Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chapati Moments: Maya and the Fire of Love

Letchoomi and Maya are having a slight difference of opinion. The girls are at Uncle Veloo's house.
"What's wrong with Kylie Minogue? I think she is a great singer." Letchoomi insists.
"Great singer?? Great singer is someone like Placido Domingo, not some skinny runt with a silicon padded arse. Kylie is the face of Aussie culture at its naffest if at all you can say that Australia has any culture." Maya retorts.
"What about the kangaroos, koala bears and aborigines?" Letchoomi is defiant.
"Granted that kangaroos and koala bears are animals unique to Australia but this does not form part of their culture! As for their aborigines, they've exterminated most of them except for a token few whom they ensure are kept perpetually drunk to prevent them from claiming their rights." says Maya.
"I see its Anti Australia day ..." drawls Sosya as she strolls in to join her friends who are sprawled out in Auntie Roopah's sitting room. "So what has brought on this sudden hostility towards Australia? Could it have something to do with the Italian chef?"
"He has an Aussie wife" mutters Maya into her cuppa Massala tea.
"Ooh .... the bell ringeth... so what does this cow look like?" Letchoomi asks.

"Like any Holstein Friesian. Oh no, more like a Holstein/Jersey cross" says Maya.

"So what would you like us to do? Chop her up and serve her as a vindaloo dish?" asks Sosya trying to be helpful.

"God no! We'd be having vindaloo Fresian/Jersey for the next 5 years!" exclaims Maya.

"I take it she is a trifle rotund?" enquired Sosya.

"She has a sizeable rump and is not terribly prepossessing. Lets just say she has seen better days" says Maya uncharitably.

"Ohoo! The cat is really out to play here ... meowww Maya! Don't forget that you're not exactly unattached yourself." Sosya states the obvious.

"Androo is hardly an impediment." Maya retorts.

"So how is the Fresian cow an impediment?" asks the practical Soysa.

"She's here for a visit and she might stay on. And they are Catholics." Maya explains.

"He is Italian dahling ... of course he is Catholic. What has his religion got to do with anything? I thought the cross he wore, dangling from his neck, resting on his bed of hairy chest clearly advertised his religion to all and sundry. Why is this now a problem?" asked the worldly wise Sosya, the author of 'How to Fuck a Man and Forget him After he Pays'.

Maya remained silent, struggling with her emotions. Letchoomi, the diehard Kylie fan, has a stroke of genius "Ah, I see someone has fallen in love!"

Maya glares at her whilst Sosya pats Letchoomi on the head "Really dahling.... who?" She then turns her Sophia Loren act on Maya "Dahling ... love them and leave them - don't fall in love with them! At least not for free anyway... You are such a pathetic excuse for a mistress. Here is a rich Italian chef and you don't get even a bracelet for your troubles."

Letchoomi chips in "I think she gets free fettucini from him." Maya is indignant "I pay for my own food! I have my own money. I don't need any money from him."

" Dahling...." Sosya drawls in her afffected Hollywood movie star accent "women don't take money from men because they need it - they take money from men because they deserve it. If they need money, they would get a job." Letchoomi and Maya ponder on this pearl of wisdom for a few seconds. Letchoomi in her little girl naivety breaks the contemplative mood with an irreverent remark "At least she gets to taste his Italian salami." Sosya looks exasperated "There is no point tasting something which you don't get to chew on and digest!"

"Ahhh you girls!" Auntie Roopah bursts in "always talking about food - I wonder how you stay so slim when you are so obsessed with food. Why don't you go hang out at your Uncle Veloo's restaurant. There is plenty of food there." Auntie Roopah wants the girls out of the way so that she can be alone with her very own Mandingo - her manservant from Chagos Island.

