Devil Bride

The nimble frame of her body does not fit the brocade kameez well . It hangs loosely about her shoulders and chest . The fact that it is ill – fitting is made less conspicuous by the stiffness of the cloth . Today , She is all tassels and intricate borders , fake red smiles and henna painted hands . Like a small gift , waiting to be snatched by crooked fingers with golden rings and hairy wrists with Rolex watches . The golden embroidery on her brocade kameez is spiralling in coils and loops around her body . She looks like golden vines upon purple cloth or like an embellished patchwork of sequenced embroidery magically moulded into the buxom figure of a woman . At least that’s what she feels like : a dehumanised patch of artwork . She’s shining like a flame in a dark , cavernous cave although she Likes to think of herself as a small dot of light , bobbing like a firefly , at the end of a long tunnel . like the receding headlights of a car on a deserted road on a night without a moon , she chugs forward in thinly spaced hiccups . She can feel the sartorial gaze of the onlookers wearing her like a cloak . She cannot undress nor can she hang the cloak on the peg . The roof of the tent is a baroque amalgamation of violet and baby pink . The men and women look like multicoloured stains of paint splashed on enamel white cloth . The air is dry and cold . Were it alive it would look like frosted pearls wrapped in dabs of cotton . The biting frost stings her like a bee upon the parts of her that are bare . It bites her knuckles and toes , digging its icicle shaped fangs into her tender flesh . Today , Everything is the colour of a wan pastel shade . Pallid and pale . Misty and nebulous. Barring her nothing is florid or garish . The faint hum of a harmonium floats like a mellow breeze . The shamiyana flutters and flaps like an elephant’s ear . The arabesque of mango leaves upon intertwined branches appears like a monster with gnarled branches for limbs , upon the roof of the tent . The bride groom is already seated in a cross legged position . The turquoise sapphire sitting atop his turban is all she can see of him above the mirage of multicoloured men and women seated in a grid of bright colours upon a stark white background . A whisk of jasmine swivels unencumbered inside the tent , caressing the inner lining of her nostrils with its diaphanous wings . The smell of jasmine pricks her like a needle , engendering a succession of dry coughs . She has “ jasmine – allergy”. She tries not to breathe through her nose , opening and shutting her mouth like a fish . Each time she takes a step , her jewellery clanks against her like millions of steel utensils and her throat jumps up and down , like a restless child jumping upon a trampoline , in coughs and sneezes .

She can hear the glittering aunties gasp and sigh , like deflating balloons . They take in the air through imaginary straws in gestures of amusement as they suck the air through the red and pink dots sketched upon their faces . She thinks she feels the air from their lipstick stained mouths brush past her as they comment upon “ the beautiful bride” . She does not look up . All she can see is golden anklets and intricate borders upon multicoloured salwars giving way to chipped nail paint upon bulbous and slender toes . The glistening edges of her own toes peep out from under her sequence spangled skirt from time to time . The armour of jewellery rests like a massive brick upon her body . She can hear somebody calling her a medieval Rajput princess straight out of “a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film .” That does not feel like a compliment . Another piquant voice says “ Jai is so lucky , I wonder how he trapped her into his web !” . Is marriage another name for a web ? That was news to her . However , She intended to be no entangled fly . Jai , the spider weds Rhea the fly . She bites her tongue just in time to stifle the urge to laugh out loud , lest it may look unbecoming or ludicrous on a day that would otherwise be known as the happiest day of her life .

Her star spangled lavender skirt unfurls into a purple coloured puddle as she sits down and waits for the priest to recite the vows . Someone sniffles in the background . Throttled sobs lend cadence to the otherwise unmodulated voice of the priest . The reel of her childhood is boomeranging upon the palimpsest of her mind in rapid succession. She feels like a blank cheque. Empty and banal or like a garment drained of its original colour , a colour that it had hitherto worn with pride . She was going to be written upon in someone else’s handwriting , partly , at least . These subtle reminisces well up in her eyes . The hinge of her throat feels heavy and tight . The thought of leaving ma weighs like a paperweight upon the sheet of her soul . Suddenly , the world around her quivers like a rippling lake . She can feel a drizzle of water upon her cheeks . Her eyes drain themselves off the reservoirs of water , sheltered in their depths . With the tears , The mascara too , drips from her eyes like tar . The blood red fabric of her veil sequesters her tar – ridden face . She feels like dirty walls , tainted with black coloured murals , raging across its otherwise white surface . Panic grips her like a noose around her neck . During the pheras , the tears commence to flow like endless streams of water flowing from a tap with a loose knob . She can taste the cosmetic flavour of her Lakmé mascara , tinged with a hint of salt upon her tongue . She pictures her face , smeared with black cavernous lines running like dirt paths upon it . By now the drizzle has turned into a cloud burst . Her eyes feel like tipping edges of a cliff as the steady stream of tears becomes a gushing waterfall in no time .

