The Muse

The tantalizing moonlight and there she was not young, the fresh innocent dew eyed beauty, earthy sultry. Complexion was not normally glamorized fair but dusky.  She was in black rustic skirt and a red blouse with her back being visible. Full woman, a mother who had given birth and nursed there was something about her that evoked and provoked him. It seemed immensely important for her to see him not as child or an adolescent but as a man. Involuntary he released himself, and it broke the spell, he woke up into the reality he was sweating and breathing very heavily.

Guilt besieged him immediately; all he could do was sit down in prayer and ask for forgiveness. This had become a routine.  The burden of the guilt was so much, he anticipated the dream so the best thing for him to do was to not to sleep.  it was one of those family evening when his brother, his parents, uncles aunts and cousins were watching the movie ‘Dil Chahata hai’ and there was Akshaye Khanna with this romance of the older woman.  The comments in the room were interesting.

‘aise hote hain kuch auretein” proclaimed his grandmother, saying that there were older women who deliberately baited younger boys.

‘Arey dadi aap ke Krishna bhagwaan ke toh Radha Rani thi’ pipped in his cousin bringing up the romance between Radha and Krishna where Radha is not just older than Krishna she is also a married woman.

‘Naa, that is different,’ said Shobha bua his father’s sister.

‘And how so’

‘See, Krishna was Divine and Radha was one of the few people who knew he was divine’

The discussion went on, with another person saying how sleaze had entered into an intellectual metaphor where Krishna was the divine and Radha was the human seeking to be one with the divine.  

He sat quietly listening to all these talks as if he was in the courtroom where his crime was being debated on, and at the end of the discussion it would be decreed if he should be punished or not, and if he should be punished then what would the punishment be.  

‘Why can’t you behave your age like, pappu does he does not try to behave older than his age?’ his grandmother was demanding off his cousin and suddenly he felt all eyes turn towards him.

‘Haa! The raja beta, first in studies, does not play cricket for more than an hour, respects girls, wah! Wah! Daadi every family can deal with only one such son. More than one will cause indigestion’ everyone burst out laughing oblivious to the anger and frustration that Chetan felt at that moment.

He thought of those women who he spoke in the virtual world. How he had power over them. He could get them to do what he wanted. Yet he was lonely he could not share the existence of this power with anyone else, not even himself. The minute he acknowledged it, guilt would ride in.

Years later he saw her again, his dusky woman in the black skirt this time she didn’t tantalize his fantasy, she was gently getting him to find himself.

‘I’m tired of being the good boy,’ he was angrily declaring to Tara. He had found her again years later. . She was no more his sexual muse; she had realized he was his own muse. He had to peel the layers that he had clad over the years, shed the labels if he had to find himself. 

‘You know Tara; those ladies were dealing with their own stuff’

‘Do you feel that the universe brought you to each other so that you could help one another.’

‘That does not excuse my behaviour’

‘Of course it does not’

Chetan felt as if Tara just whacked him, she was to be on his team and tell him no… And give him that placebo that reduces his guilt. But there she was telling him that he was guilty of bad behaviour.

‘My job is not making the pain go away Chetan’ if you have decided that you are guilty and you have to be punished, then you will be.  Because you are the God in your universe’

Chetan sighed.

‘Okay there was a young chetan who took on a burden that he could not handle can you help him?’ Tara asked, and before he could reply she continued, ‘more importantly do you think he is worth rescuing?’

‘But how I’ve read, I know why those things came up in my childhood’

‘Stop right there Chetan, your childhood is your childhood, it’s done gone and over. In the present who are you? Is the adult in you willing to be an adult?’

Chetan was perplexed this was not what a therapist is supposed to do, he thought.

‘No this is not what a therapist is supposed to do, but I’m not your therapist. I’m not here to make you feel good about yourself.   Pain, Chetan is inevitable… but suffering, is a choice. When you manifested Kumkum from Calcutta the Rekha look like in your life, the first woman of your mother’s age you had an affair with… you meant it to give you power, but you chose guilt. Then you manifested me in your diet, remember the KFC chicken phase? Again you chose to hold on to the guilt. When you decided to drink yourself to stupor it was declare your freedom from shackles of tradition… but you chose guilt. Each time you held on to the pain.  Your journey to finding yourself is your journey of accepting the scars and cracks. It’s about finding the light within you and understanding that the dark is core from which the light has emerged.”

Chetan sat tongue tide. She smiled at him and gently enquired,’ Do still want me around?’

‘Tara, I do have a doubt, why is it always an older woman?’

The twinkle was back in her eyes, for a moment she tantalized him again, ‘because son, I’ve been around for longer than you. You are not the first to go on this quest neither will you be the last. You are seeking from those who were, call it familial alcoholism, call it the Oedipus complex, call it an genetic tendency to over eat…its always been someone else’s experience. Hence the guilt… the guilt of not being you.’

Yes, he realized she was his muse; she was with him when darkness manifested, and she was now with him helping understand the light. The light within. ‘Yes’ he replied with no doubts or fear. He knew he was ready to take on the journey he was meant to.

She looked at him gently, ‘Chetan do remember reading a story, where Christ promised his disciple that he would walk with him all the time. When the disciples journey in the earth school was over he left his body, he saw two sets of foot prints on the sand. But strangely enough in the toughest patches of his life there were only one set of foot prints. The disciple asks Christ, why did you let me walk alone in those patches? Christ replies, son I carried through the patch hence you see only set of footprints.”

2 Replies to “The Muse”

  1. The words suffice: “because son, I’ve been around for longer than you. You are not the first to go on this quest neither will you be the last. You are seeking from those who were, call it familial alcoholism, call it the Oedipus complex, call it an genetic tendency to over eat…its always been someone else’s experience. Hence the guilt… the guilt of not being you.” A powerful piece on loneliness, identity, misplaced patriarchy blamed the woman and of course love that should have no color in the first. There is not one of us who haven’t fallen in love. Brilliant piece depicting the layered emotions and individualism.

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