A Woman’s Snare…

They chatter with one man,
Look at another with amorous gestures;
And in their minds think of yet another,
Who then is loved by a woman?

From: Bhartrihari [7th Century]

When you read these lines, the immediate thing that you want to do is to find a woman in your memory lanes that fits the above bill. One will perhaps find not one, but many. But, perhaps this also applies to men, in fact I think they are more likely to do so, if you accept the explanations from evolutionary psychology and comparative psychology.

In evolutionary psychology they say that the males want to produce as many offspring as possible. So they try to mate with as many females as possible, many times the quality does not matter, only quantity does. This is so because the males do not have to invest [sic] a lot in mating. The analogy that is often given to the sperm production in males is to spam mails that hit your mailbox daily. Even if one in 10 million makes it, your job is done. But for the females the bodily investment is much larger. So females they say prefer quality over quantity. After the copulation it is the female who has to bear the child, and the responsibility of male becomes minimal. Imagine if a human male copulated daily with a fertile female, which I guess one can, how many children can he produce in a life time? Perhaps in thousands. Similarly if we think of human females producing children when they can, that is taking into consideration their biology; perhaps one child in a year, considering all other factors, the total number will be max at 2 dozen or so. So it is the males who would are more likely to be mating more than women to produce children and that too with many different ones, if they have the capabilities.

This particular observation is not general, and of course does not apply to all species. There are species of sea-horse in which the males rear the young ones, in almost all birds the rearing of offspring is the joint responsibility of the couple. In animals who have social structures, as in case of humans and monkeys, the young ones are raised socially.

But we being humans, do not copulate just for procreation, we do also copulate for recreation [of ourselves that is]. They say that dolphins and chimps are the only other creatures which do so, no wonder they are called intelligent. All other animals copulate when their natural cycle tells them to. So in this light of recreational copulation the above verses acquire a different meaning. There are women and men who copulate and want to copulate for recreation, it is perhaps their nature to do so, but perhaps they are bound too strongly by the social sanctions that surround them.

The next question to ask is that is it right for them to do so?

Well, the answer depends on what one thinks of such social norms. Are they to be followed in to to, or they have an interpretation dependent logic.

The answer is something that I do not know…

PS: Perhaps the essay might sound silly, it is; I have to expand on certain sections.

Anonymous Stranger

Last month I has a strange experience with a anonymous stranger.
I call the person anonymous is because the identity of that person is not known to me. I received a SMS which has some riddle like lines..
This led to an exchange of SMS which I am reporting here.
This is a monologue, which some people in the past have accused me of doing, for the reason that `Save sent msgs’ function is disabled on my phone. So feel free to fill in the in between SMS on my side, where you want to

It all started with these two messages from this number 902856xxxx
[The numbers at the beginning are YEAR:MONTH:DAY:HOURS:MINUTES]


2010:04:14:00:46: Yews over unwilling. Restless elated yet. Elated sumer amply relumes each..
2010:04:14:16:36: Each Not Chancing His Arrival Not To Ingenuity Not Green