Enter the Chagossian lad with pail and mop in hand. He is wearing a white tshirt which seems a tad too small for him - stretched to its maximum capacity across his chest and biceps. So tight you could see the outline of his nipples. The tshirt stops short above his waist revealing his taut washboard stomach. The apparel covering his lower half is equally tantalising. He is wearing track bottoms which is disconcertingly too small for him. It rides up and tucks itself snugly into the crack of his bum as he carries out his chores, oblivious to the effect he is having on the four women in the room. The women stare at his deletable taut derriere. "That's the choicest rump I've ever set eyes on ..." whispers Letchoomi to Sosya.

The young lad turns around to ask Auntie Roopah something about the Dettol. The women let out a gasp in unison. The clingy material seems glued onto his lower half, leaving nothing to the imagination. Auntie Roopah felt her throat go dry and dashed out of the room before she passed out. Uncatholic thoughts floating through her mind. She felt as though she has struck a gold mine. The other 3 women remain rooted to their seats, not daring to blink in case they missed something - anything. Sosya hands a hankie over to Letchoomi "You are frothing at the mouth, dahling. Best clean it up before he thinks you have mad cow disease."

"I think those are Androo's old clothes he is wearing" whispers Maya.

"Androo should give all his clothes to this fella. It looks much better on him" Letchoomi whispers, gasping for breath. Sosya asks him where he's from. But no one is looking at his face when he answers. They are mesmerised by the cluster of dark curly wurly hair gathered just above the elastic band holding up his track bottoms. Sweat is trickling down his dark torso, past his belly button, getting trapped in the little cluster of hair but persisting on, disappearing underneath the elastic band ... heading for his crotch ... they imagine. A sigh escapes all 3 of them. Maya's obsession with the Italian is momentarily forgotten as she asks him "Where is Chagos Islands?" "It is near Mauritius" he answers.

Sosya asks him what its like there - is it like, Hawaii? The girls are just shooting questions at him, feigning a sudden interest in geography to prevent him from turning around to continue with his chores. Not that his rear view is less stimulating but full frontal is certainly a sight to behold. Men who have been confronted by a formidable pair of boobs will be able to understand how these 3 women feel at the moment. "Perhaps we can go there for a holiday" Letchoomi says hopefully. If all their men look like this, she's taking the next flight there.

"You cannot go to Chagos Islands for a holiday, the Americans have taken over our homeland. It is now called Diego Garcia. They have set up a military airbase there. Our people have been cruelly ousted from our beloved homeland."

[the American Airbase in Diego Garcia]

"Oh these Americans!" says Letchoomi in a fit of disgust" they are always destroying other people's homeland and ruining their lives..." Sosya and Maya listen with interest at Letchoomi's virginal foray into political discourse until she continues with "just the other week they opened a MacDonald's next to Uncle Veloo's restaurant and the smell of fried beef is making us feel sick ....."

The Chagossian lad nods his head in sympathy though not quite grasping the similarity between being tossed out of one's homeland and having a MacDonald's open up next door to one's restaurant. One can only appreciate her comments if one lived or worked next door to a MacDonald's joint. I have to call it a joint for lack of a better word. It is definitely not a restaurant. In fact, to call any place an "American restaurant" would be an abuse of the word "restaurant". An American joint is more appropriate. It is not difficult to spot an American joint. All the dishes on the menu are served with potato chips or fries, as they call it. They are the only people who get their verbs and nouns mixed up. Google is now a verb.

The girls' choice rump steak is called away by Auntie Roopah who urgently needs him to clean the bathroom upstairs. Sigh.

The girls continue with their earlier discussion on Maya's plight. Maya opens up to her friends on her feelings towards the Italian. What started as intense physical chemistry between them has turned into something much deeper than Maya felt capable of experiencing. What does one do when one realises that one has found one's soulmate and neither has the freedom to indulge in each other's company as and when they please? Fleeting meetings for a sexual tryst is all very exciting if and only if the relationship is purely physical in nature. But when one has fallen deeply in love, the sexual aspects of the relationship takes second place to the simple act of basking in each other's company, enjoying an intimacy which may not even entail sexual activity.

