There are days when I feel a loss of equanimity. My composure dithers and vagrant thoughts of somber hue intrude my mind like invaders trespassing into a foreign land. Days when I itch to claw my enemies, scoop their flesh out bit by bit with my bony fingers scalloped with sharp, pointed nails or suck their blood out in primordial pleasure spluttering, splodging, spitting “REVENGE” on a whitewashed wall dripping crimson on virgin landscapes.

It was in one of these moods that I slashed my wrist one evening – a delightfully grisly craft-work of sleek knife-slits. I ogled at the blood oozing out in a steady stream coursing serenely down my arm before drizzling on the shining, white, marbled floor, vaguely reminding me of a snow-white casement on which I had once embroidered a macabre poem of satin summer flowers of similar shade.  The fluid licked my skin like fire, came to a dead end at the elbows and suddenly decided to flow down at first in droplets and then with the force of  a fully opened tap just like rain water pouring down the slopes of a mansard. The striking difference being the noiselessness with which the wayward, scarlet spring paved its flow as opposed to the percussion of the rains on the roof top clamouring to mate with the crusty ground below.

A film of mist rose deluging my retinal view with a velvety darkness. I waded through an endless tunnel where time stopped ticking. Stretching my arms I felt a row of jagged inclines, which surprisingly melted, like beakers of liquid paraffin poured during a hot wax bath, as my flailing fingers came in contact with, most probably, the rocky interiors of the cavernous pathway. Thank God! My sense of direction was absolutely sharp and accurate even in that enmeshed blackness. I could feel every bend, turn, gully and narrow passes careening through the entwined maze. If only it were not so dark, thought I, the uneasiness suddenly strengthening into a conviction that day was somewhere hidden in the lap of night, if only I could grip the opaque sheet and tear it apart, I would be able to embrace light. Yes, a hole gleamed at a distance which regressed as I swam across to it. “Faster! Faster!” Crooned somebody into my ears and my steps followed the song like a dazed spirit under a hypnotic spell. The lilt preceding me like a guiding star!!!

The song dispersed into babble. The babble rose and fell like waves of commotion as I approached. The commotion degenerated into noise insulting my ears. I wanted to run away from the frenzy. I now scrambled through the thick forest of thorny brambles and bushes where sun was a mirage. My legs felt stony. My heart palpitated as the adrenalin rushed through every pour of my body. The profuse perspiration was a witness to my exhaustion. Helter skelter staggered my legs. “Faster! Faster!” Said he. Somebody was singing my name. I hurdled forward as fast as  the stumps of my legs could carry me till I lost my balance and fell headlong into the clearing washed with such blinding brightness that I feared my eye balls would get scorched. I shut my lids tight. Night was such a temptress! Day disturbed my cocoon of comfort.

The din subsided to a lower octave. Somebody kept on whispering my name in a sing-song rhyme, “Bella! Bella! Bella!” I reluctantly parted my lids. The moon had come down on earth. It was so close. Just above my head smirking with utter contempt. I felt naked. Embarrassed I shifted my gaze. A pair of glazed eyes, the dew drops hanging on the lashes, stared at me deeply lined with concern or worry? A forehead fringed with grey feathers and striking features ravaged by tell-tale lines of inner wars. Just next to it gradually came to focus a rugged contour with a pair of grim eyes and lips tightly stretched in a thin line. Or was it a line, perhaps a curl heavily laced with sarcasm, no, no, that was a snarl of the beast lurking beyond the sheath of clinical care? I could not delve more because the mirthless countenance walled his innermost self. His pristine, almost puritan, white coat dazzled under the glaring moon.

But I knew better. How deep the purity of thoughts trickled down the labyrinthine alleys of mind. Two figures stood side by side but solitary in pain and repose. Bosom friends! Two men in my life – one who patiently endured the vagaries of a crazed mind and the other who meticulously kneaded the venom of distrust and doubt, measure by measure, into the already fermented dough of lunacy, with such adeptness that delusion became the bedmate of reality and both hugged each other so tightly that one was lost unto the other. He thrived on his devilry. He said he loved me. He wanted to protect me from this cruel world. What he did in actuality was to shove me further and further into the bottomless pit of hurt and humiliation with his crafty insinuations of my husband’s disloyalty and stormy extra marital flings. When I hurled accusations at my “better” half in enraged protest the poor man looked aghast while the Satan cloaked his villainy in such innocent helplessness that it was proven beyond doubt that the scandals of my husband going astray were just concoctions of my convoluted imagination. Madness was such a glib excuse! I knew he reveled in my marital rifts whereas his friend elevated anguish to an indescribable height of profundity by his unassuming large heartedness and unfaltering endeavour to defeat my congenital melancholia with his dogged but quiet patience and perseverance. Squashed between the devil’s son and the angel’s devotee, my equilibrium tilted precariously. In frustration, I did what best I could egg myself to do – a failed attempt at extinguishing the already flickering candle of my life.