I tried to call, then  all other SMS came from this number, when 909612xxxx

2010:04:14:20:31: Dont dont dont call.. Look what happens when you do.. Now i have to text you from this number..
2010:04:15:20:35: so i assume you could not decipher the first two text s code
2010:04:16:21:15: Ok lets take it this way.. If you dont want me to text give me a missed and if you want dont react.. I highly suspect we have the prevalence of the former here.. So please go ahead..
2010:04:16:22:05: You know you are like pepin but of course in only your stubborn and nonchalant ways..
2010:04:17:09:41: Finally.. Not that i know what s m means but still its porgress.. Did you decode?
2010:04:17:09:47: Attitude.. It like it.. Infact i think you should patent it.. For obvious  reasons you know..
2010:04:17:10:01: Ok now amit s again become pepin.. Tell me are my text so loathable or its just you..
2010:04:17:11:27: Ok so my texts are not good and you are intended upon talking in monosyllables.. At least we agree on one thing.. Its progress again..
2010:04:17:14:07: didnt intend upon disturbin bt i texted n it ws nt deleverin so i thought i hav troubled u 2 d extend of switchin off ur phone..wanted 2 ask if u really dont like.. I wont text.?
2010:04:17:14:11: Yea i know you want to say ‘your wish’.. cos i started.. But seriously you can say bluntly..
2010:04:17:14:16: Oh regarding choice between texting or not texting or something more difficult..
2010:04:17:14:22: Ah.. Thats  what i meant by difficult.. No nothing.. Nothin at all infact.. Lets save us both some messages.. You : then why are you texting me. Me : nothing particular but i ll stop the moment you tell me to.. you: ….. Me : oks… Now you can complete..
2010:04:17:14:25: Flattered..
2010:04:17:14:25: At least pepin thinks i m worth hmmm s..
2010:04:17:14:28: Ok then.. Do think.. Do what you rmind says.. What is it saying now..
2010:04:17:14:36: Ok forget if you dont want to answer.. Or still wordless.?
2010:04:17:14:43: Come on pepin.. Ok dont try to know your mind. Its complex.. Ask me who has been trying to extract replys from you all week..
2010:04:17:14:45: Oh god.. Will you ever reply without me asking you a question..
2010:04:17:14:53: He was french dictator.. Reminds of you..
2010:04:17:14:59: Angry?
2010:04:17:15:02: Hmmm.. So you know him..
2010:04:17:15:13: Cute.. but dont know try to know him personaly.. not a nice guy..
2010:04:17:15:17: Why not.. I know all dictators personally..
2010:04:17:15:19: Ok.. Who s your ideal person.. O mean you admire the ideas of whom,, Somebody i would know..
2010:04:17:15:26: Lets see if i am a physicist if would like chandrashekhar or einstein or stephen hawking.. Read breif hostory of time? Its beautiful..
2010:04:17:15:30: Come on pepin… Say na..
2010:04:17:15:34: Khan
2010:04:17:15:38: ?
2010:04:17:15:44: Yeah y him.. He was worse than pepin.. Are you kidding..
2010:04:17:15:58: Please talk in more than one word.. Its difficult you know..
2010:04:17:16:30: Kay zhala..
2010:04:17:16:33: :-).. Am i very boring.. Yes you are interesting..
2010:04:17:16:55: That means yes?
2010:04:17:17:02: That is because you.. No first answer.. Am i really boring..
2010:04:17:17:03: Or moderately so..
2010:04:17:17:19: At least yes or no..
2010:04:17:17:24: Can you know if you ll talk to me..
2010:04:17:17:25: Did you realise this was your longest sentence
2010:04:17:17:26: No.. I m otherwise very boring.. Its better on text..
2010:04:17:17:27: Yup.. Your highness is gettin better..
2010:04:17:17:31: No.. I m otherwise very boring.. Its better on text..        
2010:04:17:17:32: Yup.. Your highness is gettin better..
2010:04:17:17:35: You feelin it.? Because for me its like.. Come on girl.. Come up with something cool..
2010:04:17:17:48: The signal is bad here.. Airtel sucks.. And what else s going on..
2010:04:17:17:50: Ok mr pepin but please say more that two words..
2010:04:17:17:51: Okay chose one.. Sea or moutain.. Orange or red.. Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:17:54: Afraid? Of what 🙂 I have given up on studies.. How s your ph d going..
2010:04:17:17:59: No silly.. Given up means going okay okay..
2010:04:17:18:00: Y u got married..
2010:04:17:18:00: Sounding so sad like hmmm..
2010:04:17:18:02: Okay chose one.. Sea or mountain.. orange or red.. Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:18:04: Sea or moutain..
2010:04:17:18:05: Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:18:05: Yaar amit i dont know.. Y would otherwise i ask you..
2010:04:17:18:10: Ok.. You are somebosy who gets angry unexpectedly, likes travelling, loyal to very very limited people and.. Okay select one.. Eyes or nose..
2010:04:17:18:12: And think what people are from inside is more mp that what people look..
2010:04:17:18:13: .Am i correct or wrong. What percent
2010:04:17:18:24: You know this is what is unexpected.. The moment i think you are ok you become cold again.. Ok you only say since my talks are vague apparently
2010:04:17:18:27: Your game.?
2010:04:17:18:30: Cute but.. Anyways..
2010:04:17:18:32: Its just too early… And by the way mr pepin my knowing your identity is default.. And playing games.. Not my cup of tea
2010:04:17:18:33: Well you r naive.. Lets assume for the moment what you said was cute..
2010:04:17:18:35: Ok then it is.. Do you realise.. One sms includes more than sixty char nad you use just two of them.. National wastage..
2010:04:17:18:35: Ok fav author..?
2010:04:17:18:36: Coffee.?
2010:04:17:18:38: Amit say na..
2010:04:17:18:40: Say one.. You are such a spoilsport..
2010:04:17:18:45: Yeah since i am an expert on abbreviations that one beats me..
2010:04:17:18:47: Ok..
2010:04:17:18:51: Kay zhala again?
2010:04:17:19:10: So what does sm really mean
2010:04:17:19:11: No say na..
2010:04:17:19:12: Come on say na
2010:04:17:19:14: I understood that pepin.. But justified enough.. I m keeping my share of identity so you can keep your sm to yourself..
2010:04:17:19:16: No my initials are not that.. But whats that.. Where did you get it from..
2010:04:17:19:17: No ad they are not my initials..
2010:04:17:19:19: No.. Come on.. I m hidin.. Will not lie..
2010:04:17:19:21: Yeah.. I really dont know where you are getting that from but do tell me..
2010:04:17:19:21: Say na whats sm
2010:04:17:19:24: And you have appeal for..?
2010:04:17:19:25: Seriously..
2010:04:17:19:27: No not why not at all.. Cool..
2010:04:17:19:33: Kay zhaka again?
2010:04:17:19:38: Ok.. Will text you once i am in a position to disclose my identity.. Take care..

I really don’t know what sense to make out of all this…

Love, but know not why

Love, but know not why

Love not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part;
No, nor for my constant heart:
For those may fail or turn ill, —
So thou and I shall sever.

Keep therefore a true woman’s eye,
And love me still, but know not why:
So hast thou the same reason still
To doat upon me ever.

