‘You had a father: let your son say so’

~ Sonnet 13, William Shakespeare

My father wasn’t a great man. He was a great illusion of a man. He was an amazing failure. There wasn’t a thing he hadn’t failed miserably in – education, business, marxism, physics, sex. And I am not being too harsh. To say nothing of him would be harsh. He had notions of greatness which if he would have ever got chance to execute would have proved not to be that great. He was a product of an age which had made a sheer profitable business out of thinking out loud. Not a thinker – though he tried hard at it – he was just loud.

I rememeber my father one time when my mother was talking to herself and I was playing hard to get with the bees. And the evening was pouring down heavily. And sky was all betrayal and despair. And the meaning kept disappearing. And the dogs were desperate. Unreason ruled. I remember my father. If foolishness had a face and it wasn’t beautiful it would have looked like my father. Though he was not ugly. His face was all chin – and foolishness. I remember him becoming his torn tweed jacket, making pretty foreground to the shit coloured Government quarter, and almost thinking out loud: I am moving to Kashmir. Delhi disappoints me. My mother kept talking to herself. I continued playing hard to get with the bees. He went inside. And he never left.

Whatever be the failures of this civilization, a failing, desperate man beats them all. I remember my father, his nose upturned to call the rain, his hairy ears deaf to the point of being utterly noisy, his eyes losing the power to pretend, his lips never much there. I remember him a painter’s dream. And a writer’s muse. And a sculptor’s nightmare. I remember my father. That’s enough accomplishment. Isn’t it?

I was in love – in the very middle of it. And not that love that depends on weather – hot in winter, cold by summer, not even there by the first rain. Independent, weatherproof love – if you can call it love. Some times – a very seldom ‘some’ that – one lives. Lives through the lack (bear with me, I ought to make sense sooner or later) – lives through the lack of a higher meaning that words do not possess, can never possess – lives through without compulsions – lives through without compulsions of gender – lives through like wood – lives through like wood in tree. Lives through – ah! I am still not within the reaches of the place where they make sense, I see. Let me try again.

I once heard of a man who died sky-diving – in the very middle of it. He jumped, and in the blue nothingness that lay before him, his heart skipped a beat, and soon afterwards there was nothing for it to skip. Jumpquick, flysilent death – a death Faulkner would love to write of. The man died in flight. Rudderless, breathless, meaningless. Imagine, high above the ground, just before the end, there must have been no words. And not those words one speaks. Not the suface words. Surface words have vertigo. They are scared of heights (or why would they leave you when you are on the top of a blue cliif, overlooking a brook, that you can not look because of the wooden wet white fog?) Surely, there must have been no words just before he died. Not even the unspoken ones that substitute for the soul. I was that man when I was in love with her. Not like him in his jump, or in his flight but like him just before his death. Sense still eludes, I know.

She was too old not to be beautiful. I was too young not to be mad. What took me in? Her wrinkles went beautifully with her smile. That’s one possible explanation. There must have been something else though. What took me in? Her eyes! her eyes, it seemed, had always a drop or two to spare. She’d cry whenever I’d made her laugh and I always did so. A precise, substantial laughter. A kind of a laughter one could weigh in kilograms. That seems it. But no. What took me in? Perhaps the way she kissed me. It was like kissing Buddha – if only he was into passion and kissing! It was like silence, her kiss. I’d come close to her, trembling, and she would be as still as a winter’s night. And I’d bring my leviathan nose close to her puny one. And like a little explorer, her little nose would trace the plain contours that made my young face. And then’d she’d kiss me. And like a young fool, I’d cry. If only I could have said something. But words are also scared of love. So, perhaps the kiss? No, I don’t think so.

What took me in? Maybe – maybe – it is something I can never remember.

I wish I could have made sense.