Drip , drip , the crocodile tears flow in succession . Plop , one drop falls upon the enamel white sheet . A black spot emerges dramatically upon its exquisite whiteness . Drip , another one falls and unravels like a mystery upon the pearl whiteness of the cloth . Almost immediately her eyes become leaking holes of black water . The reverberations of the make up artist’s soprano voice in unending praise of the beauty of her doe eyes gallop like black stallions around her . She is swimming in the whirlpool of black water . Tar , coal and black markers seem like villains , mascaras like murderers , directing their black wrath against her . She weighs her options . Either she hides behind the veil , throughout the course of the banquet , embracing the Medieval Rajput princess corollary . She could induce Ma to tell everybody that this “remaining hidden till your wedding night” was a family tradition and that on the first day of marriage it was customary for girls to remain hidden until bed time . No , This was too incongruous and ridiculous , besides nobody would believe this considering that Ma herself had hardly conformed to such “ hidden” family traditions , in her heyday . Or she could tell him – who – she – was – marrying about her predicament , but then again she hardly knew him . Ma had strictly forbidden any extra meetings . Ma could be very feudal in her ways . He hadn’t been permitted to court her , nor she him , so they were as good as Two flies caught in the same web , against their respective wills . Since Ma had said , the first impression was also the last one , there was no way she could show him a face splotched with patches of black paint staring like black holes at him , for fear that this might become his “last impression”. It would scare him away . By now she was sure she also had a black eye . What would the aunties say ? They would likely gasp and sigh like deflated balloons once again . Only the underlying feeling would not be the same .

After they have been recognised by God as man and wife , They proceed towards the banquet hall . She is still veiled . Covered in star studded fabric from head to two . Not an inch of her is visible and it is stiflingly hot . She can almost smell the pungent odour of her own sweat . By now the lines of mascara have likely corrugated like frozen blood upon gaping wounds . She can feel the air getting heavier . Through a gauze of red netted fabric ,she can see men in bright turbans staring at her . People have started to wonder and sniff . They have started following the trail of her veil . She can feel them feeling like something is wrong . She has always believed in her hidden clairvoyant powers . They will do anything to sniff “ out” the thing that is wrong . some of them are here for that very aim – to sniff out skeletons in cupboards or to pluck out tarred faces from behind beautiful veils . Oddly , her husband does not batter her with formalities or questions . He leaves her be . Ma had said he was shy and reserved . So much the better for her . She blesses her stars . Then people come in flocks to congratulate her . The wings of the butterflies in her stomach flutter against its inner lining . The feathery end of her nervousness tickles her . At the same time the oddness of her situation pinches her like a tight shoe . She replies from behind the covers to there florid blessings and their “ may -you -both- be -happies ” . It takes a lot of effort to spit out words at them . For a moment her voice fails her but then rises from its death at the critical moment like a corpse springing out of a coffin . She thinks she sounds strange . Her voice seems manly and heavier than it is from behind the red curtain of her veil . Surely , they must be thinking she is mad or worse still possessed , speaking thus from behind a red veil in a century that has largely shed off such antiquated customs . She does not want to lend credence to their speculations so she remains under – cover .

Then suddenly , she does not know why or how , she throws back her veil and lo and behold the great expose comes to pass . “A bride with black lines trickling down the length of her face , zigzagging and traipsing upon her cheeks like winding paths , boldly confronts a flock of nearly two hundred immaculately dressed people .” If society had a mouthpiece for flippant news , these would be the blaring headlines of that days newspaper . She feels like female Mowgli or better still bagheera , the panther in a cage , poked at by people .

The world freezes . Then it cracks . They stand cloistered around her , gaping at her , open mouthed . She can look inside their open mouths , right down to where the lining of their throats begin . Ma shrieks , then sways and falls like a detached pillar uprooted by an earthquake, upon the carpeted floor . The world shifts quite literally from under her feet . That is exactly how Ma would put it to her later . Poor ma . The banquet hall is eerily silent . An expression of disgust , horror and fear culminating in a contorted grimace settles like dust upon each face . Judging from their faces , she must be all black like a massive greyish – blackish cloud .

They must be thinking witch , Dayan , Churail and the like . Quietly she gathers herself and walks away without a word to anybody .

The devil bride does not stoop to look back .