– Anonymous

The Sick Rose

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.


William Blake

This poem is a part of William Blake’s Songs of Experience published in 1794. The above image is the hand illustration of the poem as it appeared in the 1794 edition. Though a little one, this poem like Blake’s other works this poem is loaded with meaning. Just give them as the key words and you will find a lot of entries explaining the meaning of the poem. Wikipedia article also gives multiple meanings to the metaphors used in the poem. Some other commentaries are here and here. As is with other things people see things in their own perspective, with the Experience that they have. No wonder that Blake put this poem of his in the Songs of Experience.

[I first read about Blake in the Rama Series by Arthur C Clarke. Blake’s Tyger is recited there, after seeing the vastness of the alien space ship which is named Rama.]

We as humans try to understand the things that we see and experience as a part of the mental structures that already exist in our minds. Cognitively this is the only way in which can survive in this world. Try to imagine a world in which no new things that you see or experience are not a part of what you have in your mind.

With the comments from others apart, Blake produces two strong metaphorical views about the poem in me. These two views share lines of thoughts and they don’t share some. The interpretation that we can do of these lines depends on the view of the world that we have. Everyone tries to look with the experience that they have at back of their mind. No wonder many people don’t agree to what they perceive in literature.

So what are the interpretations that one can make from these lines?
[One thing is for sure, now it does not matter what Blake had in mind when he wrote this poem. The readers now can make their own interpretations, about what Blake had to say, whether he meant the same thing or not is an entirely different matter.]

O Rose, thou art sick!

In this line the word Rose is a metaphor for woman. If we take a closer look at the Rose in the illustration by Blake, we see a feminine figure metamorphosing from the Rose. So the rest of the line would imply that the woman is sick. But what kind of sickness is this?

The invisible worm That flies in the night,
In the howling storm, Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy: And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.

What can be an invisible worm? The invisible worm is the cause of the sickness of the rose. The description that Blake adds is that it flies in the night. One of the interpretations is that the worm is an metaphor for the phallus and the sickness of the Rose that is being referred to is a STD. Another of the interpretation is that the it is the act of losing of the virginity and becoming impregnated. The worm seen in this sense is the phallus. As this happens in the night the worm is seen to be flying in the night. One more interpretation for the invisible worm would be the semen, which “flies” in the night.

The howling storm in the night can very well represent the screams of pleasure or pain. In which the woman is ruined [the life destroyed], as she is now impregnated.

The word crimson is also used metaphorically. It can represent both love and blood. For the color of love is red, and that too a dark one. So is the color of blood. The bed of crimson joy can mean the actual bed where the blood of the virgin has been spilled. The other is the red womb of the woman, which has been impregnated [found] by the invisible worm [sperm].

Another interpretation is that the rose symbolizes love, and the worm but a troubled soul. The worm flying around in the night is a lover long lost but never out of one’s mind. The lines

And his dark secret love,
Does thy life destroy.

May represent lovers who may not have been of actually been together, but a unified by a secret bond. These lines can also be taken to represent a secret lover who has married another. But the love still persists and is taking its toll on the woman, who is now in confusion [howling storm], as the secret lover has now [found] a place deep in her heart [the crimson bed]. Hence the life of the woman due to it [secret lover ] stands to ruin.

These are some of the few interpretations of Blake’s Sick Rose, whether you agree or not it depends on you. Many of the interpretations may seem far fetched, but then Blake is such an author that you need to stretch mentally a bit in order to grasp the depth of his thoughts.

Whatever the interpretations, this is one of the most imagination provoking and concise writing I have come across. Blake makes your imagination run wild and the various scenarios unfold which makes these 8 lines come to life.

