Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Longings

The novel, Black Hole, continues.

For those who came in late, the story so far:  Kailash Public School in Delhi is donated to Devlok Ashram by Sitaram Rana.  The Ashram was founded by Kailash Baba with the generous collaboration of Aaron Matthews from London as well as Amarjeet who succeeded Kailash as the Baba and Mahendra Rana.  Ishan is one of the teachers in Kailash School whose spirituality is stirred by the new happenings. Nitin Jain is the son of Amarjeet who will succeed him as the Baba. An earthquake reminds Mahendra of his family.  He soon discovers that he has a son back there in Kurukshetra.  

Read on:
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Nitin Jane was already christened as Nitin Jain before he was old enough to question who the Jain in his name was.  Sitaram Rana was old enough to admire himself in the mirror and was proud of the Rana in his name.  “My father is a holy man in Delhi,” he boasted to his friends without knowing that Mahendra Rana was spending more time counting the money he was siphoning off from Devlok for the sake of his son.  “There will be a surprise waiting for you , my son, when you are old enough to inherit it,” Mahendra muttered to his son’s image that smiled in his heart.
 
Aaron Matthews was not at all prepared for the surprise that awaited him in the parlour.  He didn’t know how to react when Rachel stood before him with a smile that radiated affection.

“The Mountbattens offered me a seat,” she explained.
 
Liz, their daughter, was married to a cousin of Lady Mountbatten.  When Rachel told Edwina about Aaron being in India, she offered to take her to India.  “We’re going to let India screw itself,” she told Rachel.  “Clement has asked Dickie to go to India as the Viceroy and deliver the Great Britain from India.  Why don’t you join us?  You’ll have a chance to find out what your man is doing there.”

“How’s Liz?”  Aaron asked when he overcame his shock.  He was shocked again, however, when he realised that there was no emotion whatever in his query about his only daughter.
 
“Fit as a fiddle.”

“Did she ever miss me?”  He wanted to ask.  He knew he had no right to ask that.

“Aaron, are you happy here?”  Rachel asked.

“Yes.  What about you?  How did it go, er, without me?”

“It was okay as long as Liz was around.  After she left, I began to feel lonely.  I wished you were there.”

“It’s been a long time,” Aaron sighed.  “Fifteen years.”

“Would you like to return home with me?”

Aaron looked into her eyes.  He could see the love that lay in them like tranquil lakes.  Rachel had changed, he realised.  She was no more the mocking bluestocking.  He could not reciprocate the emotion, however.

“There’s no return now, Rachel.  I have found a new light here.”

Rachel sighed.  What was the light that people found outside human relationships?

“I thought, maybe, we could spend the evening of our life together,” she said wistfully
.
He looked away, out through the window.
 
“Would you like to stay here tonight?  A few days?”  His gaze returned to her.

“As a guest?”

“We have guest rooms.”

“No,” she said softly.  “Edwina has arranged a room for me.”

An uneasy silence rose between them.

“Convey my love to Liz when you’re back.”

“I will.”

She was surprised that they had so little to talk in spite of meeting each other after a gap of a decade and a half.  “How can religion make someone so cold?”  She asked herself as she walked away and passed by the Meditation Hall of Devlok. 

She was leaving the hospitality offered by her husband and going to Edwina Mountbatten, practically a stranger.  Edwina was not at all religious.  In fact, she might be enjoying the embrace of a new man right now when her husband was discussing with the half-naked fakir the liberation of India and Great Britain from each other.  Rachel had overheard her husband telling someone once, “Edwina and I spent all our married life getting into other people’s beds.”  They were as unfaithful to each other as no couple could be.  They were not religious.  Yet they were much more charming as human beings than the cold-eyed preachers she had come across in religious places.
 
Aaron was back in his room soon after Rachel left.  He took up the manuscript of The Path of the Master, the gospel that he had composed, and opened a page randomly.  “The Master is the most highly developed man known to history, and consequently, by virtue of his development, he has transcended the normal human passions and emotions...”

  His reading was disturbed soon by an unusual noise outside.  A small crowd had gathered around a man and a woman.  Aaron went there.  One of the Sewadars had caught the man and the woman in the act of adultery.
 
“How can we permit such pernicious evil in the ashram?” Amarjeet asked furiously.
 
The man and the woman were devotees who attended the prayer services at Devlok regularly.  One of the volunteers called Sewadars caught them making love somewhere.  When questioned the woman alleged that the man had forced himself upon her.  “This is not the first time we’re doing it,” countered the man.  “In fact, I and she have done it umpteen times and now she’s pretending to be as chaste as Sita ma.”

“Her husband is an alcoholic and he beats her every day,” one of the devotees whispered to another.  “She found an escape from him here.”

“She polluted this holy place with her lust,” replied the other.

“They should be given an exemplary punishment,” Amarjeet’s voice rose above the whispers.  He asked some of the Sewadars to take them away and whip them before throwing them out of the gate.

Kailash Baba and Aaron looked at each other and went back to their own rooms without saying anything.

Jane was shocked.

“How could you be so cruel?”  She questioned Amarjeet when she caught him alone later.

“It’s not cruelty, it’s discipline.”

“But... we deserve whipping too.”

“We!”  He looked at her with surprise.  “How dare you make that comparison?  We were seeking Non-Being.  They’re just common fuckers.”

Jane heard a sound of glass breaking.  Kristallnacht returned to her psyche.  She longed for Non-Being once again.   

*



PREVIOUS PARTS

Chapter 1: The Original Sin


Chapter 2: A Gospel

2.2 Dkhar
     2.4 Cry from Calvary
     2.5 The Lost Sheep
     2.8 The Y Chromosome
     
     Chapter 3: Heart of Darkness
     3.1 Heart of Darkness

4 comments:

  1. It's very profound and thought provoking! Loved the Crystal Night reference! Also, I've read about the amorous nature of Lady Mountbatten and her affair with Pandit Nehru. You are nicely weaving the tale with historical parallels!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lady Mountbatten probably had her fling with Nehru too. What does that matter? That's one of the many questions my novel is raising. Just contrast Nehru, our first PM, with our present PM to understand that question.

      And thanks again for being here. You seem to be the lonely one left here :)

      Delete
  2. What a pertinent question you ask here - How can religion leave someone 'cold' ! It is something that needs urgent answer too, only thing is that the 'coldness' that shrouds the 'religious-minded' freezes the brain too. Both heart and brain frozen - what is left? And love, non-being and lust - who differentiates it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These and a lot more questions arose in my mind in the last few years when I had to live with certain religious people. It is impossible to consider as religious whatever they did and still do. Yet they get thousands and thousands of followers some of whom are ready to do even thuggery for the sake of their religion! This novel is a product of my bafflement.

      Isn't the adultery of the couple caught in the ashram or that of the Mountbattens much more a human thing than the religion of those people who are ready to condemn other people?

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