Saturday, July 23, 2011

THE OTHER SON OF GANGES: PART 9


9. THE PANDIT’S OBSEQUY

“You pull the nerve. You pull the life…”, began Bhai. (PART 8)

Every end has a beginning. And all of it began when all of it had ended. Like the soil parting away for a layer of new soil beneath itself as the rain breaks through its surface. Men, women and children have all have to face a downpour of time upon them that breaks through their selves. The rainy night upon the terrace was one such night. Back home, on the banks of the Ganges, somewhere along the Harischandra Ghat, a sadhu sits and speaks of wisdom that lay hidden in a battered book. As a boy, he remembered going near the Sadhu just once- he could never manage to do it again. The Sadhu tried to bite him. Everyone did call him mad. But the Sadhu spoke of a book- where a teacher taught a pupil about truth and the very existence of all beings. The pupil could not fight some war against his kith and kin. But the teacher showed him a way. And it all made sense, once the teacher spoke.

Bhai was the teacher and Bhanupratap- a pupil.

“… It’s a truth explored a little too many times, perhaps, in the past. And yes. We still do like testing it. The taste of the nerve before being cut”, said Bhai.

“But I do not understand. Isn’t that cruel? And the agony that is left behind…”, said Bhanupratap.

“People, I find sometimes, find pleasure in savouring agony. Odd choice of words, there. But true, nevertheless. People like a meltdown. Stories of sacrifices, heroism, love- they just seep in deep down, making us uncomfortably heavy at places, completely unknown even to us! People relish these pains. Their eyes—oh you must see it., just glow with the molten pains from their insides”, said Bhai.

“It’s a game played upon most, I guess”, said Bhanupratap.

“Precisely. Have you ever been afraid”? asked Bhai. Bhanupratap nodded and smiled. “Beautiful thing, ‘fear’, isn’t it”, continued Bhai, “A small dose of it, the thing ‘inside’ is ‘out’ and ‘outside’ is lost forever. Trust, hope, happiness- however you claim that things would be fine someday- they desert you. May be not forever, but they do- for a while. I think ‘fear’ is beautiful”.

“All things created in heaps and mounds inside a human mind- are beautiful”, said Bhanupratap.

“Back again, are we, Panditji ? I am an admirer of this particular thing- ‘fear’, the most- Panditji. Learn to admire- for it exists only to be admired. For the real beauty in things is not let shouting out loud. It is subtle. It’s for the admirer to trace it. ‘Subtlety’, an art in itself. ‘Fear’ is subtle. It lies deep down in the stories of ghosts that track down naughty kids, or behind those big books of law written in words that one can never understand, or in calamities that strike places that you have never known to be so close near you. It may even be in those closed eyes of a child who has slept a little more than usual! Subtle”.

“One can never overcome this beauty for they are born with it. Right since that journey from the dark, yet comfortable life of a cozy womb to the light outside, waiting to engulf the little life with just too many of its games- we are born with it. Why else do you think, we learn our defenses there? Nails grow in there. We learn to react in there. We are burdened with these little skills to help us live with ‘fear’. And it always stays inside us- till the grave turns cold- sleeping off only when we do”, said Bhai.

When Bhanupratap left, Bhai’s words were still ringing aloud deep inside him. The rain water, he felt, had cleansed him- just like the Ganges poured herself upon his forehead out of a tiny bronze nozzle, when he was little. It was an end and a beginning. It was again an end and a beginning, now.

“Fear- is white”, Bhai had said. “White- for its fair and just and a part of everyone. Unlike ‘life’- a dark hole, that never plays fair. But it’s this combination- that makes us all ‘grey’. People color-coded. All species- grey”.

As Bhanupratap settled down, thinking about a life ahead as Bhanupratap- he began to wonder in awe, about Bhai- if he had known about this day, when they first met in the tiny little prison cell, before? Seemed ages back- when all that happened.

“Admirers of beauty in ‘fear’, they like the white. For they bring out the white in people, better. For in white- and only in white, things show themselves. The truth. We ‘admirers’ like the truth. Out in the open. They are the ones with the ‘power’ to bring out the white. ‘Power’- brings out white. The ‘dark’ is put out, so that the ‘white’ can come out. And ‘Power’- does all that”, Bhai had said.

May be it was his calling. He was the one with ‘Power’ to bring out the truth out of its hiding. Just as Bhai had told him. Tomorrow- a new day. For tomorrow, he would be born, again.

Tomorrow, Bhanupratap, would become- Bhai…

(..To be continued., Part 10: “Of Power, Truth and Who”…)

4 comments:

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

You make me believe of Bhai as being a teacher, and a preacher. Pretty convincing too. But I feel that white and black are contemporaries, white, from the reflection of all facets, and black from the absorption of all. Black shows white well, and white shows black equally gracefully.

Carry on, it took a while for this part.


Cheers,
Blasphemous Aesthete

Amber Light said...

Hello Matangi,

Congratulations on your writing. Your series reads in the style one of those Indian underworld movie that has become so popular today.

1. I wish your column of text was a bit broader. It is tough to read long passages while scrolling so often.

2. What is Bhanu Bhai's role/background here? Is he a super-guru mob boss? I wish you went into what makes/made him such a deep thinker. ( I think this was Mr Aesthete's point as well)

3. I wish you had also gone into what makes Shravan so devoted to Ganga, apart from considering his mother. There must have been something more than seeing her consume his real mother's remains. I know you have it in your mind, in the creation of your story. It is not reflected strongly in your story.

Sorry for this long tirade/lecture. I hope you understand, it was more of a wishlist and that I write with good intentions ;)

Keep Writing,
Amber

அப்பாதுரை said...

esoteric content in 'lighter side' ?

that opposites could be bound in a continuum is only surmisable - that's the irony.

i believe white is equally dark as well. we tend to ignore, or refuse to understand, 'dark white'.

Chandramouli G said...

Nice story so far. I liked the way you have colour coded feelings. I might not entirely agree to what you say, but to logically understand what you say (I hope).

Very thoughtful.. Keep writing.. This one changed the opinion I had about Bhai.. Makes me feel that he is Shravan's alterego.

Looking forward for the next parts..

- Keep writing

Cheers,
Chandramouli

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