There was a flurry of activity around but I was not concerned. The Satan hovered in the background, in and out of my focus. A volley of instructions was carried out by his assistants even before these were issued. A man used to instant obedience. I wondered why he never took a closer look at the wreckage – a handiwork of his insistent and insidious prodding. Why did he, in the first place, not court my hand when he loved me so much? Why did he let his friend sweep me off my feet in front of his very nose? Most probably he knew from the very beginning that I was a hopeless case. Married to me, he would have been saddled with a life long burden like Atlas. But at the same time what vicious pleasure he must be wallowing in as he progressively worked towards deteriorating my marriage to a sham! Odd, how the so-called best and apparently most normal human mind “mal functioned”!

But the worried eyes never left my side and now heaved a sigh of relief. “All’s well that ends well”, I could hear him muttering, the incurable optimist that he was. He was just about to leave the room when I caught hold of the corner of his stained shirt sleeve and gave it a weak tug with my involuntarily shaking hands. The stains seemed familiar – blackish brown smudges of an aftermath. I could even smell its foul odour. No! A stern voice inside admonished me to concentrate. Worry had given way to surprise as he turned back. His amazingly strong fingers gripped mine in an immediate, supportive clutch, letting a rush of warmth surge through my veins and arteries. My lips quivered into his lowered ears and a soft, wavering note came floating from the faraway wilderness, “S-o-r-r-y!” The eyes now peered at me with something glistening in their depths. A pale smile touched his wan lips as they brushed against my cheek. And then he was gone. A little too brusque an exit! Sometimes, serendipity was unnerving too especially for a man who had wedded angst for life.

My face felt wet. I closed my eyes. A cold draught blew in from an unknown direction. A lonely leaf was drifting in space in search of a welcome branch. The leaf had traveled light years and felt excessively tired. One day I am sure it will find its lost hearth. One day faith will engulf its digressing heart. One day it will learn to trust with an unquestioning mind. One day it will, with its puny strength, overpower the ghoulish blizzard which distracted it from its mission. Till then it will battle on……….

A petite figure in a white uniform and starched cap came forward with a wad of tissue papers. She bent down and wiped my face with a caring hand and said, “No more tears!”  I sighed. Her words kept on ringing in the nebulous sky. Yes, no more tears. Tears were such a waste. “Fear not and march on”, said a frail, fetal voice inside me trying desperately to stand tall and undaunted against the devouring tide of dementia. A bugle sounded a clarion call. The long awaited dual had begun.

Advertisements

45 responses »

  1. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Sorry, my typos.

    Thanks ! Yes empathy seems the right word. And relativity of truth or individual perception still get reinforced.

  2. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji, thanks for the link. Very inspiring indeed! I mean the write. So, it is all about perception, is it? That definitely makes me think. If we do believe in the fact that to each according to his/her perception, most of the frictions will automatically get erased from the face of this world !

    Like once my doctor said ” While the solution to all our problems is a simple one dangling right in front of our nose, we keep on looking for it elsewhere making things all the more complicated that they really are.”

    • Geetaji,
      Empathy is the word. In ancient Tamil history, there was a king by name Paari – he was so full of empathy that when he saw a tender vine plant wanting a support, he left his chariot as the support! (Mullaikku Ther koduthaan paari – they say) – When we become more empathetical we mentally put ourselves in the other person’s shoes – and this perception, cannot come otherwise.

      Thanks for seeing my link.

  3. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Indrani, thanks a lot! Sorry, I missed your comment. Thanks once again.

  4. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji, though I searched very hard but could not locate the blog on Sulekha. Perhaps a link would help!

  5. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Thank you Smitha! Only a co-writer can understand the state of mind of another. Thanks for the empathy!

  6. Smita Luthra says:

    What an absolute literary treat! It must have been very hard and emotionally exhausting to write about a pain felt so intensely. As a reader, I am still reeling from the impact… and wondering how you must have felt writing it.
    Beautiful. 🙂

  7. gc1963 says:

    Yes Shail! When it is too dark, light and shine is not far behind!

  8. Dear Geeta,

    Getting into the mind of a person wanting to attempt suicide (real or imagined) is not easy. You have to sit through the entire despair, pain, frustration, hurt, etc. And you have portrayed it all very well.
    Thankfully, you came out with a ray of hope. I am happy for that.

  9. Indrani Talukdar says:

    An anatomy of thanatos, very well told. Good work!

  10. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Thank you for the visit and the kind comments Mathur Sahab!

  11. Geeta Ji,

    Namaskar.

