So much happening around you. Do you need to talk?
“Yes, I do and nobody listens to me better than you. Do you have time to do that?
Oh yes….lots of time…go on. Are you happy with yourself?
“Most of the time now, yes. Gosh, but it’s taken me a lifetime to get here.”
Why wasn’t it easy earlier ?
“Too many guidelines from too many sources that would make me judge myself . I would qualify on many counts and fail miserably on others. I was confused.”
But you did keep talking to me, didn’t you? I remember your conversations from the time you were a kid.
“Yes…and thank goodness for that.”
You were about to say , thank God for that and then changed it to goodness. Why?
“Because the second I take God’s name so many images that have been superimposed from outside take over and I don’t like some of those images. “
You mean Allah’s image of a vindictive old man who is waiting to pounce on you for not worshipping him enough?
“No…not just Allah. I don’t like the images of the Hindu Gods either who were introduced to me as divine beings but with all the weaknesses of humans and all this high and low of castes and all that. I kind of like Jesus . He is cool and seems to personify the loving , forgiving, all embracing image most. But then, he cannot be God himself. Buddha talked about nothingness . I don’t want to think of God as nothingness either. It should be everythingness, right?”
Okay, let’s drop that and talk about more mundane things. Are you happy with the way you’ve conducted yourself?
“Not all the time. I’ve been responsible for disharmony many times, whenever I was focussed more on myself . But I haven’t honestly wanted anyone to be unhappy. I haven’t robbed or killed or been really jealous. No that’s not true. I’m a non-vegetarian. Lots of animals and birds have been killed in my name.”
But that’s okay , don’t you think? You have to have nourishment to survive. That is a basic requirement of nature. Killing for sustenance of your physical existence seems to be the way nature seems to have ordained it.
“I’m not so sure…may be when there is no other source of food and may be when you are wired to eat only flesh. That definitely isn’t the case with me. I can stay off eating non-veg and still survive. So do I really need to take another life?”
Okay , let’s forget that for now. Can you love without conditions of religion, nation, caste, region, language, colour of skin, looks, gender ..the works?
“Yes, I can. I most definitely can. I always have. I always will.”
Is that just a private thing ?What if you are put to the test? What if your son wants to marry someone of his choice who breaks all those parameters? Will you be okay with that?
“ I most certainly will . All I would want is their happiness. “
But will you be okay with being side-lined by your society for that? Those lines are being drawn more emphatically now . People are ready to kill for so called honour.
“What do YOU think? Is love conditional?”
I don’t think so. You can condition yourself to think so, but in itself it is not.
“ So too with God, right? Don’t you feel most at peace and blissful when you imagine that none of us exists in these forms that we are attired in and there is nothing but a knowing silence and there is a gentle breeze and fragrances and lilting music which is part of the silence, where each of us that ever lived is there and yet not there ? “
Yep. But …tell me this . Are you feeling proud of yourself at this moment?
“Oops! I can’t escape you, can I? There is no pride when I’m lost in that moment. But now when I’m talking to you…perhaps . We can work on that right ?”
Sure. Are you scared to die ?
“ I was. Not of hell or anything like that. I was scared of being lonely, of being wrenched away from the people I loved , of never being able to communicate with them, of this thought that I would no longer be part of their lives, of forgetting all the wonderful moments of connection with others that I’ve experienced, of forgetting what it is to be alive”
“ Now I’m dead sure that is not going to be like that. I think all we have to do is to click on “save” when those moments of pure love and connection settles in our hearts and delete everything else and then hey presto, it’s all there just the way you wanted it when the disrupted electricity comes on again. Who knows , may be there is an auto-save mechanism too! C’mon, we are talking of an all encompassing , benign whatever you want to call it. So no worries about dying now.”
Glad we had this discussion, right?
“Sure am. So glad you are there for me. Let me give you a hug”
Tag Archives: love
The earth knows no boundaries
The wind knows no walls.
