Friday, September 03, 2010

Ice Maiden

She had the face of an angel. It calmed the nerves of others. They lost track of their thoughts when they looked into her dreamy eyes. Her eyes always shone like a diamond and her smile which never failed to reach her eyes gave her a mysterious demeanor. It was as if she was speaking through her eyes in some language known only to her. It was her eyes which made him court her. Nobody had challenged him but he wanted to unravel the secret of her expressive eyes. Nobody who had stared deep into her clear, unpretentious, unsuspecting eyes which looked at the world with complete trust and faith had succeeded in not getting entangled. So unbeknown to him he had let her eyes carry him to some distant land of beauty, a paradise of perfection. And there came a day when he realized the attachment and the bond which he felt was true and was sure she knew existed between him and her. His joy knew no bounds when she truly reciprocated his feelings. She catered to him like a slave. All she wanted was to hear him speak. She let him speak about his life, his work, his ambitions, his feelings, his world. She asked nothing else. He nonetheless showered her with a variety of gifts which he thought would please her but never really got to know whether she was happy with his offerings of devotion. Whenever his friends came to their condo, they played the card game Bluff. And she never even once lost in the game. Perhaps it was because she had played that game ever since she was a child. Perhaps it was because the other players who were enchanted by the beauty of her unblemished face, happy and care-free manners wanted her to win the game. Perhaps it was because she was the only one who knew how to play the game and win it too.
It was one evening when he came home from work that he heard it first. Choicest swear words in her voice. His heart skipped a beat. It was still pounding when her smiling face greeted him after he rang the bell. Her innocent reply that she was just reading out the subtitles while watching Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs amused him but did not completely satisfy. His antennas were up. And he heard her swear and talk rubbish over phone one night when she thought he was deep in sleep. And again once he heard her mushy voice from the bathroom speaking non-sense. But whenever he confronted her there was an alibi. It got worse. And he feared for his sanity. He thought about it and decided to break-off. If she was stunned or hurt by his decision, she did not show it. Finally the day arrived for his departure. He could see that she was troubled and perhaps had cried all night long. She looked at him with her tear stricken eyes which pleaded him to stay. He would remember that face for the rest of his life. But stay, he could not.
After he left, she dropped flat on her bed. What an emotional mess! He will carry the guilt in his heart for the rest of his life, she thought as she continued to stare at the ceiling. And thought that she did not have to struggle too much this time. He had nothing else to say. He had outlived his utility. She thought of her next date. She would break the news to him. The impact would be huge since she is still red-eyed from the break-up. The thought pricked her. But she thought she was not a gold-digger. She didn’t want men for their money, wealth, property, name, fame or whatever. She wanted them for their stories for her story. It was not her fault if men trusted their eyes more than their ears. It was not her fault if she had become an expert in the game of Bluff. As she preened in to her ice-maiden image in the mirror she wondered, enamored by the beauty in the mirror whether her wish to escape aging like in the story of King Yayati and Picture of Dorian Gray had been truly granted by some supernatural force.

PS: when I thought of doing a piece on beauty with a motive, the face I had in my mind was that of Aishwarya Rai’s from Mani’s best movie, in my opinion, Iruvar (1). The face which makes Mohan Lal look lost forever while staring at it, from his balcony or window I don’t remember. But when after completing the piece I re-read it, the face that emerged and the story it reminded was, horror of all horrors, Ms.Sharon Stone & Basic Instinct. Of course it lacks all that sensuality and seductive trap that Ms. Stone lays for her victims. But the theme is so unoriginal; I stood accused in my own eyes. Since I had spent nearly 4 hours on the piece I did not have the heart to press delete button.
(1) Iruvar is a special movie which I enjoyed watching even though I don’t understand Tamil much. Everything is sort of perfect in that movie. I shall write about it some other time.

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