Thursday, August 2, 2012

The coat

Does life imitate the movies or is it the bioscope that is inspired by blood and bones?
I don’t know but I have my list of incredible moments that seem to happen only in the movies.

And my all-time favourite is the coat scene.

People talk of the horrors of physical deprivation and hurt but there is an ache of the inside that is way higher, touching a point beyond the labour pain high of 57 del on the scientific scale of pain. Invisible on the outside, it rages deep within, rising in the throat and creeping in sour waves into the pit of the stomach. The chill converges on the lungs. There is the fearful headiness of a reckless, roller coaster ride. Your vision is blurred by regret, self-berating and lonesomeness.

Time for the coat!

And as though on cue, it is at these quiet times of desperation that the Knight Errant appears out of the mist in a soft focus in the movies, the music dims and the hall goes still. There is a magical connection. Two pairs of eyes meet and a wave of hope and strength and kindness is transmitted from one to the other and the broken begins to build back, right there. That one gesture injects her with glowing steel in the veins, making her as good as new.

It is my definition of the most beautiful human transaction ever! 

Did you ever have this happen to you? Have you experienced or witnessed and acknowledged pain in all these years you have treaded this earth? Cast a cursory look around, particularly in idle mode at the traffic lights, there are several there, crumbling inside like a wedge of carrot cake or a ball of ice lolly under that public mask of nonchalance. Some are probably on fire inside, like their throats have been taken by the guts. Of course they drive with numb limbs, grey lead in the toes pressing on the accelerator, hurting, crying, and scarring inside while those with the power to wash it all away stand outside these high walls of need, unseeing, unhearing, and refusing to take off their coats!

When faced with pain in fact, the most common reactions range from outright denial to an outraged defensiveness. Listen, cut the drama and let’s move on with it, shall we? There are so many tragedies taking place in the world? So many people do not have the time or the luxury for all this sighing and feeling. And what are you crying over this, I have seen worse. If you heard what I have gone through, you would shut up with gratitude!

The coats of empathy either do not exist in real life or are few and far between. For the most, we do not respect others enough to accept their pain. We are scared to engage outside of our own comfort zones. Even though we know that we ought to look at them with gentle eyes and say in a grave voice that we understand, we bluff them and ourselves by saying it is just idle nerves; and this on a good day. On the others, we tell ourselves that their cry for help is a personal attack on us.

Dear God, let me be otherwise. Give me the strength, the kindness, the faith to be the one holding out the coat.

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