पेरु

ती बसस्टॅाप समोर ऊभी होती. सोबत एक मैत्रीणपण होती. अाता ती सोबतची कोण मैत्रीण अाहे की नाही, हे मला कस कळल. म्हणजे मी  काही तिला जाऊन वैगरे विचारले नाही की ” अापण दोघी मैत्रीणी अाहात काय ?” म्हणुन. तेवढी अापली हिम्मत असती तर मालक अाम्ही हे असे काही लिहित-बिहित बसलो नसतो. त्या दोघीही पेरु खात होत्या. अर्घा-अर्घा भाग दोघींकडे. त्यामुळे वाटल की त्या मैत्रीणी असाव्यात. अाता खरच असतील की नाही, हे मला माहित नाही. पण मालक हे तुम्ही सिद्ध वा असिद्ध करु शकत नाही. कारण ही गोष्ट फक्त मी पाहिली, म्हणजे अजुनही लोक होते तिथ, पण मी जे पाहिले तेच बघणारे कोणी नाही. अाणि समजा बघितले तरी तिच्या बद्दल लिहणारे तर नाहीच. अाणि ही माझी गोष्ट त्यामुळे माझ अैका. पण ते सोडा. तर सांगायची गोष्ट म्हणजे ही युवती मैत्रीणी सोबत पेरु खात बसस्टॅाप समोर ऊभी होती.
असेल तरी अठरा एकोणीस वर्षांची. कॅालेाजत जात असेल. पाठीला मागे बॅग होती. बसची वाट पाहतांना काहीतरी टाईमपास म्हणून पेरु घेतला असेल, किंवा भुक लागलेली म्हणुन. अाता हे काही मात्र अापल्याला माहित नाही.  दिसायला तशी छानच होती. बऱ्यापैकी गोरी, पण पांढरी फटक नाही. म्हणजे मुबंईकरांच्या भाषेत म्हणायचे झाले तर वाईफ मटेरियल. ती सुंदर असली तरी लक्षात त्यामुळे नाही राहिली. पेरु ती फारच चवीने खात होती. त्यामुळेच ती लक्षात राहिली. शलवार कमीज् घातली होती, इस्त्री, स्टार्च वैगरे केलेली. कपड्याचा रंग वैगरे चांगला होता एकदम गडद हिरवा होता. म्हणजे तिचा कलर सेन्स अापल्याला अावडला. 
तशी ती साधारणपणे माझ्याकडेच बघत होती. मला वाटले की मलाच बघते अाहे. असे बरेचदा वाटत,  . पण नंतर कळले की ती अापल्या पलिकडे बघते अाहे. रसत्याच्या दुसऱ्या बाजुला बघितले तर, तिथे बघण्याजोग काही नव्हते. म्हणजे पुष्कळ माणसे, बिलडिंग वैगरे होती, पण विषेश असे काही नाही. मग मला फार बर वाटल. म्हणजे ही पण अापल्यासारखी दिसण्याच्या पलिकडे पाहण्याचा प्रयत्न करत होती. का म्हणुन अापण जे दुष्टीक्षेपात येईल तेच बघायचे? खर जग तर त्या पलिकडेच. अंधाचें तर संपुर्ण जगच असे. दुष्टीक्षेपा पलिकडे बघण्याची अापली सवय लहाणपणाची. म्हणजे खराब झालेली पीसीबी, स्पेस स्टेशन म्हणुन बघायला अाणि वापरायला, (खेळात का ना असु देत) दुष्टीक्षेपा पलिकडे बघावेच लागणार. तर म्हणजे अापण लहाणपणापासुनच जिथे लोकांना काही दिसत नाही, अशा ठिकाणी जहाजे, विमान, पानबुड्या, स्पेस स्टेशन, मोटारी, रणगाडे, बंदुका, सैनिक ईत्यादी बघायचो. हे फक्त मी बघण्यापुरत नाही तर ते तसेच खेळण्या पर्यंत घेऊन जायचो. कारण हे असे दुष्टीक्षेपा पलिकडेचे जग म्हणजे अापल्या बापाची नव्हे तर अापलीच जागीर असते. तिथले नियम, पात्र, गोष्टी या सर्व अापणच ठरवतो. ते म्हणजे एक जागेपणे पाहिलेले स्वपनच असत. असो.
कन्या मात्र अारामात चव घेत, पण भल्ले मोठे चावे न घेता पेरु खात होती. खाता-खाता कसला-बिसला विचार सुरु होता. पण डोळ्यांमध्ये चमक होती. मस्ती होती. जवानी होती. त्यामुळे लिझा रेची अाठवण झाली. तिचे डोळे पण असेच. मस्तीने भरलेले. मला अावडायचे अाणि अातापण अावडतात. लिझा म्हणजे माझी पहिली क्रश. नुसरत फतेह अली खानच्या अाफरिन-अाफरिन मध्ये तिला पहिल्यांदा पाहिले. नुसरत अाणि िलझा दोघांचाही अायुष्यासाठी फॅन झालो. त्यामुळे प्रत्येक मुली मध्ये लिझाची काही प्रतिमा िदसते का बघतो. याचाच कदाचित परिणाम असेल. तशे या पोरीचे डोळे मोठेच, पण डोळ्यांच्या भोवती काजळ लावल्याने ते अाणखी अाकर्षक वाटत होते. भेदक वाटत होते. मोहक वाटत होते. जर तिने नजर मिळवली असती, तर ती काही मला झेलता अाली नसती. गुगली वैगरे नाही. क्लीन बोल्डच. कारण कोणाचे रुप चोरुन बघणे ही एक प्रकाराची चोरीच झाली. अाणि अापण या बाबत ईतकेपण निर्ल्लज नाही, की चोरी करुन थेट नजर मिळवावी. एकुणतर म्हणजे पोरींची गोष्ट अाली म्हणजे अापण फाटेच. त्यात सुंदर वा अापल्याला अावडणाऱ्या, अोळखीच्या असल्या म्हणजे मिळवली. पण ही तर अापल्याला पुर्णपणे अज्ञात होती. पुढे कुठ भेटण्याचा काहीच स्कोप नव्हता. तरीही भिती का हे कोणास ठाऊक? फ्रॅाईड म्हणतो की जे लोक नजर चुकवतात ते न्युरोटीक असतात. जेव्हा हे मला कळले होते तेव्हा, एखाद पदवी मिळेल ईतका तर नाही, पण त्यापेक्षा थोडाच कमी अानंद मला झाला. पण मग नंतर कळाले की नवद्द टक्के लोक न्युरोटीक असतात तर थोडी निराशाच झाली. च्याअायला म्हणजे अापली या बाबत काही अायडेंटीटीच नाही. मग अापण जगापेक्षा वेगळे तर ते कसे?
