The Creaking Chair – Part XXVI


07th April 1988

‘A commentary on struggles and injustice’
this was the pamphlet in my hand 
as I entered the market place in Toulouse on this Sunday afternoon
I was out to buy some croissant and wine for an evening of recluse
in my immaculately neatly kept apartment 
a fetish I had developed recently and was slowly developing great pride in

It was supposed to be a dialogue followed by a rendition of Warsaw concerto 
and the orations would focus on the themes of
‘human spirit and resilience’, ‘the fundamental nature of the oppressor”
and ‘the anatomy of a revolt’
to my Sunday slumbered mind these sounded quite grand 
but then the name of one of the speakers stood out to me 
We had dated for sometime during my stay at Marseille 
and I realized how organically had we drifted apart 

The fact that the passage of time between us was so vivid in my head 
was a revelation for me – I had barely thought about her for the last 5 months
and it had been only 5 months since we bid our farewells to each other 
The name reminded me of how we had met – on a metro reading the same book 
‘Incest – by Marquis de Sade’ – it was one of those unplanned book pick ups for me 
may be it was providence playing its subtle hands 
I was almost finished reading the book and she asked me while we sat in a café that evening 
what did I think about the book and I remember word by word what I had said

“The book for me started on a note that shook me out of comfort. Reading it induced raw un-supplemented emotions of fear, love and pity, slowly building up to anger and disgust. The best part of the narrative for me was the dialogue with the priest - provocative and questioning societal norms with logic and not emotions. There was something raw about the entire book”

And she laughed whole heartedly at my comments
How little you know about the struggles of human emotions 
as if you don’t want to touch the real surface and be content with what floats on water 
abashed and angered – I let loose a discourse on the genesis of human emotions & our responses
passionately peeling away each layer with great care and little remorse  
by the time I had finished, we were near the Old harbour somewhere in Le Panier
and the night goaded us along towards the sea and to many nights of passionate debates on human
emotions, the justice of struggles and of equally passionate love making

So when I saw her name on that pamphlet I knew I would be pulled to the auditorium
to listen her speaking with the same audacious ferocity on a subject she adored 
by the time I entered the venue, it was already twilight and my heart was pregnant with anticipation
of possible recognition, of awkward silences, of uncomfortable laughter and possible reunions
for someone who had just finished writing a section of romantic prose, nothing was an impossibility

2 hours later when I left the building to a moonless night 
I was troubled and knew the writer in me would be awake for the next few days 
trying to pen a soliloquy on the struggling emotions of the forsaken spectator in a revolt 
I felt a thousand thoughts brewing in my head on the real motives of struggles and revolutions
of propagandas and high collared talks of reforms and need for change in mentalities 
of the stories being told of the victims in a tone of superiority rather than empathy
like a trophy being displayed upon the deliverance of a speech which serves none but self-aggrandization

Two hours of the discourse pulled me away from my hopes of a romantic reunion
and rather edged me towards a shady escape for the fears of being spotted by the lady 
As I sat through, I was slowly transformed from a placid listener of a commentary to the oppressor in the play. 
I was the ringmaster of oppression in the commentary, the person who grew in power by deceit 
I had become the example amongst the multitude of generalized aggrievements  – without reason or action 

And all for the purpose of a proof of a paper written without consent about the struggling emotions of the victim at the hands of the oppressor
But did I have a say in the act of becoming an unsuspecting villain in the play of a revolution-in-making
was it even a necessity when I had passed the audition without my knowledge, for representation of a character that I might have resembled 
but in the long run it should all make sense, for the achievement of equanimity would demand a few sacrifices on both ends 
and the liberals and neo-liberals ready to salvage what would remain of the aftermath

~ Ashk

P.S. – I did end up taking a bus to Marseille to have a cup of coffee at the same café that night for closures 

P.P.S. – If you want still more understanding of what I really meant, my discourse on “The faux-perils of the perceived oppressor” was inspired by that night in the auditorium


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