The War Of Colours

The palm of Seema’s hand is smacked upon the mouth of the bayonet -shaped iron pipe , Like a muzzle capping a dog’s snout . For the moment The palm of her hand is a dam , a barrier and an obstruction , preventing both the flow of time and the flow of movement . She eagerly waits for the the moment when the water will spurt out from below her henna stained palm like a hissing geyser —a spray of froth , erupting like a volcano and unfurling like a revelation upon the fragile membrane of her skin . She rests her face upon the palm of her hand and then removes her palm from upon the corrugated mouth of the iron pipe. The water slaps her face tightly like a clap of roaring thunder , prattling against her face vociferously in a spray of seething froth , but then almost immediately slithers like a waterfall down the length of her cheek. The act of unleashing a potentially destructive force upon herself feels strangely liberating . The power of exerting power upon herself titillates her senses .

The iron pipe erupts like a volcano, spitting out a frothing mixture of virile water . She floats like a bubble in the tube well , savouring the taste of freshly ejaculated water , eddying in waves around her . The water glides like an acrobat from in between her fingers while she flits like a ballerina upon the slippery floor of the tube well in an attempt to conquer its wanton essence.Within seconds , the moss covered walls of her outdoor bathtub transform the virgin whiteness of the water into a mossy green shade . The paddy fields around her spring up jubilantly to welcome what will soon become the source of their succour . Like her , they too , are immersed in water , waist down .

The tube well is an even shaped square , surrounded by a sea of paddy gallivanting in innumerable columns across the rolling acres of the farm . It sits at the helm of the ancient peepul tree which quivers like a shadow lurking upon the glistening coat of the water in the tube well . The pensive silence of the night is obliterated by the sound of gushing water lapping against the brick lined walls of the ancient tube well . Owing to the anchorage of the peepul tree , the ancient tubewell is also known as the “ sacred well of wellness” . As far as the eye can see , the sprawling acres of paddy roll in undulating waves , their trim tips touch the flaming horizon of the pink lipped sky . The gentle waves ripple and lap against her while the iron spout continues to spit out showers of water. She draws the mellow air inward in a long drawn breath , gazing at the portrait of nature ensconced before her . The heads of the paddy crop sway back and forth , spreading a soft blanket of tranquility upon her . She floats on the edges of an orange – pink sky kissing the green tips of the crops . Now and then a heart shaped leaf escapes the peepul’s hold and levitates into the green abyss below .

A drop of water hangs tremulously upon the tip of her finger , contemplates and sways before finally plunging noiselessly into the green plaster of water below . The taste of her strawberry lotion swims in swirls of milky waves . She wades like a fish , relishing the strawberry taste of her skin brushing against her own lips . The heart that she has just drawn on the surface of the water, appears and then disappears almost as quickly as it had appeared . Her hair flow like black snakes, almost filling the green pool with its denseness , but the sleek emerald hue is not vanquished .Through the interspersed spaces between the leaves of the Peepul ,The blue sky smiles at her in spade -shaped fragments and Ali’s doe eyed face emerges from within the baroque pattern of the spade shaped leaves .

The tube well is reminiscent of Seema and Ali’s love . Their Love is splashed across its moss spawned walls . It is swimming in flakes upon its bottle green surface , fighting to endure and hold its own amid the opaque green of the water in the tubewell . Seema’s henna stained hands are effusively embracing Ali’s long , delicate fingers . The tabeez around his wrist is heckling the red thread wound around hers . Their soft murmurs fall like dabs of cotton wool upon the glittering sheet of water . The tubewell is their confidante . It will not betray their secret nor will it reverberate with the echoes of their forbidden love . All it will do is let the images of clasped hands and entwined threads dance upon its green surface. In due course of time , It will gulp down these images and so the rendezvous between the colours orange and green will remain a dirty secret between the three .

Seema was In love with Ali . She prayed to God to help her to stop loving him , but it seemed like God had other plans . She had been told that god helps those who help themselves , but there was no helping herself in this case . As much as she strove to do it , She could not get herself to clutch the edges of her love, which was rolling out of her heart like a long spiralling tongue towards the doe – eyed innocence of Ali , the carpenter’s son . The more she tried to roll it back into the compressed ball that it had formerly been , the more it stretched its red surface towards Ali’s doe eyes . She had already plunged headlong into the abyss of his love , dangling on the fatal edge of the cliff .

Initially Ali had been reticent , but with the passage of time , his reticence had evaded itself . All his self – restrain had defeated its purpose . The balloon of his self restrain had been too big , On bursting it had showered his love , like golden confetti upon Seema’s head . The gas balloon filled with his carefully constrained self – restraint was now a pink dot in the sky . Ali was stark naked after peeling off the sartorial splendour of his self – restrain . The shadow of his inhibitions had been wrung out of him like water squelched out from a wet garment . The sky was limitless and so was his love . Reality was a dream . The fact that he was a somnambulist , navigating the dark passage of love evaded him . He was wearing rose coloured spectacle , seeing rosy pink where he should have seen orange and green instead .

