For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more
intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York,
wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the
water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that
they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
"When I die, si? will you read this at my funeral? Like I show you. You might want to stand proud - because you are the chosen one, si? - but not happy that I am dead. I am not, till the elegy is made properly."
And he smiled in a manner that made my nape tremble to the frozen touch of evil. He would not hear of my leaving and bade - nay, ordered me with unspoken threats of worlds which he seemed to have visited and where he was to soon go. His wife and young daughter, sat mutely in the corner, perhaps wondering whether I was one of his kind, else why was I so obedient?
I kept looking at the door that would let me escape along roads which were familiar, leaving a yawning cavity from where a man-devil could still yoke me in, and then I looked at the flounced door which could burst open any minute or could be locked only to have it thundered apart by a creature whose impish frame and mismatched eyes slackened a man's guard long enough to lose his soul to the grinning question that often bounced forth: "Si?" My eyes drew many a thread as on a loom between the knobs only to find me hemmed in with lesser resolve to break from the iron grip of the stool I was seated on. His wife shook her head and pulled her daughter's now sleeping head closer to her bosom.
The door burst open and for reasons unknown, I looked at the wrong door before turning back to the one that was opened.
"You not going anywhere, senor. Haan! Si?"
I wasn't sure whether his was a question or a statement to break any plans I might have had. But I didn't. No plans, only hopes. I shook my head for a while covering the span of his eyes. He bowed his head a bit and returned to his room.
I waited, pressing my palms together squeezing the anxiety out of every minute that paused longer to mock at me.
And then he screamed, and threw something fragile against the door. I saw the door stretch towards me on impact.
"Got it! I got it all. This will be the best. The best. The..."
Everything quietened within, following a soft thump on the wooden floor. The candle still flickered loudly. The girl was still asleep but her mother's face had frozen into a happiness which was forced to wear the scarf of propriety. I bit my lip as I leaned towards the door.
I waited for the "Si?" and on finding none, cleared my throat.
"Everything ok in there, Mr. Carlos?"
I slowly rose and inched my way towards the door, my heart betraying me by thumping loudly and pushing me door-ward.
I held on to the knob but just kept looking at it. The yellow fingered brilliance danced on my shoe's nose. I stepped back where nothing from within the room could touch me.
Mrs. Carlos. I think your husband wouldn't have wanted me to open the door until he called for me. I think I must leave now, Mrs. Carlos. I am sure you understand. As he hasn't told me how to read his elegy, I wouldn't be able to do so at his funeral. I am sure you understand. Mrs. Carlos?"
I turned around to look at the frail (I never noticed how like her husband she was) lady. There she crouched near a threshold gazing at me with large eyes lifted by a chillingly familiar smile.
"You not going anywhere, senor. Si?"
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Love is, in its truest sense, a life-affirming transformation of an individual. This transformation can happen to the prod of a God, the nudge of a fellow human being, the tempo of music, the iridescence of Nature's beauty or that on a more limited canvas or the tango on the palate; whatever be the vernacular, the effect is the same. It is like the flow of warm sunshine through the invisible labyrinths of an iceberg; an effect which cannot be undone. Love is not a belief. It is not a need to be fulfilled. It is an inevitability.
I shall proceed now to explain the characteristics of the Love I speak of but, before I do so, let me also lay to rest the confusion that people often have about Love and physical intimacy. They are not related (else the world's oldest profession wouldn't have even existed) and one can exist in the absence of the other. Whether it is best to have them together is pointless because the nature of Love is such that it is self-sufficient. Like any cake that might look/taste better with more icing, one might find Love and physical intimacy combined to better one without, but icing alone never filled a man's stomach. Hence, the cake has to be right before worrying about the icing.
Love is a cessation of thought and machination. It is a transformed individual's mark and it reveals in various ways. The transformation being individual doesn't depend on the other entity's corresponding reciprocation. Hence, the Love for Nature is often the commonest theme which has welled in many a Lover's heart giving rise to wonderful poetry, art, gardens and the like. Again, it can be wonderful if Providence smiles and events are opportune to bring two individuals together and bring about a transformation simultaneously in the other's being, but that is not necessary for Love. If one listens to the words of Bhadrachala Ramadasa one is also made aware of Love that didn't find reciprocation in the expected manner.
