Monday, September 19, 2011

Why define.. Why confine?

“Ma’am, Ma’am, come fast”.

Little Shourya held onto my shirt and dragged me towards the object that had caught his fancy. I had taken my little 7-year-old students to a lush garden to show them the beautiful world of insects.

“Ma’am, just look at his beauty. Ma’am, just look at his colour. Woow, I have never seen anything so beautiful. I love him, Ma’am”.

Expecting to see a fluttering butterfly, I gazed at the point where he was trying to draw my attention. And I shrieked! For it wasn’t the colourful beauties of the garden that the little one was so smitten by, rather it was a cockroach. Argh, a cockroach! Almost upset, I wanted to move him away and tell him how ‘yucky’ cockroaches were and how they gave me the creeps. As I was about to take him elsewhere, I noticed Shourya’s expression. He looked stunned. Amazed. Excited. All because of a cockroach. There was open admiration stamped upon his face for the tiny maroon bug. In that moment, so many of my definitions dropped. Why had my adult mind got trained to believe that a butterfly was beautiful? And a cockroach was ugly? Why had my definition of beauty become so limited? I sat right there in the grass and began to pen down all my thoughts.

I had always loved definitions. As a child I had labels for all my friends. There was ‘friend’, ‘good friend’, ‘best friend’ and even ‘bestest friend’. I had neatly packaged them into groups. And I loved it. However, the problems would start coming if a friend started becoming a good friend, or somehow, a ‘bestest’ friend started moving towards being a friend. Caught up with theory, I would ignore the practicals. I would resist with all my might and ensure that the changing relationships stayed in their specific categories… and today, I am barely in touch with any of them. It’s only now, sitting here in the garden, that I realize that I hadn’t allowed the river to flow along its natural course – rather I had tried to build a dam here, and one there, and tried to control its flow. In the bargain I had completely lost out on the river and its natural beauty altogether. I was too busy deciding where it should go, rather than just jumping into it myself and flowing along.

Even as an adult, I was constantly caught up with definitions. I had a particular idea of love. I probably picked it up from one of the self help books which had fascinated me. “Love is that which brings out the best in you”, it said. And there, a definition was ready. As I thought deeply, I realized, that love brought out not just the best but also sometimes the worst in me. Did that mean that it was not love? Did that mean that I didn’t love my mom, dad, sister, husband, guru? No! I did and I do. The people don’t have to be dropped, the definitions have to! Love is this… and love is that. When there is ‘and’, when there is inclusion of two opposites, how can a definition be possible?

A rush of realizations seemed to sweep me. All my life I had feared death because I saw life and death as two opposites. And since life was beautiful and exciting and thrilling and colourful, death seemed to be its exact opposite. Today, for the first time I realize, that everything in life comes in pair. And the pairs just are. It is I who defines one as good and one as bad. To her day could be splendid and to me night. To him winter could be unbearable and to me summer. Life just is. It is this. And it is that. So putting definitions will only limit my experience as I will see one thing as positive and the other as negative… I will accept one with open arms and reject another with all my might. But both are life. Both have something to teach, something to experience.

I want to break my life out of definitions. I want to just be. Let each moment unfurl a new experience unto me. Let every idea, every pre-concieved notion be challenged. He is cunning. She is jealous. He is wonderful. She is terrible. Life is tough. My health is bad. I will only get something after a lot of efforts. Oh, who gave me all these definitions? I, myself? But then, I too am beyond definitions…. Tell me, can you define yourself? I sure can’t! Than why this urgent need to define everything, everyone… why not flow with the river and allow it to carry me?

Shourya shook me and broke me out of my reverie. He was asking me if he could take the cockroach home and keep it as a pet. He would call it Ben Ten. I smiled and said, “Sure, darling, why not? After all, who ever defined pets to only be cats and dogs?”

Megha Bajaj

No comments:

Post a Comment