You are not welcome

You are not welcome. Because you really do not matter. Imagine the moment of hurt when you are told "I am NOT here" when you desperately ask, "Where Art Thou?" And after hearing that, over and over again, you stop asking. It becomes a moment of reckoning specially for people who have spent their lifetime saying, "Here I Am" and suddenly realize that there was no reciprocity; I was with a bondhu recently and I saw the pain. As the person often has said, "there are bruises and there has been blood on the ground." Sitting with a glass of wine we realized that this psychic blood and the bruises leave us strangely stronger rather than weaker. The hours of being there when there was a need, when the call came, unabashedly without any ambiguity you rise up to the challenge. That is when you say, "it doesn’t matter, it needs to be done." And in the same breath you say, "of course I am here and will be right next to you." Most do not worry about the future bruises and the blood. But they surely come. As the circumstances change, and the caller has no further need, the call disappears, and the usefulness of "Here I Am" vanishes. The called has no more use because the caller has no need. At that moment, as my bondhu and I talked, we realize that all those calls, all those hours, were merely the precursor to the bruises and the blood. But the strange thing is that those who answer the call, and have done that all through their lives, because they are hard-wired to do that, seem to strangely forget the bruises that often follow a little after the "Here I Am" response. At some point one starts to hear, "What the heck are you here for?" The call is forgotten, the use is over, and you are no longer welcome. In today's language it is ghosting and blocking on instant messaging services. This is the transactional nature of such calls, even though the original call in its Biblical context was more of the articulation of a covenant, today, in general, it is a transaction that asks, and when the transaction is completed satisfactorily, there is no further need for the other, who answered the call in the first place. The covenant is gone, what remains in most cases is the temporary transaction. The problem is that some people still hold on to the quaint nature of the covenant - of a friendship - of trust - of reciprocity - of a sense that the genuine call deserved a genuine answer. I have encountered some callers who still believe in that sanctity of the relationship that is established between the caller and the called. These are the people who genuinely feel the shared responsibility, and they carry through that covenant and give the covenant a name: friendship encrusted in the protective layers of trust and respect which begets the bloom of affection and caring. And such covenants produce the Othellos and the Brutuses and the proverbial daggers are drawn, and the layers of trust and respect are hacked away, and the covenant destroyed. That is when the call stops and caller bleeds just as the called does too. The strangest part of the process, we realized as we sipped the wine on a warm July afternoon with the buzz of cicadas in the background, is in most cases the caller and the called do not inflict the bruises, and they both bleed because the knives are drawn by others. And that is why eventually some become unwelcome and they hear the words, "enough already, it is time for you to leave." The afternoon was getting over, and my bondhu and I examined our bruises and realized that some of us are just suckers for pain and we keep making the same mistakes, over and over again, and we probably will, because we genuinely believe that there is some goodness in the caller and that innate virtue can never be chiseled away. And thus we go back, because it is in our ethos - to always be ready to say, "Here I Am" and put the bandage in the back pocket in case we get bruised again. And there may be blood. As I drove back home, I started to realize that there is something absolutely true in the words of Simon and Garfunkel, and I do a long quote "In the clearing stands a boxer/And a fighter by his trade/And he carries the reminders/Of every glove that laid him down/And cut him 'til he cried out/In his anger and his shame/I am leaving, I am leaving/But the fighter still remains." It was not the New York City winters for me, but it was certainly the cold steppes of Illinois.


Comments

Deepak Pramanik said…
Well written. Congratulations
Ananda Mitra said…
Many thanks for reading
Unknown said…
A very moving and well-written piece. Here I am!
From the heart, Michael
Many thanks, Michael, your comment means a lot to me.

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