Thursday, 4 October 2012


Part 11 of Lakshmi Raj Sharma's new short story set in India.


                                                        THE STARCHED WOMAN (Part 11)

‘Shubendu, what makes you want to know of the dead? By trying to find out about Neela’s son you can become as stiff and lifeless as Neela herself. The worlds of the dead and the living are two separate worlds and the one should not interfere with the other if good health is to remain.’
I wanted to ask her something but I awoke and realized that it was only a dream. The dream, however, did make me think. My dead grandmother had come in my dream because I was trying to enter the domain of the dead. This meant that the dead could feel the thoughts and actions of the living and could actually come back to the living. Neela Ghosh was making the best use of this principle but she had become a dried up soul in the process. I had to use the other method, the method of the dream-world, to solve my problems. I had to reach that state in which the soul finds its answers to questions intuitively or in the world of dreams. I had to become like those very few individuals, William Shakespeare being one, who could find solutions to the mysteries of life intuitively. These were not matters of the mind or the intellect; they had everything to do with the soul, the self without the body. In a state where the soul awakens, matter, the body, this world, become secondary or even redundant. The intellect can merely get caught up in the realm of logic and sense, but the soul can transcend the world of logic and see things clearly. In such a state the world of the dream and reality become one, or, better still, the world of the dream takes precedence over the world of reality. This was an unexpected realization for me and I suddenly became interested in dreams as I never had been. I began to see the connection between the world of logic and sense with materialism, political power and even bodily perfection. The desire for a beautiful body, or the will for a display of the body’s ability like flawlessly synchronized group-marching or a perfect P T display, these were all activities of a kind. But there was another kind of desire, the desire to know about the soul, the Creator, the other world. This was a yearning that could merge opposites. The ugly could become the beautiful; the fair could be the foul; death could be life. All this could happen beautifully in dreams or in a life that was made of stuff that our dreams are made of.

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