Mynti struggled everyday to remain distant from everyone. Because closeness had its dangers. What if someone became close to you but refused to make space in their life for you? Mynti didn’t want to feel trapped in a minefield of unmet expectations. People always had more important things to do and more important roles to play. But she had a need inside her to feel close to someone. To share her life.
And that remained an unresolved issue.
Romance is a problem. Closeness is unnecessarily misinterpreted (both by the self and the other) as a desire for romance. The frame of romance paints life sweeter than it is.
And as a drug, love is severely controlled. Who gets to experience love — at least with another person is placed in a definitive format.
The format has something to do with age and it has something to do with the existing situation a person is in. Love is a simple human emotion. It is made out to be a lot more than it needs to be. Not every instance of love is possessive. Not every instance of love is sexual. Not every instance of love is even interested in a future.
Mynti wanted to feel close to someone just for a moment.
And there was no way to go about it.
So Mynti decided to fall in love with a window.
It was just an ordinary window. One with a wooden frame and without a grill. One could see the clear sky through it without any obstruction.
It showed the rainy day.
It showed the faces of the young children staring out from the window from the building across.
It showed the dark night and allowed easy speculation that sought faces and forms in the shadows.
It allowed the wind in.
It allowed the rain in. When it rained heavily, there was no difference between the inside and the outside.
This window that Mynti decided to fall in love with was in her living room. It was near the main door of her house. Everyday as she entered the house, the first thing that she saw was the open window.
She liked the fact the window did not have any filter. It did not have preference about what it showed or what it didn’t. It either opened or it closed. When it was open, whatever was on the other side was visible and when it was closed, nothing on the other side was visible.
Mynti liked the transparency of the window. It was never what it was not. It accepted itself very simply. It was just a plain window. Nothing very special about it. It was unassuming.
Which is more than what she could say about any person that she knew.
She started spending time every morning just cleaning the window. She would clean the glass — scrub it clean and spotless with pieces of newspaper. It was a satisfying process for her. She did not just want to see it clean. The squeaky sound of dry newspaper on wet glass… the way glass gets cleaned to eventually disappear…
But she cleaned the glass and she cleaned the wooden frame after that. Wood is just a surface. It does not ever get fully cleaned. Stains get left behind. Marks get embossed on the surface.
And that is how her life had been for her, Mynti felt. Things had happened — some sad, some happy. But even if she tried to scrub her memories clean, some things still remained. Some moments… Each left a mark of some kind which did not allow her to disappear like the glass. It kept her here. Each memory being a tiny little anchor.
And she felt held down.
She wanted to forget things. Forget that all those things happened or at least forget the vivid, pictorial form of her recollection of happenings.
At this moment that she was thinking this, the window was as still as it always was. The weather was transitioning. It was bright and pleasant one minute and then it was dark and mysterious the next.
What did the window feel with the different kinds of scenes that it showed? It tried not to get involved with the view. The view and the window frame were two different things. They had something to do with each other, but only remotely. Their relationship was very similar to that of a bowl and the honey kept in it. They were both entirely different things. But they have a physical and a semantic proximity.
Meaning is a funny thing. It is always partially hidden in the symbols that construct its sonic or visual form. It is always hidden in plain sight. We might not be able to grasp it at times.
But it is always accessible to us if we seek it.
If we don’t, it is also possible to live in a haze of feelings.
The window with its nature of openness, played a perfect balance between showing and hiding. What it hid came across as something that did not need to be seen. What it showed seemed to be intensely beautiful, especially prepared for the viewer.
And this made Mynti fall in love with it.
Falling in love with that window was maybe one of the best things that Mynti could have done. There was no way to expect anything back from the window. The window did what it did and it offered what it offered. It could not do or offer anything more.
This was a reassuring fact for Mynti. This meant that there was nothing to pursue, seek and achieve. A lot of tension that relationships with humans always had would be entirely absent in her relationship with the window.
Mynti always got lost in the loop of seeking — receiving or getting rejected — seeking confirmation — receiving or getting brushed aside.
The window could not promise and so also could not disappoint. Maybe a love affair with it was ideal because there wouldn’t even be any possibility for the window to reciprocate or not. Just being would be the only real way for the window to reciprocate Mynti’s feelings. No special action, nothing out of way, no effort.
Mynti felt like drinking some tea. Was there any way for her to have tea with the window? Such a silly question. The window was just a few pieces of wood and glass. How could it do anything at all?
But the question had emerged. And right after that she decided to project her affections on it.
Does an emotional involvement include the imagination of rituals, altered behaviour and dramatic sequences?
Is it possible to think of love as a feeling that only needs to be performed that is not dependent on a reciprocal performance?
