She taps her fingers on the windowpane while listening to Opeth. Within her, there’s this thirst for freedom, a need to escape the Sphinx by solving its riddles. But what is this menacing, monstrous Sphinx, though? It’s a plethora of things combining to form one grotesque creature, ranging from a Brahminical upbringing steeped in caste, her parent’s faux-progressivism, and a need to prove that she’s more than the Brute makes her out to be. This is her ‘cheat time,’ when he’s away making money, and taking out his insecurities on his employees. It’s the time when her inner self pushes through heart and ribcage and invades the outer, stagnant world where a miserable status quo reigns. She dreams of bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. Melodic death metal, which is a strange but soothing juxtaposition of violent growls and anthemic choruses. The twin guitars, reminiscent of Iron Maiden, playing a frenetic, euphoric note on her soul, blessing her with a childlike wonder that’s also mature.
He’ll be back soon, unlocking the door with his micro-dick energy, grumbling about some coworker, and then chastising her for not listening. “You and your stupid art and music,” he’ll say, the pitch of his whines crescendoing like an aria from hell by succubi and chained reprobates. She wishes her inner self, replete with colour and transparency, would burst out then, stunning him with its dazzling display of bright lights. But she knows it won’t. Just like it didn’t when her best friend asked her to get a matching tattoo in college, and she refused; just like it didn’t when she denounced the caste system and patriarchy on a Facebook status, before marrying a paunched Tamil Brahmin with regressive views, chosen by her parents; just like it didn’t when she said, “Religion is a social construct aimed at controlling the masses by igniting their parochial views, and giving them validation for their hatred,” before agreeing to a traditional marriage with bigoted priests, astrology and bowing to every god in the pantheon.
Whatever happened to her love of poetry which explored the taboo? Everything went once — sex, bondage, pain, miscarriages, abortions and fighting the system. Now it’s still there, but trapped in a paperweight within like ashen snowflakes. It will never find release, she knows, because he just doesn’t get her. Neither do her parents, though they projected a veneer of sophistication and free-spiritedness, not commenting on her progressive views until they decided to get her married. She resisted, but they threatened to cut her off, and she now regrets succumbing. Bowing and asking for forgiveness from a father who read Jeet Thayil (from a distance) with an amused look on his face, and a mother who wore existentialism, modernism, postmodernism, feminism and structuralism on her sleeve like they were scout badges. Her father would quote Henry Miller, and she believed he loved the author’s hedonism, but she should have deciphered the reality when he did ten pujas because an owl sat on his rooftop and hooted. Her mother spoke at a conference about women’s rights, but she should have realised that it was all a lie when she paid good money to see a patriarchal Guru and ask for his blessing.
She pulls out The Diary of Anaïs Nin, and No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood from under the bed, where she hides the few books she buys. Tears flood her vision. She remembers reading Nin in college and making love to her first boyfriend. Tracing the contours of his face while she gazed into his eyes, the rhythm of sex augmenting desire and emotion, the orgasmic bliss a far cry from the poorly timed thrusting of the Brute who finishes in two minutes. “You’re not a virgin!” He declared the first time they had sex, a mixture of disgust and arousal making him crave and hate her. She felt like slapping him, but she stayed mute as he grilled her on her previous partners, while grunting and making guttural sounds that quenched her libido.
She wonders if she should write about everything in a stream of consciousness. Pour it all out on a page without concern for form or structure. But he reads her journals and prevents her from blogging. The only thing that matters to him is his money. He prevents her from working, and made sure she cut ties with her friends. He’ll come home soon, pulsating with miniscule-penis energy, and declare as if he was some god-man that they were going to have sex. And she’ll suck her tears back in and think of Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt singing, Blank face in the windowpane/ Made clear in seconds of light/ Disappears and returns again/ Counting hours, searching the night while she listens to his heightened moaning, feeling nothing except a profound emptiness.
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