Hence, the cessation of thought is vital. It is an unstoppable evocation of all of oneself towards the Loved. In such a state, thought and design have no role to play as they are inherently levees. This doesn't mean that one becomes blind or one becomes a criminal fanatic once in Love. What it means is that the transformation leads to a state of being where the individual is earnest and genuine in every action that s/he performs. It is a well known story as to how Hanuman in his Love for Lord Rama (then, they were two living entities) smeared his entire body with sindhoor. His actions were not borne by a need to prove to anyone but merely out of the joy that he was told that Lord Rama derived from seeing a little bit of sindhoor. It does not mean that everyone in order to convince themselves of their love being Love, drop all their chores and mollycoddle their object of love. If one has to go to the office, one has to, which doesn't lessen the Love (as I said, it isn't a feeling or belief or hope, it is a transformation).
Love doesn't recognise or permit shame or fear. In the sheer might of its purity, Love faces nothing which can raise a finger against it. There can be nothing wrong in the wake of Love nor anything inappropriate. Love, in its transformation, also rights all the incongruent facets of the individual self thereby leading the individual to instinctively act in an apposite manner. Where there was once fear, insecurity and doubt, Love brings in peace and clarity. Love doesn't use promises and commitments as its crutches to cross the land of Life. Love is not crippled and hence, needs no human constructions to aid in its survival. Love is deathless, diseaseless and hence has nothing to fear.
Love is the only constructive transformation. In none of its manifestations is Love hazardous to the individual. It might place him/her as inept to co-exist with other people in a society but it is never detrimental to his/her vitality and soul. In Love, there is an unbeckoned nurturing and accommodation that is not a sacrifice or a compromise. There is no place for destructive emotions like hatred, jealousy or ill-will. The mundaneness of life will definitely give occasion to squabbles over chores and opinions, but Lovers always utilise these to continue the process of transformation. In Love's field flowers blossom of their own volition, withering to make way for more, in cycles of unknown and most beautiful patterns. Love cannot drain one's spirit. It invigorates entirely, from every single corner wherever the individual may be. Hence, such a Love doesn't employ destroying other entities as a means to survival. Love doesn't mandate rebellion or disrespect. It doesn't demand of the Lover to shun the rest of the world. It doesn't grant imprimatur to the individual for being self-centered. Again the Love between Lord Rama and Sita is an example which bore the test of time under societal pressures but never waned. In being constructive it is also inclusive.
Love is a source of creative energy. It is not the only source, mind you, but in Love there is an exaltation of one's sensitivities and receptiveness. It is common fare that those in love are more eager an audience to ballads and ghazals as well as early morning walks or Spring-time escapades into the meadows. Beauty seems to suffuse everything that surrounds such a lover who has but been moved into loving someone/~thing. What then is there to say of someone who has transformed entirely in the blaze of Love? The world of Love is filled with rivers of poems, boughs of soft rich fabric, beds of fine gems, landscapes of the most colourful paintings breathing in the air that is truly the most pure, most fragrant. This heightening of ones senses is another inevitable result of the transformation. Love is delightful and joyous.
But Love is not of the mind. It is not a decision. One cannot wish it into existence. Love doesn't call upon the sensory faculties for its struts. One cannot plot Love into being or hope to build it in place. No amount of hanging out at the right places or chalking down the must-haves and nice-to-haves will help. Since it doesn't hinge upon the sensory faculties, it doesn't require the person to be right next to them or constantly talk to them or pamper them. It doesn't live off demonstration although demonstration is inevitable. It cannot be brought to court-martial and evidence is not something that can establish Love. Love is something that can only be realised and hence it requires a quiet mind and a receptive soul to recognise its occupancy in the being. A million clever questions cannot prove Love's breath.
