Thursday, March 4, 2010

Letter from a Professional Confessor

To whom may be concerned, (pun alert!)
This is imaginative, not autobiographical. I just happen to be in love with the 1st person. It's so... satisfactory.
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A while back I looked into the mirror and saw a red streak running straight through each eye. For a while I harboured suspicions of conjunctivitis. Then I realised that it wasn't the season for conjunctivitis. 'I'm going mad' was my next hunch. A drastic conclusion to arrive at, and without any biological basis. But now and then, the world inside and outside our heads suggest certain things to us. And we have visions that seem to come from nowhere. Only we ourselves know that they have a source. Everything has a source.

Take the 'madness' theory. I connect madness to some kind of hysteria. Whether or not things are calm on the surface, there's violence underneath- pumping, pounding, hurtling, hounding. Enough to make the blood shoot upto the eyes. That's where the connection lay.
Inside me, conditions are a lot like that now. And the ridiculous part is, mere thoughts are causing all that fancy violence. Half-formed ideas one minute, too-clear perceptions the next. Personally, I prefer the first.
Vagueness is frustrating, but it can be distorted to suit your needs. It's far more annoying to see everything just the way it is. Because it tends to strip the world of all glamour. It can expose the corny idealism propelling a romantic line. It can force fanciful minds to accept how stupid that beer belly looks below his narrow chest, or how those ear-rings are far too large for her shrunken little face. It can pin your heroes down to dust and stain your dreams with a bilious blotch.

Cynicism is different. Like dull grey, the bleakness of cynicism can have its own understated elegance. Even transparency has a luminous charm. Disillusionment on the other hand is too colourful. Both points of view are nothing compared to a tiresome realisation of just how petty the world can get. How people keep ON lying. Because then you teeter on the brink of asking that nauseating question- 'what's the point of anything?'

I'm suddenly reminded of moments that dominated my head to great effect at one point of time. But they're stupid now, especially when viewed through that bleak, reality-ridden eye.

Like the time when I was little, a friend's pet dog bit me and I was so sure I'd die of rabies. Even though I knew it had been given its shots. I never told a soul for days and throughout those days, I cried myself to sleep, praying that I wouldn't die. In my defense, hydrophobia is horribly frightening. But I don't want to defend myself really, because everything about it was so bloody boka- the secrecy, the uncharacteristic surrender to Divinity. Years later, I was just as silly about another incident. I got physically intimate with this guy, the most I'd ever got. But I didn't have sex. And I still worried about getting pregnant. Isn't that silly? I shuddered at the slightest sign that my jeans were growing tight, and everytime I needed to pee I wondered if the urge came on more often than usual. Such antics at an age when my maturity was already epic among my friends.

Damn my maturity, or what you people call my maturity. I would probably never use that term for myself if you didn't tie it around my neck with a shiny bow. It's the reason you guys came to me for advice, year after year. So that when the whole lot of you walk around me, laughing, nodding, I see my maturity pushing you onwards. I see a little piece of me glowing inside every one of you, keeping you alive like a magic spell. And I see how much I've lost along the way, how those pieces strain towards each other, searching for a unity that that they refuse to find in their generous fragmented existence.

The true tragedy lies in the fact that I've got used to it. I'm losing my powers, my status, I'm not the acclaimed angel or do-gooder of the group anymore. What d'you know, it hurts a little! Turns out I want you to keep coming to me. Running to me. Keep making me feel good. It might drain me of ambition and drive. But it rewards me with a temporary fizz of self-satisfaction. I can hover in mid-air for a few seconds, and pretend I'm flying. I wish my confession of cowardice could dilute the self-loathing, but it doesn't. So is there any chance of redemption?

Maybe. Now that I mention 'hope', my mind has settled on another random incident from the past. There was this time my cat's leg got pulverised, and I scaled a high wall completely shorn of footholds just to get her. I went through the experience of holding a helpless ball of fur in my arms. Knowing her pain was acute enough to make the wounded leg tremble while the rest of her body was frozen stiff. Smelling the stink of rotten flesh and pus. I can't explain to you the horror of these very facts, let alone the mood- magnified by her silence and the sight of bare bone. But to love someone enough not to shrink away from her pain, and then watch her recover through slow degrees... It can restore your faith in the healing power that lies latent in us. Will it survive the test of further trauma still? (Larger Issues, as some would say.) Through the whirls of madness, there's an uncertain but strong voice that answers with a yes.

12 beep/s:

Sugar Magnolia said...

It might drain me of ambition and drive. But it rewards me with a temporary fizz of self-satisfaction.

- OGod. I needed to read this.

PS: Chhipi's neutering went a little haywire. Had to hold her down today, as the vet stuffed this gaping hole in her stomach with gauze. I know exactly what you mean.

Prince of Mirkwood said...

It's actually kinda refreshing to read a post along these lines that neither tends to self-pity nor borders on conceit. It's good.

Trisha said...

nice slow afternoon read :)

Arse Poetica. said...

This "you" in the post seems to be totally neurotic and obsessed types, the worrity sort. I <3 this type :) and this is astutely written.

blinknmiss said...

Yes, haphazard but good haphazard. Along the lines of Joseph Heller in Something Happened, but with more soul and more.. eloquent? Don't know. Are you _sure_ this is purely fictional though?

Anushka said...

@Shalmi- Not PURELY, no :P Besh kichhuta real-life inspiration acche. Basically, I've allowed myself to spin it into something more dramatic.

@Ahona- I am zenuinely gratified.

@Trisha and Noor- Dhonnobad :)

@SM (Thank god the song wasn't called Sugar & Magnolia, that would make the acronym suspect)- Oh god, how is she?!! And you?

reflections said...

nice read....

read Madness and civilization sometime, it's by michael foucault(hope i got the spelling right)..brilliant!

Roshni said...

Damn.
Damn damn damn.
To write something like this,and not wallow in self-pity,or seem like you're ranting.
You're a darun maal.As is this =D
And if blinknmiss hadn't asked the same question before,I'd have.Parts of it seem too real.

Vikrant said...

Don't think I missed the veiled[?] reference.
You will pay dearly for this. You have been warned!

Anushka said...

@Supurna- Thanks. And Foucault is on my read list. Right up there with huxley, Camus, Kafka etc.

@Roshni- Heh. I wonder what people who didn't know me would think. Would it come across as really personal even if you weren't aware of a background?

@Vikrant- Believe me. Believe me. Yours is too cute to be written about in a post like this.

Roshni said...

He's talking about the beer belly,na?How strange.While reading the post,I had sniggered at that part thinking that he Would take it as a veiled reference :D

Anushka said...

Hehehe. What do you think? But it's interesting to know that the line struck you on a first reading.