Reflections of a Mirror

I don’t know how else I would have talked if not for this long worldly association of mine. In my period of pristine shining, the entirety of my following expression would have been reduced to two sentences of uninvested commentary.

Well, what I was going to say was, I don’t like this boy. Very unlike his disciplined grandfather and piteous father he is. I have observed his grandfather right from the days of his schooling. He was virtue itself in the shape of a man. After his bath, he would pull me, and from the cupboard within, take a bottle of coconut oil and apply a palm of it to his dense straight hair. With head bent, as if in the presence of superiority, he would tie the towel round his vitals and exit the bathroom without a glance at me. Upon marriage to a girl after completion of his Law, he would very occasionally look at me when he came in the night. Maybe, at these times, he saw his little wife in me, because he used to show some of his teeth and redden at the sides. Such a product he was. If I had had eyes, they would have emptied themselves on the day he died.

His son was not unlikeable. I have been seeing him from that night he was considered mature by his parents and was introduced to the usage of our eastern toilet. In his college he studied not Law but Medicine. He would come in the night and practise his proposed manoeuvres aiming in his mind the attainment of his lady junior’s hand. He used to bring in roses and extend them to me a thousand times, all done differently without exhaustion. He used to squat without purpose and write love letters and later hide them in the joints of the cupboard within me. But his attempts stopped at these, it seemed. Because he ended up marrying a woman of his father’s choice, while his was tragically married off to another.

However, his son – the boy who makes me close my eyes every time he stands before me (the frequency of which exceeds the cumulative scored by his previous two generations) – is very different. I can’t know what is happening outside this bathroom, but with strength I can say the world is spinning in the wrong direction. He does things here in the bathroom that make me ashamed. I haven’t learnt the words to describe them, but I know he is self-obsessed and dreamy and perverse. Daily he takes a marathon of smokes, all in secrecy, hides the stubs in the joints of the cupboard within me and makes me smell so bad. At nights, particularly at late hours, he brings his classmates – boys with tattoos and girls of polished arms. Well, I don’t have problems with tattoos and polished arms, but I certainly mind the dark liquid they take turns to drink before me. On one such night, the boy locked the bathroom and took from within me a cylinder of perfume. He sprayed too much of it that he began to sneeze ceaselessly. Sprays of phlegm were sprinkled on me. I couldn’t stay there, held by wood, thinking I was having on me the despicable’s droplets! But, soon after, a girl came in to pose in all ways before me, with her hands on various places of herself, and then raised her camera to capture a pout. At last, in an attempt to simulate the touch of her opposite, she blindly walked her long fingers all over me and finally took them to her face. In her excited process, she wiped me clean.

Whatever the case is, I certainly don’t like this boy. I prefer his grandfather in his place, which, I admit I am aware, is impossible. To this day, like a true romantic, I breathe in the present, but live in the past, of days when the air smelt of coconut oil and the word ‘bathroom’ meant what it meant.

How Do I Title This

I couldn’t exactly point on what had disturbed my mood and temperament this morning. I didn’t want to engage in anything; even the sight of the stack of books in the cupboard opposite weighed heavily on my mind. Dickens suddenly seemed so very wordy and boring, and the thick and bound Reader’s Digest seemed so very full of trivialities and unfunny laughs.

Mother’s voice summoned me to the puja room for the occasion’s ritual; I went in, moodily and sluggishly, my mind wobbling fiercely.

There, seated facing my mother’s joined palms, was a wide bowl containing hot and crisp vadas that were crispier at the edges. Beside stood a large vessel of recently cooked rice topped with a spoon of cooked lentils. The vermicelli paayasam in the adjacent vessel, with its seasoned dry grapes and cashews, tingled my tongue and brought to my mind the sweet sense of the dish from earlier memories. A nearby copper plate had fresh green betel leaves bearing areca nuts, a coconut broken into two halves; also jasmine buds and bright yellow chrysanthemum petals were heaped together on one side. A couple of incense sticks, from the burning ends, sent ribbons of smoke spiralling upwards. Straight ahead were photos of Gods and Goddesses, all suitably garlanded and sporting on their forehead round sandal paste marks and tiny vermillion dots.

I was gradually being transformed, gradually being refreshed; very much at the same rate at which the ribbons of incense self-contentedly wafted through the divine yellow aura that filled the room and circled my being in many hazy rings of aroma.

Just as I had not known the source of my gloomy mood, I couldn’t find now where all the darkness had disappeared to.