In Love there is no narrowness of the human mind. The pettiness that is rife in our every day world vanishes in Love. In Love, I do not want to compare my capabilities with that of my Lover. I do not wish to contest. I don't find a need to. I simply create or rejoice or sing or dance with the least worry about whether I am Loving more than my Lover. I do not make demands of my Lover for everything I get from my Lover seems so surprisingly beautiful that I am not sure what more to ask for. Love is not a barter and the Lovers are too caught up in being in Love to be able to keep tabs. Love feels no need to show off or gain sanction. Love is inherently decent and respects human beings for what they are.
Given that Love doesn't allow fear, insecurity and other destructive elements, it is also devoid of pain. There is no pain of separation, of betrayal, of loss or of miseries borne together as Love is a transformation. It changes the very fabric of the individual being into one that sees not another option. It is not a rational, clinical process of re-fabrication but an irreversible transformation. In such a transformation, a Lover cannot feel pain as the process is complete (though minor enhancements are not inconceivable) and hence, there is nothing to revoke that which has come into existence. The transformation is permanent and so is castigation of pain in this context. The mortal cessation of the Loved doesn't undo the transformation. Although there might be an ephemeral sorrow for things left undone, there is no pain.
The notion of the Loved entity turning out to be spurious doesn't make sense here as Love is not a belief or a hope. If that spurious entity had the Power to bring about a transformation, then so be it. What is spurious as a disconnected and objective audience, is not the same as a Lover. It doesn't mean that the Lover denies the truth or wishes to live in an illusion. The Lover is very cognizant of the true nature of the Loved (and probably knew what you now recognise to be spurious much earlier) but is also transformed. Love is not a helpless state of entrapment. Often it surprises many a man as to how something which was once a shapeless granite rock, after some chiseling has become a wish-granting deity. That this same rock which could have become a mile marker evokes so much devotion and at times Love is amazing.
Finally, Love in its very transforming power often creates channels for the individual to spiritually evolve. These conduits are the very ones which lead a Lover to realise the Love s/he automatically feels for the entire world (not for their actions, so the silly question of "Should I love a rapist?", is nonsensical. Love, as said, is not a choice or decision. A Lover would love to be with the rapist and help him/her break the destructive barriers of his/her self and be free but when the rapist is sent to the electric chair, the Lover is still his/her own transformed self). The Lover doesn't seek out people like a missionary nor establish Love homes. S/He is simply unable to stop Loving a person they come in contact with. They still go about their usual life (though even their work seems to be filled with Love) but their every single action and thought is now supremely transformed into a spiritual oneness that is akin to being one with the Divine. Not in every Lover is this observed and I am still meditating on whether this is the essential and final sign for the completion of the transformation of Love.
Love is not entirely of the spirit as some are quick to conclude. Since Life itself is not entirely of the spirit, Love cannot be so. The beauty that physical intimacy adds to Love is irreplaceable and cannot be shunned in spiritual snobbery. The role that proximity plays must be relished to be realised. Sharing moments together, dinners, the bed, the newspaper, bicycles, seats on the bus, going to a movie, shopping sprees, beaches and a lot more add to the flavour of Love. But it would be silly to mandate that these are required for Love to happen. To simply brush aside the spiritual foundation of Love is as ridiculous as mocking the sensory minarets of Love's monument. But the spiritual foundation is indispensable and the sensory constructs are to be forgone only when unrealisable. In its ideal state, Love is the perfect blend of spirit and matter.
Love is what completes that which God left incomplete.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Love, a decision:
Psychiatrists, psychologists, biologists and other-ists believe that love is this little state of confusion which precedes another little state where a man and woman wish to mate. Technically, one wouldn't require love for that. A million men might want to "mate" with Carmen Electra without loving her (and the same might be for her). If mating = "mate"+procreate then we have a possible case ... which just fell off. Sorry! No case.
Love, to me, is a decision. One has a (sub)conscious checklist of what one seeks in a partner (of any sex). It is unlikely that a woman who has "a decent man" on her list would fall in love with a foul mouthing, belching brute (unless if she had not put in enough thought into the need for that want). Would a man be attracted towards a confident and perhaps domineering woman if he would like a nice obedient young girl for his mate?
