Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BIG LOVE

Rahman stood shivering in the cold evening . His jacket was insufficient protection. It was pride march day and a few thousand queer , LGBT people throughout the city and some from other parts were marching, singing and dancing along. Rahman had decided to attend the march for ideological reasons though the solidarity he felt, at an emotional level, was deeply authentic. The irascibility of his family regarding his homosexuality had escalated into a heated quarrel during the day. His father's oft repeated and undisguised contempt for what Rahman stood for and who he was, his mother's hapless , non committal  goodwill and his sibling's imperviousness, augmented self loathing. To not 'come out' was a choice he could have availed of but in his desire for acceptance he had opened himself up to his family. It was after this revelation that the contingent nature of love was driven home to him as something intrinsic. He could never attain total acceptance. It was as though he had placed an impassable boulder to his father's ostensibly unconditional love. There were conditions and he knew that while some he could acquiesce to the question of identity and sexuality rendered retraction or pliability inconceivable.

Yet , at this moment, in jantar mantar, where he had travelled to from the metro, a sense of dissociation assailed him. He felt he didn't belong. Being reticent he felt conscious of the celebration and revelry only through the focus point of his self imposed exclusion from it, a segregation heightened by his taciturn temperament. The previous year he had unconvincingly danced a bit himself but this year he felt a profound inertia and disengagement. He was part of the group, believed implicitly in all they stood for and still felt detached, dispassionate. He could also not repress a certain self conscious repugnance at what he perceived to be a bit exhibitionistic. But this thought shamed him and was instantly repressed.

Because he went to , not just protest marches but also lectures , film festivals about and around the queer activities in the city. It was companionship he craved, with people whose choices and predilections accorded somewhat with his. But back at home, amid his father's inveterate petulance was also his hope that Rahman would win that scholarship to cambridge, that a settled job with financial viability would ensure a comfortable existence. Rahman discerned that his father's dislike of his sexual orientation, however deep seated could not dislodge his father's love for him. And yet love, with constraints attached to it felt incompensatory. He loved his father too, respected his intelligence, revered his austerity and believed in it but found a stumbling block for seamless acceptance in this homosexual prejudice . The need for love, felt as an imperative, underscored the lack of the love he sought knowing that such love is never fully possible yet unable to relinquish a remnant of that absoluteness of need, a primeval yearning , unfulfillable but all the more piquant for that.

The pride march, indeed the paraphernalia of the delhi queer calender satiated his ideological expectations but underscored his fundamental deracination. Because he was tormented within, he found gaps in the interstices of a putative wholesomeness. And familial, parental love, the guarentee of unequivocal acceptance, was revealed to be the myth it was. As the division between the inner and outer widened his disquiet thickened.

Today , at this moment he only experienced an intensification of dispossession. There were larger currents around the world that were discomfiting. Paris, Beirut became immovable, undeniable realities of the precariousness of existence. His muslim identity, which he accepted with requisite scepticism and an incontrovertible secular inclusive worldview , would not ensure a smooth passage anywhere. This queer conglomeration of varied people came with their own history . And a certain distrust of groups became increasingly conspicuous to him. To be who he was required a moral certitude which he neither felt within nor could seek validation for  from a compartmentalized wider discourse. He could atomize himself into numerous straitjackets out of expedience but the fictitious nature of dissimulation could never be entirely foregone.

Meanwhile the revelry continued with many hugs and kisses. The reality of his provisionality in the larger scheme of things was something Rahman intuitively knew but couldn't accept with complete clarity. He walked away from the crowd , caught a rickshaw , boarded the metro and came home to prepare for his scholarship. Industriousness , hard work were his passports to worldly success as also a certain necessary self absorption. Meanwhile, constant self awareness would be a momentary reprieve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

INEVITABILITY

Once i understood that his withdrawal  was imminent i experienced a rare peace. This withdrawal , whose imminence i finally figured out after much denial, was, it seemed clear, immanent. The signs were there. It was just that when i fell in love so precipitately i became thoughtless. I lowered my guard , became artless. Conversely i appropriated myself in my own aegis, in accordance with his idea of how i ought to be, or so i told myself. It never struck me that my incontrovertible being, in itself, was good enough. Continual self doubt and a customary reticence had induced inadequacy that no subsequent effervescence could obviate. I do not believe i was being insincere because in the white heat of fulsomeness, in a fevered , disordered part of my consciousness i believed each word i uttered to him.

Because falling in love with him seemed so arbitrary. If his mind , at one level, seemed so irresistibly attractive then so did his unassertive demeanour. That restfulness, calmness in the face of my importunity is now , to me, a clear sign of a robust egotism, a belief and entitlement he felt about himself. I interpreted it through his continued detachment which, in itself might betoken circumspection but was disconcertingly enlivened by an exaggerated solicitude and ironic smile. Many an hour was spent by me in trying to decipher the unamiability behind that sly smile. I no longer ever pretend that unequivocal clarity is possible. Perhaps my intuitions might themselves be projections though i resist this thought.

