Monday, December 11, 2006

The Love Song of Alfred Hitchcock

Nakulan Remembered everything and grumbled: my algorithm is going haywire. Moving step by step toward the problem; rigorous steps; approach ensuring solution: Emily's denial.

Step by step.

Towards the end.

Emily's denial:

---No, I didn't kill him.

Then she asked:

---Sure you know it, don't you?

Nakulan said:

---Emily, look here. If you are not interested in confession, well, I have nothing to tell you. Perhaps confessions are not meant for a girl like you, brimming over with intelligence. But you are the Ada Lovelace that time and I are waiting for - a computer programme with its roots in poetry! I love you with my body and intelligence. Not with my heart. The heart is a mere poetic technique. I don't know where the organ is. I speak of it with my hand on my chest. But what you have there is the organ that kills cardiac patients. Only a plumber can love a girl with it. My love is a revolt in my nervous system. Whatever it is, genius, our joint talent, will not lie in dying together with broken hearts. I believe you will die before me. Every person I love will perish before me. Only then can all losses be mine. You understand this, don't you? There is a pattern here. I shudder to think of the interval between your death and mine. How horrible and material a sense of isolation and loneliness. I will be fully helpless there, like in a dark corridor in a horror movie.

And in this way the entire novella "The Love Song of Alfred Hitchcock" by Maythil Radhakrishan proceeds. And after a few pages further, one hardly sees a difference between the emotion and the words that describe the emotion. The words float, the story surges ahead, in what may be termed as an intense war of emotion. Emotion of love.

The central character, Nakulan is in love with Emily. Emily, who is married to John. John has died. Died of poisoning. But let me not dwell too much upon the story, for like Hitchcock's movie, the story is just a means of conveying emotion. The emotion, that is full to its brim in every frame of the movie; the emotion which does not hide itself behind extravagant metaphors, but strikes you clean and deep.

In the end Emily dies. Or rather, kills herself.


Who, or what am I now?

A betrayed lover robbed of everything?
Is the madman who measured your death by the length of candles a thinker?
I don't know.

My hands are full of the touch and heaviness of your body. Or, what grows heavy on my hands is its absence; its burden lowers me into bottomless despair. When again will you ever be here to fill these two hands of mine?

Love is a kind of heaviness.
The weight or heaviness of the beloved's private materiality. Now, without it, like a moonwalker who has lost his weight, I move around in a damned lightness, a ridiculous figure.

What strikes us is the uncontrolled flow of words. They seem to be just flowing, like the flood water: one can't catch it. At one place, author Radhakrishnan describes conversation over candle-lit dinner with a backdrop of thunderstorm---

"Emily, this white pepper has been disturbing me for some time now. Don't you have black pepper?"

"Yes, just a minute."

Emily rose and went to the kitchen.
Somehow, Nakulan felt that he had been married and that the woman who went into the kitchen now was his wife who had been living with him for a long time.


When Emily left for the kitchen her vacant chair was illuminated for a second by a flash of lightening. Nakulan felt that she had disappeared in a flash of lightening and that she would reappear in another flash. For some unknown reason this silly idea attracted him very much.

This is extremely life-like expression by the author; that could be probably paralleled by Hitchcock's long shadows in "Dial M for Murder."

The 56-page novella keeps you disturbed till the end; and even after you have finished it, has the power of keeping you awake for a very long time in the night.

The words keep coming:
I dream of a girl
With a hand
That smells of blood;
I dream
Of making love to her
On the decked-up coffin
In the dark basement...
Surely, one of the best reads of the year!

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