Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Deepening Yen

Antonio Kafka is like me in many ways. He has my name and we live the same life. He looks like me, he dresses like me, uses the same colors in our paintings, the same pungent odor escapes our body when we masturbate and his life fucked him up in numerously outrageous ways as mine. We were both born in India, but raised up in Portugal. Yet, what differentiated Antonio from this humble son of a gun is the nickname which stuck onto me, Toni, with which she would address me every time we made love!

I have always felt that Antonio lived a life which required no exceptional introduction, nor an eclectic characterization. He lost his mother when he was three, had no siblings and studied in a boy's school before enrolling in a seminary, which basically meant that the only scent of a woman which ever passed through his nostrils, to find itself passionately filling his lungs, were the murky evaporated sweat of his house maid. His only hobby was detaching himself from a formless world of disoriented colors and losing somewhere in his self-created havens of art. Antonio, the ordinary Portuguese student, the faithful son who obeyed his father, the artist who developed a mythical extravagance to his long lost mother; he had a lot of differences from me, but somewhere underneath we held the same yearning for love. Maybe it was this yearning which would have asked him to trace the only love he had known, which overflowed onto him from distant immaterial wolds, filling him in motherly affection. He set forth to India one cold night, leaving behind his father's dreams and a country which raised him up. His mother, Maria, was a Goan woman whose seductive charm once captured the heart of Sergeant Roger Kafka. Roger had known what his son went in search for,

'Love', Roger once said to Maria, 'the penultimate desire, only out beaten by a raging suffocation to end one's life!'. And it filled my heart even before Antonio could fathom the dissolution of poison through his and mine veins alike.

Goa rested upon India like a stitched piece of silk onto an old rag. Her persuasive brilliance at once leads you towards an extreme sense of belonging, which would later ask you to come searching for her when your mind is in turmoil. Antonio was in turmoil and he could hug Goa as if she were his own mother, that expansiveness, that sense of affection with which Goa received him still agonizes me. If it wasn't for me, he would have given all his love to a thing as lifeless as a place.

*** 

I met Antonio in a dark room, he was naked. He was lying in a bed which smelt of people and a piercing perfume which made him dizzy. Into the room light would fall drop by drop from a red lantern outside, illuminating him and the woman who lied next to him. The tattoo on her back, a tiger, encroached upon his fears and drove him insane. His search for ancestral roots led him towards her and he clutched onto her as if he held the whole world within his hands. She perspired in an impulsively created dedication, hoping for Antonio to finish the job. But Antonio held her and listened to the sound her breaths made; it was as if he heard lullabies from a distant and deserted homeland which existed only in his forgotten memories.

'What happens to be your name?', the woman asked.

'Antonio'

'Well Antonio, why don't you finish it off and just leave?', she was furious, 'If you want to continue this game, I'll give you someone else!'

Antonio got up, dressed and gave ten folded thousand rupee notes and was about to leave when she held him back and threw the notes onto his face.

'I don't take money for a work I didn't do!' she said. Antonio still couldn't decipher if it were the lantern or her blood which made her cheeks glow in a desirous red!

***

However I disrespect Antonio, I still must confess that he was a great artist. All the paintings which laid dormant inside him suddenly ignited itself back to life. Antonio painted in the refreshing Goan mornings and asked me to make love in the lustful Goan nights. Every time I went in search for her, the streets echoed her name, the skies threw hues of red and my mind kept kissing her, the divine form of her.

The first visit after that night was the hardest. Antonio still didn't know how to approach a woman who depressingly criticized his lack of manpower. I remember all his paintings during the period and the grave purple with which he expressed his thoughts. The fight between me and Antonio pushed him to new horizons in which he floated with his brush and rampant thoughts. Finally, Antonio would let me lose and made me walk though those streets in search of her bewildering scent.

'I'm not Antonio', I said, 'I'm Toni and I want you, today, tomorrow and every day!'

She laughed. She said she was Mia and she said she was all mine.

***

'Toni', Mia whispered. She stood still, half naked; baked with the glorious rays of a thousand devious mornings and by the wrath of a thousand torturous nights. Her magnificent tattoo was a pessimist's rebellion, her colored lips were a resentful escapism from truth. She was not perfect, but she was seductive, she was like the reflection of moon on turbulent water, her eyes were floating debris which searched for new shores to own and her lips a mystic gorge which takes you deeper with every kiss, which stops the pumps of your heart and the troubles of your lungs. Her random motions formed undecipherable patterns, each with its own strange tranquility and aura. I submerged in her art, and was reborn with grades of darkness which hung all around on my own pithy works. She was a force which kept pulling me on, which on striking demanded unity. I could never see her individually again, we were two indistinct spots on canvas, two meaningless, worthless marks of the brush which overlapped each other and was part of an impressive whole. The unity was terrifying, the unity was troubling, but the unity was true. And we floated on, night after night as frail clouds repetitively disarrayed by wind, constantly changing forms and ceaselessly intermixing with each other.

Our hearts weighed down each day we couldn't meet, our hearts broke when she had a new customer, our hearts inadvertently cried when the world mocked us and our togetherness.

The period marked a crucial change of fortune. My paintings grew more bold and desperate. My father, receiving no communication from his son died sheltering a pain which showed no retreat. While, unknowingly, I survived as Toni, forgetting the logical existence of Antonio. It was also during that time a random passer-by asked me for my name and then invited me to exhibit my works in some institute in France. It was Antonio's token of hope and Toni's hidden desire. Separation from Mia suddenly became inevitable. And as I took the flight to France, still bearing the taste of her glossy lipstick I realized that along with all the paintings, I carried Mia and her unexplored divinity.

***

I was offered to stay back in France and study deeply about art. I struggled to stay for a week or two, but eventually decided to go back to Portugal. The news of my father's death meant I was devoid of home or family, and the freedom of not owning anything and not being loved empowered me. I went back to Goa to broaden the scopes of that freedom.

I walked through the streets, coloring it in different strokes of devotion. I ran towards her, hugged her and kissed her as long as I was away. I was not in love, I was in an emotion which transcended earthly explanations. Every gaze into her soaked me in cosmic showers of spectacular vibrancy which I poured into her as spasms of ecstasy.

She is here, she is mine, she is love, she is a spot of opaqueness in the bright which personifies light and grants life, and I was her shadow. We were different yet we were the same, we were apart yet we were together, we were corollaries of the same boring theory, without charm but insanely affirming. I undressed her, kissed the tiger in its shallow eyes and dived into her lips to be lost forever again.