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| by B.Raman

( December31, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is 27 months since we started living together---my present mistress and I.

I have accepted my new mistress. I have learnt to live in peaceful co-existence with her. She has helped me get rid of the fear of pain and death.
I had known other women in my life. I met them somewhere, somehow. We drank, sang and danced together. We spent nights wandering in the streets of Paris, Geneva,Amsterdam, Rome, Venice,Naples, Montreal,Jerusalem, Tokyo, Bangkok, Vientiane, Copenhagen,Athens, Damascus,Kampala, Istanbul.We spent hours, days and weeks in the Islands of Greece, Bali, Angkor Wat.

We developed a liking for each other, a love for each other. We started living together---live-in companions. When we could live together no longer, we said adieu to each other. A painful adieu, but the pain lasted only till I met someone new. I was like Claude Francois’ vagabond of no importance. Like George Moustaki’s gypsy.

One night in 2009, as I was sleeping alone in my bed, I woke up to realise I was not alone. I had a new live-in companion---one I had not met or known before. She had unnoticed, unfelt, unsensed ,uninvited moved in to live with me.

She has been there all the time---a part of me. She follows me wherever I go like a shadow. She sleeps with me. We have no love for each other. Yet, we are destined to live together . Hang out together. Only death can part us.

How to describe my emotions when I found her inside me? Not happiness----definitely not. Sorrow? I don’t think so. Shock? A little bit.Fear, possibly.

Whatever were the predominant emotions, I managed to bring them under control. I managed to rid myself of the fear of pain and death. Blood coming out of my body---like water from the fountains of Versailles--- no longer unnerves me.

I have lost my initial fears of this unknown mistress. Disappointment lingers. That after having spent my life with wonderful women, I should be condemned to spend the last years of my life with a mistress whom I do not love.

But I had no choice. What cannot be cured has to be endured. What cannot be shaken off has to be accepted.

I have accepted my new mistress. I have learnt to live in peaceful co-existence with her. She has helped me get rid of the fear of pain and death.

I was born again in 2011. I have re-discovered the zest for life. I live and travel again. I do once again all the things which I had always loved doing---reading, writing, listening to music, fraternising with people, loving wonderful women.

I feel young again. I feel the best of me is yet to come. 75 is not an old age---an age of philosophical resignation with nothing more to look forward to till I die. It is an age of re-discovery of myself. An age of new thoughts and new love. Like the vagabond, I have started singing again---songs of life, love and tears.

2012---- Here I come

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