पेरुला मीठ किंवा तिखट-मीठ लाालेले असेल. कारण जे पेरुचे छोटेखानी घास ती खात होती, ते खाता-खाता तिच्या चेहऱ्यावरचे भाव अगदी सटलपणे बदलत होते. हे असे भाव फक्त अांबट-गोड खातांनाच येऊ शकतात. हे ती अगदी मन-मोकळेपणाने करत होती. तिला काय माहित माझ्यासारखा कोणी तिच्या या सगळ्या गोष्टी मनातल्या डायरी मध्ये टिपतो अाहे ते. अापणाला कोणी बघत अाहे, हे अापल्याला कळल्यावर अापल बिहेव्हियर बदलत. ते म्हणतात की बघणाऱ्या मुळे लोक कॅानशस होतात. पण हिचे मात्र असे काही नाही. ही तर मनमोकळी. सर्वांच्या देखत, सगळ्यांना दाखवत पेरु खात होती, बेधडक, बेडर. कदाचित कोणी, म्हणजे उदाहर्णार्थ मीच, जर तिच्या पेरु खाण्याकडे टक लावुन बघत अाहे हे तिला कळल असत तर तिची रिएक्शन काय झाली असती हे माहित नाही. कदाचित तिला मजाच अाली असती. म्हणे मुलग्यांनी मुलींकडे बघितल तर ते त्यांना अावडत. अावडत असेल त्यांना, मला तर अावडतच. कदाचित तिला रागही अाला असता. असतात ना काही खडुस मुली. पण त्यांना कदाचित पोरांचा चांगला एक्सपिरीअंस नसावा. असो.
तशी तिची पाठीवरची बॅग छोटीच. म्हणजे बॅग तिच्या बांध्याच्या वळण्याच्या बाहेर दिसत नव्हती. बॅग अाहे हे फक्त दोन्ही खांध्यावरुन अालेल्या पट्यांमुळेच कळत होत.  तशी ती अंगाने फार भरलेली नव्हती. पण राईट मास एट राईट प्लेसेस.म्हणजे हड्डीवर कबाब. डौलदार बांधा. अाणि फिटींगतर छानच. म्हणजे काही ठिकाणी, चवळीच्या शेंगेची उपमा द्यायची ईच्छा होते. असो. पण एकंदर बांधा म्हणजे चांगलाच. बघत राहावा असा. त्यामुळे अापल्याला तिचा ड्रेसिंग सेन्स पण अावडला. जे काही अापण घालतो त्या मध्ये जर अापणच कंफरटेबल नसलो तर कशाला घालावे असे कपडे. अलीकडे मी बऱ्याच मुली बघितल्या ज्यांना फॅशन करायची फार फॅशन. म्हणजे अमुक जण असे कपडे घालत म्हणुन अापण पण घालावे. म्हणजे अापण इन व्होग राहातो. पण जर असे करतांना अापल्या शरीराचा थोडाही भाग दिसायला लागला की तो मात्र लगेच झाकायचा. अाणी त्यातुन जर कोणी अामच्यासारखे त्या थोडया दिसणऱ्या नग्न भागाकडे अॅागल करतांना त्या मुलीने बघितल तर मग झालच. अाता अाम्हीच नालायक अाहे, तर नजर तर तशी राहणारच ना. पण असे करतांना समजा तुम्ही पकडल्या गेलेच तर मात्र, तुमची खैर नाही. ईतक्या रागाने तुमच्याकडे बघतील, की त्या डोळ्यांच्या निखाऱ्यांमुळे तुमच शरीरातल सगळ रक्तच सुकुन जाईल. नाहीतर मग थोडी टी-शर्ट खालीकर, किंवा टॅापचा गळा वर कर, ह्या सगळ्या अॅडजेस्टमेंट सगळा वेळ सुरुच. अशा पोरींना बघितल तर त्या फिड-बॅक लुप्स तर नाही ना, असे वाटत. पण काही पोरी अशा नसतात. म्हणजे अापण जे कपडे घातले अाहे, ते घालुन अापण कसे दिसु, अापले अंगाचा कोणता भाग केवढा एक्सपोज होईल हे त्यांना माहित असत. अाणि या पोरी अामच्यासारख्यांनी त्यांना अॅागल केले तरी कंफरटेबल असतात. त्यांना कदाचित अामच्या सारख्यांची दयाच येत असेल. म्हणजे अशा पोरी एकंदर दयाळुच म्हणायला हव्यात. जर माझ्या शरीराकडे फक्त बघुनच तुम्ही शमणार असाल, तर घ्या खुशाल बघुन. 
अापली कंबर एकीकडे थोडीशी वाकवुन ती ऊभी होती. तिची ती पोज बघुन दगडी लेण्यांमध्ये कोरलेल्या अपसरांची अाली. या लेण्या बनवल्या असतील तेव्हापण अशीच, कोणीतरी डौलदार बांध्याची सुंदरी त्या मुर्तीकाराच्या समोर किंवा मनात असावी. मग ती मुर्ती बनवतांना त्या मुर्तीकाराने अापल्या मनातले तिचे प्रतिबिंब दगडात कोरले. अाणि तो किंवा ती सुंदरी तर नाही पण त्याच्या मनातील तिची ती प्रतिमा, तिचे ते प्रतिबिंब मात्र अमर झाले. म्हणजे अाज इतकी शतके होऊन सुद्धा माझ्यासारखे लोक, व माझ्यानंतर येणारे कित्येक लोक ही त्याच्या (का तिच्या) मनातली कलपना पाहु शकतील. पण अापल्याकडे अशी काही कला-बिला नाही. अामचे विचार, प्रतिमा, प्रतिबिंब म्हणजे अापल्यापुरतेच. जर मला माझ्या मनातले सगळच एक्सप्रेस करता अाले असत तर बातच अौर. पण जाऊ द्या. अाम्ही हे असेच.
एकीकडे वाकुन ऊभी राहिल्याने तिचे तसेही डौलदार कर्वज अजुनच ऊठुन दिसत होते. डावा पाय अाडवा तर उजवा सरळ अशी ती ऊभी होती. हलकी हलकी हलत पण होती. कदाचित कुठले गाणे अाठवत असेल. माहित नाही. डाव्या हातात रुमाल होता. जेव्हा उजवा हात पेरुचा घास घेण्यासाठी अोठंाकडे अाणत होती, तेव्हा नजर पेरुवर नाही. कुठेतरी अौरच. जो पेरुचा थोडा रस बोटंाना लागला होता तो मोठ्या चवीने चाटत होती. अामचा सिग्नल सुटला, मान अगदी तिरपी करुन, डोळे अगदी कोपऱ्यात नेऊन तिच्या त्या मोहक रुपाचे प्रतिबींब अापल्या मनात खोल कुठतरी सेव्ह करण्याचा प्रयत्न करत राहिलो. शटर बंद, एक्सपोजर पुर्ण.

