Harsha, the protagonist of the novel, married to a male chauvinist
doctor who is thoroughly addicted to alcohol, to whom she deserts and
comes back to her parents, determined never to go back. During her
stay in Delhi, she develops an association with a visiting professor
in Philosophy named Alberto whom she meets at the Car Festival in
Puri. Alberto is a Portuguese and has immense respect and interest for
Indian philosophy, her ancient history and heritage. But did they
Below, a realization of Harsha, excerpted from my forthcoming novel
Goddess in Exile.
Now I have to return along the road
that I have trodden for the last one year.
Some familiar trees
some houses known
know not whether they are still there at the particular places?
Walked along together for one year
In order to get over the fatigue of walking
I unlocked my grief stricken heart
And you simply nodded like the fairytale Prince.
Because you were there by my side
I did not look at the yellow birds on the road
Nor did I care to glance at the rainbow
Nor did I look at the tiny mud-coated bodies of small children
Nor did I see the sprouting or withering of flower petals
But you simply nodded your head like the fairytale Prince.
Never did you tell your sorrow
What kind of journey is this?
How long one can walk together
With a traveller like you ?
Your ego devoured you each time and takes you out,
Every time you get depressed and take rebirth
before you said something.
Ego is the sandals of your feet
the dress of your body
the glasses of your eyes
your wrist watch
and the powder of your face.
So many days we walked together
I narrated my sorrow and you simply nodded
You were so hard beneath a simple ‘yes’
Had I known earlier, I would have enjoyed
the yellow birds on the boughs
the rainbow in the sky, the muddied small children.
After making an insurance of tremendous faith and hope
when I knew
that your pocket contains the plan of a future town.
With the addresses of the motels and the brothels
I know that your new town is ahead
And you will be lost in the crowd, but you will carry
With you my sorrowful story that I narrated during our walk together.
Harsha and Alberto. Eventually, they are drawn to each other and tied
in the bond of love. Harsha is glad for the revival of a new life, a
fresh urge to live with the foreigner friend and lover. The woman for
whom all the doors were apparently closed from all quarters finds the
new found love reinvigorating and life-sustaining. She unhesitatingly
accompanies Alberto to Rishikesh and they are lost in the amazing
beauty and splendour of nature :
When the dark clouds shrouded all around
Give signals of downpour of torrential rain
A gush of cold wind,
With the drops of rain, drip, drop, drop;
The dry earth gets wet
The spiralling warm smell of the soil stirs the mind
and maddens the heart
Where would she hide herself?
Where are the walls and the protecting roof?
Where is that loving lap of promises?
Leaving the deep dense forest
Can she lie in mother’s lap protected?
Should she hide herself?
Can she avoid the smell pungent of the soil?
The fall of incessant rains
No, no fear for hailstorm nor lightning
No mind to go back leaving the deep dense forest
She could know as if a drop of rain
Flowed down her undergarments secretly,
moved towards the pair of tender flowers
Without the notice of anybody and with the touches
When eyes were closing in happiness
the rain held her in close clasps.
While enjoying the affection of rain
All through the body she understood
nothing is there in her control.
Being exhausted she would know
the down pour of rain on the body
Her mortal coil submerged under water
The rain all through her veins and arteries
She had nothing to do
And she could do nothing.
(Note for readers: It is for Harsha a fulfilment and consummation. But
Alberto claiming himself to be a Buddhist and believing in abstinence
does not take this physical relationship normally.)
Alberto told Harsha,”I am not impotent, but I make love with parsimony.”
He confessed: “: I was a small child at that time, four to five years
old. A terrible incident happened with me. There was a man, half mad,
near our house, crazy you may call him. He abducted me from the road
and closed me in his house. He harassed me sexually for someday in his
closed house. One day, taking advantage of his unmindfulness, I ran
away from that place straight towards --------. I was seriously
wounded by his torture. It took many days for the wound to be healed.
Of course, I have par dined that man since long for his crime. But I
cannot easily trust anybody. After that incident I always look with
suspicion. I think, the same fear of childhood is still lying dormant
me and it is frightening me timely or untimely.”
Alberto suddenly raised a wonderful question. Your conjugal life was
not at all happy. You were sexually tortured by that man during your
stay with him. Have you now got a pleasant experience from life, by
forgetting that painful past? Perhaps I am not able to put it
correctly but I feel you are not unhappy as before.
How can she explain Alberto? Every thing cannot be explained by argument.
Someone went on giving blows with a crowbar
The water lay hidden beneath the rock surface
Completely drenched with sweat, the shivering body of the man
Yet no spring of water gushed out
The rock remains untouched/ unaffected
Despite the severe blows again and again
The nostrils swell with each blow
Strong were the muscles
The panting man in search of water
Returned in vain again and again.
The rock remained untouched and unperturbed for long
Enjoined by the blows of the crowbar, terribly wounded
Endured each blow silently, but
Now what happened with the blow of the crowbar
As if the rock shivered
With some shiver, the body had a quiver,
The first drop of rain
The first sight of the sea
The kiss of an adolescent cheek
Or the imagination of the imminent death
A titillation in the body
With some invisible touch
A thrill all over his body
With terrible longings
A cascade may fall at any moment
Look here, look here
The rock was undulating, tear me to pieces
Release me from the bondage of the earth
With the twinkle of an eye, the digging crow bar
Itself melted into water
It fell on to the rock surface
The murmuring, gurgling round all around
With the changing of ‘Purnamidam’ mantra
In no time submerged under water
The untouched unaffected rock.