Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A page in life which does not exist anymore...

From a website which I made for her, which too does not exist anymore...
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This was uncanny, and I have no explanations. Around the time when Geeta had written that poem, I was writing, what I thought would be my first novel. As a 20 year old, I thought I will become an author (the fact that I ended up writing managment books is the kind of compromises one lives by...)

Ashoo's story was to be narrated as a flashback to this beginning (ending?) - but the story never went beyond this point...

...or maybe it did - though I never penned it down...
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    It was in her last days, when gripped by a sense of deja vu, I dug it out from my old papers... it still puzzles me why and how I wrote it...

    This, perhaps, is the longest night of my life. There are moments which do not sum up, do not form the continuity we call the life. All around me I can see the fireflies of flickering moments - disjointed, engaged in a Brownian movement... and the night is so long and unending. Maybe it is an eternity where nothing happens, but everything has happened, or is about to happen. There is no present, but an irrevocable past, or a future that never happens - that’ll never happen... a gnawing sense of emptiness...

    Maybe that’s where she has gone...

    It is a night and I should be dreaming. But I remember throwing away my dreams in the calm and benign waters of Ganges this very evening. Can there be a night without dreams? Can day break without night passing away? Will there ever be a dawn now?... I can still feel the sensation in my palms. The priest had asked me to take handful of ash, as he chanted the mantras, and throw it in the river. It was now, just a cluster of ash, which knew no past, no future. Ash, which has the destiny to flow with the river, making the outline of a sad dusky procession the calm ripple of the waters. There was no way in which I could trace its past... what was that ash? where had it come from? where was it heading to?... There was a total silence. there was no answer.

    And then, as if mechanically, I had bent down and picked up a handful of ash in my hands. Maybe it was hot; but heat has a tactual connotation. What I felt was more than tactual. The touch went deeper than the skin, the nerve fibres, the cerebral cortex. What I was holding in my hands was not ash, but the burning, hurting, splinters of what I had known to be my dreams... once. My handful of crushed dreams. Or whatever had remained of them. They pierced me right through the skin and cut me in that immense depth which I could not measure in my body - yet, which was my own. And on the rhythmic chant of mantras I threw them in the flow of the mute river. And silently watched them being indifferently carried away, away from me.

    The phone call had come in the afternoon. She is dead, someone, who did not know the meaning of his own words, had informed me impersonally. Is death so sudden?... I had wondered... so accurately and conveniently assessable in the course of time? I had seen her dying in bits and pieces, for so long. And a part of her is still within me, fighting for a life, and gradually losing itself to an oblivion. People do not die all of a sudden. They fade away, gradually. Gradually, they start fading out for themselves, and then also for others. Death is a slow consumer, like python. Only python is not everyone’s destiny, but death is. Is the whole process of living, a process of dying, of fading away gradually?

    Or was it my own death - my own process of fading away - that I was fighting against in her death? Was she dying in me - or was I dying in her death? “A part of us dies in everyone’s death, anyone’s death”, she used to say. I never agreed with her then, but maybe she was right. We live in others; we die with them. How would we know the feeling of “I am alive”, if we do not see other people living, if we are unaware of what it is to feel that “they are alive”? Life, I have often felt, is a relative concept? Europidese was right when he said, “who knows life is death and death is life”. Maybe this process of living, which is a process of dying - of decaying, and of fading away - is actually the process of living, of growing... Maybe we do not die a death in each parting, with each person. Maybe we grow and expand in each death, to fill up the void that is created by the departed soul. Maybe each death is an opportunity for us to grow and grasp the rationale of what once was life. Maybe...

    Isn’t one’s own death different from other’s death?

    I often try to imagine other people’s death - what would I feel if one dies? But I can never imagine my own death. The situation is meaningless. All feelings, imagination, awareness, cease with one’s own death. That “he or she is not” is a qualitatively different phenomenon that “I am not”... what, then, is the rationale of one’s own life?

    What, I wonder, was the rationale of Ashoo’s life - or of her death, if you please - for herself? Could there be a part of her self, which was beyond her death, and which could experience, could know the rationale? In her last days, I had often tried to seek an explanation to these querries in her eyes. But somehow in the opaqueness of her lifeless smile and empty eyes, I could fathom no depth which could answer me. She used to sit and gape at me with a smile - which was another name for non-recognition. Often I felt myself non-existent in front of those unseeing eyes. The doctor always tried to be helpful, “This often happens in tumors,” he would tell me. “Such disorientation and impairment of memory is usual in such cases. In fact, the growth of tumor tissues often hampers with the sensori-motor functionings. She may not even be aware of your presence due to impairments in occipital and frontal lobes...” as if this could compensate for a void I could see developing in her. Maybe he was right - in fact, I am sure he was.

    But wasn’t he forgetting the Life, in order to save it? With all his jargon, he could not tell me what had happened to her life - to the memories of those events - which constituted her life.

    He agreed that her consciousness of herself, of her memories of her life, was clouded forever... What, then, was she now? Of course, she was alive, because her heart was still beating, her blood still feeding the cells which would consume her. But could she be aware of her existence? Could she with any authenticity feel her being-ness? If she couldn’t recognise me, could she, at least, recognise herself? Was she lost to herself? Forever?...