A life of one’s own

Posted on September 12, 2006


i looked at him and lowered my eyes. i could not face him, did not want to face him, could not answer his questions, did not want to answer his questions. undoubtedly i loved him, a love i could not begin to explain even to myself. simply loved him. but one cannot live on love and fresh air alone. one cannot live one’s life simply because they love someone, or can they? whatever the answer to that one, i was sure, i could not. my life had been good while i was with him, but it was a life he wanted me to have, it was a life he dreamed for me, it was all ordained for me: by him. it was good fun. the people, the adulation, the razzmatazz, the honour, the respect, the undisputed acceptance…it was new and it was a welcome change from what my life had been.

i remember the day i met him first. he looked like everybody else, but it was his eyes that set him apart from the usual visitors. he looked at me and smiled. and the rest, as popular fiction would say, is history. well, at least its the history of my life…but the truth is that my life is actually “his” story. he kept coming back, some of them do, so i did not think too much about it. sometimes there were people with him. sometimes he came alone. he talked to everyone else, he talked to me also. but i knew he came, he came for me. he also felt the bewildering attraction between us. maybe it was what is fashionably known as a soul tie. whatever it was, he came, i waited for him. soon the charade of talking to others also stopped, and he began to spend much of his time with me. the others still sought him out and he obliged. but he was mine. i knew it. when he asked me to join him, i did not even have to think. i wanted to leave here anyway, so i left. found a make-shift place to crash and i began to work with him.

where i came from, the most expensive thing is: self-respect. people think you’re scum and after a point you get tired of opposing them, and after some more time, you begin affirming them and then after some more time, you become what they accuse you of: Scum. but where he was took me, i learned to talk. i learned to talk like i loved myself. i learned to love myself. i learned to love him. i learned to conduct myself in civilized society. i learned to schmooz. it felt like a dream, now i think, maybe it was.

the days passed and soon i loved him more. i loved him, wanted to be like him, i wanted him to love me as much as i loved him and i worked hard. he did not let me down. he took me to movies, i slept, i hated them, but i went for i was afraid he would stop loving me. there were dinners, i went for i wanted to be with him, to watch him speak, to watch him in action. he paid for everything of course, sometimes i felt bad about letting him pay, but i figured he’d not have asked if he did not want to. so i let him. and also, my need to be with him was greater than my sense of obligation. people began to know me, people began to be friends with me. i got calls: for me, i got letters: for me. i was synonymous to him, and that made me proud. people thought i was like him, i glowered with pride, he glowered with pride. he loved me more, i loved him more. i suppose, you would think i was happy. i had love, money, job, friends; the works.

and yet here i was 3 years later. in front of him. shamed. embarassed, but not beaten. he asked me why…i said i am like that…he asked me if i was sorry…i told him i did not know what it was to be sorry…there were other times that he did not know about…and i told him i would again…so i would not say sorry and make promises again…i told him i could not deceive him anymore. he said he could help, i said he could not. i was beyond repair, like a broken doll of china: pieces remain, but the sum of all the parts apparently does not make the whole. i told him, i needed to go. he said i would have to go because i was not repentant. i said its my nature, i could not help it. he obviously did not believe me, for he screamed, let out an angry cry. he was rarely angry. but of late, he had been screaming way too much. i began to be afraid each time he got angry, i knew the end was near the first day he screamed, it was almost a year ago. i just did not have the courage to accept it. but now the time had come. he knew i had strayed. he knew i who had betrayed. he knew i had tried to hide it. but he did not know, i tried to hide it to protect him from being hurt. i love him and that was the only unchanged circumstance. he kept giving and i kept taking. some things with his knowledge some things without. he gave me all the things you would think one needs, but i still took his money. i know he would have given it gladly, but…i can’t explain. i will not try.

his voice was shaking, he raised his hand, not to hit me, i know. he wanted to hug me and tell me it was ok. he could not get himself to do it. it would not have mattered. even if he would have forgiven me, i would have left. for i was tired. i was tired of trying to fight my reality. i was tired of fighting myself. i longed for the freedom of the skies under which i was born, and i longed for the freedom of being called what i was: vagabond.

i was a child from the street, i could never become a ‘sahib’, don’t want to. i left the orphanage when i met him, i sought freedom. but he just put me in another shelter. he wanted me to be the epitome of his dream. but i want to be me, i don’t want integration into society. society will not accept me, i don’t accept society. i like to make a loud slurping sound when i drink tea, and in society i cannot do that. i liked to wear tattered clothes, it keeps the air coming and going, and in society i cannot do that. i like to have the things i like, and in society i have to buy them, i can’t just take them. i am child on the street. i make my own rules. the first rule is, i don’t want rules. his love had rules. my love doesn’t. i accept it, he doesn’t.

i sleep under the skies, and it feels like home. i did not mean to bump into him like this, and i know nor did he. but as the cliche goes, the world is a small place. i was happy to see him, he was startled to see me. i wanted to tell him i was happy, for thats what he wanted for me…but he looked at me sadly and just walked…he was sad…and i think at this point, he woke from his sleep. it began pouring, and i ran to the tea stall at which i work when i need some food, and under the tattered tarapaulin, i bit into a stale pakora. i loved my life. it was mine…finally!

For someone i love dearly, my love knows no rules, i will be here, if you need me.

Henri…September 12 2006 (11.55 PM)

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