A DIALOGUE WITH RADHA
ARVIND K. PANDEY
I was once again with Radha. When all others have lost their relevance in my life, she continues to serve me like dutiful wife, opening new zones of vision each day. Who is Radha? Obviously, she cannot belong to this earthly plane. She represents my chamber of mind, which has been personified to provide it a bit of tangibility. And named Radha? To show its origin.
Night was towards its nadir. Only Radha and I were there in the dingy room arguing over merits and demerits of certain aspect, staring into nothingness during moments of silence that too often interrupted our conversation. Of late, it has become extremely difficult for me to appease Radha. With her strange notions she always manages to put me on the knife-edge. Later, she repents over her harshness but by then damage has become irreparable. As a damage-control measure Radha, for few days, distances away from too much of twisting but as I am about to regain equanimity she is back to her usual business with a bang. These days intense debate is going on over the place of marriage in my life.
"So you have decided not to get married,"
"Will you please let the cat out of the bag?" She demanded with a stroke of sarcasm.
"I thought that by now you would have guessed about it. If you haven't let me tell you that in absence of right partner I have put this issue on the backburner", I replied in a cool and calm way.
"What a pity! Yaar can't you be little pragmatic. Why are you always hell-bent on emulating a self-destructive logic? You are now well past marriage age. Think about your anxious parents…" she said before being interrupted.
"Well, lend me your ears," I said, seeking her attention. After a momentary silence I said: ' Just like other obedient sons and daughters of present age! They pretend to be close to their parents but on their back care a damn about their reputation. They are always up to confrontation but for the world's sake they project a sober picture of their maddening lives, keep marrying in the name of providing relief to the parents but once this tamasha gets over they immediately abandon their parents. And for rest of their life parents live a lonely life; neither the society not their faithful children show up their faces. Only the other day I read about a lady who died after fighting a long battle with a dreaded disease. Do you know what their sons were doing when her heart must be burning with a desire to see them? They were relaxing in their apartments in Canada, came back after seven or eight months after so many reminders?
"No, I did not mean that, what I am trying to convey is that your parents be greatly relieved once you get married. After all, haven't they raised you up amid comforts? Aren't you ashamed over your callousness which has burdened their hearts with additional pain besides those emanating from worldly concerns", said Radha stubbornly.
"Do you understand, Radha, do you anticipate the real motives in the words flowing out unconsciously from the bosom. You are mistaken if you find this sort of thing fit for casual execution; it's not as simple as it appears to be. Listen, children should never be made vehicle for carrying out ambitions of the parents. Since you have brought them up it becomes obligatory for them to serve your interests, such uttering sound blasphemous. When such intimate relations are build up to ignite selfish considerations, no matter how noble your intentions may be, what is the need to carve place for lofty ideals in our lives? To rope in your bogus expectations, all in the name of rituals would only make the values redundant, existing in our life like lightening in the clouds:
"I understand it all! You are trying to make suspect myself. But remember, you could no longer fool me by spooky versions, "said Radha caught in whirlpool of contradictory emotions. I was smiling being aware of the fact that she was on the brink of losing ground.
"Radha at least you should not be mindless in criticizing my stand point. Parents, Chachas, Mamas, friends and other near and dear ones have put to sleep their analytical faculty, drugged their discrimination having given way to compromises. It doesn't hurt me at all as I know well that such relations are guided by second-rate convictions, frequently changing color to remain in sync with the duniya. Don't you think concerns like marriage, job and etc. must be perforce choice of an individual, more so if he or she has attained a level of maturity? The only factor that should be given utmost importance is that whether it leads to beneficial changers for people around or not. If it doesn't violate the above-mentioned condition, I don't feel anyone has the right to question about its worth."
"Now look at the fate," trembling with passion I was saying, "of married couples, those who in the eyes of world have been sincere in honoring the wishes of their parent. Be sure, I am not trying to pass a moral judgment on one of the most respectable institution established by our forefathers with great care. But one cannot ignore the degeneration that has wiped away its finer aspects. They quarrel over trivial issues, hurl choicest abuses at each other, emotionally and intellectually so wide apart yet living together for fulfillment of physical desires, meaningless union but could not separate owing to societal compulsions and much more but still in the eyes of the world they belong to honorable class of purples. Why? Just because they are the by-product of time-tested institution! In other cases husbands and wives are living shattered lives thanks to the ups and downs of the realistic life, existing merely as instruments with no time to exchange compliments. In some exaggerated examples both the partners are found trapped in immoral affairs. Reason-not satisfied with each other desperately needs a change coupled with experimentation. I wonder in age of so many revolutionary isms it would be highly unfair to treat immoral as immoral. Give it a respectable place or simply vanish."
