Thursday, 11 September 2008
Solitude is a virgin for me. Pure, untouched and innocent. She is not nagging and self-centred like her cousin….loneliness. Solitude has an unmistakeable dignity about her, which she passes on to those who seek her. Perhaps a reason why she chooses to be sought and also remain as a shade of a person’s character as much as is expected of her and not be an all pervasive worry like loneliness which shakes you by your shoulders and penetrates into your soul cancerously spreading through you…
I discovered solitude by chance…that doesn’t come as a surprise. I discovered myself also by chance. Both the findings have a common thread running through them. My adolescence. It was then that I realized that the world in me was larger than the world outside me. All of a sudden I would sense the air thick and polluted with coagulated pride, noxious vapours of egoism and edged with acidic concepts of life. All this shrouded in a thin feeble cover called conversation. I would then slip out away from the glare and into My Solitude. Yes, how could I adore something and not call it my own.
Sometimes my solitude would leave me lying for hours under a carpet of stars. sometimes beside a flowing brook. Sometimes as I lay by the side of the village pool on the cold stone steps….strands of my open hair gently kissing the water below as if trying to symbolize my relationship with solitude.
Rains are never a part of solitude for me. With rains…. well there was always a conversation there. Never the silence that epitomises solitude. The showers always rushed to rescue me from loneliness. That’s another thing about solitude. There is a very thin line that separates it from loneliness. A very thin slippery line. Like the netherworld it is very deadly and inviting.
When I hear lonely people speak…I can hear their voices clang like empty vessels in the dark…bereft of hope and drowned in self-pity. They can’t be blamed, I suppose. A condition conceived out of a situation.
I tasted a little bit of loneliness recently. It is like vinegar on your teeth. That irresistibly irritating feeling. And it gives you bad breath…a pungent odour that keeps the whole world at bay away from you. Loneliness gives you a kick though. But of course you need to be a dedicated narcissist willing to wallow in self-pity.
I have felt pangs of loneliness in my childhood but that somehow was never serious enough to matter. I didn’t have many friends….none in fact… but I had a lovely set of parents who didn’t allow the empty hollow feeling to suck me through. Also, like most kids I also had an imaginary friend…I was Indu.She was Lekha.Today I am both.
We would talk to each other…bath together….cook for each other….the days when I would stubbornly insist to have my dinner in my pink plastic toy cooking vessels….and amma would happily oblige…anything to cloak my bones…;)
As my passion for books grew I needed no other companions. Lekha somehow slipped away into the background so subtly that I didn’t even realize that she was gone. My adolescence wielded a pen in me with a taste to dive in to different coloured pots of ink. Soulful was a sky blue…. Ecstasy…an unmistakeable aqua green…Humour ….a naughty bubbly lime green.
For me writing was a late but inevitable sensation I discovered. Yet like her counterparts; hunger and thirst; it had an unflinching need that required to be satiated. I once heard an actor describe his voracious appetite for sex. Raw and demanding. I couldn’t describe my need to write any better.
I was excited at this new rawness in me. I wanted to explore more of me. My craving to write took me initially to quiet corners and later on to serene backgrounds. That’s when I bumped into solitude. Amongst the rustle of the autumn leaves…alongside the breezy southern wind…with the noiseless fall of the dewdrops. An aura first…then a presence and finally a part of me.
Yet, I also realized very early in life that you can’t turn to solitude for consolation for her youth and spirit also brings with them a whiff of immaturity. The moment you seek her wind to dry your tears, she steps aside to let loneliness in. Solitude understands sorrow but her immense dignity and self esteem expects you to lick your own wounds and heal yourself and come to her for some happy blissful swigs.
I have often mused, it must be this rejection that she does at her doorstep that turns many a heartbroken lover straight into the arms of loneliness.
Some days when I get time to stand still and look at myself in the mirror…I see a very bright ornament on my bare neck…My solitude…. bright and embedded with temperately cut stones…the brightest of ornaments that I have… Reflecting on the simple inspiration that she has been for me all along…