Friday, 19 February 2016


I was sixteen, and in school we were being taken through Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights side by side. For obvious reasons, many of us girls had sided with the frost and fire of the latter. Pip to me had remained the little orphan boy, the lost lover, the ungrateful child... someone who was intriguing, undeniably, but not enough to lose your sleep over.

It was not just that, perhaps, too. Somehow, at some phase in our formative years, you are taught to fear passion in a way so disguised that today you cannot even look back and point your finger. If you have been endlessly in love, something – I don’t know what – teaches you to not be so. They teach you vulnerability is bad, they teach you that putting your entire life, entire happiness on the hinge of one man’s whim is unwise; dangerous, even. 

And you learn! So did I. 

When I read Great Expectations, as I look back now, I suppose I too had learned more from Miss Havisham’s sufferings than from Pip’s incredible, innocent longing. I had since then, many times over, quoted how Miss Havisham spoke of love:

“I'll tell you," said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, "what real love it. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter - as I did!” 

I had agreed, I had accepted. And though I could not teach myself to shut my door, I had at least learned to fear. I had learned to hide my vulnerability, or try at least. I had learned to put other things first. I had learned, perhaps, like Estella.  

I had not noticed, however, how Pip never learned; I thought of him as foolish, to play with his soul so carelessly. I did not realize how he was the strongest of all of us just by being so weak in love. How he, therefore, will stand tall, even if he killed himself. How, therefore, it never mattered if Estella didn’t come back even at the end.

Last night, this guy brought it back alive once again for me, and how! He doesn’t speak much, no! He was never particularly good with words, was he? Yet how simple it was, and still how fierce, unbearably and blindingly fierce, when he said:

“Pyar karta hoon tumse, tumhe samajh mein nehin aata?” (I love you, don’t you understand?)

How simply, how so very simply his entire existence is wrapped up in just those very few words. How simple it must be, to live a life that way, with just one reason, one simple reason, to live?

If you know what I am talking about, you’d also know how who Estella is doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter at all! It’s all about Pip. It’s all about us, and how we love. “…against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness,” - so be it! 

Eighteen years have passed in between. I finally have grown up to Pip, I guess. It took long, alright, but I'm there.

It takes me a step back from where I’ve come to. It takes me many steps back, actually. Away from the calm and the balance, away from whatever wisdom I thought those patterned breathing practices could ever give me. It takes me back from all that, and then it asks me to believe. Again!

But then, maybe, who knows? I even will!

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”

Meanwhile, take a long, long bow, Abhishek Kapoor!