The desire to hear . . .
Looking at the azure-whitish canvas of the skies heralding the season of autumn, one feels crispness in the air subduing the wetness of monsoon, sunlight staying young more or less for the whole day. Then there appears, rather unconsciously in her, an assemblage of emotions evoking the past, relating to the present and looking forward to the future. Not that they all appear at one and the same time, but in the cubicles of her heart they take their turn, oftentimes overlapping. As she ponders, one thing becomes obvious to her --- that in this mental state of hers, she feels a strong desire to hear some sounds, some voices, some music emanating from nature, some others from human voices. She is afraid that since her auditory sense is deprived of much of its yearnings, those in the passage of time could be obliterated.
But that is not to be. She feels a strong desire to hear her parents call her by her nickname, especially her father who would give a little twist to it, making it sound sweeter. She misses her university teacher's phone call that came once in a while, enquiring of her school and her disabled son's condition. One day she brought her almost to tears when she asked her, very innocently, if her son could call her 'Amma'. Her answer was in the negative. Her teacher apologized for her question, realizing the profound sadness it had caused. Nevertheless, she still yearns to hear her voice on the phone, although she knows the voice is long gone. And, hoping against hope, she fantasizes a desire to hear her son call her 'Amma'. But that is never to be. Human folly along with the impact of the carnage of 1971 caused some losses that remain irreversible. Much of our fate is predestined, she thinks. A fait accompli.
She desires to have a quiet life and hear the sounds of silence that she is much deprived of, taking together the societal factors that dominate life today. Rude noises originating from various sources have been corroding the atmosphere in the name of development and modernization. But that is the order of the day, she reflects in her aloneness. If you join it, you survive; if you don't, you are bound to suffer. She suffers. Thus the silence becomes distant to her. At the most, she can relive the silence from her old days in her own created world at those moments only to survive. Since it is a fight against reality, it turns out to be most agonizing to her. Then, to console herself, she delves more into sorrow --- by hearing sad songs. In the velvety, melodious voice of Talat Mahmood, she tries to immerse her own sorrow into an ocean of sorrows. And those two merge. A plateau in the progression of sorrow gives temporary relief by making it numb.
But what she desires most to hear amidst the din all around is a voice oftentimes from a short distance, oftentimes from a long distance, maybe from several thousands of miles away. In her there is an expectancy, filled with eagerness, that oftentimes makes her hear the phone ring even when it does not. Her longing to hear the voice creates an illusion, an auditory illusion for her. And in her rationality, she explains that away as one of her acts as a selfish person because she wishes that voice to materialize for her own sake, for her personal fulfillment, for some solace. She feels ashamed at discovering herself in this state. Nevertheless, she cannot and does not deny her longings. When her desire actualizes, she feels ecstatic. When it does not, she has the shelter of her imagination to embrace her. Her imagination never fails her. It is her defence mechanism when she is faced with a crisis.
She discovers that she can live her life in such a beaconing of hope, of some optimism that exudes from that voice. But, then again, she likes to wait, indeed she waits, to hear that voice more than actually hearing it. To her, waiting does not have an end, however painfully long that might be. But hearing it actually happen ends it. She prefers to keep on moving towards an oasis rather than reaching it. To her, emotional attainment is meaningful when it throbs, when it vibrates rather than when it satiates. Her view of life is atypical. She is different.