There are moments in which I open my eyes and ask myself, who is this person portraying me as me?... Then I remember; I am literally living through the characters I create, as many other people. For me, it started pretty soon…maybe in school, when I learned that in order to "fit in", I had to behave/talk/act in a certain way. Later on in university, at work, and among the people around myself and in the society, most of my encounters confirmed my early impressions. I had to create more and more different characters and act as them, to be accepted. The number of characters became so many that sometimes I had to struggle to come out and be "me" again, even when I was with myself. At the end of the day, there were very few people in my life with whom I could and I chose to be myself. There were fewer people who decided to be themselves, when they were with me. The day my mother told me, after we had a long conversation, that she couldn’t recognize me anymore, was a very painful day. Not because I was playing any characters when I was talking to her. But because I had decided to be myself, my plain self, and she couldn’t/didn’t want to recognize me. She preferred the made up character much better. Then I put on my mask, acted as the character she was used to see, and she felt safe again.
Problem was, my heart broke to pieces that day. One very important person was off my list….
*** *Method actors are often characterized as immersing themselves in their characters to the extent that they continue to portray them even offstage or off-camera for the duration of a project (Wikipedia).
You see, it was not my fault. I can safely say it was self-defense. Doesn’t matter if every one says a ball is incapable of harming people. They don’t know this ball. I knew it.
Since the very first day that it came to our life, it didn’t like me. In fact, it even hated me. Mr. Alchemist had seen it in the store, bought it, brought it home, and filled it with air. Since that very first moment the ball turned happily towards him, played around his feet and carried him kindly when he leaned on the ball. Then came my turn. I leaned on the ball and it just threw me away! I couldn’t believe it. After Mr. Alchemist stopped laughing at me, he tried to demonstrate the exercise again, which felt like a charm. Smooth and easy. As soon as I went for the ball, it escaped, rolled over, and threw me again.
It didn’t stop there. At nights, I could hear the ball coming towards me, I would open my eyes very slowly, and the ball was just there, doing nothing, but I could swear it was closer to me than before. Sometimes I would squeeze in under an edge of a chair, or behind a stand. It would wait and wait, and when I was alone in the room, ironing or folding the laundry, would release itself and rushed to run over me…pretty creepy stuff, I know. But believe me, I was scared for my life. Specially that Mr. Alchemist thought I was paranoid. Whom could I turn to? 911? “Hello sir, our medicine ball is trying to kill me. I can feel it.”?
So I decided to take action. I waited for the right moment. Last week, an extermination of bed bugs was supposed to be done in our building. The preparation process required everything to be packed in big plastic bags. And there it was, the right moment. I put on my most innocent smile on a kind face, and with a cold heart, pulled the largest thickest plastic bag over the medicine ball. We left for the day, and by the time we went back home at night, the apartment smelt terrible, well, with all that poison and closed windows. Since then, I haven’t heard anything from the ball. I guess I have killed the ball, finally…
*** *In the anniversary of what happened last june in my country, with all my sorrow and desperation for I cannot do anything, with all the anger and sadness for the hopes that died away, this was the only thing I could do, to kill something, something, something...
I used to play santur when I was back in Iran. I didn’t show any extraordinary talent for it, but I was considered a good player. I had performed in a bunch of concerts and most of the time, at home, for myself. When I got married, the apartment was too small to play santur in it, and besides, we moved to Canada after a short period of time. I left my santurs behind.
There were three of them. Two were mine, different qualities. The third I had inherited from a late beloved family member. It was of great quality, very dear to me since the late uncle had played it. Every time I had a trip back home, I would sit behind it and play whatever song which was still lingering in my memory. The sound would still make my heart to skip a beat.
I decided that this time, when I go back home, I’ll bring one of them with me. I missed the sound and the songs. So I asked my father a couple of weeks ago to take them out of the storage room, have them tuned to pitch, give the first two for charity, and keep my inherited one to bring it with myself if I make it back home this year. Last week, he said that when he was taking them to get tuned; they were stolen. All three of them.
I was of course angry, I asked my father if he had reported to the police and he laughed at me, “Dear, they don’t care when much bigger things get lost in this country, let alone your santurs”. Then I was disappointed. I was sad, very sad. And I felt also a bit guilty, which was strange. Why did I feel guilty?
Then I figured it out. I was taking “Cause and Action” for “the order of happenings”. You see, for me, as a person who does not believe in any religion anymore, and at the same time is tending toward finding some meaning or pattern in the surrounding incidents, it is an old habit to relate one phenomenon to another. I was feeling that I had turned my back to my music instruments. I had turned my back at them and they had left me. Simple as that.
Then I shook my head: I am not the center of the universe. It has nothing to do with me and my decisions for life. The universe/life/nature goes its own way, and not everything is related to me. There may be some coincidences, but not everything is a consequence of my actions. There has been some carelessness, and a damn smart thief involved.
Honestly, it still keeps me busy thinking, how true and wide is Karma? I can see so many cases in which Karma doesn’t seem to exist at all, and some cases that can be very well explained by that. Is it true that absolutely everything which comes aroundis the result something which went around ? Then why sometimes it isn't? How many of the surrounding incidents are meaningless, merely “incidents”? I am coming very close to believing that even if there is a pattern, I am not intelligent enough to find it. Maybe no one is intelligent enough to find it. It gets more and more obvious and clear to me, no one can broadcast their manifests “we know how the world works”. No one knows people, no one knows.
At the end, the matter of fact is, whatever the pattern, meaningless or meaningful, Karma or not, my santurs are gone. And I will forever miss them…
I am Iranian, living in Canada and in my 30s; with all the questions, interests and struggles of this age; plus the everyday challenges of a new mother. I like to observe curiously, think deeply and act seriously...