For centuries, Asians have been married off in the "arranged" marriage and have "loved" their spouse till one of them died (post-death, love seems irrelevant). It was purely a decision to "love" their spouse upon realising that they were getting married. Life in Asia has thrived and well for long to warrant a "correctness" of lifestyle or at least several facets of the same. I wonder how else can the correctness of a lifestyle be ascertained. A destructive or decaying lifestyle would eventually lead to the annihilation of the lifestyle and/or of the adopters. So given that such a lifestyle has worked and kept the Asian community thriving and well, love seems to have nearly always been a decision, whether post-marriage or whether as a checklist.
Love, in most cases, has succeeded a phase of being attracted to the other person. The reasons for being attracted are peculiar and quite characteristic of the individual mind. There are physical reasons, psychological reasons, financial reasons and others which influence a person's "falling in love" act. Though people hate going into it, every person I have met (and tormented) have eventually been able to go down to the nuts and bolts of why they fell in love with a person. One friend of mine said that she would definitely not love a womaniser (which was one of her no-no's) but if the the guy she fell in love with turned out to be a womaniser, she would accept it!! Isn't all accepting a decision too? QED :-)
Now there is that love which people say happens at first sight. That usually tends to be physical. Let us assume that it is not so. What attracted you to this person? Brains? But it is first sight! Depth? First sight! Ok ok ok. Define first sight. The first 10 hours of time spent with a person? First 10 minutes? Think about it. It might sound silly to waste time being so pedantic, but I believe it is vital to understand the working of our mind and whatever we wish to call our heart. Isn't it always something tangible? If it is not so, and this love is spiritual or "just there" then I would wonder about why that love, soon transforms into the typical 2nd stage of this "Love" rigmarole?
2nd Stage of Love:
So you decide (oh! come on! humour me!) to love someone. Good for you. Congrats! Mazel Tov!
So you decide to stay in love too. Rats! I mean! Congrats (is congrats a condensation of congregation of rats?)!!
Every day you encounter... wait, I am speaking about the days after the initial euphoria... so, every day you encounter this person acting like, well, any other human being. This person has his own idiosyncrasies, littleness, humour, pain, whims, lows, anger and allergies. If you never tolerated hypocrisy, you wouldn't take it from him either. But you decide to stay in love. This person forgets your birthday and you are cross. He thinks you are making too big an issue of it, and you, in all your ladyness are quick to remind him that he wasn't like this when he was courting you (when will people learn!). He is quicker in enlisting all the reasons for the natural decay of memory (your nagging appears to be there as every odd numbered point and the end of his list has 5 "nags" in succession!). You want him to buy you jewellery and take you out to movies mostly because you think that is what lovers do for the other (I tend to think that ladies get to benefit more, materially).Things slowly transform into a "supposed to do" pattern and a lot of life is spent in the fear of being caught being not-lover-enough.
So every day you revisit this state of affairs and wonder why you believe that you are in love. Even if the problems don't surface (highly unlikely, because you are living in this world and reality requires facing problems and tackling them), you slowly notice that the excitement is waning. The level of cheer is cheerlessly familiar and more a habit now. Things have become more about two people running a life together and doing the necessary chores. No, I am not being cynical. It seems to be the most popular story on the road and exceptions don't maketh a story.
Then there are people who try to get the zing back into the relationship (which only re-enforces the point about love being a decision). I think that is a wise thing to do, given that you have already decided to love and then live that love. They try new things - define new phrases (quality time! ewwww!), get memberships in new clubs, go out more often, learn new languages together ("Oh! What is Mandarin for "I love you"? and Catalan?". Personally, I think they should ban that phrase and demand of couples to invent new ways of communicating it!), do shopping, cook meals, go out on picnics etc. etc. etc.
All this for mating? Naah! The -ists got it all wrong.
I think man inherently is not comfortable being alone. Some fella (or was it Jeanette Winterson) said that a person will go to any extent to keep himself from having to live in loneliness. I tend to agree with him (her). People enjoy a good life and would like to bring that in with the least overhead (not all of us can be sheiks with a harem!). What is a good life is a personal measure and hence, one's love also tends to be a subjective choice, and a choice it is; hence a decision.