Mynti went to the kitchen to make tea. She poured water into a vessel and started heating it. As the water heated, she stared out of the window. Out at the trees in the society premises and at puddles of water on the roofs of the cars which were not plotted a space in the garage yet. She grated the ginger into the boiling water and added half a cup of milk to the mix. Milk is white and water is transparent. When they mix, the white still remains a white. It is not easily possible to say if it is pure or contaminated milk any more. In a few more steps, once tea, lemon grass and tulsi leaves are put into this mixture, this white liquid becomes tea. It is indistinguishable from what it was earlier. Both in looks and taste.
Mynti made tea for herself and stood at the window sipping it. After a few moments, she went away from the window towards the door and sat on a stool. She kept sipping on her tea slowly and in a few minutes it was finished.
She felt slightly more alert and awake after drinking her tea. She felt slightly more aware of her thoughts and feelings and she sensed a lot of questions floating around in her head.
She sat and stared at the window and it felt that the window was holding itself in place only for her to see. It might actually be throbbing with a vibrant and throbbing life force but it could not show her that face. Maybe it was actually a he or a she?
Mynti went for a walk and saw the window from outside. If someone saw at her looking at the window, they could easily have imagined her to be someone lost. But she was not lost. She was not looking at the window from outside as an act of adoration. Instead she was looking at the window from outside to make sure that the window did not have another face which she could not love.
When we love someone, do we in fact love a specific face of theirs? Across time, we feel that we know all the possible faces that the person has to show us and relax our guard to be able to commit fully to them. And love fully and firmly.
But this idea is flawed.
One of the many faces that we wish to see on our lover’s face is a face that reciprocates our feelings for them. The consistency of this reciprocation is what we wish to see. And this is the flaw.
If the experience of an emotion depends on an impression that it is also felt by another person in a similar way, then maybe the emotion is not strong enough. To be on its own.
There was no way for the window to reciprocate the feeling. So Mynti’s emotion could not be some partial emotion, expecting to complete itself on confirmation. No confirmation was possible.
Those who know a little bit about these things, would say the only psychologically stable state in the experience of the love emotion was this. Everything else was fragile.
Of course, Mynti was not attempting to be evangelical about isolation.
Or in the impossibility of basing one’s trust in other human beings. Or in the vanity of love.
Love happened sometimes and there were people who actually experienced it.
There is never enough time for denial in life. It is best to acknowledge, “Yes, these things happen. No, they did not happen for me.” This acknowledgement is likely to make one feel sad and it might be ok to learn to live with this sadness.
But after this sadness has been dealt with, moving on from this situation has many possibilities.
Mynti wanted to truly and fully love the window. She did not want her emotions to have anything to do with any kind of confirmation — reciprocation or surety.
To step outside the finitude of time. To feel more self-complete and less invested and hanging on anyone else’s words.
After practising love on the window, maybe she might feel ready to love a person? Maybe?
Mynti went back upstairs and closed the window. She did not turn any of the lights in the room on. She sat in the darkness of the room. City light fell into the room — filtered by the textured glass of the closed window. She found herself projecting a calm, insular person on the window. Someone who did not need to communicate anything because there was nothing that was not known.
But she was fully aware that it was a projection.
The reality was that the window was a frame made of wood and paned with a piece of glass. The piece of glass was a way of filtering vision. It kind of gave a personality to the window.
But the fact was that the kind of glass it was had been chosen by the architect and the owner of the house. It was then purchased from a shop and fit as per instructions.
But to humanise the window was maybe as much a mistake as to de-humanise it.
The window was small, faint shadow of the effort of a group of people. Some people had in fact made this window. But Mynti did not know that. For Mynti this window was also born from nature. Just like any other person. It was natural born. It held a particular kind of poise very well. It was either deep in thought or immersed within a deep moment. It helped Mynti to see it like this.
Mynti had an infinite capacity to keep switching how she saw the window. She could see it as a wooden fitting and she could see it as a kind of frozen poetry. It was important for her to have a sense of what it was in reality. But if she could not see it as a charmed thing, she would not be herself.
For as long back as Mynti could remember, she had made things up. She could never make do with the given. There had to be story, a magical make-believe scheme. Maybe like a pattern that could be seen only by squinting. But this squinting was becoming a burden and an effort in which she had lesser and lesser confidence now.
This tendency to believe the story in her head rather than what she saw in front of herself had periodically led her to points of breakage.
Her friends told her, “Mynti, sober up. Stop living in a make-believe world.” But Mynti did not know who she’d be if she did not make up stories about the world. She would have to re-invent herself and face the pain of discovering her abilities again. This was a more scary proposition than to actually start practising a more disciplined thinking life.
The window had come undone, maybe a few screws and hinges had fallen off. It fell off and crashed down on the ground, nine floors below. Where it fell on the ground, it formed a small area of debris around it. The shreds of glass caught light from the compound and stood out. In Mynti’s house, in the living room there was a gaping hole where there used to be a window. Mynti stood adjacent to the hole in the wall and felt the wind hit her without any obstruction. She looked down at the fallen window. She decided that maybe it was time to come back to the ground and live a life of measured time.
Edited on July 29, 2019