Three Femmes

That day three remarkable events happened. All of them involved females. The first one I call strange attractor. In the morning I was supposed to go at the RTO, for the test of the permanent driving license. When we were still at the driving school, which incidentally is just across the road of the Centre, one particular female caught my attention. She was in her late 30’s and had a typical look of a Northern lady, who has maybe brought up in Delhi or some place nearby. This I deduced from the kind of dress and its fit she was wearing. Somehow I don’t know, but I felt suddenly attracted very much to this lady. This particular lady was not that attractive, neither she had a very curvy figure, but nonetheless I felt a strange attraction towards her. She was standing on the other side of the road, I could not see her properly, but still this strange charm of her, had been cast over me. Why? I could not understand. 


The lady found some friend, who was on the same side of the road as I was. They both came to the middle of road, at the divider and started talking across the street. This was funny. Two women talking in the middle of the road [literally], talking loudly as they could not hear each other clearly. So that they became the centre of attention [again literally]. Anyways the lady, then came to my side of the road, then I saw her close by. She had not put on any make-up, even if she had it must be very light, the kind of which is unnoticeable. As for my attraction, I still didn’t know why I strangely felt attracted towards this particular female, I had no reasons to. If she had a very striking face, I would have fell for her, or if she had an awesome figure, I would have fell for her, or if she was wearing a very hip dress, I would have…. But, but neither was the case, then why, why did I fell for her?


I did not miss a chance to see her, see her move, see her talk, trying to figure out why, I felt so attracted to her. With her I felt a sort of familiarity, which I should not have felt, because I was seeing her for the first time. I felt familiar with her face, her body and her body language, the way she talked, it was so familiar. I had seen her. Deja vu. But why? I could not figure out….


And the feeling was very strong, I felt as if I had known her for so long, that I could not imagine things without her. Why should such a case occur with a complete stranger? Not that I have not been attracted to strangers, but this was something different. Some connection was present here, which I could not comprehend or understand even when I wanted to. I felt a sense of belonging to her, which you usually do not feel with complete strangers….

For the next hour or so, my mind was intensely struggling about this. I had to find a solution, I had to. Otherwise memories of her and the strange attraction that I felt would not let me be in peace. They say there are two types of things that you cannot see. One when the things are too small, and other when they are too large, too large for you to imagine. I guess the cause of my attraction to the lady was of the later type. Epiphany! And the mystery was resolved. The familiarity with the face was striking, it must be, for it was her face. How could I over look such a simple thing?  This one, was definitely too big. This should have come to my mind as the first thing, when I saw her. As with other problems, once you have had looked at the solution, you find otherwise cryptic steps simple. Once you decipher a cipher all the mysteries surrounding it, are gone. So was this case, she was as beautiful as her, but maybe 6-7 years in the future. But she had all the elements of her, she really had them all…. All the charms of her, were present in her. But anyway, I felt a bit relieved when I could figure out what had happened…. 


Finally things made sense….


The second case was in the evening. We went to the bus stop to drop her. There was a young [most probably college going] couple sitting at the bus stop. When we went pass them, they seemed to be having a serious talk. The body language of both was heavy, both were carrying, it seemed, a huge burden on them. The girl was fair, maybe 18-19, a real PYT. She was wearing a pink top, which matched with her fair appearance, and had right mass at right places. They were having a silent argument, in which all the violence is in the mind instead of the words. These are the more dangerous types, as you don’t know when the other person will erupt, burst out, when will the physical manifestation of this struggle would occur. I am more this kind of person. 


