Monday, December 22, 2014

On My Sleeve: The Tattoo Story

Mourning bands are traditionally tattooed in memory of the dead. But the one's on my left forearm are for people that are still very much alive. They do represent the dead though - dead relationships. Does that make me a dark person? is that vengeful? is that a wrong thing to do - to bear a mark for a life time that reminds you of your relationships past?
I don't think so. Not when you look at it the way I do.

The average relationship story is that people fall in love, promise happily ever afters, break up, curse each other, find new happily ever afters and continue the chain. This is called SERIAL MONOGAMY.
Lets take a story here.
Rahul falls in love with Rebecca. And vice versa. They are a monogamous-monoandrous couple pledging undying love to eachother. Sometime down the line reality strikes and the relationship ends. Now they hate each other, curse themselves for not being able to see what a 'bitch' she was and what a 'bastard' he was. All promises go down the drain. Three months later - presto! Rebbecca has a new happily ever after story with Mark and Rahul has a new story with Robin. They hate their exes and love their current match and all is happily ever after - till yet again a little time down the line.
But yes, you have to take into consideration that women are much more likely to keep convincing themselves that all is well in happyville.
That is serial monogamy.
And that is pretty much the norm today. It fills in the void people have of the need to feel special and at the same time takes away the guilt of not being truly committed in the first place.
Its very convenient.

Genuine monogamy is extremely rare and factually speaking, close to impossible. But yet, it is the most touted form of relationships thanks to romanticizing novels and movies and media that sells on the very basis that people need to be made to feel special.
But anyways, this note is not about my perception of love and relationships. So i will get to the point.

My bands are to remind me of the death of my previous relationships. being a person who can never unlove the people he has loved, i find it necessary to remind myself that though i will always treasure and respect and love these people from my past, the relationship is dead. And is to be treated as such. These people have in a way been a contributing factor to the person i am today - and i am incapable of hating them or blaming them or cursing them or whatever - coz they will always be a part of me. The only change is that it will never be a 'relationship'.

Death is not the end. It is the end of a material form. that's all.
Its the way i see relationships. The love, the respect, the fondness, the admiration stays. But all the material ties that are attached to it, die away. And we need to respect that. Its like closing the gap and burying the dead so that it may rest in peace. Always to be remembered with gratefulness and fondness for the time it lived and nurtured your soul.

"What about relationships in your future? How will they feel having to live with these bands on your arm?" a friend asked me. Well, if someone who is 'close' to me, cant understand how i am as a person, how can they be WITH me? If they cannot understand the very basic fact that i come with close to 100% honesty and that i am incapable of hating the people i love, they wont last with me anyways. So infact, this simplifies my relationships for me. Only those who can really understand the way i see life and people, stay. And that may not be a whole lot many, but i've always kind of preferred a strong bunch of few to the wavering, mindless multitudes.

So, That's the way i see it. That's the tattoo on my arm.
3 mourning bands for 3 dead relationships I've treasured.
Wearing my heart on my sleeve in a way. Literally.

- Pushkaraj S Shirke

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Last Cuddle


For someone who doesn't believe in 'happily ever afters' and binding people to 'relationship slavery' for life, a dog is the closest sense of permanence as a concept. And when time runs out on the canine child, it's a turmoil of emotions that find themselves as lashing waves in the human mind of the parent.

Honestly, i have never bothered much about humans. I probably am incapable of doing so. Or maybe I connect way more to animals than I ever can to humans and the human connection just seems too frail compared to the animal one. In a life full of constant changes an unpredictability, Diego, my dog son was the only constant. And now he's gone. Thankfully, in his sleep and painlessly. And after having been with me one last time. But it still hurts. It still reaches beyond my logical self and Into the side I avoid acknowledging. 

He was a tiny, welping, soft little puppy when I had got him - happy to eat up everything in my room, from paintings to CDs to books to pillows. His tiny paws finding their way into my shirt to sleep at night. Diego grew up into a life of adventure - being kidnapped and found again by a miracle, having lived through many homes and 3 cities and finally having lived in an open jungle home that would be a dream for any city dog. Diego was the calmest and most composed dog I have ever known. He taught me whatever little I know of peace and calm. It is Diego that made me realise that what attracts me most even among humans, is nothing materially gauageable, but a sense of peace and calm. He taught me a lot many things as he grew up as my child and out grew me in maturity much much faster into a wise old man who was still always a child to me. 
The last time I met him, it was certain that he didn't have long. So I had the opportunity to pet him and feed him and love him as much as I possibly could. We cuddled and took pictures together, shot portraits of him and pet him all day long. I had arranged for him to be brought back to Mumbai so that he could live under constant medical surveillance, but he passed away before that - which in a way is good. He is now buried in my village backyard with my fav childhood dog. And all I can do is hope that he was happy to have been my son and hope that I was a good dad to him. He's the first and probably the only son I will ever have... Which is why it's no surprise that it takes no genius to tell that the one picture of our last cuddle together is not beautiful for any photographic quality, but It is what it is because it is full of love. The only true and genuine love as I have ever known. It's all there, poured in, deep into that one last cuddle. 

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