Perception makes all the difference, they say! We are metaphorical beings, we understand everything metaphorically, PERCEIVE metaphorically. All of religion is based on metaphors and symbols and so are our lives! Everything stands for something which it necessarily isn’t. And the metaphors manifest themselves, mold themselves in the curve of perception. Change is not change, change is movement or is it replacement, movement is going away from being stuck, stuck refers to being scared of transformation, transformation meaning beyond or is it re-formation, formation meaning growth from potential to actual…………………………..Cow is not a cow, it is a holy being, Shiva not Shiva but the force inside each of us instigating destruction or transformation…his third eye not an actual eye but a symbolism of seeing beyond physical, the snake not a snake but the representation of coiled dormant energy, the trident not a trident but a showcase of three aspects of life…a dove is not just a bird, its embodiment of peace……..Everything leads up to something or is something else entirely. Nothing is what it is. But everything is what it is understood to be, or made to be.
We base our decisions and judgments, create our schemas not based on what things actually are but what we make of them. Everything kept constant except what you felt while doing something can change the course of everything that follows. The emotion at a particular time has the power to alter the entire course of the future.
That was the thought behind the story that follows. It is an alternate version of the poem “BASCULE: The Balancing Act”. Everything else kept constant but the emotion “He” felt while doing the deed and how it completely changed the ending was fascinating for me to witness. It is full of metaphors and how we choose to deal with things symbolically to find a way to be at peace. Metaphors for life 🙂
Bascule: Creating balance or purging instability?
The pleasant man who lived alone in the third house from the corner of the street, his house dressed in bright and happy colors; bursts of red and green and blue and he always dressed with a warm and hearty smile. He was loved by all, even by people who had just looked at him once, his smile so contagious and enticing; it magically made you fall in love with him, his kindness so infectious, he carried around him the halo of happiness. He was the embodiment of pleasure and everything that is right about the world. Always carrying a light hearted joke up his sleeve to brighten your day, a trick for the kids to bring a smile to their droopy faces. No one knew much about him but then again, he didn’t have an air of suspicion around him. Everyone believed there was to him as much as met the eye; a lone man in his early adulthood, a creature of habit, living in his house, holding a job and basically happy with life!
His house had a backyard. Gloomy, untouched; the only sight about the house that could give away the fact that it was about a century old. At the centre of the yard was a huge object always covered under blankets. It was the only thing in that colossal backyard. No one had ever seen what was under there.
One day the man suddenly disappeared, without notice, not to be seen for days. His doors were bolted and he was gone so long that now they had started to gather dust.
He kept walking in the scorching heat, like the heat did nothing to his body; didn’t burn his skin, shrivel his insides and left his vitals parched. He walked like a camel in the desert, like he felt at home. He walked with a gait of a leader, bearing the air of purpose. But for real, he had nothing to do and nowhere to be. He walked these sands for days at length, stopping each day for an hour to sit by the little stream which added a little color to the surrounding and supported life making the greens dance around it in joy as it went past. He liked sitting there listening to the water go by him, as it joyously streamed past its course; a DEFINITE course. It was soothing. Calming to his nerves. Made him aware of the heat and he liked it even more. The little stream, perfect to break the monotony of the long drawn-out, indefinite nothingness.
Somewhere along his days there, a buzzard had started to take the same course and made a routine similar to his. It was drawn to the man. It would watch him day in and day out and timidly started to get close to him. From circling around him in the sky to getting down on the ground and sheepishly, slyly, walking towards him. So close that it would, now, come and sit next to him as he sat listening to the tales of the day as sung by the stream. The man noticed it. He made no move. Let it get close to him. He liked the buzzard, had a special connection with it. He had loved them ever since he was a kid. Day after day the two of them grew habitual to bask in each other’s silence and sat together for hours by the stream till the sun decided to call it a day. The buzzard let him pat its head and caress its neck. It made tiny moans of appreciation when the man touched him. The embodiment of strength, power, purpose, independence and the air of majesty. That was the buzzard. A meek man and a sigil of supremacy, they both fell in love with each other as the days went past.
Until one day when he sat by the stream humming the tune of piano he had heard when he was back home given to him by a friend. He sang this tune with a content, satisfied smile on his face. He looked to the long drawn surrounding as he started to work his hands, holding its neck in a tight grip. His smile, it was not sinister, not diabolic at all. It was the same warm and comforting smile he wore back at home on the streets of his town. He was always known to hold an agreeable temperance, never learnt to be any other way. He ran the gimlet over every inch of its body slowly making it do its job. The buzzard was whimpering and screaming. The man seemingly ignoring it like he could not hear it at all. And in essence, he could not. The piano playing the beguiling tune in his head; filled up his insides, everything around him tranquil, in place; perfect.
Today, he walked back to his life like he had walked out, with complete indifference like he’d never left. Everything back to normal, the happy children, the smiling neighbors.
Although there was something different. The thing in the backyard, the one under the blankets for as long as anyone could remember, it was now left open, uncovered, unveiled like it didn’t need to be hidden anymore. Like its existence didn’t stir anything up in the man anymore. Like he had made his peace with it after all these years. But nothing that the people around him would notice. He was still a happy, laughing man walking the streets with the smile as bright as daylight.
Somewhere far away, severed and mutilated the buzzard breathed his last and lay scattered on the ground. As it waited to turn to dust, the man had destroyed a wish, a wish he held to become but couldn’t, he’d killed the embodiment of the thing he hated about himself and now he felt relieved. It reminded him how much he hated himself, loathed himself for all that the buzzard was and he couldn’t be. He loved it, but he had to destroy it to be at peace with himself. Destroy something to create a balance in his head; a balance restored……or the need for balance eliminated, was it!!!?
And the rusted see-saw, exposed to the sun, with its balancing rod pushed all the way down into the ground, just lay there in a straight line, mute now as it was decades ago, a mere spectator but still so much more.