Tuesday, 20 July 2010

When the Garden Wall of Paradise is too high to scale.....

Flying in a big bird, suspended in rain clouds and the pink mysteries of a sky saturated in the corruption of sulphur, I am God's child all at once without the messages of conversion or the frills of ritual, to ordain my spirit. With Fault Lines by Meena Alexander as my reading companion(which I had initially gifted to my father), I looked into my country through these memoirs, and saw reflections of myself through the refraction of being a woman with connections to this land called God's own country.

Growing up with male friends who hailed from Kerala, it is only in recent years that I have come to understand the complex prism of their existence. To know that Surendran was in fact the odd one out, and not the norm. Where I came to recognise that education and left politics does not provide the freedom to adopt liberal thinking, because the fervour of conservatism anchors most household values; and each child of this soil seems somehow sewn to the fabric of this obedience, at all cost.

What perhaps is most saddening is how I am often confronted with lewd gazes from some of Surendran's old Trivandrun buddies who continue to exist in the bohemian blur of alcohol hangovers, and smell like yesterdays cigarette ashtrays! Liberal women too often become the sexual fantasies of such men, as their eyes wander over you like a dog in heat; and yet their own homes are kept in order by prim women chosen with care (to carry the legacy of caste and creed), who may wave a red flag but yet march to the tunes of old dictates.

I am soon suffocated in this green and luscious land, where the voice of my sisters seems far too placid to be true; and when I do encounter strident female voices, I seem to hear the faint pitch of aggression that comes perhaps from the strain of it's isolation: where trust and comfort and belief must obviously come with a price.

As I sit suspended in the great big bird that wings me home I read more pages from Meena Alexander's writings: I wanted to give voice to my flesh, to learn to live as a woman. To do that, I had to spit out the stones that were in my mouth. I had to become a ghost, enter my own flesh.

How long will it take for my red sisters to be really free?

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