The first time I heard the phrase, ” a serpent in the bosom”, my imagination hissed and spit savagely at me. A curling , black, nagini, coiled around the heart reared its flashing fangs at my petrified self. Slowly I shook my head to clear away the image, of what stood for ” someone hitherto trusted turning into an enemy “.
Perhaps many of us can relate to such snakes and traps..unwittingly we often offer our affections and trust, where they are not due, where they are often misused, and stored away for an opportune moment to strike us back.
” Biting the hand that feeds one, ” ” Taking the snake coiled around the fence and putting on one’s shoulder,” et al are sage advices from the vernacular tongue, warning against being too naive in offering trust, love and friendship.
The randomly quoted incidents are very true and anything similar to any character/persona is very intentional.
– She was my friend. The school had many pillars and all of us loved playing hide and seek. Half an hour into the game, from behind the pillar, I hear a voice sniping viciously, ” Gawwwddd, I cannot tolerate her at all! Such a sample!” The voice was very familiar and all the attributes she was mentioning were more familiar…I took a peep, and there she was in all her glory..” killing me softly with her words.” I came from behind the pillar and she blanched…very white.
” Were you speaking about me?” I asked, not smiling.
She kept quiet, obviously caught off guard.
I took a good look at serpent sample one.
” Watch from behind the pillars- for the truth has many faces,” I told my ten year old self.
– The Professor, I thought, was a fair man. I ran to him with my doubts in Mathematics, and he was always ready to help. There was no reason to suspect that he had anything but affection for me.
I was late for his class, and reached just to hear him laugh about me to an acquaintance:
” She got poor marks, eh? She is all speech and no matter!”
He turned and saw me standing all white faced. He regained his composure and asked me to take my seat.
” All apparent well wishers need not be wishing you well…beware.”
Harpies are mythological characters who literally drop their waste on nourishing food. I have encountered many harpies who drop their shit on ideas, loving suggestions, energetic attempts at something new.They can come in many guises- of near and dear ones, young and old, looking absolutely normal as your own self.But try to create something in their presence and hell breaks out…fumes and smoke spreading all over.
The Harpies denounce you, your motivations, your ideas, your happiness because they think you do not deserve all that joy and happiness. Or maybe because they are jealous. Or they do not think it right. Or another hundred twisted reasons, filtered through their own prejudices, influenced by their nature and nurture. But one common characteristic of Harpy influence? They drain you of love, life, health and laughter. They will prevent you actively and subtly from being creative, whole, healthy and happy. They will do their best to torpedo your loving relationships. They hate you. End of class.
Tired often of people who turned untrustworthy, jealous, and petty without obvious reasons, I queried once to a learned person:
” Why do some people read so much into innocent words and deeds and take umbrage? Why do people imagine humiliation when none was intended?”
” People who suffer from jaundiced vision can only see a yellow world,” he laughed.
” So does that mean, we stop trusting? We stop creating?” I asked, fuming.
” It means you should learn to look at the picture of Goddess Durga closely,” said he, smiling beatifically at me.
” Why does the Goddess have so many weapons on her tender body? Armed to the teeth, so to say? She is also Saraswathy in her alter ego- the queen of Shastras- logic, reason, wisdom..?”
” When shaastra aka logic fails, shastra aka weapons may come to use,” he laughed.
” I should fight, you mean?”
” For what you believe to be right. For what you believe to be your right. Learn to stand up for yourself. Stop taking nonsense- from any one,” he concluded with a laugh and offered me sweets.
Nowadays, when I encounter harpies, I adopt the following self-caring techniques.
- I step from behind the pillar.
- I stop wishing them well. I do not wish them bad, nevertheless. I turn detached and indifferent.
- If they try to slither their way back into my life energy, I cut them down with a symbolic cleaver called ” Get Lost “.
As that saying goes, “Above all, to thine own self be true- thou cannot then be false to any man,” or woman!!
P.S. Who said some good snarling ain’t fun at times?