The undisguised contempt behind his ironic smile, the rebarbative strand in his jocularity was counterpointed by intermittent moments of authenticity. Then he would admonish my tactlessness and unreasonableness. If his witty barbs hurt me cruelly then his constrained candor lacerated me. Outwardly i managed to be undramatic but within i seethed. My conversations with him mostly took place in my mind , imaginary colloquies where my willed belief in my wit would open up spaces for laconic but sharp repartee. I wished , in moments of reflexiveness, to smash open his self containment. Something in me desired a dissolution of our psychic boundaries, a mingling and mangling of soul and body whose tumultuous intersection, stripped of reserve, would institute a deepening of intimacy.

Sex between us was tempestuous enough but it was mostly passion from my side. I could discern his lubricious intensity but was undermined by its inherent corporeality. Gratification of a desire felt  urgently in the body was his preponderant impulse. There he eschewed reserve and became wild. But while this wildness elicited the requisite erotic rejoinders from me given that he transmuted his heat onto me i never felt fulfilled. Orgasms were strangely unfulfilling because where i sought a coalescence i met with demarcations and lines of resistance in him. His selfishness manifested also in a disengagement of his centres of pleasure, erotic or intellectual . That there was a certain emotional deadlock only grated all the more.

We had many conversations of an intellectual nature , chiefly of our natures and human nature. And here again i witnessed his indulgence of my impassioned self revelations which, though laced with sufficient psychological depth , nevertheless exposed my vulnerable neediness. Whereas his ironic self analysis was always at an emotional distance. Perhaps he needed the scaffolding of jocundity to temper his own fallibility or this was standard conversational fare, with myself as an incidental presence in his scheme of things. Both possibilities distressed me unduly.

In any event i repressed my voracity with my own brand of dispassion though it is too late now. Once a certain barricade, erected out of expedience, is breached then it becomes an aperture for other searing hurts to bludgeon regardless of their arbitrariness or unexceptional nature. I know i will feel this hurt which i deem him capable of inflicting. His solipsism authenticates such sadism. What i would like to prepare myself for is a way of circumventing, at pivotal moments, the piquancy of this pain. Meanwhile my burgeoning misanthropic sardonicism , wrested from human neuroses, is furnishing delectable tidbits of seemly though embittered merriment. He enjoys it. That is all we seem to share  for now. Strangely , it is enough.


Monday, November 23, 2015

DEADLOCK

It was strange , the moment when his companionable presence, largely experienced in my wakeful fantasies, become disruptive. I do not have a particularly lubricious imagination and the kinds of closeness i imagined were quite restful and unaggressive. I have always felt that intellectual and emotional compatibility are as important as physical proximity.

Which is why this shrinking of myself i experienced when i thought of him discomfited me. It wasn't as though he had changed in any perceptible way. Nor was it that i divined a pathology where hitherto i had only seen the sanguine. The world in my head had changed. Certain changes and alterations in self perception prompted a more involved way of understanding what i thought i was. The blueprint of becoming i aspired to, an amalgam of the de rigeur and the infinitely possible, had, for the moment, receded somewhat. As i went about life the substratum of darkness to which i was preternaturally alert became visible in my intersections with other people. I began noticing patterns, without and within, that hinted at unguessed depths . And i was not really interested in grasping at the possibilities those keys held , of something ineffable and  amorphous .

Meanwhile i responded to my diminishing interest in him with a redoubled demonstration of my regard. I shocked myself by locating a propensity towards ingratiation. What i was fighting was my instinctual withdrawal, tinged with repugnance and that disturbed me. Even he, whom i had revered, became a mosaic with his own attendant tenebrous aspects which i was subliminally aware of . But prone to examine my own projections i let the tides of indulgent self analysis capsize me. It translated into an intrinsic self loathing whose latent shafts had always cast a pall on the most joyous days. Battling what i perceived as my own narrow mindedness my protestations of love to him took on an increasing patina of obsequiousness. The irony is that by then the apocryphal nature of my propping up of him had become a conspicuous , immovable reality to me, and no longer a mere misgiving i could quash at will.

I know for a fact that my dissembling must have been ineffectual because the awareness of my baseness tainted the artistry of dissimulation. It did not seem to matter because in a certain dimension of my self clarity i had written off my fanciful love for him as something embarrassing.This drew into a sharper focus the extremity of my conscious prevarication. Somewhere i felt i was being kind in eschewing straightforwardness , the reasonableness of self censoring seeming expedient. But then i could just as well have remained silent, tried to close things off harmoniously, with least rancor and virulence. But i intuited his own vulnerability and self centrality which i gave short shrift to, merely pausing long enough to use them as a bulwark for rationalizing my putative probity. Had i considered these vulnerabilities at length i may have been kinder , considerate or just plain pragmatic.

In any case there has been a reestablishment of closeness, though makeshift. I have enmeshed myself in the moral vacuum of my immobility . And he too, it seems, is ensconced in the warm glow of what he interprets as my my regard, a regard whose ostensible veracity he has crystallized through my reiterations, repetition becoming, in its litany of saccharine, insincere expostulations , its own truth.

I  will carry on dating him , hoping that time, with all its indeterminacy , will spark off love and respect. At any rate, his lovemaking is pleasant enough. A deadlock within created a circumscription of unrealistic expectations but that very deadlock, in the light of its depredations, has now become a hope for something better. I recognize both the irony and rarity of this. And leave the rest to the caprices of destiny.