When we went to our stop, the fighting I guess intensified, not verbally but mentally. Just as her bus was at the gate, I saw the guy throwing a bag or something towards the girl, the things were getting out of hand. Then she said something to him, and…. Smack! He hit her right on the face, with a forceful blow. We were standing maybe, 25-30 feet away but I could still clearly hear the unmistakable sound of someone being slapped. They were not looking, they were too keen about the bus that was coming. Though for me the sound of the slap lasted for briefest of moments, for her I guess, it would be audible in her head  for some time to come. It was all happening like it does in the movies. After this incident, the girl could not be seen, as 2-3 buses obstructed our view and when they cleared the girl had already walked out of the depot. The guy was still sitting there on the stop, with an expression on his face as if, nothing had happened. Then came the discussion that whether we should have intervened in what happened. Had the girl still been there, there was a chance that we could have done something about it. May be if she had replied in kind, people around her and us would have supported her. But she did not stay, she offered no resistance and so all our discussions on this issue are all theoretical…. Is this also not the plight of the women who suffer, that they do not offer resistance? They do not face and stand things when they should? May be other people will come to support them, maybe they will not…. If she had shown the guts to face him, I would have of course taken her side, even not knowing who was the wrongdoer. Was it the girl or the boy?


Should we have gone to the guy and asked “Why did you slap her?” Or we as all others at the depot be mute spectators of this event and just be away with it. May be if we had asked he would have attacked us, may be we should have asked her instead. What would be her reaction? What made this guy do this thing to her? What were their troubles which led to this event? These and a lot of other questions will go unanswered and maybe will bother me for some time to come….


Now, to the third one. The enchantress. We went to have ice cream in the night. As soon as I parked and we entered the parlour, I was dumbstruck. For there were a pair of eyes, with almost enchanting and magical effects staring straight at me. The light colored eyes, were full of make-up, with eye-liners and eye-shadows, but even without them, just with a line of kohl, the effect would have been the same. Lisa Ray has the eyes of same color, but this female’s eyes and body were much bigger than hers. With the gaze that female wore, there was no escaping, when she stares at you, you have to look back. And once you look you cannot look for long, as she stared straight right up to your soul, it touches and stirs somethings deep inside you, which you yourself don’t know exist. The gaze penetrated right through your flesh and went beyond, much beyond. It was a glare of something un-human and there was something about it, which I cannot describe in words. You have to experience it to see what I saw. Something in it was not natural, the eyes were scary and yet fatally attractive at the same time. When I stared back, I felt what a moth must be feeling when it goes straight into the flame. The sort of feeling that you get is some sort of fanaticism. The beauty was such that it looked raw, fearful, yet pristine and supreme. I felt a strange attraction towards her, but I could not stare at her, for it was too much for me to handle. Maybe this is what they say happens to you, when a tiger in the wild stares at you, you just cannot let the gaze go….


“Did you look at her?” was her first reaction. She was too scared of her, too scared after the first look itself. So scared that she did not dare to look back at her, for the fear of the gaze of those enchanting eyes. She wondered sleeping next to a person, with eyes like this, and in the middle of the night they suddenly open their eyes. You will not be scared like anything? The female was fair, but not so fair. If she was a bit darker the effect of her eyes and complexion would have been really awesome. Somehow I like dark toned women who have light colored eyes. They just steal the show. There is something about them, which makes them so desirable, they are different and yet they are the same. Simply put it is beyond words, find her and look for yourself what I mean….


Khuda Ke Liye [In the Name of God]

Much I had heard about the movie Khuda Ke Liye [खुदा के लिए] by Shohaib Mansoor, before I went to see it. The chance I had to see it in the month before did not materialise. I was all set to see the movie when I got the chance this time. When everyone who has seen the movie, gives you good reports about it, your own expectations from the movies are a bit elevated. So was my case, and IMHO, the movie did not fail my expectations. But in seeing the movie I could not keep my Indian bias away, and I could see and relate to it only through that. The movie has three focal themes, formation of a fundamentalist, women rights, American view towards Muslims post 9/11. 

The movie starts with a rehearsal of a music concert for the new years eve, which is targeted by right wing fundamentalists. The scene is reminiscent of so many things that happen here. The lead singers are brothers Mansoor [played by Shan, if Salmaan Khan gets too fat he will probably resemble him] and  Sarmad [played by Fawad]. They are from an elite family. The family is progressive in its outlook towards life. What is emphasised in portraying this family is that you don’t have to be staunch fundamentalist to live by one’s religion. The location of the family could have been very well set in India or anywhere, without much difference. The two brothers who have more or less a shared life and ideals till now, which diverge as the younger one is influenced by some Islamic fundamentalists. The character of the Maulana Tahiri [played by Rasheed Naz] is one of the most impressive characters in the film. The power and control that he displays while delivering the dialogues is great. 

