Sunday, September 1, 2013

Illusive Reality

“Which part of it did you want to be true?”

“It’s not what I want. It is… what is true!”

“And how would you ever know that?”

"I have been following his work for quite some time now… He has a particular sense of developing at least one character of this nature in his stories. When you read his biography… the events these characters would live through would echo to those that he himself has lived…”

"But is that reason enough to solidify your belief about the reality of these characters? What if the similarity of these events is a mere coincidence?”

“But what if they are not?”

“Well there is an equal probability of both…”

Nandita asked Ritu, “is it always about what the writer would want to tell us? Or is it almost always about what we would want to read?”

“I think it is the later. In the works of fiction, how would one ever know what exactly did the writer wish to say?”

“And if later be the case, why do we need the novel in the first place? Is that not, then, a second hand expression of our own thoughts? Why should I pay this writer for my own thoughts?”

“Well, may be the novel is a medium through which your thoughts are being expressed… else they would never have assumed a form… and even if they had, you would have not known until you read the novel to express them to yourself?”

“So is it all about giving my thoughts a form? What’s the point in giving form to some thoughts which are so fickle that they would change if I had to read the same novel again?”

There was a silence in the room. Ritu looked at Nandita and couldn’t take her eyes off her for a while... she looked at her and they stayed in that moment… Nandita smiled and said, “Imagine if someone heard our conversations and wrote a story around this, would that be a story based on real events? Some real conversations?”

“It would… no?”

“But would an observer ever know what we both thought or felt in the silence we just experienced? And if he writes about it would that not be his interpretation of the moment? Imagine if the writer is a woman? Would her interpretations be the same as that of a male writer? And if we add or delete or modify or change even the slightest of the things that’s happening here right now, would that story still be real? And to what extent, who can ever tell?” She continued, “It’s a strange sort of contradiction that we read novels to evade our realities for a while and then we keep seeking for reality in that novel, which by virtue of its genre has to be nothing but a fantasy of the author’s mind. It gets transpired into such ordinary moments, Ritu. Moments such as these… where we are so mundanely sitting and talking about something which is so illusionary. At the same time, we are wondering what is more real… whatever we are saying or doing? Or something else – something that may exist in our mind but may not take a form of an expression? Or still, something which may be even beyond expression… something that may remain most elusive idea in our head but at the same time would appear strongest reality that we would want to pursue to the end of our lives?

Ritu looked amused, “in that sense reality can never be narrated, isn’t it?” she paused and asked, “But can it even ever be lived then? How do we understand the reality of this moment?”

“The only reality we could ever achieve in each other is, Ritu, whatever we express to each other. However, we will have to recognize that rarely remains the reality in totality. And when we extend this idea to all our relationships, the whole world appears to be so unreal, so illusionary. But I wonder, what’s so wrong in living with the illusions of this world? What’s so enigmatic about the reality that we all so dearly crave for it?

Nandita looked at Ritu for a while. Then very casually got up and walked to stand very close to her. Ritu looked up at her. She still appeared puzzled. Nandita held her face with her palms, leaned down, closed her eyes and planted a kiss on her lips. Without opening her eyes, she asked, “how does it matter, Ritu?”

They smiled at each other. 

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