Old Goddess

By Saba Zain

She stood in front of the mirror with gracelessness as though she has just awaken from distressing dream. She observed wrinkles that were haphazardly distributed on her features. Kajal in her eyes was smeared around the fine lines of dark circles and she had forgot to wear her bindi. Her untangled hairs which symbolized the state of her heart were unleashed on her bare shoulders, which she remembered, were once kissed by his lover. Only the kisses have persisted and her lover is gone.

Her existence has remained and her youth is gone. Her reflection in the mirror had seemed very unidentified and unsung to her. She seemed like distant memory disappearing within the shadows of foregone times. It was just yesterday that she was so young that her youthfulness melted in its own furnace. The moments were still seeable and alive to her. How her lover found her beauty equivalent to Kashi and her depths with ganga.

Where is her lover today? She recalled his image, the only man who had ever kissed her lips. She looked at her bare skin whose smoothness was now divided into hundreds of creases and folds. She touched her skin gently and felt the stream of unlimited caprices flowing in her old instincts, impulses that were kisses, dispelled all over on her breast, her neck, her shoulders. But they were all old and they smelled of dying past. Her lover who used to adore her was gone. He had left the city carrying away what was between them. Abandoning her all togather in the abyss of unescapable excruciation of yesteryears.Mohini, a stage dancer at that time.

How many admirers she had, who was not there who had not desired to dissolve his entireness into vernal motility that her body possessed. How aesthetically she manifested her art into her curves. She was perfect incarnation of her name “Mohini” When she started to dance on stage she casted a spell on the viewers through her intoxication. She poured every ecstasy into her hands as they moved on different ‘ragaas’ and testified herself as ‘raagini’. Every tempest which settled in her feet became epitome of ethereal tranquility and her feet they moved round and round, making and aura of “kun faya kun”. Her silhouette danced amidst of those celestial melodies. It was there that she had met him, her adorner, her lover, her beloved and her killer.

What a language his eyes possessed! It seemed as though he weaved words and varied them into proper rhythms, which later became melodies and then those melodies recreated themselves into songs and her body waved upon those hymns. How closer they came and how instantly, how vigorously and how profoundly. He was a poet. He used to recite his poetry to her when they met. He often used to quote the couplets from the famous poets. It was beautiful couplet that brought them close together.

Your bewitching beauty, love, such a spell did cast; the mirror stood bereft of gloss and beauty seemed to freeze.and she had smiled with utmost shyness of virgin which holds million of secrets. Story has just found its beginning and its characters, their fatal destiny. Hours used to pass and they sat together. Laughing, reciting poetry, sharing thoughts. It was night full of stars, vicinity was moonless, it was this hour that love became restless to fall into the arms of the beloved and darkness whispered the mysteries of love to both lovers and their heart unearthed those secrets into kiss, which was followed by caresses; caresses which lead to threshold of benighted ecstasy. Beautiful bewilderment, sighs and rupture, Love and exhaustion, movements and stillness, craving and gratification. Desire and desolation. As the days passed Mohini went far and far away from her art. She no longer performed.

She loved dance but had parted from it. She did not know if it was she who had forsaken her art or her art which had forsaken her. At the times she felt herself burning in an inferno and at the times she was exulted because the pleasance her soul educed from dancing was given by lover when he ran his fingers over the her body. She became ingrained with thoughtlessness of his touch. Nothing in his embrace was perceptible and quantitative. She lapsed more and more into his existence leaving her’s behind. Every depth had abysmal solitude, every solitude had its aftermath. Mohini went farther and farther that at a point she characterized her femininity through her love. Her art eventually disappeared in the realms of oblivion. But the poet grew more and more social, he had gained his popularity in his social circle from his affair to Mohini. It was not that he was not known before but yet he was not regarded with great favor and approval as he was now.

The more world fascinated him the more his behavior towards Mohini got marked by blithe unconcern. Mohini and his poetry became insufficient to his desires. He wanted more from his life, something that everybody wants. Heart of Mohini was always full of commendation of him but for how long this behavioral favorableness was to be sustained? Behaviors are transitional, they fluctuate from one circumstance to another. Time came, when poet rarely visited Mohini. Days of Mohini were now imbued with colourlessness, lividity that underlies the face of worn out love. A love that has chosen a wrong path, a lover who has inadvertently buried his beloved, a love that has been thwarted by its eternity, a love that relies on lover, a love on which lover feds. At times, the loneliness of Mohini become unendurable.

She often used to ask him the reason of his long term absence and he often use to reply with gesture of apathy as though her existence no longer meant any significance. How much it bruised the innermost pride of her faith.It is strange, how predilections get wavered and how humans choose one thing over another and how easily they disorient themselves from their enchantments that they call “love”. Is it not that love has been passing captivation that beheld a temporary capacity to appeal, absorb and arouse.Mohini who was once encircled by so many of her appraisers was conscious of collective psyche of society in which her lover used to breath but yet she felt disposed. Her self concieved an ideal instance when he was around her, how could she had left what was for her the perfect embodiment of her ideals? Was it easy?

No, it was not. But one day she ultimately had to confront breach of her ideals and she had to witness her apotheosis turning into the ashes and her devotion into ruins of unforgiven past. He once gone and never returned and after few months she came to know he had left the city. She often used to touch her ghungroos, they often spoke to her, chan, chan, chan. They spoke in very immanent voice nevertheless a universal language, a language which exists only between art and artist.

How unexpectedly certain occurrences in our life mark our psychological destinies. How certain betrayals disclose the realities of those secrets which night whispers into our hearts, how certain caresses become memory and exuviate from the skin. How certain awaitings never end. Today when after so many years Mohini meditated on her own reflection and stood between the relics of her past, she realized that neither she lost her art nor her beloved. What she lost was herself and her fatigued existence held resentment against her and she was standing at the point where renunciation was not enough.

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Categories: Literature, Poetry

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