Sunday, October 26, 2008

The applicant

Some more fiction.

"First, are you our sort of person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something’s missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit-

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have a ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.
Well, what do you think of that?
Naked as a paper to start

But in twenty-five years she’ll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk, talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it’s a poultice.
You have an eye, it’s an image.
My boy, it’s your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it."

It had been over a year. She still had his things in their home. She wasn’t ready to throw them away, yet. His books in the study. She aired them every now and then. His clothes in the cupboard. She washed them and put them to dry. Still. She hung on to the routine of her life in the closet that had become her life. Still. She sometimes wondered if the neighbours suspected.

She had banked on time. Time, the kind friend. Time, that would make her old; that would make her forget his hushed footfall in that long-forgotten snow.

She set the table for two. Two cups of tea. Chocolate crèmes. Lilacs from the garden. There was a Shelley lying on the table from the night before.

She closed her eyes and sipped the tea. She tried to remember his face. It was too hard. She imagined it as it was the day he was to be cremated. She remembered that it was sullen, so free of regret, so final. She wondered why she still thought of him.

She closed her eyes to the intimate Chopin. Chopin who proved that sometimes, even suffering inspires envy; that sometimes, beauty is savage, wild; that rage also sings.

She opened her eyes to the suffering that had become her oxygen. The white walls. The lilacs in the vase. So fragile, his favourite. The Virginia Woolf in the bookshelf. The feminist who drowned herself.

She was tired. She wondered why.

PS: Just finished “Crime Passionnel” by Jean Paul Sartre. It is depressing. Period.

PPS: I am neither a feminist nor an intellectual highbrow, but, I have to agree with Sartre when he says, “I hate victims who respect their executioners.” This is because I am saddened to conclude that feminism has come to focus entirely on establishing the victimization and oppression of women. Creating class consciousness is extremely important, but, whatever happened to concrete action? I cringe to say this, but, it is not easy to forgo power. Patriarchy has not vanished into thin air after the establishment of the fact that women are treated unfairly.


Swayam said...

my my..girl u completely blew me off...awesome work... as to feminism... You are right in saying patriarchy still continues to plague even when the world is aware of the female plight... but somewhere down the line we too carry the albatross... we subject our specie to the kinda torture we've already gone through.. 'kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi'.. to put it lightly... we commodify ourself, we allow ourselves to be treated the way we want the men to.. accepting the crap they dole out to us. as if to make the relationship work is on us alone. as if we deserve all of it. Like nietzches theory of will to power goes, we've allowed ourselves to be subjected to this pathetic treatment...

Samdrisht Singh said...

just like always
i had no clue what you wrote

so all i did was scroll down to the bottom and click on "post a comment"

no point even trying to decipher.
come on man.

Aarushi said...

I agree with everything you have written here. There is no point in practising masochism and preaching feminism. That's just double standards.

Ahem! Ahem!
Whatever man...

Sushant said...

Digressing be excused, but since you people seem to know about feminism and all I thought I'd get a doubt clarified if possible. What problem do these feminist women who act (e.g. Shabana Azmi) have with being called actresses (they insist on being called actors). (Plus similar grievances by women in other professions) I am totally illiterate about what the feminism V male-chauvinism debate is about, but this particular thing seems particularly absurd to me. Taking the same logic, there could well crop up objections against terms like tigress, air-hostess or even Mrs (Imagine a woman insisting on being called Mr.Radhika etc). I am assuming since these women of recognition can't possibly be this absurd, my understanding of the whole thing is seriously flawed somewhere. If only anyone could help me locate the flaw, I'll be thankful.

Aarushi said...

You misunderstand me. I don’t know much about feminism. I am plagued by the same doubts as you.

Nevertheless, it does not stop me from thinking about it. I think that the feminist movement aims at ensuring that women are as unhappy as men, not more. It cannot make women’s life peachy, because, no matter what gender one is, adult life is about making some pretty difficult decisions and you have to deal with their exuberance and their discontent whether you are a man or woman. But, ofcourse, one should have the freedom to make these decisions. I don't understand the link between feminism and occupational nomenclature, though.

I, honestly don’t know about these women. It could because of a deeply ingrained sense of being wronged. It could be a rebellion against their social conditioning. But, these are all speculations

Sushant said...

I guess you meant 'You 'misunderstood' me'. 'Misunderstand' here sounds too generically accusatory for comfort.