The heart has a mind of its own, independent of one's thought processes. The Sufis say that what you feel in your heart is God's way of communicating with you.

The heart is where man's connection with the Divine lies. When man ignores his soul's desires and he lives solely through his head, his intellect and his physical being, he does not truly live. Because to ignore one's soul is to ignore one's very reason for being. But there are many who live this way. Many who think that intellectual superiority is an achievement. That a life dedicated to intellectual enlightenment is much better than a path dedicated to spiritual elevation. Oh what folly. Humans fall for the trap they set themselves. Whether they bask in intellectual glory or swim in an abundance of spiritual enlightenment, they have fallen into a deep hole filled with self glorification. A hole which they have dug up themselves.

For life, my friends, is quite difficult for most of us, too complex for the complex mind but yet it is so extremely simple it defies reason. Love is the key to everything. I know the word Love has been much abused, maligned beyond recognition, commercialised to the extreme, bandied about by careless utterances of "I love you" by people who have no idea what "to love" means. Only one love is true - that is unconditional love. That is the love that God shows us. There are many who argue that God loves us with conditions:-

* that we are faithful to Him;

*that we pray 5 times a day;

*fast during Ramadan;

*go to Church regularly;

*slaughter cows;

*don't slaughter cows; etc.

Why do we place these human thoughts onto God and attribute human feelings onto Him? Is it because we cannot understand Him, grasp even the concept of God, unless he is similar to us? Human. Should it not be us who should strive to be more like Him? And that is why I say that the closest thing you can experience with the Divine is through unconditional love.

Unconditional love does not mean self sacrificing, abuse-me-all-you-want kind of love. It is a strong love. A brave and courageous love which says:

I love you - as you are. You don't have to love me back. And I love you enough not to let you abuse me.

You are only capable of achieving this kind of love if you love yourself. So that is why we love falling in love. That feeling of euphoria, the breathlessness, the whole magical experience that makes one feel special. But then suddenly you find yourself tortured, all your insecurities raise their ugly heads, surfacing at this inconvenient time, exposing your flaws to your loved one. Will he still love me once he sees me like this? Once he knows me as the person I really am? Warts et al.

Do we show our ugly side just to test the other's love or does it surface in order to allow the love you feel for each other to heal them? It is a mixture of both. The love you feel makes you more confident to allow the "ugly" side of you to surface as you trust the other person to love you no matter what. Unfortunately this is the time and part where it gets too hard for both parties to continue on. The euphoria is gone. There is an element of unpleasantness. Hard issues to deal with. All is not honky dory. It feels like hard work. Those afraid to carry on are afraid of deeper feelings. Its too scary for them. Uncharted territory. Dare they venture into the dark beyond? Where will it lead them? Are they strong enough to survive this journey? Together? Will they still be together at the end of the journey?

Well let me tell you this. Your soul made you fall in love. You, the physical and thinking side of you, enjoy these feelings up to a point. Its like a drug that makes you happy - until... it starts making you miserable and you decide to amputate your feelings like a gangrenous limb and cut the source out of your life. And this is where you fail to listen to your soul... You go on seeking the initial euphoria of falling in love, not understanding that the feeling will not last - it is whimsical and fleeting, its purpose is just to attract you and lead you to real love - the love which will lead you to Divine Being. That, one day you will wake up and realise you cannot even remember the name of the person you so obsessed over when you realise whom your soul was really seaching for. A return to Divine Being.

So do not be fooled by this intoxicating spell of being in love. It is God's way of attracting your attention, lulling you with the ebbs and flow of the tides of Love, then thrashing you against the rocks till your bones have splintered to many thousand pieces and your flesh has smashed to pulp ... and all that remains is your stubborn heart, still beating, lying on the rocks, unrestrained by the complicated web of your thoughts and unshackled from the chains of your intellect.