I said all this with a provocative smile. Not willing to give her room to cast stones at me I went ahead with my views "What hurts me is elders stubborn refusal to learn lesson from their past mistakes. Having witnessed the consequence of pursuing faulty line of action they are ready with another set of perverse notions. The most shameful thing is that they don't regret at all. I am horrified over the dullness of these 'experienced' brains that are so cocksure about efficiency of their worn-out ways and means. It was indeed grave mistake that I came to assume that repentance would have shed some wisdom in their consciousness."
For some reason, this greatly moved her. Refusing the emotion let loose on her head she said: "Forgive me, I wasn't aware of the seriousness of the crises. Yes, you are right that one should not expect anything worthwhile from people with a very limited vision. But I am more concerned about you. In all this drama it's you who have suffered the most, being the victim of events, which were not entirely your own making. Let them resort to such desperate remedies, at this point of time, I would like to know about your steps to diffuse the crisis."
"Radha, it's never has been a well-guarded secret. In fact, the very clarity of my purpose has often allowed others to sabotage it. The likes of worldly experts have left little room for bringing in better choices, yet I have not lost hopes. One thing is crystal clear that it's not going to fall in the same bracket of affairs like gambling. Instead of being dictated by hazy vision, personal complexes and inflated egos of aberrated minds, the decision should emanate from deeper realm of intellect, leaving no room for setbacks in the future".
"But suppose such a holistic version refuses to materialize in your life?" she questioned thoughtfully. She was aware of the fact that rudeness of life does not provide humane approaches many chances to germinate.
"Radha, you are now loosing your sense of proportion. Is it sin to go beyond the dictates of men whose thinking ability is covered in cobwebs? It is crime to provide life and vibrancy to your prized affairs? Perhaps, it's better to move alone than to be part of nightmarish experiences all your life under the veneer of traditions and rigorous social customs."
Radha half-whispered to herself and for a while allowed the silence to reign. She was unsuccessfully trying to conceal her tears, something that was preventing her to go ahead with the conversation keeping herself in the same state of mind she exclaimed, "I am afraid you would not be able to survive for too long in the world reserved solely for dogs! I know well that sensitive souls like you cannot survive without a companion. When that was the matter, why didn't you find one molded in your perception?"
"Well, a chance encounter had dragged me towards such a soul but before it could blossom it succumbed to the primitive-thoughtlessness of the pseudo-crusaders of the society. These perfect spoilsports who are mired in unspeakable affairs come to attain a sacrosanct position in these matters, on their verdicts innocent souls are mercilessly butchered without given a slight chance to communicate their intentions. As the days pass away, souls like us slowly get reduced to ashes amid gross activities of average everyday life. "I am eager to know her name, my dear fellow." Radha insisted.
"What is in the name? To me she was simply your reflection! That's all," I suddenly said, looking straight at her face.
"Hm-that's all right- but what about your friends? Why didn't they conceive a strategy to pull you out of the mess?" she asked, blushing with gloomy eyes.
"It's a sad reflection but I could not resist myself from making a confession that they were enemies masquerading as friends. It seems strange but they left no opportunity like bunch of cheap crooks, to create nuances at defining moments. Worse, after causing the debacle they were little ashamed in delivering a suggestion to view the whole episode as hand-work of destiny. It was indeed misplaced trust on these determined liars, who with help of their half-truths, spelled doom for me. Though I wanted to retain the illusion of recognizing them as friends for a longer time, however, their sincerity towards shrewdness made it impossible."
"So now you are all alone! Being burdened with awesome grief how are you going to remain on the right-track, one that makes the journey of life fruitful? You are in terrible state of loss!" burst out Radha with restless anxiety. Evidently, she was quite out of her wits, all the time eyes were glued on her feet, momentarily rising up to stare at my face with sad and severe look that left me horrified.
"Radha! I find myself trapped in the body. I don't want to get identified with fifth of this sort, an identification that has now little meaning for me except initiating cycle of meaningless cause and effects. Give me blue, for survival." I said in a distinct tone.
"Blue? What does it stand for?" asked Radha in a trembling voice with a cold smile.
"Radha you seem to have fallen in league of present day politicians who so easily forget their promises! I am surprised to find you so forgettable a person. Just a little while ago haven't I attributed it to you as your intrinsic nature?" no sooner had I asked this I found her shaking from head to foot.
Hearing this a smile, dipped in divinity, flashed across her face. The night has changed her tempo, inviting the dawn to unfold its magic. Meanwhile, Radha has embraced my consciousness that placed me in her domain - unending stretch of blueness that came to annihilate our distinction, making us one forever.