Their love had spoken eloquently through her hazy , almond shaped eyes to his thickly forested , black , doey ones . It had blossomed and bloomed in the slight curve of her peony shaped lips and the restrained pursing of his own brown ones . When ever he saw her , he would purse his lips in an attempt to swallow his love for her , or to trap it within the matted edges of his mouth but with the passage of time the intensity of his love had grown too big to be bound by the folds of his lips and one honey coloured evening , he had finally let it out in huffs and pants upon the pink peonies nestled above her chin . She had sucked in the mellow vapours of his love and in doing so had pricked the balloon that Ali had blown in his mouth with her sharpness of her searing passion . Their love had fallen like soft , marble pebbles upon the surface of the water in the tubewell . The red thread had woven its way into the heart of the black one and her peony lips had nestled comfortably between the rust coloured pillows of his tangerine hued lips . The tubewell had soaked in their love – murmurs and tucked them safely under its green blanket . As a wingman , it had played its part well . Theirs’ had been a perfect summer romance , blossoming in the throes of the antebellum . All summer , They had waltzed in the lap of honey scented , rose coloured illusions . They had dreamt of each other and then the next day they had made alive those dreams . They had sparkled like angels as the water in the tubewell had made them dance and float upon its green velvet garden . Ali and Seema had floated upon the edges of an orange – pink sky , immersed in each other like two clasped hands . Now and then , a heart shaped peepul leaf had swayed like a serenading breeze into their little bubble of love . The trim edges of the paddy fields had pricked the pink gauze of the sky that spread itself like the roof of a tent upon the star stricken lovers . The sky had smiled at them in interspersed fragments , through the baroque pattern , formed by the peepul leaves . It was summer time and they both were as happy as could have been at a time when the war of colours was at its pinnacle .

Their love could not be culled by the petty swords of religion . The knots that bound them to each other were eternal . “There is more to our love , than meets the eye ,” he had whispered into the glowing warmth of her pink cheek . She had responded in kind , by planting a peck upon his forehead and then suddenly , one dusty afternoon Seema had found herself standing , cloistered amid throngs of throbbing saffron coloured men . The street was swivelling like a tail of an animal , brushing against the dusty surface of a cemented floor . It was clanking , toiling and roaring , proceeding in thinly spaced hiccups towards where the pulsating mass of orange men was standing . The saffron men were choking the street with their chants . The cacophony of their bawling voices was falling like flaming red skies upon Ali’s doe eyes . Ali , who was lying at her feet like a still plank of wood , axed into two.

The attempts to swallow her tears were failing her . They formed a sea of salty water , gushing down the narrow channel of her throat . She wanted to shout , tear her hair , tear their hair . She wanted to fall like a white blanket upon his corpse . She wanted to grind and mash the world around her . She wanted to obliterate the power of the colour that had murdered him . She wanted to do something – anything , but their was nothing she could do . Her quashed sobs pushed against her body . She could feel the tongue of her love lapping up the mellow scent of his white , crisp kurta . She wanted to rock him like her baby , pet his curly hair , bind the red thread upon her wrist with his black one , in an attempt to sanctify her love . For how else was marriage possible between them ? Even had he been alive , no temple priest or village Kazi would have agreed to sanctify their raw , forbidden love . The saffron men shone like quivering pools of orange paint , through the tremulous pools of her eyes . They shook and swayed , expanded and contracted . “ cow killer !” , one of them shouted , the but of his shoe cudgelled the border of Ali’s Kurta . One of her cousin’s covered her nimble shoulders with his hefty arm in an attempt to shield her from the brutality of the “ butchery” .

Had the tubewell betrayed them ? Had it scrubbed the memories of their love off its surface to sell them to bellicose , saffron coloured men ? Had the wingman -turned -lover ? Had someone seen her jumping over the walls of her khoti? Seema did not know . All she knew was that colour mattered . It mattered a great deal . They had been naive . In all their naïveté they had not been able to see things as they were supposed to be seen. Instead they had seen dreams , dreams that danced in hazy pools and black forests . Their innocence had blindfolded them . It had trapped them into believing that ignorance was bliss and that houses made up of cards , seldom fall .

Man and cow were casualties of the same cataclysmic conflict – the war of colours .

Wreath Of Girlhood

lucid dreams:

Lucid dreams , like butterflies perched on pert, red mouths ,

heralding pink sensuous passions in un- spaced bouts ,

engendering dreams of sweet illusions where pert , red mouths embrace parted lips ,

To drink sweet nectar in long – drawn sips .


Soaking kisses :

where pink lips unclasped to sprinkle strawberry scented smiles tinged with a mellow flavour of frosted vanilla ,

now unclasp merely ,to soak wet passionate kisses in Manila .