That, my friends, is how you will feel, at the end of this journey. You, the physical self, would have died, before the hour of your death is due, and all that remains is your soul, shining in its true beauty. By then it does not matter if your are still together with the initial object of your desires, of your love. You understand that what is most important is the Journey. And that you fell in love with Love in the first place.

So our dear Maya, finds herself now, in the first throes of passion, staring at love. Paralysed by her fears. The fear of darkness. And how can you understand light, if your haven't journeyed through darkness? All your preconceived values, morals come into play. Adultery, fornication, how can such a union be blessed? How can something impure lead to the pure? Marriage is sacred - so how can breaking your marital vows lead to Divine Revelation?

You can argue with me till your face turns blue. And I will say to you - the only union that is sacred is your union with God. You belong to no one and no one belongs to you. The only unfaithfulness is your unfaithfulness to God. And your only binding vows are to Him, your Creator. There are no conditions attached to His Love for you. There are no obligations attached to Divine Love. We have created all this to measure our worthiness and yet God measures not our love. God loves us is the only true statement. We love Him may not be a true statement as we may not have the capacity nor have we evolved enough to have the true knowledge and understanding of how to love Him. Those who say they love God have made an untrue and arrogant claim. Only God knows, who truly loves Him. It is in His Mercy that He allows us to experience this state of being. The state of being in love with each other. The state of loving each other.

And so, our Maya is caught in a dilemma many of us have been through. The thrill of falling in love, the anguish of loving a person you cannot have, the pain of acknowledging to yourself that you love this person and the fear that you may never feel this way about another person again ... that one day, because of this fear, you will settle for something less. Something and someone who will not make you feel like you are being thrashed mercilessly by powerful, angry waves of love against jagged rocks. One day you will settle for less. Maybe that is why people call it "settling down". What they mean is that you have settled for less.

And Maya is awakened to this fact. As she speaks to her friends she is realising the folly of her life and her present existence. Blighted by her bad choice of husband. Granted that Androo was her parents' choice but she allowed it to become her choice too by not raising any strong objections. Today she realises that her life is tainted by self deceit - a heinous crime we all commit unto ourselves, and that she must choose between a shattering admission of failure or a lifetime spent in self deceit, staying married for the tawdry sake of keeping up appearances. Our choices are normally made on what is most convenient for us. That is why we prefer to coninue living our desperate lives in self deceit, fearing the unknown, afraid to follow our treacherous heart which refuses to be tamed into quiet submission. We would rather walk around like the living dead than face the ensuing cacophony of making a decision based on the heart. That is why we say "rational thought" and describe feelings of the heart as "irrational". We have conditioned ourselves to trust our intellect over our heart. Following our heart gets us hurt, listening to our thoughts keeps us safe.

So how would you want me to continue with Maya's tale? Maya is a woman .. so... of course, she is irrational and follows her heart! Ahh, another stereotype. But Maya is not like other women. And neither is Sosya. Sosya operates mainly on her survival instincts. Her heart has long been ignored and silenced. The door to her heart locked but the keys may not necessarily have been thrown away. But another day on Sosya.

**Author's note: For those expecting the usual concoction of sex, violence, perversion and political angst, I am sorry to disappoint you. This is the holy month of Ramadan. This is my way of fasting. Note, the first few paragraphs on the Chagossian lad were written before Ramadan. Then I was rudely interrupted by a lot of work and continued the story much later on. By the way, anyone who has read this and think I am encouraging people to commit adultery or to disrespect the sanctity of marriage, has really missed the point. The fact that you have to use your willpower to remain faithful to your life chosen partner shows that you have lost it ie the sacredness of your union. Salaams, Shalom, Peace, Namaste my friends.

1 comment:

art harun said...

Wonderful discourse on love, life and spirituality. (I deliberately chose the word "spiritual" rather than "religion" as it reflects deeper into the real issue of "one-ness" with God).

Beautiful to a fault!