Sunday, 18 September 2016

episode 122 the khanak of you

part one

 for the first time perhaps, ever since that night at sheeshmahal, he made eye contact with someone and allowed them into his world of maa.

he could never tell anyone what it did to him. he possibly never told himself too much about it. just a searing unscalable pain in his heart, his head, his being, trapped in a nightmare, unuttered in a scream. there it stayed. him its prisoner, in solitary confinement.

even with di, he remained closed about this. classic body language as di spoke of their mother, and his eyes fixed a bit away from all, struggling with agony. he had never thought her kangan, gold bangles she wore all the time, would become a part of the conversation around lavanya and engagement. and now, suddenly, on the back of a simple request by di to check for something in the locker, they were right here, before his eyes. di could talk about it, reminisce, cry at least. all he could do was remember what these meant to him. 



the sound of kangan that felt like lullaby. now lost forever.

"unki khanak mein itna sukoon tha, lagta tha jaise saare din ki thakawat utar gayi ho..." in their clinking there was so much peace (sukoon suggests a sense of the sweetest peace in the heart to me), you felt the day's tiredness melt away. the words came out of his mouth as memory swamped him. and then their attendant hurt pain madness. he was not ready to go into it before anyone.

"agar maa tumhe aaj dekhti toh..." if maa saw you today, di starts to say as she finishes reading the letter written in fun but with astute advice by a mother to her son's future wife, he doesn't let her finish her sentence. "pehchaan bhi nahin paati mujhe..." she wouldn't even recognise me, he completes her sentence. cool, dead voice, a giving up and ending in it. nothing functions within, his life detaches, his pulse goes down, this is a territory he doesn't want to enter. maa.

he leaves the room.

she saw him as he strode out. red rimmed, tear filled eyes. the boy who was banging the pillar near her head just minutes ago, snarling because he couldn't shout at her. not talking to each other, part of their current deal proposed by him. and she'd been banging the mortar and pestle as hard as possible to disturb him while he spoke on the phone to take revenge for his meanness. in an instant everything changed. a man in pain, and a girl shocked to see him thus. 

mirchi and its heat entered the scene again as in previous episodes, there were chillies drying outside that needed to be collected, and no, khushi would not take those kangans of maa meant for her daughter in law from anjali, she'd rather get the chillies in. chillies had taken them to the poolside before. he'd insisted on not listening to her and wolfed down fiery hot daal. and she'd come with something to soothe his burning mouth: cold, calming milk.

but this time chillies would take us to a soothing of the heart. to a reaching out for sukoon. the one he lost. the one he sometimes feels around him. and yet he doesn't know how to stretch out for it. tonight someone seemed to show him the way.

"toh kya woh sach mein taare ban jaate hain..." so do they really become stars. on an evening when he'd gone seeking forgiveness for hurting someone terribly and been tongue tied, not knowing how to say the word, he'd felt the touch of a heart that felt like his. an empathy. no one understands how it feels to cremate both parents and come home, no one understands the nature, the blow of this passing. but she did. for she had been there. and she believed her parents were always there, in those faraway sparkling stars. in another dimension, but always there.

that evening, he had finally found the word he'd looked for desperately. sorry, he'd said. and with that perhaps a door had opened, a letting in of someone into a space kept tightly shut for so long.

tonight, the door seemed to open a bit more.

no rancour... no challenge... no arrogance... no deal... just a simple question to the one who his heart says might have the answer. he seemed to hear his heart after a long time, and listened to it.

curiously, no sexual tension, just a need, a reaching out for assurance. a trust in him, almost childlike... as though certain her answer can make make the difference.

maa ke kangan had its khanak, perhaps khushi's presence, her clear eyed beliefs, her cleanness unmarked by anything worldly, her unsophisticated but pristine sincere words has that sukoon in it.

"baat sach ya jhoot ki nahin hai... baat yakin ki hai." she sensed his need instantly, she felt for him, two people connected by traumatic loss, by tragedy. she had found a way and it was built on faith. we split our world into true and false, black and white, good and bad, but can we ever know the whole truth or the whole false for that matter? how far does sensory perception and validation of "fact" based on the gathering of physical evidence really take us? is that all there is to life? how do you prove stars are not the twinkle of parents looking back at you? how do you prove love?

she tells him the heart of her knowledge... it's not about whether it's true or false, it's about belief, about yakin. later she will say the next word in that family... vishwaas... faith.

"humara dil humse kahta hai ki woh tara humari ma hain, aur uske saath wala, humare babuji... hamesha hume dekhte rahte hain..." my heart tells me that that star is my mother, and the one next to it is my father... they look at me always... hamesha.

another secret of life she gives back to him, one his sister has mentioned before but he wasn't paying heed.

listen to the heart.

this time he doesn't laugh it off or deride the sentiment.

he has a question. he wants so much to believe, and almost like one looking to be led, he looks at her who shows him the path back to life and living. 

"kya woh humey dekhkar khush hain... kya meri maa mujhe dekhkar khush hai?" are they happy to see us? then his real question... is my mother... the slightest hesitation on maa, as though unable to say, unable to share, and then it comes out... is my mother happy to see me?

the only woman he ever felt so loved by, the only one he so loved, can she see him, is she proud of him, is he doing right? he isn't lost, is he? she will recognise him, won't she? he hasn't changed that much, has he?

how many questions did his heart ask? why did i feel his fear? why did i feel his hope. was that just an actor? or was he the voice of all of us who had lost and were looking for our stars? 
and then he turned and looked at her. letting her right in. no one till now had been allowed this access. 

it felt like shubhadrishti, a quaint custom in the bengali wedding, when under a canopy, usually made of a linen towel (quaintness extreme aha) beneath the sky and the stars, the bride and the bridegroom look at each other for the very first time. a custom from the days when you never met the one you'd marry before that moment, and if you were a girl you were so young, you had to be carried on a "piri," a little flat wooden stool.

he looked at her. all his pain visible, guard completely down. she stared back, receiving his feelings, wanting to calm and soothe them and return them all healed and smiling... back to him.

on the quiet, a feeling of mother poured in. of that spread of calm she is, of home, of being whole. sometimes you are just moved that's all.

a tender, music, the sound of twinkling and stars played. in them there seemed to be the khanak of maa's bangles, her kangan so lovingly held in a box sacred with memories.

perhaps khushi couldn't trust herself to linger there anymore, perhaps her heart was telling her to show him things she was too shy to show, she sounded a bit awkward, unsure as she mumbled something, then went back to the chillies... but before she left, she did look back and asked him what usually he asked her... aap theek toh hai na. you're okay, aren't you.

somewhere along the way, without much ado, he had become her concern... always.

perhaps khushi didn't need to read that letter from maa. she already knew what was in it.

"dhyaan rakhiyega aur savdhaan rahiyega... humare chhotey ke naak pe bahut saara gussa rahata hai aur dil me bahut saara pyaar.gussa bardash karna ... aur pyaar, pyaar sood samet lautana."

pay attention and be careful... our chhotey has tonnes of anger on his nose and a tonnes of love in his heart. tolerate the anger... and the love, return that love with interest

i watched barun's reactions as the letter was read and somehow i could almost see his mother there in his delineation through turned away face, still body,  glazing eyes, ever so slightly trembling lips and an endlessness in his gaze.


episode 122 design notes / part 2
on looking at 122 again



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