Saturday, August 21, 2004

The story begins

He knows that he has to distinguish between the act and the vision, but he can’t . The vision is his and his alone, he can turn it over, rewind it, fast-forward it, replay it. But the act belongs to a different time and a different person. Being human, his immediate desire is to possess what is just eluding him – that again is another human drive that has built five thousand years of civilization, with its markets, monuments and institutions. (Immediate corollary, history is a continuous chain of small incremental changes, and not a link of quantum jumps.) In this case, he is not happy with the image; he wants to seize the reality which is projected in that moment. This is how he peels the onion, by defining every next stage of the wild goose chase as “reality”.

That translates into his desperate need to find this woman, although he is not sure what he does then. (Ha, the prodigality of search!) The difficulty is that he never saw her again. He has tried it all. He asked those who tend the café, those who patronise it, those who sit and sip, those who come only to idle away or to show off their latest find in Amazon, he visited the café everyday, but she seemed to have had materialised only for him, and only for that moment. I guess any intelligent non-human being would have found in that a sense of finality, and even a sort of happy, though mystic, ending. But he, being intensely and fatally human, saw a beginning instead. He decided to create her.

Thus started his story. Rather, her story. He doesn’t have much time, you see. Besides, he loves freedom. And variety. And possibilities. So he creates her bit by bit. He sits on the computer everyday for a short while, and gives colour to his passion. She changes everyday, as he does. She grows, as he does. She comes to life through him, and he tastes life through her. But then, wasn’t she his secret life? Why the hell does he put her up on the internet?

Hope-against-hope, in its doomed struggle against rationality, always uses devious means.

The Right. The left. Swing. One-Two-Three....To the right. To the left. Then one, then two. Then again. Hands outstretched. She loses her hands. The right. The left. The feet forget to touch the ground. Higher...higher. Her name recedes into sweet oblivion. Everybody watches. She slowly forgets that. She is suddenly frightened that she is losing it all. All that she has built over the years. What the heck, she thinks. Thankgod that she can still think at all with the cadence going lub..dup...lub...dup...inside her being. Her life sinks into the vortex - her groceries, her bank account, her profession, her identity, her secrets, her fairytales, her thoughts, her unborn words, her longings, her cravings, all scooped out of her. She stops existing. She grows into someone far, far away and spreads her wings in the open blue...

And his hope-against-hope, the stubborn, the wily, knows that someone far away is reading this as she dances away into the darkness.