Rarely does a "spiritual" or "just there" love escape the rigours of the 2nd stage. Its origin might have been mystical but its life on earth is surely made of houses, bank balances and food on the table. People still want exclusivity (god save me from that one) and complete allegiance whether right or wrong. Life becomes a dichotomy of "our love" and "the world". Life really isn't that. It functions as a mix of everything but I shall withold my opinion of the same.
So, whatever the start, love does roll into the mundane after a point (the toppling point). This is true about nearly everything on earth, but I shall cover that in another post. So love seems to be this lure into a stabilising monotony of living and managing life in its secure state (I have known people breaking up because the guy decided to go join a startup and brought in enormous amounts of instability or the woman taking on a high pressure job which paid but rarely left any time for the emotional security of the family. Replace man for woman and I think you might still have such problems).
So love is not something that is eternal - not the commonly found strains of this microbe! Hence, I am not interested in something that is ephemeral and quite a pain to manage.
Falling out of love:
And then people tire and break-up. Not all, but there seems to be a steady rise in the per capita breakup rate. People are either treating love casually or are more narrowly focused on a single entity (self, money, career, etc.). Either way, one can only break out of love with a decision, if they got into it as a decision. If you are going to give me an analogy of a disease occuring on its own but being eliminated by the decision of taking medicines, then I would ask you to choose between considering love a disease or a decision. People talk so much about unconditional love, but it seems to be a conditioned decision to be unconditional in love. It really seems to be some rose-tinged dream cloud when people talk about unconditional love while have ziltch clue about the conditioning they have gone through. People who unconditionally love cannot choose and cannot surely fall out of it. If you choose to unconditionally love one person, there is a set of reasons why you chose this person (and not another) and they are perhaps a superset of what this person satisified as your desirable conditions to be met. So where is the unconditionality!? And why is it that you want unconditional love? Because you are ready to give it? Firstly, I don't believe that is as simple as you think it is and secondly, why hold that as a condition for giving your unconditional love?
So what's the big deal?
If we are comfortable accepting love as a decision, we will be less in pain when wondering over any or all of the following questions:
- Why did I fall in love?
- How did I fall in love?
- Why am I in this relationship?
- Why am I not happy in here?
- Why does my state of being depend so much on this one person?
- Would I behave the same way if it were someone else doing what this person just did to me?
- Why should I work on this relationship?
- Why do I want to run away?
If you believe that your "love" is not a decision then what do you think it is? Why don't you love your neighbour? Or your colleague too? If this person you love, was a pauper on the streets who looked like Shrek, would you still love him? But would you have spoken to him in the first place? Is love for you being compassionate towards someone? Feeling sorry for them?
Then comes the major confusion between love and what to do with it. The most common strategy is to get married. What if the person is already married? What if the person cannot marry you? What if the person doesn't believe in marriage? What if the person doesn't want to marry you? Does your love fade? Does your love lose meaning? Is it still not a decision?
Think about it.
Or else, just enjoy the state of being in love! I for one cannot love as it is simply not in me to dedicate myself to one person completely. Firstly, the person has to be worth it all (and other than the Goddess, I know of perhaps just one other person who is worth it) and secondly, I haven't enjoyed the entire world yet to lock myself up with this person (so I am left only with the Goddess!). I always feel love is a state of inner transformation which doesn't require anything to be revealed or established (as it would anyway do so of its own sheer power). Such a powerful state of being is not for the common person to handle. Once in that state, the banal practices of the world do not hold glitter to me and expecting me to resort to such means ("Please say you love me", "You should pamper me", "I don't want you talking to any woman") is destroying that state (not a decision but an event whenafter I start looking for what was once there and often live in the memory of love, which is not love, please). In love there is a oneness that transcends all pettiness, but doesn't destroy the individuality of a person.
Every man, whether he has ever been in love or not, has an opinion about love. That is the major difference between love and differential calculus. Given this profound catchment of opinions, it is but natural to demand to know what is it that I think is love. I might (and that might never happen) write a post about what I think of love and what is it that I have come to realise as a true state of loving.
So love either doesn't exist for me, or exists in a form which you refuse to recognise! :-)