Love, confabulated (2).
[Sagar finding love, as written by Fathima]
What do I like the most, the dusk or the dawn? Both are eerily similar. It is hard to distinguish the dusk from dawn. Especially after a long afternoon nap, fraught with dreams uncalled for. When you wake up from the nap, you are left suspended at a place from where you cannot make out the difference. But still, it was always the dusk that I loved. What followed the dawn was the scorching heat of the day. The sun, ever challenging the inertia of limpid eyelids, will pry open the cocoon grown around you. But moon the clement follows the dusk. Its benign presence only serves to enhance the cool dampness that dusk showers upon you. In dusk, you look forward to the soothing moonlight of hope and happiness. In dawn, you fear the scorching sun that will soon descent upon you. For me, the choice is clear.
Occasionally, I come across a literary character to whom I could easily fall in love with. But I know that it wouldn’t last. And it doesn’t. After all, how can a character linger long enough in my life? Not much. The idea was soothing though, even when love isn’t exactly my forte. Whenever I let the guards down, bad things happen. Just like a desert people who are afraid of the draught, I am afraid too. The fantastic similes likening love to rain is lost upon me. For me, it is the eternal draught that terrified my being. It is a visceral pain, an uncertainty that destroyed whatever little peace that I have in my life. It is the root cause of all my sufferings. It reminded me of the perils of an adulthood unattended. An adulthood that is thrust upon me against my wishes. An adulthood that constantly reminded me of the bliss that was childhood. A childhood where I was loved and cared for, a childhood that I lost. In those nadirs of my emotional being, I cursed love. It was the merry go around that took me from the raised platform of a fantastic childhood. I bid adieu to my juvenile fancies, hoping to get back after a round climbing ridges and troughs. Deep inside, I was convinced that the balloons and mom’s hugs are waiting me if I were to go back after these tribulations. But the roller coaster never made its way back home. I have been forever toiling – lost in an adulthood that has failed to cool me down. I hate love for it was the devilish mojo of this amour that lured me away. I never made it back.
But for Sagar, all his affairs were a tribute to his childhood. Irrespective of who he was with, he always reclaimed a piece of his childhood. It wasn’t immediately obvious. During adolescence, even he looked at love as a ticket to something that he was already missing. As he slowly chased the spoors of women he was attracted to, he was shedding the last bits of his childhood. But his affairs were short lived, and he was disappointed at how they all failed to penetrate his soul. None of them could see what his eyes were trying to tell. His actions appeared enigmatic to them. They never understood, when he looked at their eyes and pleaded without uttering a single word. It was not because these women were stupid. Quite to the opposite, in fact. They all were exceptional women with a level of intelligence only a few could match. Later, he did dismantle this bar to the women he allowed around him. But when he started, it was all great women. And even they failed to understand him. When I got to know Sagar, I see that he isn’t that complicated at all. Perhaps it is just the years that wore him down. I have grown to see how he combats his innate narcissism. How he tries to assign value to people around him. How to not throw them into buckets where he either love them or hate them. Worse, there is a bucket for disappointment too. What happens to those whom he loves, but ends up falling in the bucket of disappointment? It terrifies him too. I see his struggles to not judge people at all. But he is human after all, he fails. He ends up as a disappointment. To me, and to himself. There are moments when I absolutely hate his guts. It makes me think, of how he could hide here for so long, this monster who can never be loved by any one at all? How could he manage to dupe the whole world with his innocent charm, when he is as vile as a human can get?
Then I am reminded of the little oasis in the farthest corners of my heart that I have reserved for him. I am not writing this because I have planned this. But as words form in my mind and travel to my fingers, slowly appearing as I stare at them, I see this. There is a special place in my heart that I have reserved for him. This vile creature, who destroyed all my safeguards, who disarmed me with a simple smile – is slowly making my innards melt. Even when I don’t want it to happen.
The truth is that I hate Sagar. I hate every bit of him. Especially his lips whose taste I have grown to love. Every time his lips rests on mine, I am eager. I am eager to open my mouth and let them inside. As I do it, I curse my teeth for being such a spoil sport. As we kiss, I wish my mouth was devoid of any teeth. I fantasise about an old age, where I can still make love to him. An old age, devoid of all the baggage of youth, where we could make love to each other unfettered. A place where I can bite him with sore gums and still feel the taste of his lips. A place where I can keep his lips inside me forever. When his lips enter my mouth, I grab his head so that even if he tries to get out, I wouldn’t let him. I make a firm resolve to smother him, if ever he thought of leaving my mouth. I touch his lips with every corner of my tongue. It was with him, that I realised that my tongue can sense touch too. It is easier to touch than to taste, I could hear my tongue murmur, as she goes on with her ways. When I do this, there is a sudden urge to bite off his lips and swallow them right away. When I imagine myself doing it, I further love the taste of his upper lip – a lip I can peel away without shedding a single drop of blood. I have no visions of blood, when I gulp them down and I could feel his lips slowly travelling down my oesophagus. Down there, it might grow into another Sagar that I can feed with the rawest form of my love. I get a tingle on my nipples when I think about it. Is that how I am going to feed him? It that how I am going to find a release from this torment of futilely trying to extinguish the fire that is raging in my loins?