The soft rays of sunlight,
The snow and rain that falls
On the mountains and the valleys
Does not winnow or sieve
To choose one over the other
Their beneficence to give.
Our hearts must find reasons
To align and blend
With the spirit behind nature
And read the messages it sends
The river knows no restraint
It has to reach the sea.
From the mountains, when it flows
It revels in its spirit free.
Through jagged rocks and ravines deep
It wears its way along.
The forests smile when they hear
The lyrical lilt of its song.
Mud and silt and fallen leaves
Hold hands in friendly cheer
And race down in a rush and sweep
Without a speck of fear.
In the plains where they reach
They slow down to catch their breath
From Nature’s lips , they have learnt
Lessons of life and death.
The stillness behind a lofty dam
Is neither right nor real
The river flows through highs and lows
Till it finds its own level.
Freedom comes when the past
Casts no shadows of regret or pain
Freedom finds me when the mind
Does not wallow in future loss or gain
Freedom thrives when my hate and anger
Begins to wither and the heart grows calm
Freedom smiles when my passions
Ceases to simmer and gets embalmed .
Freedom holds my hand and hugs me
When I forgive myself and you
When I know that saint and sinner
Is in me , just as in you.
Freedom smiles when my neighbour’s joy
Fills my lungs and makes me sing
Freedom winks when my prayers
Are feathers that give another, wings.
Freedom spreads its gossamer lightness
When I accept that I do not know
And I surrender without resistance
Like a leaf to the river’s flow.
Freedom is, when I’m aware
Of each moment in which I breathe
And all else is transient except the love
That encompasses me like a sheath.
This is in response to the prompt on Free write Friday on the following link:
The following lines took off from the image posted by a friend on Facebook:
Before I slipped and slid away
I wanted Beauty’s breath on me
A wayward sunbeam heard me pray
And kissed my face most lovingly.
Irridescently, I did shine
Oh glorious, wondrous ,wave of light
Fleetingly I crossed the line
Between the seeing and the Sight
P.S.Image of dewdrop accessed from the Internet
Totally unconditional love that does complete justice to Shakespeare’s sonnet “Marriage of true minds”. That is what the story of Iris Murdoch and John Bayley represents. For someone who has been fond of reading , I feel almost guilty now for never having read any of her writings.
The film “Iris” , directed by Richard Eyre is based on John Bayley’s book “An Elegy for Iris”. The film tells the story of how the two met in Oxford where they were both teaching and then flits back and forth , bringing out starkly the vivaciousness of the younger Iris and the vulnerable , helpless human being she had become in her later days, when she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Their personalities didn’t seem to match at all . She is the confident , outspoken , spirited one and he is gawky and naïve in comparison. But of course they must have recognized something in each other that they knew would outlast the peripheral impressions of compatibility. The characters are so well acted out by Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville as the younger Iris and John and by Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent as the aging couple , coping with the effects of the disease that had incapacitated her even in her normal day to day activities.
Imagine someone, who regarded words and expression of thoughts as something that was of paramount importance to the human existence, suddenly hitting upon a total blank. How frightening that must be. How much of love and patience must he have had to help her through each little tiny act through days and weeks and months.
I’ve always marvelled at the way, filmmakers in Hollywood and in the U.K choose actors to play the different roles and the meticulous way in which they try to portray them even lookswise. Out of curiosity I googled for pictures of Iris Murdoch and John Bayley and was struck by the close resemblance the actors seemed to have with the originals, both in their younger days as well as in their advancing years. Of course there is any amount of learning to be done by our film industry here in India , particularly in the case of Bollywood films, but this aspect is something no one even really bothers about.
Iris is a must watch film for many reasons..for reaffirming belief in true and unflinching love, for excellent direction and editing, for wonderful acting and for increasing one’s awareness of a malady that seems to leave you totally at the mercy of the love and patience of your dear ones.