Husn-e-jaanaa idhar aa, aainaa hoon main teraa,
Mein sawaarungaa tujhe, saare gham de de mujhe
Bheegee palkein na jhukaa, aainaa hoon main teraa…
Husn-e-jaanaa idhar aa, aainaa hoon main teraa…
Kitne hee daag uthhaye toone, mere din-raat sajaaye toone
Choom loon aa main teri palkon ko, de doon ye umar teree zulfon ko
Le ke aakhon ke diye, muskura mere liye
Meri tasveer-e-wafaa, aainaa hoo main teraa
Teree chaahat hai ibaadat meree, dekhataa rahataa hoon soorat teri
Ghar tere dam se hai mandir meraa, tu hai devi, main pujari teraa
Sajde sau baar karoon, aa tujhe pyaar karoon,
Meree aagosh mein aa, aainaa hoon main teraa.
[I write these Mukesh lyrics, not because they have been haunting me, but because I want to show that the sentiment that I write about is not new or revolutionary. It has been here a long time, living, breathing among us… inspiring songs. It’s traditional, it’s authentic, it’s Indian, it’s timeless.]
Our common experience is that spousal relations grow dull over the years. Some of these relations are not very bright to begin with. Even the honeymoon is a damp squib, a story of hopes betrayed and desires denied. I now understand why. It’s because we fail to take the right attitude, the right mental stance, towards each other’s needs. What I say may apply to all needs, but for the sake of clarity, let us focus on sexual needs.
Our needs are not burdens… not on us, and not on our partners. They are gifts to us from God, giving us a golden opportunity to know each other, to be known and understood (and, as Dee Vine might add, to know God in the process.)
But it’s surprising how we fail to grasp this simply stated fact, and end up handling our lives all wrong. When our partner indicates a need, our response often ranges from habitual indifference, to impatience (Oh no, not again! So soon? But we did it only yesterday) to outright rejection, gentle or otherwise (You’re crazy! You’ve got a dirty mind. No, not now, darling; we’ve got places to go, work to do!)
I find it a tragic waste that we do not make it a habit to respond with delight and tenderness to any ex-pression of need on the part of a spouse. I find myself full of sadness for all those souls who are alone, isolated in their needs. No, don’t joke and say, “One can shag and take care of that need.” Masturbation does not address the need; it addresses merely a physical symptom of a need that goes far beyond the physical.
On the other hand, maybe we do not see our own individual need in the proper light ourselves. Some of us see it as a burden, an itch, an irritation, maybe even an illness… to be cured, to be gotten over or to be suppressed until it dies its natural death. Some of us see it as the unmanifested roots of sin in ourselves and in others, and we fear it. We loathe it. At best, we excuse and forgive it.
This, to me, is at the roots of our innermost problems, our dull marriages and dull lives. Our relationships that go deep, but not quite deep enough. Not half as deep as they could go. Our relationships that are loving, but not LOVING. Our relationships that bring us face-to-face with our daily duties, but stop short of bringing us face to face with our soul, and the soul of our significant other. Our relationships that do not fail, but stop short of complete success.
Our relationships of half-measures, and our lives of half-measures. We are asked to be content with half-measures, and many of us even succeed in coming to terms with these lukewarm lives. But do we necessarily have to lead lukewarm lives? Is this the best we can do? I don’t think so.
Let us see our need as a gift, and present it gently, tenderly, gift-wrapped, to our partners. Let us learn to not thrust it at our significant other — something I think we men often do, and women usually don’t. And let us learn to not suppress or withhold it either — something I think women do pretty often.
Let us be alert to the ex-pression of need from our significant other, and regard it as a precious gift that merits our fullest attention.
And, even if we cannot immediately satisfy the urges and needs of our significant other, due to the constraints of time, space, family etc., let us learn to acknowledge it with tenderness and respect, and make a realistic promise to fulfil it later.
And when that moment of fulfilment arrives, let us learn to hold ourselves to that promise, and do so joyously, not grudgingly, with the abandonment of self that the occasion demands. Let us learn to be dependable, consistent, giving, tender. Let us give that need its due — the utmost respect that it demands.
Let me put it this way: We come face to face with our most personal manifestation of God in our needs, and those of our significant other. I think that each time we turn away from that manifestation, and fail to serve with utmost devotion in that temple that we call our bedroom, we lose a valuable opportunity to know ourselves and our partner, and we lose a treasured moment of our lives.
The cost of our neglect? For our partner, a moment that could be cherished turns into a forgettable experience, a common experience… even a regrettable experience. Over time, many such experiences add up to a sense of worthlessness or hopelessness, or of betrayal. It turns into a reason for indifference and neglect in many other areas of our lives. And then we wonder what went wrong, why it went wrong, how it went wrong despite our having done our best.
It’s easy to fail. Life gives us a thousand reasons to fail at any given point of time. It gives us a thousand wrong turns to take on any given decision-tree. And it only gives us a couple of reasons to make the right choices. But let us care enough to make the right choice, nonetheless. Let us make a habit of caring enough.
[Postscript: One cannot liberate those who feel no inner need for liberation. Maybe so. On the whole, I agree: HOW can you awaken those who think that they are already wide awake?
And yet, I’m driven to write by the hope and the belief that people are corrigible. That people have the ability to reflect upon their own behaviour, and make deep changes to their ways of living, thinking and believing.]