    I am extremely sorry for the late visit because of being away from internet for around 9-10 days during my Rajasthan visit.

    You have been gifted by God to pen such philosophical stuff in fictional works and your vocabulary extends beyond my admiring limits.

    In fact, now I prepare myself to enter a mystical world before starting to read any of your posts. None can understand the other without entering into his / her shoes. That’s called empathy, a rare trait (I presume I possess it by the grace of the Almighty). Hence one should not be judgmental towards anyone or any of his / her deeds until and unless it is against some human-being(s) or the humanity in general.

    The optimistic approach revealed at the end of the story is the real thing. Only our optimism keeps us alive, biologically and spiritually.

    Thanks and compliments.

    Jitendra

  12. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    I agree with Shernaz. Often when I see an unkempt being roadside deriding the world at large somehow a stray thought does creep into my mind – perhaps he is more sane than us; whose truth shall prevail ? His or the so-called sane society’s. Truth is so relative!

  13. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Tanujadi,

    These are the blessings that I pick up on my way. Thank you very much.

  14. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji, I’d definitely look up the blog! Thanks for being so patient. 🙂

  15. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Chalojai, Now you scared me with your ” U know,sometimes I get the same sort of feelings,and this story just echoed with those,which made me uneasy!”

    Well, if these kind of thoughts are occurring in your mind, you should shoo them away as fast as possible.

    I am glad that you chose to give an honest opinion that you did not like the story but I would have been gladder if you had embraced the optimism with which the story ends. Thanks for the peep.

  16. Tanuja Chatterjee says:

    I love your style and powerful vocabulary. You are gifted Geetashree! Enjoyed as much as you enjoyed writing it.

  17. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji,

    Thanks !

    But apart from the will to live and the desire to usher in an untimely end, it is also the viciousness of mind which can take to extreme manifestations bordering on insanity.

    We may look normal in appearance and social behaviour but if we do not know where to exert the brakes abnormality of thoughts is also form of insanity.

    What is your opinion about the same?

    • Geetaji,
      Well, “viciousness of mind” – wow!.
      But definition of sanity and insanity is again, relative to the parameters used. What is sane to one, may be insane to another, and vice versa. By any modern society’s standards, insanity can be best termed as the inability to convince THE SOCIETY of the sanity of that person. Seen in that context, yes, a normal looking person may harbour such thoughts (what you call abnormality of thoughts – but again, Geetaji, who defines abnormality? – the relativity of all these things, the variability of these parameters, are something one has to take into account while defining abnormality) that are inconsistent with society’s – which is why, in almost all criminal cases, the MOTIVE is examined thoroughly – what is the motive? For example, in a story, a dog was asked by the master to guard his child while he was away – when he came back, he saw the dog with blood on his jaws – immediately, the master concluded that the MOTIVE was to kill the child, and took his sword, and killed the dog – only after he goes inside, he discovers, a dead predator by the side of the sleeping baby – then the MOTIVE of the dog becomes clear to the master, and he cries that he has unjustly killed his dog** – therefore, since the thoughts are one’s own (scriptures say that even God doesn’t normally venture into the thoughts of a human being unless invited – to give him/her true freedom – which explains suicides in a different light altogether) it is the Motive that is important, in my opinion.

      You have briefly touched upon “braking of thoughts” – in every form and type of meditation, including Zen Meditation, the cessation of thoughts is the ultimate goal!

      ** – I have written about the paradigm shift – the change in perspective – in one of my very old blogs, some years back, titled, May Day! May Day! in Sulekha blogs.

      • Shernaz says:

        You have said it very well, Om. Who defines and delineates these parameters? From an ‘insane’ person’s perspective the whole sane society would appear mad. To speak more generally, we are too quick to judge and label the slightest aberration from accepted norms as abnormal. It is an inherent fear that will not even let us consider something or someone that falls slightly out of line. I have read somewhere, that everyone, at some point in his life harbours thoughts of suicide. For some it probably becomes their life’s mission.

        As to those labeled ‘crazy’ there might be no end. When we do not know our own ‘sane’ minds fully, how can one understand another’s ‘disturbed’ mind? And there is something else I have noticed. We try to understand such people after they have committed suicide, when they are beyond all help. And God help those who survive the attempt! More often than not, they are looked upon with contempt or pity. We certainly need to learn more, from a changing perspective as you have said.

      • Thank you, Shernaz. you couldn’t have been more right!
        I really liked this bit : When we do not know our own ‘sane’ minds fully, how can one understand another’s ‘disturbed’ mind?

  18. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Sure, Sonal , any time! 🙂

  19. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Sunita,

    You are and will always remain the exalting end of all my hesitant beginnings. Please do not underestimate yourself. Your words mean a lot to me and will always remain my backbone.

