Thursday, January 29, 2009

Known and Unknown

All he had to do was close his eyes. But they refused to obey him. However hard he tried to close them, they seemed to be directed to one spot. It was hard to fantasize and comprehend what lay in front of him.

Here in the small bed, wrapped in a small cloth lay a part of his own. A piece of his body and soul. Someone who would be his inheritance. A shining beacon of rightfullnes, grace and radiating with divinity glowing within and outwards. The baby was sleeping. He was even afraid to hold him in his hands just having a stupid notion of "what if he slipped out of my hands".

It was ironical that inspite of having reached the age of 29, he had never held a kid in his hands. It was surprising to see someone almost 1/10th of the size of him and still feel almost hundred times love than for himself. But vying for his love
was the lady sleeping peacefully in the bed next to him. She was beautiful. Even in the half-moon light, her face had the serene beauty that could make the moon disappear behind the clouds.

The baby passed gas and he found himself laughing with his hands cupping his mouth. The baby then lay still. Motionless. Not a twitch. He grew afraid. He went near the baby and wondered if he should touch and awake him if he was sleeping or maybe summon the doctors. The baby twitched minutes later, what seemed like an eternity to him. And that was when it struck him.

What was it that had tied him to the child that was born a couple of hours ago? Love? Ego? Blood? At this moment he was prepared to lay his life for a kid, who had not even seen or known him, let alone remember that he was responsible for him.

Blood was indeed thicker than water. He thought about the thousands of parents who cried over their ward's dead bodies after wars. People who had lost their only hope of survival. Such people should have felt cremated alive.

He wondered about the thousands of people in poverty. He had not met many, but whatever little he saw of, made him ponder about the purpose of life. So what was life? Power? Struggle? Joy? Sex? Fame? Perhaps not. Life was more of a summation of
small obscure good deeds that would bring smile to the ones devoid of it. What was he doing here? What was his purpose of arrival on earth? He did not belong here.

It seemed like a giant puzzle's last piece had found and put itself in place. He walked out. Silently. Far away from her. Far away from the baby.

Far away....in search of himself.

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She struggled to open her eyes. She had seen the baby just after it was born and then she passed out. She had no recollection of how long she was asleep. Must have been couple of hours. She was surprised to not find him. He was the most devoted husband any girl could have asked for and she was glad that he felt the same way about her. Reassuring herself that he must have been just near, she went near the baby.

The baby's feet were pink. She kissed its small toe. The baby twitched. But it did not cry. Maybe like some divine power, they seem to know and understand each other and so he chose to ignore making an issue out of her gentle kiss. She looked at his face. It had the same features of his dad although his ears were shaped out like her. He would grow out to be a wonderful young man.

Then she realized that he was not anywhere around. She left the baby sleep peacefully and walked with the little energy she could summon. She did not want to ask anyone about his whereabouts and panic them. She was a strong woman and she could
handle grief. But after almost an hours search throughout the palatial residence, there was no sign of him. He seemed to be everywhere and yet he was nowhere.

What wrong had she done? Was she not a good wife? A good lover? A loyal partner? She had done everything to the best of her abilities. And yet she was rewarded THIS. What would her son think about her once he grows up? Wouldn't he loathe her? What would her subjects say? That the king relinquished his throne due to his bad wife? It was certainly not a name she was prepared to live with.

Tears rolled down her cheeks. Just as it was about to drop from her cheeks down to the kid's face, she caught it with her hands. Perhaps, she still had a mission to live for in life.

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Years later, the king who deserted his wife, Siddhārtha Gautama transformed into Lord Gautama Buddha.

She, Queen Yasodhara, turned into a nun years later and died 2 years before him.

But then, how many of us ever wondered or bothered about her?

16 comments:

Dimplicious said...

Hmmm..Its true..We always talked about Gautama Buddha..Nt abt Yasodhara at all..or probably only when a question lyk "Who is Gautama Buddha's wife?" came up, her name striked our head..U have put out the feelings so beautifully!!!Wonderful,I must say..

Suchitra said...

Reminds me of Vairamuthu's 'Bodhimarathil paadhimaram'

'Neevir thurandadO sittrinbam
PeravizhaivadO pErinbam
kazhattriyadu magudam
aNivadu oLivaTTam
izhappadai viDavum peruvadu peridenil
thuravenna thuravu?'

I have always wondered, though, what would have happened had Yashodhara gone away in 'search', leaving her baby behind.

Thoorika said...

Beautiful post!!

rampantheart said...

This is a profoundly insightful story, Harish! This nearly brought tears to my eyes. While self-realisation is an integral part of a human being's life, he must see to it he doesn't hurt others while he is at it. I personally know many people who have left their family behind to attain freedom from self. But is the act really worth it? I don't think so! IMHO, people who are highly philosophical should never marry. If they do, they should restrain themselves from taking such grave decisions.

Thanks a bunch for writing this! I am glad I read it. Kudos!

gils said...

chancela..gummus..ithey mathiri lakshmanans wife urmilavoda sacrifice pathi oruthanga postirunthanga...sometime back..different angle..athavathu kathaila vara character solalam..ithu real life..chancela..kalakiteenga

Anu said...

"how many of us ever wondered or bothered about her?"

- so true. I din even know her name until i read this...

as usual never realized that u were talking about Gautamma buddha until u mentioned it.

that was a nice read...

rahul said...

hey nice write up..and ya no one knows her name..but her sacrifice was immense!!!

prithz said...

"The baby's feet were pink. She kissed its small toe. The baby twitched. But it did not cry. Maybe like some divine power, they seem to know and understand each other and so he chose to ignore making an issue out of her gentle kiss." - Its a beautiful imagery :)

If not for you, i wouldn't have know this as well :(

Sat said...

touching man....i used to feel awfully bad for women who are married to great men...they definitely didn't get a good deal if you ask me :)
esp the likes of wives of ascetics...that's why the whole concept of becoming a sanyasi doesn't settle well with me, why do you have to alienate yourself from your duty to pursue something you don't even know about....beats me.

Ramya said...

Years ago, my grandfather wrote for a magazine that the most noble and laudable character in the Ramayana was Bharath.
And today the perspective of your post reminded me of that. Very interesting!

nivi said...

How true. Is it not?

There are too many unsung heroes everywhere. But the beauty of it all is they don't care. They are not doing it for the fame or history to remember them but for their own conscience.

Harish said...

@Dimplicious
I tired my best yaar

@Suchi
WOW.
ROTFL at ur idea. Its obvious that dear Gauthama would have found himself a sati-saavitri who would have stuck to her duties.

@Thoorika
Thanks yaar

@RampantHeart
It was quite odd when I read about Buddha and realised what must have happened to his family.

KK said...

Super post thalaiva....Very interesting angle in that story... I have always felt this about the great people and the sacrifice that their partner has to make. But seldom do they get credit for any of their sacrifice.

Harish said...

@Gils
Wow. Never thought abt her actually

@Anu
Glad U liked it :)

@Rahul
Yes yaar

@Prithz
Its my pleasure yaar :)

Harish said...

@Sat
And the answer would be "in search of greater truth". Imagine if a women does the same thing as mentioned by Suchi. :P

@Ramya
Thanks yaar :)

@Nivi
Yeah. As in Da Vinci Code "History was written only by winners " :(

Harish said...

@KK
Romba naal kazhichchu vandirukeega.
Yeah man...it was quite interesting :)