The Marginalised Minority

First look at the title would have instigated repulsiveness in you. A silent loud voice would have screamed, “Shut your big mouth even before opening it, you stinking feminist, ready to blabber on another female issue…blah, blah, blah!” quite understandable. So, I thought, for a change, how about a take on men and issues related to them. Besides, plight of woman is so much highlighted that it has started falling on deaf ears.

To begin with, let me tell you that over a past few months I have been intrigued by a peculiar set of characteristics defining certain men. My intellectual faculty has failed to pop out one word to define such a lot but has given me reasons to call them marginalised. Their attributes include physical attractiveness, well read, eloquent speakers, of high professional and social status, nature lover, modern in appearance and thought for self, sought independence early in life, and determined. It was the other side of the coin that flabbergasted me. They are also hypocritical, self-centred, passive, tell-tale, vengeful, jealous, materialistic, enjoys scapegoatism, exhibit poor decision making abilities with regards to social networks, aspiring to be in good books of networks, highly critical and rigidly orthodox in outlook for such close relations, comfortable withdrawal from any situation, inhuman ability to ignore, filled with pretence to the core, not interested in family or intimate relationships, sees marriage as convenience while enjoying the prolonged phase of bachelorhood, extrovert but feigns introversion and pines over lack of companionship, devoid of emotion but always teary, suffers from guilt of early self-assertion and blame others for his social failure.

The mosaic of binaries amused me as I further deconstructed the composition. More I pondered, the more I felt at wits end. Human beings are characterised by good and bad qualities; it is predominance over other that makes all the difference. Some are also perfect amalgamation of both, thus switching roles as and when required. But, how do I define a character who mulls over something that he has yet does not want it, seeks independence yet resents it and blame others for his plight? Complexity here is insanely complex.

Microscopic examination of their lives reveals a calmly turbulent social life but a healthy professional side. It is families that they abhor the most. Family, which is synonymous with love, bond, relationship; love, bond, relationship is equated with responsibility, fellow feeling and care. Responsibility commands dedication, commitment, unpronounced promise to be together in thick and thin of life, in good times and bad, in autumn and spring. It is the onus that these men dread. Fear of taking up responsibility is too fearful an idea to execute. However, society and social institutions are hard task masters and treat their subjects alike. They are brought under scanner with slight digression from the defined social path. Continuous slaughtering compels them to escape. When on the crossroads, cunning as they are, they slyly choose the middle path, foxing the impression of being bogged by perpetuating demands of social institutions and shouldering every inch of the monstrous giant. Underneath the farce, they have switched off the voice of conscience, taking a back foot they wait for fragile human relations to worsen and snap, leaving behind no evidence of negligence and conscious betrayal.

The adopted side lane, which is a masterstroke, to crackdown all discomfiture is to comfortably disappear from the scene of action either by leaving the family of orientation, severing all ties with so called loved ones, dismantling of extended family, etc. Committing suicide is never their course of action because of extreme self love. The bold step is often coupled with outcry of series of wrongs meted on the now-helpless-shrieking victim by the “others” to justify his stand. Fanciful reconciliation may arise from time to time but it again is eyewash.

Peculiarity that envisages such men is hard to find yet they exist. I call this bunch of obnoxiously timid men as “marginalised minority.” Their vileness is too bitter for any human contact both physical and emotional but their psychological imbalance and ripped apart countenance is pitiable.

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Relationships – Far n Near

The boy loves the girl and the girl loves the boy. The end. The boy doesn’t love the girl anymore and the girl doesn’t love the boy anymore. The end. In this seemingly simple love story that begins and ends with simple narrative of feelings, lies a phantom of thinly wired, complex web like structure that swallows the feeling of “love” and turns it into “doesn’t love”. This backward progression is a phenomenon that is witnessed in relationships when the partners are together and far.

Poisonous treads of the web are constantly at work, oozing venom at slightest opportunity. Even the most enduring couples may fall prey to it.  Albeit the path to “doesn’t love” is easier to reach than the way to “intense love” or “passionate love” just as it is easier to destroy than construct. An embittered fight goes on till the partners or one of the partners decides to let go. The phrase “I love you” has been equated with most mundane of all things with the least realization that it commands an equal amount of dedication and intensity employed in earning a living.

There are numerous circumstances when a relationship goes for a toss but “love” is crucified because of negligence of certain key aspects of a relationship. They are –

Expectation – the lesson that we often hear from saints and moral advocates is to love without expecting. They propagate to fulfil our duties and sooner or later the other person will realise. Absolutely amazing thought but ranks low in practicality and applicability. Besides, how do we deal with a partner that starts taking advantage of selfless love? Definition of love should change with changing times. Expecting the other partner to reciprocate or ensuing responses shows the warmth of the relationships, keeps the charm alive, and makes both the partners feel loved and cared. One sided expression, with very less or negative reciprocation lead to provocation of such thoughts as unwanted, uncared, unloved, needy, etc. An individual may approach a partner umpteen times but at one point, the poisonous thread will break spreading venom, reminding one of the uncaring, unthankful, undesirous attitudes of the partner thereby sowing the seed of “dosen’t love me.”

