The Same Fear

It is said that every picture has its own tale; it depends on how we perceive it.  On a parting glance I saw three hands, one holding a rose and the other two reaching for it. Nothing important, I thought, usual stuff. I saw it again, moments later. A closer look, a bit longer period spent and it looked different as if it was trying to speak. Without a language, without a tongue yet the conversation refused to cease.

And then all of a sudden an eerie breath of air swept them all away.  The familiar pain, the familiar place and silence began to haunt. The same silence, “Yes I know this! Yes I have felt this air before”. I went numb as I used to go. The picture continued to converse as I listened, a little curious, a little scared. This time I wanted to reveal all that was left unsaid. I thought in my mind, “I will see the end”.

My gaze got deeper as time passed on. I saw three hands, it seemed like the rose belonged to one of them. Like its child, the hand might have treasured the rose for long. But now, it was giving up to strange forces. The two unknown hands were competing against each other to reach for the rose, the innocent flower sleeping in oblivion. The face in the rose seems of a baby, unaware of the worldly things, comfortably sleeping in its parent’s hand. I could feel its innocence, something I lost in the rummages of time. I could feel the bond between the rose and its possessor. This bond, I share and treasure and want never to part with. The hand which taught me how to walk, clutched to which I felt secured, in fear I would tighten my grip on it and pull the fingers when in need.

I felt pity for the baby rose, when it opens its eyes it would find itself in a totally new world, alienated from the place it knew, the hand it belonged to. The background showed it was night, when most of the world is well asleep. There is no one to notice what’s happening and the deed will be done before the advent of dawn.  I wanted the flower to open its eyes, “Come on! Get up! Enough you slept. Now is the time to wake up and fight, get up and stand against the tide”. Still oblivious, it was engrossed in its dreams, unaware that its dream would segue into nightmare. This was the fear I dreaded so much, of slipping out of the hands where I belonged. It stunned me how this nightmare buried in the past, came alive with a picture I had never seen before. A strong force would pull me away from my dad’s grip and he would, for the first time in my life look helpless. The same shows in the picture where the giving hand is reluctantly parting with its belonging. Pitted against the odds, they seem destined to part. Again a strange reason and again no answer, the picture fails to complete the dream. I admit some dreams are better left abrupt and some questions better left unanswered but what about the fear? And what exactly was the fear?

In the words of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”.

Assuming I am a warrior, with all my bravado I might wield weapons and emerge victorious in a battle-field. There I can identify my enemies- exchange glances and anticipate from gestures, the forthcoming. But how do I fight my own silhouette? How do I trace the shadows in the dark which vanish in front of the lamp, only to resurface and haunt later, when I turn the light off?

They, the dwellers of dark, I dread

With night and nightmares they come again.

These, the helpless tears I shed

I shiver, I fear the faceless pain.

Debojit Dutta