Monday, May 17, 2010

Tales from the crate

They say, the loss of a child is the exquisiteness of the devil. Add the sourness of poverty and all that’s left is colorlessness. And that’s when the hollowness of a relationship shines through like infiltrating granules of silica in crystal clear water. Two lovers once a father and a mother, once a wife and a husband, seek solace on the opposite ends of a bed. The couch seems uninviting. Or rather not being in the same room with the fellow victim seems pointless. And yet company loses its temptation. Talk seems utterly painful if not life taking. Regular doses of ache alternate from the highs of the city to the lows of the worms. It’s the time one realizes, heartache isn’t metaphorical, it is physical. Solitude seems just and kind. Silence means everything in the world. There is no need to panic, no need to console. No need to plan.
Questions go unanswered. None can answer them then what’s the whole point of lingering? Eyes cannot make contact for the mere sight is enough to slay the fragile hold on the liquid glands. Drasticity is the need of the hour. Advices from family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances seem to say the same thing. Keep walking, it will pass they mean. Everything does. But sometimes, you don’t intend it to pass. You mean to be consumed by it. Your faith has been given the gallows, it never had a role to play anyway. Slowly the tears start coming. One holds the other as the first rays fall. Then they hold each other as the draught continues. One cries and the other soothes. Then the other starts crying and together under the split roof undetering the raindrops they stay alive if it could be called so. Gradually, hunger strikes. Work needs to be done. The man goes towards his fields, the woman to fetch water. Life continues. They cuddle close in bed shaking with the sensation of loss. The cots creak with them cursing the mighty for the fate endowed. The bed bugs feel nothing. They feed. The new phase of life continues. They paint their own faces in a vain attempt to move on. To the other they appear stronger. Inside they rot. At night they lay in each other’s arms awaiting sleep. It’s a welcome guest now, though it leaves just as dawn arrives and it precedes a moment before it. Sometimes it comes early bribed by exhaustion. The rest of the times what can one do but wait?
The next morning they head down to their own destinations. With a morsel of wheat and tit bits of potato, one returns. The other is late. And then doesn’t make it back. The whole night passes without a wink of sleep. What if........? The fear is the question, imagine the threat the answer would pose.
The next morning the one left runs around looking, searching, scavenging for her one last hope in life, her one reason to live. Empathetically, one nearly always finds a reason to live. In this case, it was the other part of the lost figure. Her search eventually leads her to the ‘thana’ where she files a report and then to the hospital. In the hospital she senses death, she sees wailing infants, groaning deathbedders bidding their time. In a state of mental havoc she runs around begging the uniformed of a trace to her lover. Somehow she finds him. He lays on a white sheet right next to a wild old man abusing like it was a morality lecture he was enlightening with. Her husband may be dead. She prays to her God before checking his pulse. As she hold his hand, she cries in shock. His wrists had been to say the least cut. It was a plain simple line. One that appears on a monitor as a journey man from this world passes to the next.
Surprisingly though there is a pulse. The man is still alive. his eyes open as he smells the sweat of his wife sitting right next to him. He could have recognized it anywhere, it was his wife. He watches as she sits there patiently waiting for him to rise. She prays and talks to him. She talks of love, life and the son they once had. Even now, the memories, at least the happy ones don’t bite. Not all. He hears not because he has no choice but because he loves his wife. He loves her voice, the way she looks up every now and then as a humble request to her god to revive him. His eyes water as he watches her. After all that has happened, she bears to live. He hold her and cries like a baby in her arms. He mutters words of sorrow to which she replies, where would I have gone if anything would have happened to you? Didn’t you think about me when you tried to kill yourself? To this he can merely apologize. She makes him promise that he wouldn’t do it again. He is reprimanded and together they walk back to where they belong. They talk about their son and a kind of silence subdues. Then one says
“I want a child.”