Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Saturday, July 31, 2010

No Letting Go of the Past

There are some topics that may be debatable, some issues that may be open to discussion. But something like ‘Do all relationships come with a past or the past, well, that’s a given in any language. Soch lo. Soch lo? Nothing to think about here. It is like saying, does breath come with life, soch lo.

If you have a life, then you have a past, and if you have a past, it will come into the relationship. Each individual in that relationship will bring his or her baggage. The past may have been great, rocking, bitter, sweet, gooey, gritty, serious, ridiculous, yucky, mucky, sucky, kinky whatever! Too many ‘ky’ words there, but they hold the key to what happens in the present relationship. 

So this girl, Namita,  may tell off her present heart-throb, “You know, Rahul never behaved like this. He never forgot like you do, Sunil. He always bought flowers for me on my birthday.” Rahul of course is her ex, whom she broke up with, a thing of the past, should have been shattered and shuttered out of her life, but she won’t forget that easy. And she won’t let poor present day hero, no longer the hero, our dear Sunil boy, forget him too. If Sunil’s beaky nose has suddenly reddened to the nth degree, it is because Namita is making him burn.

You may say, this happens in urban metros. What about the innocents of the village? Young Amar of Bilaspur gaon may have left his love for his chammakh-chhalo Sarika at the behest of his powerful grandfather who gets him married off to the moneylender’s daughter, Rupaiya. If he sits and howls at the moon every night even as Rupaiya cooks bajrey ki roti for him and ladles it with the butter of her love for him, it is because of his past. He cannot let go of Sarika that easy.

Mr. and Mrs. Godbole look like any other couple, quiet acceptance a regular feature on both their faces. Mr. Godbole will never reveal to his wife why he does not allow her to bring jasmine flowers into the house or wear them in her hair. But when she sees him turn his face away with sadness every time he passes a jasmine flower-seller, she can guess. Mrs. Godbole will never tell him of how she had wild sex with the neighbourhood boy for one year before he went away. She will not let Mr. Godbole know that she married him on the rebound. But her abandonment in bed will surprise and delight him. And also raise some questions in his mind which he will quell. He will wonder at how this placid woman hides a tigress under it all. And Mrs. Godbole will think of her wild young nights and feel alive only in bed.

Individuals are a sum total of their life experiences, and this becomes all the more evident in intimate relationships. The past is a part of the person and cannot be shed like a snake sheds his skin. We are humans, not snakes. We bear the marks of previous experiences, proudly or with sorrow, but the marks are there. And they affect our present relationships. Just like whatever relationship we are experiencing now, will cast its shadow on any other we may have in the future. Even if we remain in the current relationship, its own past will be present, journeying with us as we move forward with each other.

Read the annals of history and read the stories written over time. Hear the poetry sung by the balladeers and the modern heart-bleeders.  If we pay attention to the tales of loving and living, we will know that from the moment we begin to breathe, from that moment, our past becomes a part of our present. All relationships have the past featuring as a background actor.

Shochein kya ab, yaaron? Janntey hain hum.