Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dialogues - Part I

My interpretation of the Relationship between my Great-Great-Great-GrandUncle and his French wife, who loved India more than any of us. They were married for 58 years and died in Paris, leaving no children.


Antoinette:
You are Krishna personified. Or Vishnu. You are Mohini too. Yours being Indian is a wonderment that has refused to cease being wonderful. It is a wonderment that has me smell Musk and Tiger-skins and Jasmines in full Bloom every time we unite. You are to me what the Ganges is to Benares. Without the Ganges, Benares would be just another dumpyard of half-burnt bodies, being ravaged by rabid dogs. Without the Ganges, Benares would be another crematorium with naked unwashed sadhus rubbing against each other in the heat. But the Ganges is what makes Benares, Benares. And you are my Ganges. Your Mother slaps her cheeks in Horrified repentance when I say this to her, but she comprehends my gist. That I exist because you do. She loves me immensely. At first she touched my white skin in wonder. And so did your sisters, my dear Sankara. There, what have I done? I have taken your name. In your Hindu tradition, the wife does not take her husband's name. That is what I pine for. To be a true Indian wife. On the lines of Savitri and Sati. But that is what my French blood will never absorb. These little tenets of Hinduism. And yet I clamber up this wall bit by bit. It is hard, and the top is a long way off, but I hope to reach there and attain glory. Yesterday, your Mother gave me her gold bangles. 'From mother-in-law to daughter-in-law' she had said. I cannot wear them. They are too sacred for me. So I worship them. Along with the little bundle of dust from your feet.


Sankara:
I don't understand all this fascination of yours with everything Indian. Did you forget that I married you because I wanted to have nothing to do with the women here. Antoinette, you are educated, for God's sake, act like one! You can quote Keats and Machiavelli in the same line. What is come over you? I left India, because there is no future here. Don't you see? The British are ransacking this country inch by inch. Soon there will be nothing left. I cannot erase my lineage, my history but I could start anew. And I hope to. I do not want you to be like the women in India, they are all gems. Beautiful, intellectual but too submissive for me. Even if I would give my Indian wife an opportunity and freedom, she would not choose to fly. That is why I chose you Antoinette. Then why are you going back to this. This?

2 comments:

Castle said...

Two different views of the same thing...!! We find them in our lives all the time, don't we..? It amuses me at times, sometimes gets me thinking as well .. but the only thing I could infer, follow your heart and no matter what you'll end up happy.. content.. satisfied..
Nice blog Shilpa. :)

Shilpa Nair said...

@Castle - Thanks for your interest in my blog. And u r right, as long as u r happy in what u r doing, u don't need to worry. I just went thru' ur blog. But it is empty!!!