Tuesday, August 23, 2005
It's clearer in the sunrise
Setting the stage
Let's say you're a satisfied, successful person. You are well-heeled and neat. There's no dirt under your finger-nails, your nose is always clean, and you smell fresh all the time. Your home gleams with polished silver and scrubbed marble floor. Your workplace is free from litter and organized into little neat squares and stacks.
Then one evening, as you sit down to catch up on your correspondence, you see a leper across the road. His limbs are deformed and there are stinking, pus boils on his body. He sits amidst muck and looks at you. You look back at him, his environment, his filth; and then inexplicably, you see yourself. What would you feel? When you found out that his world and your world is one? When he and you are the same?
Scenes Alpha - Kappa
Two years back, I remember getting drunk on a l-o-t of tequila. (I love that name, by the way - tequila. It's tempting enough to be alcoholic; but too proud to be a vice. Somewhere, scores of leagues beneath the turbulent ocean sings a solemnly beautiful mermaid - a mermaid called Tequila.)
After having downed a fishbowl of the stuff, I got up to make a statement and immediately fell down with my index finger still pointing at someone's nose. It was left to one of my extremely acerbic friends to reach me home. He did so very grudgingly.
On the way to my house was a patch of garden that I found riveting. I insisted we sit on it. It was close to midnight - the perfect time to sit on grass. My pal conceded only after he'd searched around and failed to find a gun to shoot me.
I put my head on his shoulder because it was too heavy and felt him squirm and gag. Obviously, the smell of Sunsilk Black was too much to handle for the gentleman. But there we were. Seen from a spaceship, we'd be two people sitting on the ground, watching grass grow.
It was then, in the sated fragrance of the night, that I'd quoted Tennessee Williams to him, 'Sometimes there's God....so quickly.'
Scenes Lambda - Xi
Last night, with my acumen sharp as lazer and mind clear as crystal, I finished reading Tennessee Williams. And yet, if I could tell anything to the leper across the road, I'd have repeated my foggy teqila truth.
Scenes Omikron - Upsilon
'Streetcar named Desire' is one of the most exasperatingly sorrowful plays that I've read. It's not a play that just shows you a jagged reality; it sets that reality against a turquoise summer sky and polka tunes...to soften the decay.
The story begins with a stunning Blanche DuBois who comes to stay with her sister and brother-in-law. She comes in a streetcar named Desire. Blanche is so caught up about her fading youth that she goes to great length to avoid being seen in direct light. She behaves like a lady and is condescending towards Stanley, her 'Polack' brother-in-law. But she has a dismal, abused past; an exploited present, and a hopeless future. And this is the obvious part. There's also the depressing, languid breakdown of other people's characters.
After all, pain is so desultory and evil - like a pacifier dipped in poison.
In this gloom, Blanche finds a spark of hope with a man called Mitch. Mitch, for one brief moment, understands Blanche's loneliness and does not see it as desperation or need. It's then that he hugs Blanche and she exclaims, 'Sometimes there's God... so quickly.'
After this, is the cruel bleeding of Blanche's hope.
Scenes Phi - Psi
It's funny that in such a drunken state, I'd quoted from a play I hadn't read. So out-of-context was the remark. In fact, it'd been two years since I'd tried to get hold of the play from all quarters - but I'd always missed it. Then, day before yesterday, as I lay thinking about missed opportunities and the like, this bookstore called me to tell me that they'd got 'Streetcar...'
Tennessee Williams - as wild and sad and stunning as a tequila sunrise. Somewhere my mermaid sings to him.