The entire process of conversion of Sarmad from a pop singer to almost becoming a fundamentalist is perfectly shown. Slowly but surely Maulana Tahiri changes Sarmad’s outlook in a very convincing way. The Maulana seems to have justification for every act that is considered pro-liberal. With such convincing attitude he manages to convert Sarmad from a pop singer, who does not even do namaaz, to a dedicated follower of Islam. The change in Sarmad’s outlook is very visible, as now he considers the music which has been his soul as blasphemous. When he asks his mother to have a hijaab, removes the photos from his home, the family realizes that the things are just about to go out of hand. Just change the characters and the process is equally applicable to any fundamentalist group. Is this not reminiscent of how all the fundamentalists find their new cadres? When reasoned in a biased way, even the most idiotic things appear to be correct and justified. Just consider the politics of hate that is being perpetrated in India.

The other major theme in the movie is with respect to women’s rights. Mary [played by Iman Ali] is a British Muslim girl, born to a Pakistani father. The father has himself married and is living with a British women, but takes a complete U turn when it comes to his only daughter. Thus he is ready to sacrifice the life of his daughter, in order not to become “a laughing stock of the entire Pakistani community.” By deception he takes his daughter to Pakistan to get her married. This is because otherwise her offsprings would be out of Islam, which is a crime. When his brother [Sarmad and Mansoor’s father] refuses to take part in this act of forcible marrying Mary to one of his son’s, the desperate father approaches Sarmad. Sarmad who is assured by Maulana that this would be a noble deed indeed, takes the father and daughter to the remote tribal area on the Afghan-Pak border. In this remote area Mary is forcibly married off to Sarmad, who does this in order to save the religion. Is this not a common story? Heard not only in tribal and rural areas of Pakistan, but also in urban areas of India?

Meanwhile Mansoor is off to America for musical training. In America he finds a mate and enjoys the learning of music there. As the time passes the two become close and finally decide to get married. Just as they get married 9/11 takes place. And Mansoor is taken into custody for being a “terrorist”. Meanwhile Sarmad has changed almost into a fully fundamentalist, makes Mary pregnant forcibly so that she cannot flee from the village, which she has tried once before. The situation of the women in the remote area of Pakistan is not different from that of many women in urban parts of India. Only maybe a freedom of clothes is there, otherwise the fact remains that most of the women are powerless, inspite of the fact that they are educated. 

The liberation that is provided to the women is a psuedo one I believe in most of the cases. The choices that a woman can make are already limited by men, but they may not be explicit. The story of Mary is also that of innumerable other women who are forced into marriage by their family. This is story which is also repeated in India in all the states, in all the religions, and classes. This aspect has more to do with gender than with religion. Had Mary being a male, things would have been entirely different, her relationship with a white would have gone unnoticed.

During the film the main characters don’t loose their Pakistani character and identity. When Mansoor is being tortured in America, the dilemma of progressive muslims is perfectly portrayed. Back in Pakistan they are targeted as being, “liberal” in America they are seen as the face of terrorism, with which they themselves do not identify with. Also the dumbness of the American agencies, just in order to get some leads is exposed. This is true for numerous cases which happened post 9/11. 

All muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims.

So all the three focal themes of the film are derived from real experiences of people, which makes them feel real and appealing. 

 

Just as things get worse for Mansoor, Sarmad goes for war, things get a bit better for Mary. She is finally able to call for help, and the help does come. She is taken back to Lahore, where she decides to take to court, her husband Sarmad. In what follows in court the intense dialogs try to evoke the logic behind all this matter. Each side is presented in a balanced way, with their own perspectives and logic. To say that Maulana Tahiri is completely wrong is to miss the point of what is being told. Every character has a world view, the point is to understand that from our perspective. Here the guest appearance of Naseer-ud-din Shah as Moulana Wali, is simple superb.What is being portrayed that the interpretation that most people have about any fundamental thing can be multifaceted. One chooses the examples in such a way so as to fit one’s world view, whereas simply and conveniently disregarding the rest of them which do not fit in. When Moulana Wali is called by the court as a religious expert to present the Islamic views on forced marriage, music and other things the view presented are that of a thinker who puts Islam in an entirely new perspective. The views expressed appeal also to the mind, and not only to heart. But people like Moulana Wali are a few, and mostly unheard. Finally at the end of the film, Mary choses to stay back in Pakistan to start a school, Mansoor is deported to Pakistan in a paraplegic state, and Sarmad realizes his mistakes.

As for the music of the film, it is well merged with the visuals. The chants of Allah, Allah … during some of the tense sequels do fit in well. The characters and the story of the film though set in Pakistan, and has a distinct Pakistani touch to it, is equally applicable to many situations. The characters of the film can be set in any situation, where there are fundamentalists forces at play, and so is the story. The dilemma of progressive Muslims is perfectly captured by the director. How the situation changed for many post 9/11 is also effectively shown. The last letter of Mansoor touches ones heart, by telling that you don’t have to punish an entire community for the wrongs of few. This being the directoral debut of Shoaib Mansoor, kudos to him for showing such boldness on screen and capturing what most people knew, but could not show to others. And doing this in Pakistani industry deserves another credit, may he continue making good films, and may more follow him.

So my final rating: 4.7/5 [Must See]