Reciprocation – it is acknowledgement that keeps the flowers blooming. Validation both in words and deeds help to strengthen the relationship. Reciprocation is just not about saying “I love you” back but returning a glance, an act of help, a kind word of appreciation and gratitude, and an act that says “I miss” and “I care.” It works as the cementing force and restores faith in the love of the partner. Strengthening of the bond, in return, weakens the venomous feelings of “doesn’t love me.”

Prioritising – most deadly of all the factors, it kills the relationship, sometimes paves way for a third person. It can be ruining, metaphorically. Taking their partners for granted is the most common mistake that individuals make. Soon they start equating the existence of their partners with that piece of furniture placed in an appropriate position to provide comfort. They mistake their partners for apparatuses that produce comfort and pleasure. They forget that their partners are human being with air in their lungs, blood in their veins, and feelings in their heart. It is of utmost importance to provide respectable position to one’s partner to save the relationship.

Game of love is the most complex of all games. Unlike other sport, it does not prescribe a definite set of rules to be followed by both the parties to save from disqualification. Beauty of this game lies in its complexity; the turns and twists of human emotions. Saying “I love you” and “I love you too” is just the opening stroke. It demands meticulously crafted and planned field setting to avoid hurts and psychological bruises that nibbles slowly at an apparently healthy relationship.

A Celestial Journey

On a soothing night, decked with stars and the moon, I sat by the window as soft breeze caressed my hair; inhaling the fragrance that emanated from trees and flowers. Staring at the comforting darkness, lost in my own thoughts, I wanted to soothe my blistered heart and wondered if the celestial peace would come to my rescue. Ruminating over my plight, I lulled myself to sleep. 

Like a shooting star, I traversed to the sky – to meet the moon and the stars. Their beauty and magnificence mesmerised me. I hovered around for hours before finally settling there. I wandered aimlessly, hypnotised by their glow. Now, I wanted to settle on one of them to explore it further. Astronauts may have visited them but it was my turn to investigate. 

I chose the moon followed by the nearest star. With joy, I landed but only to be awakened by disbelief. The uneven structure, the pit and the darkness jolted me. I questioned myself, “Is it the same moon that we see from the earth? Why is it so lack lustre?” I travelled further but only to be welcomed by gloom and absolute desolation. The surface of the stars was akin to that of the moon. “No”, I cried in pain, “How could something so beautiful and so soothing have deep dark crevices within!” I continued walking and tumbled after hitting a big rock. I rolled over a few meters and when I got up, I was a new person illuminated with a bright thought.

 Everything that appears beautiful in form, not necessarily holds the same grandeur inside. It’s also true in case of human beings. God gifted us with a beautiful body but inside that body we harbour hatred, jealousy, greed, vengeance, anger, sloth, gluttony, pride and lust and numerous other malicious pits and crevices. The pomp and glamour of the moon and stars lie only at the exterior, which is similar to the artefacts that we use to adorn ourselves – expensive branded garments, accessories, car, bungalow, degrees, etc. One step inward confronts loneliness, wounds, blisters and a charred soul. Thanks to us; they are all self-inflicted.

Unlike the moon and the stars we have the power to cure our ailing souls but we are reluctant to heal the gory pores. Just as we seek comfort by the external form of the planets, we use materialistic remedies to ease the body and the mind. Our inflamed souls are left unattended and degenerate.

I woke up. It was half past one. Half the world had turned a blind eye to their discomfort and misery. I walked into my room, brushed aside my dream and fell off to sleep. The moon and the stars looked down upon the human folly with a scorn!

Gory Love

It was one of those unfortunate nights when hell opened its gate and allowed its devil to sabotage humanity. Devil struck hard and left him bleeding, blood oozing out from his wrists, in the bathroom, beside her.

This time devil chose its favourite residence to wreck havoc. Situated on the thirteenth floor of a standalone building, the apartment was inhabited by a young couple married for last three years – blessed with magnificent form and rotten hearts. Perpetual bickering infested their home – a home that meets the description of hell in Paradise Lost –

“A dungeon horrible, on all sides round

As one great furnace flamed…

A fiery deluge, fed with ever-burning sulphur unconsumed”.

That night was no different. A tense atmosphere prevailed

“Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
and rest can never dwell
,…”

Resentment had been brewing within. Consumed by hatred, they occupied separate rooms and appeared a specter of their relationship. Their fuming had turned the surrounding air hot. Perched on the mantel, he was enjoying the premonition of the impending calamity that was about to strike.

Late evening, both of them had returned from work. Wife sat in the drawing room soaking her feet in warm water to relieve her of swollen ankles. Husband came out of the bedroom and went to the kitchen to prepare something for dinner. A stiff broke out and once again they maligned and slandered each other’s self-respect, love, faith, fellow feeling and smashed the sapling of accord that had begun to germinate after a very long time.

