Friday, May 09, 2008

The Empty Other Half (1)

It was beginning to pain now. She had stretched her right arm to the extent possible but still it was not reachable. She didn’t even know how long she’d been pushing her arm like that. But it was hurting now. Suddenly her arm dropped the way a leaf lets go off the ripe fruit. At rest the pain was even more unbearable. It was agony bordering on numbness that was making her almost scream at the top of her voice.
If he had not stirred she wouldn’t have woken up to the fact that it was her dream again. She saw herself lying on her back with left arm on the tummy and the other on her right side. Memory of the pain from the dream still hung about her like fog on a cold winter morning. She examined her right arm and raised it on top of her head. There was actually not even a twinge of pain in reality. She almost hated her dreams. And there was no one to talk about it also. She was unaware of the sleeping body that occupied the other half of her bed. In one corner of her mind it was non-existent. It’s been years since they were married. But what did they know about each other. The question was like a sharp arrow piercing the three layers of skin.
In this conjugal bond of which she appeared so proud to anybody who cared, she’d never been complete herself in spite of the fact it was a long time since they were married. Initially it was the fear of rejection coupled with shame which forced her to put on her best self. Later it became a habit. And the need to better the best self the other knew increased as the days and years passed. She somehow knew that it was the same with him. There had been minor squabbles but never a big quarrel. They went out of their ways to make sure that the other had what he/she wanted. But they’d hardly made any efforts to know each other in the real sense. Of course they were a happy couple and they made a pleasant sight. Everybody was happy and pleased the way their marriage had turned out. But she knew and in all probability even he knew that there was something missing even though they had not let each other know of this. They weren’t pretenders but perhaps belonged to a bizarre breed of escapists and status quoists.
How can this man be my better half?, she wondered. At best he is an extension of my best self. Does that mean that the other half is as empty as an empty coffin? She chuckled at the weird thoughts and the stupid, meaningless image. But at the same time she suspected that the other half was not empty but it was getting enveloped by regret and sadness for nothing specific but for everything in general. She pulled at her thin blanket because she felt quite cold though she knew that it was still summer.
(1)Just the other day as I was about to switch off the lights I noticed that half of my bed was full of things like books, pens, pencil, mobile, clothes, comb, earrings, fingerings, CDs, used mosquito mats, Tea mug, and what not. You could say it was half bed and half flat storage bin. I don’t usually go on guilt trips. But out of a deep sense of discipline I thought of cleaning up the mess and did it in record 2 mins. As I stood back to applaud my masterly work, the following sanskrit sloka came to the mind,
Poornamadah poornamidam poornat poornamuduchyate
Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornam eva avashishyate
because the bed was supposed to look like one whole thing after I had cleaned up. It was comical that instead of looking one whole thing the bed was looking half empty, though quite neat. Thats when the thought struck that a piece on emptiness/vacuum basically focusing on the sad part because I feel sadness sells, could be done. So here it is. But I don’t think I have been able to make much out of that thought.


Atoorva said...

First of all, welcome back. Was missing you over here for quite some time. Second, the thought has indeed come out very well...but perhaps need more elaboration. It is very well put in words(i always marvel at your ability in this reagrd). Exert yourself girl...write more frequently....I want to brag that I know this famous writer .

alice said...

Hey thanks..I will definitely try to be more regular.