Literary Shelf

The Stone Age by Kamala Das

Fond husband, ancient settler in the mind,
Old fat spider, weaving webs of bewilderment,
Be kind. You turn me into a bird of stone, a granite
Dove, you build round me a shabby room,
And stroke my pitted face absent-mindedly while
You read. With loud talk you bruise my pre-morning sleep,
You stick a finger into my dreaming eye. And
Yet, on daydreams, strong men cast their shadows, they sink
Like white suns in the swell of my Dravidian blood,
Secretly flow the drains beneath sacred cities.
When you leave, I drive my blue battered car
Along the bluer sea. I run up the forty
Noisy steps to knock at another's door.
Though peep-holes, the neighbours watch,
they watch me come
And go like rain. Ask me, everybody, ask me
What he sees in me, ask me why he is called a lion,
A libertine, ask me why his hand sways like a hooded snake
Before it clasps my pubis. Ask me why like
A great tree, felled, he slumps against my breasts,
And sleeps. Ask me why life is short and love is
Shorter still, ask me what is bliss and what its price....

The poem titled The Stone Age is not historical but is mythical and this is but one of the scenes of the Old Theatre, the Old Playhouse and as thus part we our scenes, the scenes of love starting from there. We know it how were the Stone Age people, how was their life and living and she as a reader of human psychology, man and mind sees it no change in his behaviour as far as primitive instincts are concerned, animal sensations are. Taking a cue from the gorillas, orangutans, hanumans and monkeys, we can feel how has man developed, come of the ages and stages of life undergoing changes, metamorphosis and transformation! It is a story of man-woman relationship, love and sex, dream and desire. What does the self-want it from? How the history of our relationship? How the history of love? How our relationship? How our love? How the history of our lust? How voluptuous are our desires! How the stories of our attachment and affection!

The Old Theatre is the same and the personae too the same. Only the script varies it from play to play. However, be the figures and shapes of them, the characters are almost the same. However, be we, our emotions are the same, the same primitive emotions. How were Adam and Eve banished from the Garden of Eden? Are our latent desires so? Man may undergo changes, but the primitive old lovers have not.

When we read the poem, the Stone Age lovers, the pictures and images of the primitive men as lovers conjure upon the mind’s plane. Still now many tribesmen and aboriginal people live a life of their own. Are we not like the primitive people in love? For to understand this saga of love and relationship, we may have to take time to read the apes. In love and relationship, the possession of the bare body, we are almost the same.

There are two layers of meaning, if to see it personally in a mood of taking complaint, the tirades right or wrong, dramatic or real may be directed to her husband who is but often a silent listener of her poems, not at all a reactor as his reactions are not known to us. How did he take to her popularity and media glare? How were his reactions with reservations? We are not aware of. Apart from sexual dissatisfaction and extra-marital love, what is in it? She wanders and wanders in search of quest and fulfillment just like a dream dreamt, a rambling rambled and the quest leads to unknown door and their tapping and knocks. But where to get it happiness? How to be happy? Can the fire be extinguished? The fire of lust, it is difficult to put out. Satisfaction is in sex. Al the theories get consumed in sex. What is that attracts one against another? How the pulls and counter-pulls of consciousness?

Such a language of love and bonding it is difficult to comprehend it. How the mythic layers of meaning, how the symbols revealing? How the coats of meaning?

If you cannot give love, you turn me into a granite dove. But how to be complacent with your pragmatic and hypocritical, snobbish and consolatory theories if the body is on fire? If the body is not satisfied, how to take to principle and philosophy? If the heart is not tranquil, how to take to the tulsimala? We think a young girl cannot and if she takes, she can go the way of a Vaishnavite.

The house you have built is a shabby one. You try to cuddle and possess me but fail to give satisfaction that I need, and I get left to dreaming, daydreaming disturbed by your pre-dawn early pricking and poking, going out, taking the visionary glide finally readying for the stride and this leads to the knocking of unknown doors of the houses of strangers  and diving into summer pools of water. But what is this love? How is it? Who is actually a lover? Is the lover of the body a real lover? Or is the lover of the soul a real lover? As the body is in the soul, the soul is in the body, is it not?

The mystic poetry of love she writes it about, the symbolical language she uses and applies in. Who is her lover? How the Old Theatre? How the personae in love and relationship? How the erotic, but symbolical and artistic figures and figurines of our terracotta plates or the ornamental decorations inscribed upon as motifs and symbols? Can adultery be contained in? Does lust understand it? If the heart is on fire, how to make it understand the mind?

What does he want from me and what do I from him? What can a woman from a man and what can a man from a woman?

If it is not all that, the poem is an imaginative liberation from the shackles of bound life? Under the shadow of his, she feels it cowered down. She cannot have a personality of her own and she cannot grow it. When the shadow leaves, she thinks of moving far, taking the winged, swift-footed flight.

He thinks that her body is his own. The body is the center of it al. But she wants to ask a question. Why is life so short and love even so shorter? What is bliss? Where is it? How the price of it?

What does he pride in? What has he to pride it over her feminine self? Is it his masculine prowess? Is it that he is a male and she a female?

When he leaves for the office, where does she go to driving her blue battered car? Into which sea of the blue waters of dreams, plunges she? Where does her soul wander to? Where does her heart and mind? Where does her psyche and herself to?
 

24-Dec-2022

More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

Top | Literary Shelf

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