After the Taj was completed, each of the builders, twenty-two thousand men, had his thumbs cut off so that the structure could never be built again. It is just a legend, they say, but the thought of it haunts me. I never thought that love’s ultimate portrayal could be as powerful and pure as a tombstone built entirely in marble. A tango between both worlds, the greatest expression of divinity and obsession; what sort of a lover was the goddess Mumtaz? How great a lover, how fanatical was he to have built a marker of death for his beloved. A cross between this world and the next, I see beauty and death in this gravemarker – a transcendent equation that parallels only the other.
If beauty and death equals eternal love, I must be forced to concede that all lovers never die because death is omnipresent and beauty is subjective (hence allowing it to be the only constant). Do they live on in hushed whispers in the dead stillness of the night, ghosts humming their tales of trial and tragedy? But if beauty is perfection and death is the one undefeatable, inevitable force that drives one age on to every consecutive one, then I must be mad because there can never be a love that rises to such overwhelming magnitude, the thought of which is smothering enough. I am equating names of places I have never seen except in snapshots on postcards from countries I have long forgotten to intangibles like emotions and the absurdity lies in that I am hoping to draw links between the two like an expert blind philosopher who has never seen this madness except in dreams and the short spaces between the passage of time.
What is greater than time? No other, for the only available, logical alliance between infinity and transience is time alone. Nothing surpasses time, not love nor death nor life nor any other thing that has a beginning. Time has no past, present or future. It needs no distinction nor titles, it is one long line which we break up into simple comprehensible abbreviations we call seconds, days, months, eons. Does that scare you – that we are always living our past and future in the present?
I want to learn how illusions work. The magician that made the Taj disappear for two minutes, how did he do it? If an illusion is an erroneous perception of reality, I want to make it my actuality. It is not until realities clash jarringly that a discrepancy is produced and translated. Until then any illusion could be a reality. Perhaps reality itself is an illusion – just an appearance of truth but nothing more than an appearance. If we were to unveil our versions of reality what lies might we uncover? Perhaps all this is a conspiracy, perhaps none of this exists. But if reality is always an appearance, what good does unveiling an illusion do? It could be a cover-up for another fantasy beneath another beneath another.
I want to know where it stops or if it even stops. These facades of legitimacy are leaving little pockmarks on the soles of my feet so I don’t forget to bring them everywhere I go. It is getting painful and tiresome and I wish it’d stop. Why is the best policy often the one that leaves the most scars behind and hides behind sideway shifts of our eyes, acting like the liaison between telltale and tale?
Published at Jack Magazine.