Arched Rainbows And Whiskey Clouds

Psychedelic lights stretch across the blackness of the Terry Pub like neon rainbows . Tonight , The pub swims in waves of colognes and perfumes , fusing together like lovers locked in a passionate embrace .The musty smell of smoke smudges its damp odour upon the passionate fusion of embracing fragrances , diluting the mellow sweetness of the air with its raw scent .Wine and whiskey condense into puffs of smoky clouds , floating like ghosts above swaying heads , heads that are tipped back , against the fluffy pillow of a diminished reality .The black night waltzes gracefully while throngs of sweaty bodies dance with wild abandon in its lap . The golden confetti of youth sprinkles the air with a titillating euphoria . Meanwhile , the night pricks Sasha like a million hypodermic needles just as the rippling waves of pink dreams , strawberry cakes , honey smiles , frilly frocks , peach ribbons and mango sunsets engulf her , whisking her back to dead days .


Pink hearts on mirrors:

Girlhood like Young , pink hearts sketched on thick glass mirrors ,

now carved on fragile mirrors .


Belated pink days :

Pink days , like gossamer dotted with shining flakes of frosted days ,

Trading their pink innocence with the fleeting warmth of dancing summer rays .


Culled innocence:

innocence trapped in the web of transient lustre , outlined by an effervescence that never lasts ,

innocence trapped in the pages of diaries , reeking of long dead pasts ,

dead innocence , now throttled , culled and enclosed in bronze casts,

For when something ceases to last , it becomes the past .


Broken Hearts On Broken Mirrors (spoiling pink lipsticks to carve trivial letters is a bad idea)

The white bathroom tiles in the lavatory across the road are now yellow . The walls are chipped , old and scabbed . A faint smell of lavender , occasionally punctuated by a salty odour of old , stagnating urine , pervades the air . Most days ,The flushes in the public lavatory do not function . However today , as Moira presses the button , a waterfall of brackish water scurries down the length of the stained walls of the porcelain pot . Owing to this exceptional miracle , Moira counts the 4th of August as one of her lucky days . The wooden door of the toilet has no bolt so she kicks it open with the tip of her yellow converse sneaker . Strands of her pink hair stick like tattoos on her oily face .she wipes her face and then looks at her stained reflection in the lavatory mirror .The tube light above the mirror flickers and for a moment the lavatory is plunged into a grey film of impenetrable darkness . The public lavatory mirror is glazed with a film of dirt , but that does not deter Moira from sketching the name of her boyfriend in pink lipstick upon the hazy surface of the mirror . Writing names on surfaces has always been Moira’s way of showing love . She carves the letters that make up his name in earnest , her tongue tracing all the curves and lines of the letters as the pink lipstick brings them to life upon the aged mirror . Then she shuts his name in a heart shaped cage in an attempt to make him permanent on a mirror that is smash-able.She makes sure the heart is joined at all places so that her boyfriend’s name does not leak out of the pink heart . Her reflection smiles at her as she darkens the dot around the “i” of Kile for the third time . By now ,The lipstick is greased with dirt and its angular edge has been corroded . The light flickers once more . Moira does not know that tomorrow she will smash the public lavatory mirror into glass pieces . She does not know that , within the space of a few hours ,the letters That make up his name , will glint at her wickedly like chunks of pink diamonds from upon the betel nut stained floor of the public lavatory. What she will know tomorrow , is that spoiling pink lipsticks to carve trivial letters is a bad idea after all.


A pearl string- unstrung:

a string of pearls glowing with virgin light ,

Snipped by steel hands ,

Spilling white , incandescent globes on chipped marble floors in the dead of a burgundy night ,

Marking The end of surreal dreams built on castles of visceral sands.


A murder of roses :

Black holes swallowing petals with charred edges : black and pink embracing to mark the annihilation of sweet roses ,

While Pink innocence flows out in profusion from metallic hoses ,

Like distributaries flowing out of the river of dead petals , Leaving the taste of sweet syrup on the tongues of its killers ,

Where sat bushes of roses , now stand cemented pillars .


Looking For Rainbows In Bubbles

The pale sky gazes languidly at a vile void , the clouds are barely discernible and the pale shadow of yesterday’s moon still lurks like a ghost , even as a new sky has taken birth . Today , the sky is a smooth canvass , dressed in a thick luscious whiteness scraped off the silver surface of the moon . The bubbles flowing out of the toddler’s rose shaped mouth bob across the ceramic sky like rainbows rolled into translucent balls . She looks at the sky through the iridescence of the bubbles because she cannot bare to look at unfiltered reality . Everything has transgressed into an ambivalent nothingness . The flamboyance of her youth ,has been washed , dry cleaned and stored away in a musty oak cupboard – never to be worn again . A leaf whisks past her on the wheels of the October breeze , with a sense of lackadaisical listlessness . The lone leaf sways aimlessly , with no set aim , unquestioningly trusting the wheels of the October breeze to help it reach its destination.The sound of pearls falling in a clutter upon chipped marble floors fills the sky . Youth was a charlatan that coaxed her into seeing tropical sunsets where frosty dusks endure as a rule .


