There is a ‘She’. Of course, there has to be one. Then wouldn’t there be a ‘He’. You bet!
So let’s drop in and then drop our eaves in the middle of their conversation that goes,
He looked at her accusingly and said, ‘Just asking. Huh! Too many cross questions.’
She replied mockingly, ‘I’m getting better at this. I learned it from the Master’
‘Now, who is that? If you mean me, I don’t evade’ he answered smiling.
‘If that’s not what you do, then we need a new word to describe what you are doing’ she said.
‘Never. I will never agree. Tell me one instance where I have evaded’ he argued.
She sighed. ‘This counts as one! So anyways… are you going to tell me or not?’ she asked.
‘What do you want me to tell?’ he asked slightly belligerent.
She narrowed her eyes and looked at him sharply and said ‘You know what I’m asking and you know that I won’t let you have any peace unless you answer me. So tell me you will change? Tell me you will at least make an effort to change.’
‘You know what I’m going to say’ he stalled. When she didn’t bother to lower her gaze, he tried again and said, ‘I don’t have much choice now. It’s too late’.
She didn’t seem to relent, ‘Don’t you want to change? Do you like it?’
He changed tactics and continued tauntingly, ‘I won’t (stop) until I’m asked to. I really don’t see a reason why I need to.’
‘Now who is going to ask you that?’ she asked in an indignant voice.
‘Wouldn’t you?’ he teased.
She threw him a dirty look and said, ‘I would. I have. I am.’
‘I thought you didn’t mean it’ he smirked.
She pleaded ‘Oh! But I do. I mean it. Please, for my sake? Try?’
He smiled more broadly, ‘Why?’
‘How can you justify the torture the body and mind is put through?’ she asked.
‘Maybe it’s not torture, maybe its pleasure’ he answered mischievously.
‘I don’t know…It’s all very wrong’ she concluded irritated.
He just winked at her, smiling broadly ‘How?’
She said imploringly ‘You seem to take odd pleasure in making me plead.’
‘Yen mayakatha theethu vechu manichirumaaaa’ he sang, waving his arms wide open.
'Don't'. She rolled her eyes and hissed ‘Little seriousness, please?’
Though evidently enjoying, he sobered a little and replied, ‘Very much. There is really no need to change. It’s not taboo still. In all fairness, you know, it has become more common than you think and it’s not such a big deal.’ to which she immediately said, ‘It is a big deal. It’s illegal, unethical and probably dangerous. It’s against nature’.
He pretended to cross off on his fingers ‘It’s not illegal when you are an adult, consenting and knowing. It’s not dangerous, when it’s done in the way it’s supposed to be done. Unethical says who?’
She noticed that he had ignored that last part of her argument but she didn’t want to press. She thought for a moment and said, ‘I don’t know. I feel bad about it.’
‘From ‘very wrong’ to ‘feels bad’, quite a drastic change there!’ he teased again.
She immediately replied, ‘No I still feel its all wrong. And it does feel bad’
He was quiet for a second and then continued, ‘So explain it to me. Why do you think it is wrong? Is it because of some stupid social construct? Morality? Why would you not accept me and my ways if that’s my chosen path, preference, choice or however the hell you want to call it? Wouldn’t you try to understand that maybe I do what I do because I may have no other option? Do you have any idea of how much pain and regret I might carry?’
Evidently confused at the sudden first-person usage, she said ‘Err… you as in ‘you’?’
‘Hypothetically speaking!’ he finished with a smile.
She considered the many questions and deciding to play along, replied, ‘First of, you say you are okay with all this and that you knowingly chose this. But would you be so cool when it happens to someone else you love. Someone who has a choice and yet they are like this? Would you embrace them into this way of life? Secondly, like you ask, I will try to understand your situation. I will. Let’s say, even pretend that, I’m okay with what you do. That’s not much, is it? I’m just one person. You need to realize that the society is not entirely made of people like me.’ She continued in a slightly higher tone to cut across his intent to interrupt ‘Don’t tell me you don’t care about what the society thinks. You care. At least that much I know for sure. You care enough to want their approval of your normality. You care enough to be low-key of what you do. You want them to see you beyond the aberration.’
He harshly interjected ‘Then you don’t know anything’.
She looked offended but took advantage of momentary silence and continued, ‘No, I know and understand more. Ok, leave aside society. You have a responsibility. To yourself, to your body, to your family and friends who care about your well being; you are inducing an imbalance and unnaturalness into your life and into the others. So whatever you say, however you argue, I feel it is wrong. Don’t say you are careful and controlled. Once or twice are as bad as any number. Whatever pain and agony you may face in life, or however heart-wrenching a flash-back you may have, doesn’t justify the need. I wouldn’t hear of it. If that’s the last thing I do, I will definitely do something to stop you from going down that path and destroying your life over it.
He hissed ‘Don’t you think I know all that. Don’t you think that I have argued with myself with all of what you just said?’
She did not reply. All the “I” usage was confusing. Though hypothetical, it was difficult, to pointedly say ‘you’. After few minutes, their orders were delivered and they finished eating in near silence, broaching only on less controversial and almost harmless topics. When they had paid their bills and stepped outside into the rainy street, he said, ‘Ok. I was thinking of what you said in there. I think I see your point.’
She smiled a little and waited for him to continue. ‘Yes! All that you said are true. I know too, that drugs are wrong. Society or morality or ethics or unnaturalness aside, it is just plain stupid and unnecessary. But I designed my character to be an addict to spin out lots of stories around that. It has nothing to do with me. I promise! I'm not even in the slightest inclined toward it. But as I said before, now it’s too late to change it. I’m almost close to completion.’
She shook her head. ‘I won’t have drugs and substance abuse in your book. I don't want it in the way you have it. You are almost glorifying its use and extolling its effect. But as a writer of your caliber, you are morally obligated to some extent without sacrificing your literary license. People read your books. You have a say, you have some influence. Some people read books for fun and some read too much into it. If your character should perform some extra ordinary feet after getting high, if he comes across as a “cool dude” just because he snorts, someone might want to do that. You shouldn’t impart that idea on people, intentionally or otherwise. I wouldn’t want anyone to read your book and comment on it. I wouldn’t be able to bear that kind of criticism of you. You are way too important to me for me to just stand aside and to let you be judged harshly, if I can help it.’
She faltered. She has said too much. And before he could react she continued, ‘You know what I mean… what I’m trying to say is… you know… I mean….’
He simply said ‘I know what you mean. I always do’
Looks like he is saying too much too!
Did he promise to change the story? Did he really? Was she okay with the change?
What happened to the two of them?
All this we couldn’t find. The rain’s too loud.
But were you confused as we were in the middle of all the argument?
P.S: ‘Usure pogudhey’ is a ‘Whattya song’ category. The lyrics, the tune, Karthick’s exceptionally seductive voice when he sings that line – Sweetness!