I’ve been making lots of feminist, analysing posts in the past few weeks, which is really unusual for me 😛 so I’m reverting to my usual narcissism with this latest post. I wrote it some years ago, it was posted as a note on my fb but never managed to make it here. Hope you like.
I love incongruity. I love doing things, feeling things, completely out of sync with my surroundings. Having a thousand in my pocket and taking a ride back home on the bus. Watching children playing while humming death metal lyrics. Eating daal with pasta.
It doesn’t have to be an overt thing. Most of the time the secret knowledge of my aberrance is what makes it so enjoyable. Like reading erotica while the azaan is sounding outside. Or wishing for death when the skies explode with fireworks marking the end of a lovely, contentment filled year. Or depression overwhelming while the audience claps and I step down from the podium. Or smiling while at a funeral when you suddenly remember something funny.
It’s as though I am a person made less of separate feelings, with their own proper times and proper places for being felt, than clashing emotions – and when they come together in me it is like the dancing of light and shadow on the ground – a secret harmony born of differences. Too strong a light and the shadows will disappear – yet too much darkness and the little light beams will be lost forever. But together? They laugh and lock spirits and dance, under the trees in the cool forest, on the wooden floor in the afternoon sun as it sifts in through the shutters. Together they dance, and so do I.
Night-time is the best time, and you understand why, don’t you? The whole world sleeps. I alone am awake, along with the murderers and the mad and the mating. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary – I don’t need to. Being awake at the time and doing Ordinary stuff is the incongruity itself, and the deliciousness of the knowledge is part of what keeps me up, every night, though I have dragged my bloodshot eyes and tired body with me to university the next day an uncountable number of times.
I don’t think of it as hypocrisy either, unless you can be hypocritical to your surroundings. No sycophant’s smile of geniality while hatred bubbles inside. I haven’t time for incongruities with individuals – besides, how do you know the other person doesn’t hate you too? Then you would both be merely dancing the same dance, and getting in each other’s way. And that is more likely anyway.
It is the dance of incongruity. It is pouring your heart out to a stranger, telling them things you wouldn’t tell your closest friends. It is reading poetry in the middle of a crowded bank surrounded by harassed people gossiping or arguing politics. It is writing about love on tissue papers while staying overnight at the hospital with a dying relative. It is turning the air conditioning on full in the middle of winter, and then sitting and shivering and loving it. It is watching horror movies and knitting – it is full formal dress with tattered sandals or a tacky purse. Being the only one in a roomful of people to pick up the unintentional double-entendre in the speaker’s words. It is gloom caking your heart like dried blood while the world tells you they would do anything to be in your place. It is drinking soup in the middle of summer. It is unaccountably praying for forty days and forty nights of rain when all around you all you see is contentment.
It is a genuine smile from a mutual enemy, surprising you and melting a little of the ice block inside.
Incongruity isn’t something you can really create – it is born of unaccountable urges. Or it is the coming together of contrasting internal and external circumstances, like constellations lining up. Wanting a cake at 3 pm is alright. Baking one at 2 am is slightly incongruous, and the sort of thing I love. But at other times, for me it probably represents a deeper sense of disjointedness with my surroundings, as though having never fitted in I cannot compel myself to now. A deeper feeling of rift between what I feel or think and what forms the collective thoughts of those around me. It might be a result of never completely fitting in anywhere – it might be the result of a sense of the harmony within disharmony. It might be a sudden serious lack of empathy. Or it might just mean that I’m mad.
Who knows? And who cares anyway.
To incongruity then, with love.