Black

We came from within the arabesque of a black depth , and we shall , in due course of time go right back into it .

Children of the night

Black was a deep darkness streaked with a slash of glimmering stars unfurling its black elusiveness in the climax of what came to be known as “a great profusion of light , darkness and fire” , that eventually gave birth to the great ball of virility . The globe of virility was born out of the womb of an unfathomable darkness . Out of this profound darkness was also born a great mass of virility with virile men and fertile women who resorted to killing virile animals to smear their blood upon the length of their already red , bloody tongues and their white , porcelain teeth. Virile men and fertile women , produced more virile men and fertile women , plucking golden peaches and red virile fruit from hanging branches of virile trees . Expanses of a deep languorous blackness of a black night and the stark whiteness of a white day cohabited with wanton madness to produce more days . Days mated vociferously to produce months . Months produced years , the grand globe went into confinement again and again , its virility always powerfully virile and its fertility always beautifully fertile .

Appropriation

Men fought for grass . Men fought for soil . Men fought for golden metal . Men fought with blood and limbs for sparkling rocks . Men killed and pillaged to behold that sparkle . Men used that sparkle to impregnate fertile women to produce more men and women with a penchant for that sparkle .

Colonisation

Thirsty men with no avenue to quench their unquenchable thirst , dove into oceans seated on wooden rafts made of wood that was stripped off trees . Men used trees to swim and to smear blood on other soils . They then slaughtered men to use other men’s trees to build more rafts to slaughter more men to use their trees for more rafts . Men spread their colour to other lands . Men debilitated the wonderful cycle of black nights and white days by fearing the black depth of the black night that had given birth to them. Men started to despise the colour of the womb that bore them . Men forgot that they were children of the black night .

Temptress

Men tamed cattle to drink its milk. Men slaughtered cattle to eat its carcass . Men tamed the fertility of women in the same way that they had tamed the bovine beasts . Men looked for golden glittering women in other women. Men forgot to tame men . Men forgot to tame the man in man.

Motley paper

Men worshipped paper . Men worshipped metal to exchange it with more metal and paper . Men used geometrical compasses to siphon off land and space . Men put their stamp upon the great globe . Men reduced the globular mass to dismembered chunks . Men pushed the ground upward from below . Men converted soil and space into outwardly protruding metal boxes . Men built roads leading to other roads , other roads leading – nowhere . Men dug for gold . Men lusted after attractive women. Men dug for diamonds , metal and coal . Men built virile factories to produce more objects . Men swam in motley paper . Men gasped for breath in a sea of other Men who had eyes only for motley paper .

My colour shall outshine yours

Men fought for colours . Men fought for saffron . Men fought for and against black . Men fought to pray . Men fought to pray for peace . Men produced different ways to think . Men fought for the best way to think . Men fought and spilled red vermillion to pray for peace . Men fought to pray to what they supposed to be an embodiment of morality . Men spilled blood in profusion to pray for and to a godly morality .

Eloquence – A weapon

Men used words to kill . Men used letters to strangle . Men used words as knives and letters as poison . Men discarded beauty . Men embraced beauty only to kill it . Men spewed hate through letters . Men invented words to suppress and oppress . Men maimed words . Men cooked words in blood . Men drank their own broth , garnished with the grated entrails of the slaughtered souls of the other .

Blood

Men killed their mother . Men licked their blood smeared fingers . Man and woman stood on a land with Blood in its soil , caved upon by a scarlet sky , doomed to be engulfed by a great wave of blackness – a blackness that he had come to fear. Blood everywhere:on the hands of men , in the roots of trees , in the fruit men eat . Blood in their progeny . Blood for eternity .

Amory Blain , Don Quixote And Nietzsche’s Ubermansch

For the enjoyment the mind feels must come from the beauty and harmony which it perceives or contemplates in the things that the eye or the imagination bring before it.”

-Miguel de Cervantes


There are no facts , only interpretations .

– Frederick Nietzsche


“ It’s the whole thing ,” he asserted . “ It’s the one dividing line between good and evil . I have never met a man who led a rotten life and didn’t have a weak will .”

– F. Scott . Fitzgerald


What is meant by having a sense of self ? Does it hold implications towards vanity , egotism and arrogance or does it merely mean believing in your own set of values. Is egotism a blessing in disguise to help us sail through life’s stormy sea ? For many , egotism possesses the ability to transmute into a positive quality . It transgresses magically into a protective sheath to help one transcend the boundaries built by self – doubt . In other words , an inflated sense of self may be a harbinger for success .Viewing life through your own eyes is perhaps the only view of life one can trust and own completely . As Nietzsche puts it , “ there are no facts , only perspectives and interpretations”, in which case life as we see it should doubtless stem from the perspective we choose to make a more logical and a more coherent sense of our individualised role in the larger scheme of things . In the long run, what you fancy yourself to be, builds a foundation for what you may in-fact become. The power to fancy yourself as “ extremely handsome” or “an athlete of possibilities” when the above adjectives are not tangibly self-evident is a marker of zeal, hope, and plausible if not possible greatness .