Even when I am writing this, my lips tingle and by breasts are buoyant about a coveted life that’s at my reach. The world looks at me and see a being who has lost everything sexual about her. They see a child, a struggling adult who is yet to discover the forbidden fruits of love making. But I am brimming with a flurry of hormones that has made me all pumped up. At this moment, I can hardly recognise the difference between love and sex. Perhaps, I fall in the long line of condemned souls who cannot see the difference. Or it may be that there is no difference at all. I don’t know and I don’t care.
I don’t love Sagar at all. For that matter, I love no one. No man has earned that place. Or should they? I don’t expect someone to do that for me. Of course, there are times when I wish for someone who understands me. Someone who could “love” me for who I am. But then, I realise the duplicity. I will never be able to love anyone likewise. How can I expect someone to do that to me? Do I love Sagar for who he is? I don’t. What about him? He doesn’t either. Perhaps, things will change later. But as I am writing this, I cannot see the light of love shining bright on us. And that is no tragedy.
Sagar hasn’t read a single classic in the last two years before he met Ananya. He was young. As young as it can get for serious affairs of the heart. She was young too. They were both confused about everything that befell upon them. But when in love, they were happy to be there. They believed that they will be together forever. Not even once did they suspect that it was the naivety of youth that made them think so. Sagar would have never imagined someone like her to be a part of his life. Even when he looks back today, none of it makes sense. Even then, he ended up spending four long years in love with Ananya. The impulses of life have forced them to move on. Yet, Sagar nurtures a sweet, soft spot for her deep inside his soul. Some days, he wakes up in love with Ananya, even when he went to bed bereft of anything that resembles love. Sometimes in late afternoons, when the rain lashes the roof of his apartment, he hears the sweet sound of love knocking his door. In his writings, Ananya slips in, even when doesn’t want it. Slowly, he accepted the reality of love. You fall in love only once. You may think that you have climbed out, but you don’t. You don’t simply fall out of love. That was the case with Ananya. That was the case with Tara. And that was the case whenever love found its way across the sandy deserts that surrounded the metropolis of Sagar’s heart.
I was tempted to refute Sagar when he asserted that he never found the love’s light with Ananya or Tara. I wanted to tell him that he was lying, even when he thought he was telling me the truth. Deep inside, he was very much in love with them. The prospects of going back to them didn’t excite him much, but he was in love. His love is a serene sea of moonlight that spread around him. Everyone is welcome to swim in it and taste its warmth. But none could stay. I know that it had nothing to do with the women he was in love with. It is about another presence that he shone the light of love over him. Just for once in his life, he was able to taste love! He found her at a specific juncture when he was away from the world. He thought he was in love with Ananya when he met this lover of his. He hasn’t written about her anywhere. At times, Sagar doubted his own sanity whenever she appeared in front of him. She was the only delight known to him, when it came to the corners of love that graced the remote extremities of his heart. No matter how much he wrote, never could he conjure up enough words to describe her.
She was a vanity bereft of any quotidian fantasies. She billowed up around him, intumescing into am otherworldly presence that he couldn’t fully comprehend. When I asked about her origin, Sagar could only point to his days when he was rummaging through the hills of Parvati Valley, in search of something that he never lost. Somewhere in the dark shores of his soul, he was able to discover her. She was always there, waiting to be touched. She wasn’t some sort of subliminal existence that was cursed to stay there. She was in fact very much blessed. She was forever waiting for an opening to emerge into this world. Sagar was all but a medium for her. And when she was finally free, Sagar was just like anybody else to her.
I started out writing about Sagar finding the light of love. But this story has become the story of the light herself. A fleeting presence that has changed the direction of many a story across the world. Her story made the esse of classics. It is the mind of masters lost to the world but somehow trudged their way back home. The gift mistresses who conjured up soulful lanterns in the darkest allies of the human soul. The grit birds who chirped their way through the skies where they went extinct once.
Her story is that of humanity itself, a story of people who forgot to dream. And consequently, lost the ability to love. I am trying to write it down.
[To be continued..]