Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Elegies to Lost Love

I see time as a brush to paint my life's canvass with. So, nothing is ever lost: All the moments become a brush stroke as they seem destined to be. There will be no regrets either: There will be no claims to finality of a final masterstroke. Seen that way, life, my life or anyone's, becomes a beautiful rainbow of colours and possibilities, its each corner filled with a story of what could have been and its each ending filled with a tinge of beautiful sorrow.

The portrait, which must be hung on the wall one day and possibly take the form of my own face - old, lined with little spaces marked by each of these stories - can and should be somewhat anticipated. The little creases build up over time as all the people that loved me step gently in the background, some go sooner than they should have, some linger a little, some leave a mark, some don't. But they must go, as is the rule perhaps, and every brushstroke must reach a conclusion, and the endings be laced with a feeling of inevitable melancholy.

And, it is also true that life is a search of new possibilities, new colours and forms, which must be enjoined together as long as it goes on. Moments that construct this narrative must have their own little makings, and not just appear pointlessly on the canvass: Each brushstroke must have a purpose, which should look as if premeditated, though it tend to start as randomly as autumn rain. And yet, there will be other moments, which are stories of the moments themselves, the reflexive points in our narratives, such as this one, when the melancholy of this life must be savoured, felt deeply inside.

Such thoughts are needed: The lost moments of life are not infidelities towards the present, but indeed what makes us feel the presence of the present. For, I recall with a certain intensity the moment when I woke up, an awkward teenager in my first year of college, with the desperate longing of not wanting to lose the girl I just fell in love with: Indeed I never mastered the courage of telling her, not then, not ever, what I felt, and just imagined her to be the love of my life. But, despite the apparent absurdity, that was a moment of love, full of intense sadness, which I never felt ever again. I remember that waking up moment, with a sinking feeling, knowing what would be, in the darkness of my tiny student room without windows, sweaty, suffocating, completely devoid of any possibilities. I shall remember forever stepping out of the room soon thereafter, in desperation, only to see that the sky darkened with storm clouds, heavy, deep, endless; Then the first wind of storm will reach me, a cold breeze laden with the smell of fresh rain, as if to console me, as if to give me a message. The same message that the music, played on radio in a nearby house, was conveying : A lover's urgings for forgiveness, for forgetting the message of love. I remember this as if this was yesterday, because that was possibly my first moment of love, a deep stroke of ashen blue on the canvass which will live forever.

There are many such moments. I remember that phone call too, from someone I desperately loved and desperately wanted to get away from. She said that she hated me, and I was so happy: It was almost poetic. I always told her she must hate me, fully and intensely, to be able to go away, and she never could. Through the time we were seeing each other, I always wished for the moment she could hate me, because I did not want to see her unhappy. So, when she told me finally that she hated me, I knew she would be free and also how much I loved her: Again, a moment of being set free, a moment of eternal bondage, melted together into a sense of being in love, an indelible brush stroke in the canvass that must be preserved.

So were the moments of belonging, when the little girl I deeply loved told me that she had this terrible dream of me going away, being lost forever. I loved her, with a certain affection I didn't know before, and wanted to protect her forever from all the sorrows, all such waking-up moments. It was one of those points in life when I knew exactly how much I meant to someone else. Also, I knew exactly how she felt, as I had my waking up moments myself, and made a pledge never to go away. This would become my base, the container of my existence, a love that enveloped the meaning of love, a narrative which must form the fountainhead for all others, something that would define everything that I say or do, want to have or have to let go, and eventually who I become.

There are so many such moments. A mistaken mail, an unfinished song, a chance encounter, a long conversation that almost never ended: And there are those people, who, all intently painting their own canvasses, must leave a mark on mine. Each moment will appear to be eternal, each one with claims of a certain finality, an ownership of a kind of the space on the canvass: Like each word of a beautifully constructed story, or each stone in a magnificent structure, each of these are essential, climaxes all, keystones all, without which the painting would never finish. And, each will melt into the other, blue and yellow merging and emerging into melancholy green edges perhaps, to give a shape to a new meaning of love, longing, and belonging.

This moment, when I step back to adore the canvass, my story thus far, I see a pattern though: I see love not as the feeling at the time of togetherness, but of the moment of absence, of memory. It is not the brushstrokes but the edges, not the pure colour, which may have been lust, or affection, or attachment, or friendship, but the melted, subverted edges, of moments as painted and preserved long after they occurred. It is the recollection of the moment rather than the moment itself, the reflexivity that goes with a sentient existence, the brush stroke in full form. I see the humour, how, at the moment of love, we forget the frailties that define us, the fact that everything must end to give it a meaning becomes obscure. But that must be the magic of love: It is that potion that enhances the moment to obscure all the possibilities of its ending, but emerge itself only in the ending, in all its beauty and possibilities.

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