Vantage point

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


It sits there on my window ledge. Keeping it there even after what has happened is like burying a murderer inside the chamber after he is gassed. It was this very ledge that turned out to be its death-knell. The wind would blow inwards all the time, and the curtain would move to its tunes, like a dancer held in a seductive vice by a musician. Most of the times, the curtain would slip over the mirror and billow up, forming an inverse parachute. A parachute is supposed to help people fall more gracefully.

So it was ironic when this inverse parachute actually caused the mirror's fall from grace. I was a mute spectator to it as it happened. Not just at the moment when the glass broke, but the days before it, when every gust of wind would make the curtain push the mirror a fraction closer to the edge. My inertia in not pushing it backwards into a safe zone is as guilty for the shattered glass as the treacherous wind. I was subconsciously aware of the mirror inching closer to a collapse, but I just sat there.

Maybe the fact that the mirror was a free acquisition had something to do with it. It was given to me by a senior while he was clearing out his room before he left the insti. I did not pay anything for the mirror, did not make a trip to the shop, in fact did nothing but just place it on the ledge. Was this the reason I was so lethargic? Do we value only that which comes at a price?

Anyway, the mirror came crashing down. A few glass crumbs fell away. There were a couple of cracks, but the mirror still held on to the frame. It did not disintegrate like an automobile window does after an accident. It made an effort to maintain its identity. However the cracks are a constant reminder of the fact that it is not the same anymore.

It still sits on the ledge as i said. I can see my face in it, but the discontinuities in its form limit its utility. It shows my face a bit disfigured and adds extra imperfections that do not exist. However it is better than a thousand shattered pieces lying on the road. These 3 pieces of glass sticking to each other, while not as good as what i had earlier, are still something tangible.

Or did I have nothing earlier? I still keep the mirror on the ledge, I repeat again. Is it lethargy or an unwillingness to look for another place? Or is it just the fact that it is a free mirror? The face that I see in the mirror now, is it really a disfigured image? Or am I now one step closer to the actual reality, ahving cut through the first layer of visual illusions?