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If Only ...
|by Julia Dutta|
If only I could love you less, I would not have waited a thousand years for you.
If you look at the map of Tibet or you search the net to find Laipei, you can't. It is too insignificant a place, too small, to be placed on the map and yet, for both of us it has been so eventful. And we have held it in our hearts for all these years because there was a longing we could only touch, but not explore, a happening, we could not submit to totally and a desire, we could not fulfill. It was a veil cast over our souls that took us a thousand years to unveil, but we both know in our hearts that over each lifetime, we have been searching to find each other'.and perhaps we did in one way or the other. But in this lifetime, we remember the spell we cast on each other, binding us over lifetimes'.
The monastery with its thick high walls could not keep us from seeing each other every morning when we went for the prayers. The thick mist in the early morning, the nip in the air could not stop us from the instant warmth we felt when our eyes fell on each other, for that one brief moment, before we were inside the common hall for the early morning prayers. That one moment we held for the rest of the day and night, until again we saw each other the next day. One moment stretched to the length of sunrise to sunset - to sunrise again. Yes, I know the pain of longing. I know the attitude of quiet surrender in waiting '.I have known it for so many years. So I knew it when I saw your eyes, only for a brief moment; they held the quiet, yet restless hours of the night because they lay like deadpan in the crater of their sockets. These endless hours of the night were like eons for both of us.
Then one day as you passed, I saw you drop a piece of paper on the ground. I knew it was for me. That morning's prayer for me was pitched on the paper lying outside the hall. I picked it up on my way back to my room. Inside, I opened it to find your name. You had written it out for me.
That was it! All my chanting changed words. But for one word, which was your name, my mind forgot all other words. Day and night, in prayer and in worship, walking or in work, in sleep or in wakefulness, only one word, your name. I was full of it. My body languished without food. I was not hungry. My belly was full ' full of you. Every word escaped my thoughts, save your name. It was easier to listen to others, than to talk. What is my language, I often asked myself? What to say? From one dawn to the other and to the next, I saw only the vision of your face and I chanted the Word. Then again I saw the anguish in your eyes one day'.I knew it then'I had traveled that path. Next day I dropped a piece of paper on the ground just as you had done and I knew, even as we sat in prayer, your mind would be outside the hall, just as was mine. When I left the hall that day, the paper was gone and from the look in your eyes the next dawn, I knew your mind was fixed on one word too, like mine ' my name, which you had now read on the paper. I knew it was growing in you and somewhere in the depth of the night, as if concealed from the watchful eyes of the other monks, our chanting met each other - my name in your mind and yours in mine.
Such passions cannot go unnoticed. They found out and the monastery was full of gossip. Wherever I went I was looked at with disapproval. I had broken the law. I had not. We were not to blame. Our hearts knew no rules and they lived without a boundary. They were free. They would have met anyway.
The day of the last judgement was not too far.
Both of us were out. The cold morning air outside the prayer hall could not penetrate our bodies thrown close together about a hundred feet away from the gates of the monastery. Two humans who had been cast inside the walled monastery at Laipei were now outcast from the inner safety of a monks' life and thrown to the ways of the world. We did not know what it entailed but no sooner we were faced with ourselves, all hell broke lose.
Entangled in each other's arms, our bodies tout with passion, we became one and inside each other. Our boundaries were lost forever. Our fingers intertwined; our energies locked as one'.the shivering cold of Laipei's winter and the frosty floor of the earth on which we lay burnt with fire emitting out of our bodies and the whole cosmic journey was made in these single moments, stretching and intermingling and dissolving into each other. I heard you cry, " Just once call out my name'.Speak! I want to hear you call my name'." My mouth opened to voice the Word'my breath came to my aid and I uttered only the first syllable " Mi.." and your mouth was on mine, inhaling my breath with your name on it' our bodies now breaking into a throbbing presence, our minds, finally, finally leaving each other in the outbreak of convulsions that brought us back to ourselves only'.together, yet so far inside our own selves, jointly meeting the cosmic throb inside and around us.
And in that moment, a sharp pain pierced our hearts'. a stabbing pain of a sword driven through us. We have been stabbed. And although, our bodies are now loosening out, our mouths still hold each other. We are still throbbing inside each other. And slowly'.ever so slowly, our breath still holding us as one, we ebb out like the receding waters of a sea, when the tide goes down.
" 'lereppa", I say, like a person coming out of a coma, completing your name where I first left off, that fatal morning when we died in each other's arms. " Milereppa." I whisper to you as my friend, unaware of the past we have held together, introduces us to each other.
It is not a coincidence. Nor a chance happening that I have met you again after all these years, here at the IIC. With every passing day, we have been drawing closer to each other, one step at a time, one day at a time, our hearts knowing that there is that one person we are looking for, very close to us. We have known, even before we came to Kumkum's birthday party today, that tonight we will be giving birth to a new day in our lives. That is why no matter what it took of us to be here, we have both arrived.
" How do you know his name? Have you met before? Do you know each other?" I heard my friend ask in amazement.
Neither of us said anything.
Sometimes the best answers are silent.
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