, her very loveliness. enchanting fairy tale girl wrapped in fairy light, he wants to linger with her a while. just a feeling. not right. not wrong. no rational meaning, nor name. he gently reaches out and holds a light, such a lover like romantic gesture. arnav singh raizada ko kissi ladki se koi faraq nahin padta.

in my darkest night
when the moon was covered
and i roamed through wreckage
and a nimbus-clouded voice directed me:
"live in the layers,
not on the litter."
though i lack the art
to decipher it
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
i am not done with my changes.

these lines from stanley kunitz's "the layers" playing in my mind, especially when i see the expressions on their faces. something about living in layers, of transforming, and changes. when you meet the one you love and who loves you, the changes are entrancing, like those blinking twinkling magical lights.


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