What is our self ? Is it a fleeting dream? Are we mere illusions ? The fact that your self is a nascent void , is also an elusive myth in itself. The only truth that is tangibly self evident is the lie we tell ourselves. Ironically, this self revelatory lie is the nearest we can venture towards the truth for as Amory Blain puts it , he only knows himself , but that is all. To who or what are we pandering to, when we choose to let the lies others tell us about ourselves, nestle upon our fundamental self. This resistance to let your self become a mirror image of so many other selfs is denigrated to selfishness or the refusal to share yourself .

If egotism meant selfishness, then why are they two different words ?“SELF-ishness” , meaning thinking about yourself more than you think of others . Likewise, SELF-centred likely means placing yourself at the focal point of your own vision. EGOTISM, implies an inflated sense of self bordering on to arrogance. SELFLESSNESS can also mean having no self. No self, means the inability to project your thoughts inwards .This inability to make the most of your inward facing thoughts means denying yourself the chance to progress and to use these inward facing thoughts towards self-progression and eventually towards the betterment of society through the progression of your self. Selfishness also means being vehemently possessive of the self which is you.It implies the denial of trading your fundamental self for something that you had rather not have in return. It is a point blank refusal to conform to constructs you did not in-fact construct. It is a “selfish” act of self preservation likewise it is also a “selfless” act of nurturing a fundamental being huddled in the precincts of your body- an act of charity you do to that pulsating, throbbing, thwarted being in the annals of “you”. This denial to let yourself be appropriated may also be read as a refusal of a bizarre socialism, that wants to appropriate your “self”into an amalgamated whole by annihilating the fundamental you . So this refusal to cut a piece of you to fill society’s appetite is often misconstrued , maimed and interpreted as that perniciously abhorrent quality,SELFISHNESS.

Is the celebration of the self an act of selfishness?if it is, then should we all proceed to sell ourselves to become self-less little archangels with literally no sense of our selves? These contradictions exist magically within the cusp of Fredrick Nietzsche’s superman, F.Scott Fitzgerald’s’ poignant portrayal of himself as Amory Blain in This Side Of Paradise and Miguel d Cervantes’ portrayal of the delusional Don Quixote .


Ever looked at Don Quixote and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s protagonist in his semi-autobiographical novel,This Side Of Paradise, Amory Blain within the outlines of the shadow of Nietzsche’s superman? Don Quixote is more often than not viewed through the desultory lens of a delusional mad hatter who’s imagination has conquered the better part of his insane mind . Ironically ,The myth of his Quixotic belief in himself , (despite bordering on to the unreal)eventually became Don Quixote’s claim to fame . After all isn’t Our belief in ourselves essentially a myth ?Isn’t the choice to trust ourselves also a choice to indulge in self deception ? Each time we believe in ourself, we also believe in a “self”that was unfounded and devoid of any foregrounds that could act as proofs for this mythical self -belief in ourselves. At that moment of choosing to trust a self within us which was as yet an unfounded reality, we all lived a delusional life which was essentially quixotic in nature . When we use words like egotism and vanity to condemn a person with an inflated sense of self we inevitably forget that we chose to believe in this same egotism/vanity when we first chose to believe in ourselves. For what was that first act of self-belief but speculative investment, the returns upon which were in no way foreshadowed.


Blain and Don Quixote belong to the same stock . They look at the world only through eyes that are their own . What is both ironically and uncannily prophetic is the fact that their belief in their latent greatness actually makes them great. Inspite of (or maybe because of) his insanely delusional disposition , Don Quixote becomes a looming figure in the literary canon and as for the romantic egotist , well he goes on to become F.Scott. Fitzgerald. Therefore is egotism in someway a remote precursor of success?Amory , appropriates for himself social prowess , charm , magnetism, poise and the power to fascinate all women, even before he has had a chance to step out and display the grandeur of his social skills . He views himself as physically and mentally superior and possesses an unquestioning faith in his ability to reach an imagined pinnacle of success . The fundamental Blain is an automaton only to his own will . Don Quixote on the other hand is fundamentally similar to Blain , in that his unerring belief in his self – delusive narcissism equals Blains’ appropriation of values which are not in themselves tangibly self evident . Whenever both Don Quixote and Blain are submerged , their vanity is the last part to go below the surface , verily holding them afloat .In other words , their egotistical vanity serves as an anchorage to drift them through life’s transient , impermanent and dangerous shores . The power to view situations singularly as per their own whims helps them to carve out a single path through the arabesque of life’s fleeting dream . The concept of conforming to what others expect of them is a formidable illusion for Blain and Don Quixote. They only know how to function as the masters of their own will and imagination.

