August 4, 2006: “Yaari hai imaan Mera yaar meri zindagi…”
“My love-friendship is my truth, My lover-friend is my entire life…”
At 4 am, I am made awake by this somehow unquiet thought which wants to disturb me, and will not let me sleep.
Lyrics have many meanings, and I find that a different lyric, with a distinctive meaning, plays in my head each day, depending on my mood, depending on who I am that day. (Because, my friends, I’m becoming increasingly aware that I awaken as a different person each day.)
Today, this morning, this moment, I find myself with the thought that we are, all of us, like scorpions. Tender pulp inside, tough shell outside, and a venomous, lightning-swift stinger.
The Pulp Inside
We are tender, needy pulp inside, aching with the NEED to make contact with the pulp of others, to crush our pulp together, and see and hear and feel the pulp melt into one. To have sex, to make love, to understand, to be understood, to be accepted and to luxuriate in the release from need and neediness that this complete acceptance brings.
To have our filthiest (yessss! deliciously filthy) and most intimate needs addressed, and accepted, and respected, and loved, and caressed, and craved.
Yes, CRAVED! As in, “Please please please let me do that for you, let me do everything for you, now, this moment. Please, I beg you, let yourself go, let every resistance go, let nothing stand in the way. NOthing, no fear, no shame, no inhibitions, no pious beliefs, no painful memory of past rebuffs or of abuses and betrayals… nothing, NOthing, NOTHING! You lie back and enjoy, and just guide me gently, tell me what you need, what you want, what you want me to do, and how long you want me to go on doing it. Tell me everything… everything that flashes before your mind’s eye. Keep nothing to yourself. Be ashamed of nothing, please. No matter what it is, no matter how bad it sounds, I shall love you the more for it. I ask nothing in return, I just want to do this for you now. Please, please, PLEASE let me…”
We fantasize about the dream lover who will do all these things… who will OWN us completely, and be so totally ONE with this needy pulp within us, that we will never feel frustrated again. And because we are not one single person even within ourselves, we will, each of us, feel fulfilled and complete when we too have made love to this person in this complete way, as well as being the recipients of such complete love. When we have had the fantasy lover, and ourselves been the fantasy lover.
This, my friends, is our TRUTH, for which we will gladly lay aside all our other truths, which seem to pale in comparision until this truth is found, until this need is addressed.
It’s so simple, isn’t it? We all have hands and mouths and breasts and sexual parts and the urge to be served and satiated, and we all have hands and mouths and breasts and sexual parts and the urge to serve and satiate each other’s needs. Sounds so plain and simple.
And yet, it isn’t simple…
The Outer Shell Because we are scorpions. Because our pulp is clothed in the grim carapaces of our our bodies — shells whose nature is the exact opposite of the pulp inside. The truth of these carapaces is the truth of self-containedness, of seeming dignity, of great strength, of being insensitive to the need of others and of having no great need oneself. We are all prisoners within these carapaces, these shells, which too are an aspect of us.
It is this armour that enables the infinitely sensitive pulp to exist as it does. It preserves the sensitivity. So one cannot reject the shell as not-self.
This armour is for others to see, and fear, and beware of. So when I say “I”, I refer to the fearful individual that peeps out of my armour through the eyeholes. And when I say “you” and “they”, I refer to the sea of forbidding carapaces, pincers and claws and stings that surround me.
You see me that way. I see you that way, and we both try to pretend to be invincible, indestructible, unapproachable and without need. I harden the already hard, harsh shell outside that forbids approach. I try to project dignity and intellect and integrity (whatever that damn word means) and self-sufficiency. Above all, I project self-sufficiency. We all do.
Because there is yet another aspect to this pulpy interior of ours; its vulnerability to the venomous sting. We are, each of us, capable of delivering a blow to the other. We are capable of making each other feel totally unworthy as individuals. We can make each other feel like shit. We each carry enough memories of having been made to feel that way, and these memories are the poison that we carry in our stingers — our ever-so-potent, ever-so-ready-to-strike stingers.
We can make each other feel oh-so-unworthy. We do it all the time, it’s our second nature. We do it willy-nilly, by careless word or careless silence. By raised eyebrow and ironic smile. By a smile withheld where a smile was due. By a word withheld where a gentle word was due. By a look, a hug, a caress withheld. By a word or a gesture that was hurled like a stone, with intent to hurt.
My eyes fill with tears at the thought of how frequently I hurl these stones, at how easily I cock my eyebrows to wound, and how swiftly my tongue curls around precisely the word that will inflict the unkindest cut.
And as I write this, a thought crosses my mind: it is the prostitutes, the WHORES of this world, who are the salt of the earth. With their hands, their mouths, and their entire bodies, they sooth the needy pulp of anonymous humanity. And they ask for nothing more than our money — the trash in our pockets. Their actions may not be friendship or love, but I think it’s a pretty decent substitute.
On the other hand, those of us who are habitually sanctimonious wound the spirits all the time, and make others ashamed of being who they are — a pulpy mass of needs crying out to be met. By not acknowledging the humanness of humanity, the righteous ones sting us. They deny themselves, and they deny everyone else. Do they uplift us? Maybe they do; surely they have their reason for existing and being universally, but this moment, I cannot find a kind word in my heart for them.
But a friend, a lover? Ah, friends and lovers are the TRUTH. They are THE TRUTH. They ARE the Truth. They are God. They are Life. They are precious.
And they are very, very hard to find. They are almost impossible to find. Which, my friends, is so strange, and so tragic, considering that this entire sea of humanity consists of needy pulp. How can true love be so rare when the need for true love is so rampant? But it is.
“Yaari hai imaan Mera yaar meri zindagi!” I find there is another meaning hidden in this lyric, which is, “For my lover-friend, I shall forsake my truth... Because my lover-friend is my entire life!”
Now I wonder if this is the truth, or just a lie that sounds seductively like the truth. _________________________________________
[Postscript: For me, as I awaken this morning (August 4, 2006), this is the truth. I may wake up tomorrow morning with a different truth — perhaps filial love, or paternal and maternal love and duty, a more pious and less sensual love. I’m conscious that the wheels of existence do not turn on this one truth alone; there are a thousand truths, some more tragic than this one, some grander than this one. But I would be lying through my teeth if I spoke of them this morning. For this morning, this day, this is the truth in my heart. And it is sufficient.]