Soon the house lay drenched in tears. Cries of pain rustled through it. The last string of humanity had snapped. The husband jumped out of the kitchen with a knife in his hand. Pointing it at his wife, he threatened to kill himself. Without any second thought he slit his wrist. Blood oozed out! Like a maniac, he shoved his bleeding hand into her face.

She sat unnerved at the sight. Stoned by the turn of events, only steaming tears rolled down her cheeks. Slayed at heart, she rose on quivering feet and took out first aid box for him.  He denied, she pleaded; the devil smiled. The coaxing continued to which he finally yielded. It was more of a realisation than love which came to his rescue.

Satan has very aptly said about the mind being the seat of heaven or hell –

“The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven.”

He survived but their relationship died.

The Children of Desert

Once upon a time, in the far east of India, there lived a small girl called Monu. She was spirited, lively and wanted to explore the world. She had an intense desire to visit different places on earth like, the desert, the seas, the hills and mountains. She wanted to live among these beautiful creations of the Nature and inhale its splendour. All these natural elements had deep meaning to her. She could associate with them.

While growing up Monu befriended Sonu, who lived in the northern part of India. This physical distance could not deter their friendship and it grew by leaps and bounds. Monu could open her heart to Sonu. Once she expressed her wanderlust to him. They spoke for hours about her most cherished desire – to visit the desert.

One would wonder how someone can be drawn so strongly to something as barren and lifeless as desert. But she had her own theory. She could be a part of this vastness. To her it was an antidote to an aching heart. She identified it with the most hospitable host who welcomed all its guests with stretched arms. Its porous surface was capable of absorbing any worry or anxiety. Profound silence that prevailed in the desert was strong enough to calm any racing mind and the tranquillity that flowed was uninterrupted.

While listening to her version of desert, Sonu made up his mind to take her to one of the deserts in the western part of the country. He silently vowed to turn all her dreams into reality. As time passed by, they parted ways. Only their love remained.

Out of this strong flow of emotion, which swayed in their hearts, Sonu planned a trip to desert. His trip was a bliss. He lived through what he had heard from Monu. It appeared, as though, he had Monu for company and in the same way as she would narrate her feelings to him, she guided him through the desert and helped him experience the real beauty of life. He stood there for hours, awed by the magnificent desert. There were no exchange of words but senses were receptive. With the break of dusk, the entire wasteland turned dim. Cool breeze blew and softly caressed his face, reached the inner recess of his heart.

Following the trail of camels he proceeded to walk back. After sometime, he stopped and turned back. He saw two children – Sonu and Monu – holding hands and running in the opposite direction. Their laughter echoed as they ran into the desert and soon vanished into thin air. He smiled and continued walking.

Au Revoir

I can’t let go. It hurts! There is so much more to share. But he is not around. He’s gone. Did he once think about me? Oh, God! I didn’t get one last chance to say what I felt, to express how much he mattered to me, how my life would be empty without him. I didn’t say goodbye. He’s gone.

I felt this pang of remorse while watching Life of Pi, as Yann Martel, says, “It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.” He feels abandoned by Richard Parker and recounts, “I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.”

These were my feelings for my bosom friend, a tree, who was chopped off from my life. It was a beautiful lone tree standing in far corner of the school play ground. I was drawn to that tree as iron gets attracted to magnet. Probably, it was an urge to have a companion that both of us lacked. I was passing through one of the worst phase of my life and trusted no human. It was then that this tree stood tall beside me and helped me unwind. I poured out my heart to him – day in and day out. He would get drenched with my tears but in return only soothed my aching heart with its vitality and vigour.

I grew so fond of him that I would feel incomplete without meeting him, not sharing a word. With every passing day our bond grew strong to an extent that even a touch would convey a lot of things. Slowly and steadily, I dropped words as a medium of communication. He would simply beckon me, imploringly, to fall in his arms and relax. His company provided me comfort which is inexplicable. After meeting him, when I returned to the world of human, I felt rejuvenated. I was bestowed with courage to stand against all odds and take my own course.  He would block any human interaction, while I was in his company. It was an affair which was brewing – a romantic one. An affair ordained to be immortal – perishing bodies could not hinder its growth.

Here again, like any other love story, destiny had different plans. One morning when I went to the play ground to meet him, I couldn’t find him. He was not there. Last evening he was chopped with an axe and what stood there were remains of his once slender strong body where I was protected, loved and pampered.  I was thunderstruck and frantically started looking around for him. I wanted to see him, hug him, one last time. Overwhelmed with emotion I fell on my knees and wept. I had so much to speak, so much to share and to simply tell him how much I loved him. He was a companion that I had been longing for. But no! Nature didn’t give me that chance.

Fifteen years hence, I still dream about him. I see him standing tall with open arms ready to embrace me and bring back the smile on my face. But it is only a dream. Open eyes remind me of the brutality and frailty of human lives and chops my heart with an axe which is filled with beautiful memories.