  20. Chalojai says:

    OMG! Didi,I was almost scared! U know,sometimes I get the same sort of feelings,and this story just echoed with those,which made me uneasy. Wonderful narrative,and true reflection of the appropriate emotion. I can’t say that I liked it,but I have to appreciate the linkage of thoughts.Keep penning. Regards, Chalojai

  21. Sunita Rajiv says:

    ” you don’t have to die to write about death, but you have to die in your imagination”, my prof. at Brabourne used to say. After reading the story . more than the painfully microscopic detalls, what sent shivers down my spine was- you went through all this in your imagination! Its almost tasting cynide.
    Words follow your magical spell as leaves follow the autumn winds, the breath of fresh air is ,the end.

    you are magnanimous Geeta, a writer of your repute and calibre, who is always showered with generous praises, chooses to care for my simple thoughts.
    I am obliged!

  22. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Thanks, thanks, thanks for your effusive comment. Overwhelmed.

    May the day come soon. Aapke muh mein ghee shakkar Dunno what that should be in English………..home-made-milk-churned-butter and jaggery in your mouth ??????? 🙂

  23. Sonal Shree says:

    Powerful, powerful, powerful…More than the suicidal frame of mind and attempt in the write up, I enjoyed the power of vocabulary and flow in the writing. Keep writing. Looking forward to a book from you.

  24. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji,

    Though the suicidal mind is the domineering theme of this story, I have also touched (though lightly) upon the subject of sanity – the established norm prescribed by society or is it just a “reality” that we humans choose to believe in ? I don’t know whether it is just a figment of my unrealistic imagination or we can have a never ending debate on this topic too…………

    • Geetaji,

      Sartre says, “Consciousness is a being, the nature of which is to be conscious of the nothingness of its being.” –

      The will to live, and the urge to die, basically, stem from the same consciousness of movement – for some, the movement is upwards towards light, and for some, the movement is downwards towards darkness – in this, the society’s definitions of sanity or insanity bring to focus this consciousness in terms of the will to live – since even law doesn’t recognize the urge to die by suicide – as suicide is illegal – But illegality or legality apart, once the act is committed, society, per se, loses its power to judge! since the person is no longer living!

      But if we are able to see the whole aspect of life and death, (including suicide) from a broader perspective of spirit, then understanding dawns, on what Sartre says.

  25. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji,

    Seriously, no more tears! 🙂

  26. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Opposites attract!:)

    You have taught me many things not only about writing but also about looking at life itself.

  27. vimala ramu says:

    Dear Geeta, with your intense style of narration and my utterly flippant style of writing, I don’t know how we have taken to each other!

  28. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Beyniaz, you always steal my heart with your unadulterated appreciation. Thanks once again. 🙂

  29. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Shernaz, thank you very much for your lavish praise. I am honoured.

  30. beyniaz says:

    Wow Geetashree, you dragged us to the depths of hopelessness and then brought us back with your narration.

  31. Shernaz says:

    You do have a very fertile imagination and a style to match. Looking forward to read your next story, Geeta.

  32. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Post Script : Omji, I am sorry if I have disturbed you with my gory subject. I did try to end the story optimistically though, if you happen to notice.

  33. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji, I realize an explanation is necessary for, as you say “the dismal mood ” of the story. I was having a discussion with my senior colleague one day on Dale Carnegie’s books when he told me that the master motivator had committed suicide. While my colleague went on to castigate suicide as an act of cowardice, I was more intrigued with the mental frame which propels a person to commit such a heinous crime. I tried to put myself in his/her shoes and started thinking the thoughts which according to my imagination must be infesting the mind of the victim before the deadly act.

    A few pages of my diary plus my fertile imagination which gave rise to this story…………………….next time sure the mood is going to change as I am as temperamental as the weather.

    • Geetaji,

      I have a few friends who have a good knowledge about the afterlife, and believe me, the soul of a person who commits suicide (for whatever reason) undergoes one of the most traumatic transitions that lasts a few hundred years, and it is nothing compared to anything in this world (if one believes in reincarnation,etc)

      But as I said before, you have portrayed it so real, that IS scary (not the ghost scary) in a very eerie way! – You have such fine writing skills.

      The story ends in an optimistic note, no doubt, and that IS some solace! and as the nurse says in the end, “No more tears” – I hope the writer in you keeps the promise! 🙂

  34. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Miraji, thanks for liking the story

  35. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    With your encouragement, definitely…..:)

  36. Such a grim portrayal of the suicide attemptee….Very very real, and eerie too!

    Geetaji, I hope you dispel the darkness in your next blog!

  37. Mira Pawar says:

    Lovely read Geetashree! I was almost lost….

  38. nadi says:

    write on Geetashree

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s