“I know my self , but that’s all !” F.Scott Fitzgerald cries stretching his arms towards the crystalline radiant sky,through the character of Amory Blaine in This Side Of Paradise . Is this reclamation of the knowledge of himself an affirmative avowal of the celebration of “ his” self or is it a denial of the knowledge of the self of the other ? If it is read as the latter , then was Amory Blain a vain egotist or was he merely a pulsating , non-conforming genius throbbing on the threshold of a promising career , by reaffirming his self worth in his own eyes ? What makes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of Blaine poignant is that , he is , as a matter of fact painting a portrait of himself in his semi autobiographical novel. Fitzgerald’s protagonist has the characteristics of Nietzsche’s superman, only the ubersmansch in Amory Blain is thwarted and stamped with the imprint of a “selfish egotist”. However , the superman in Armory matures only at the end of the novel by his overt and affirmative egotistical declaration of knowing only himself. Throughout the course of This Side Of Paradise Amory Blain wants to please himself , so much so that even in pleasing others he veritably ends up pleasing himself . He was his own best example , and the singular automaton to his own will . The fact that one can only know oneself is embodied by Amory Blain who wondered how other people could fail to notice that he was a boy marked for glory, when in his eyes that very fact was more than self-evident.A tempered version of Don Quixote, he holds conversations with himself and harbours dreams about become a great half- back or the youngest general in the world. His glorious ambitions about himself are scaffolded within the folds of his inflated sense of self. It was always the becoming he dreamt of, never the being, but he eventually became a famous “personage” – F.Scott Fitzgerald. Which brings us to read his egotism as a prophetic source of power and will in itself , contrary to the pervasive theory that largely propagates the potentially inhibiting power of an inflated sense of self . Amory Blain marks himself a “fortunate youth” capable of infinite expansion of good and evil , he did not consider himself a strong character but relied on his facility and unquestionably superior mentality . He was proud of the fact that he could never become a mechanic or a scientific genius, he barred himself from no other heights- these were his thoughts at a tender age of fourteen. His ability to make sweeping epigrams about himself with no prior experience is both an affirmation of his individuality as well as an uncannily lofty expression of what he perceived him self to be . He takes agency to appropriate for himself a philosophical code to live by , a kind of aristocratic egotism . Was Amory Blain being delusional, or was this juvenile egotism a precursor to a non-conforming genius ?

Fitzgerald’s protagonist is a strong character who possesses the uncanny will to convert the unconventional into the accepted norm . Ironically , Blain fails to recognise his innate power to subvert the norm or rather set the trend even when he tangibly does so . Is this failure to identify his innate ability to make the orange the new black, a harsh oversight on Blaine’s part or a contradiction to his portraiture as a vain , narcissistic dandy ? Blain is described as someone who did not believe that he was a strong character yet in the aftermath of his rise to fame as a quarter back at St . Regis those qualities for which he had suffered , his moodiness , his tendency to pose , his laziness , and his love of playing the fool were now taken as a matter of course , recognised eccentricities in a star quarter back , a clever actor and the editor of St Regis Tattler : it puzzled him to see impressionable small boys imitating the very vanities that had not long ago been contemptible weaknesses . This act of subversion or flouting of a construct was in itself an evidence of a strong character , and yet Blain does not recognise his latent strength of character , rather he belittles himself by stating that he lacked perseverance and self – respect . In this regard, was he as obsessed with himself as he is shown to be ?

Blaine’s appropriation of values to describe himself stand in marked contrast to his resistance to be appropriated by society . He is his own person . He understands nobody and nobody understands him – period . His imagination is neither satisfied nor grasped by his own success , he had listlessly , half accidentally chucked the whole thing and become again – the fundamental Amory . Success refused to change him for the better or for the worse . In this context , was F. Scott Gerald as obsessed with himself as he alleges throughout the course of his autobiographical novel ? He, who evaded the garish light of success by refusing to be appropriated and claimed by its effusive glare both at St Regis and Princeton .Is this the wearing away of the husk , to both reveal and reaffirm the actual self , a reaffirmation of Fitzgerald’s independence ? If this is so , then is independent agency a marker of selfish egotism ? The rejection to fit into society’s vision of who you should be is perhaps the hallmark of both The fictional Blain , Fitzgerald and Don Quixote. This innate rejection can be read as arrogance , hostility, anarchy , egotism or simply as being your fundamental self in a world where holding your own is viewed as an essentially selfish act .