A lot of my poems are associational. For good or for ill, I ask my reader to follow me through some pretty big jumps in thought, hoping that it’s a pleasurable sensation and that they aren’t uncomfortably lost. So the following anecdote/post is a sort of narration of how my mind works, I suppose (or how it sometimes works — in telling this, I will actually be adding a linearity that wasn’t really there)
As I was walking tonight from the Red Mill to Maverick studios, I became conscious that I derive a lot of pleasure from the sound of the keys jangling on my wrist. I have been given three keys here: one to Maverick building, one to UP Red Mill (where I sleep), and one to my studio proper. I didn’t have a keyring as I’ve given over my housekeys to my lovely catsitter, Kara, and so the first few days I wore the keys around my wrist with a hair tie, which actually rather cut off my circulation and pressed my wrist uncomfortable (yet, aesthetically attractive, as when I was photographed the fellow was taken with the look of the keys around my wrist). I graduated from this attractive but painful rigging to a very unattractive but much more comfortable plastic springy thing a girl gave me here, from which a key ring and the three keys dangle. Now I jingle when I walk, unless I hold the keys in my hand. Walking and chiming, as well as choosing occasionally to silence the sound, is strangely pleasing to me.
Once I realized this, I thought about why this might be. I knew it wasn’t simply the sound. I realized I was thinking of the metal and glass bangles Indian women sometimes wear on their wrists, a look I find really lovely, as well as the sound. The wrist looks delicate and the bangles pile attractively. For about a year, I wrote bangles on one wrist, but they were inexpensive, lost their gold color after a few months, and sounded as cheap as they increasingly looked. The now silver metal flaked off, and I finally had to trash them. So the idea of these bracelets is something I have wanted but not really had. Now the keys make this sound.
Having thought of the wrists with the lovely bracelets, I thought of the first (and still the best) Bollywood movie I’d seen: Jodhaa Akbar. Jodhaa Akbar is set in the sixteenth century, and tells the story of a politically motivated marriage between a Muslim Emperor and his Rajput wife. Romance happens, of course, as you might expect when you cast Aishwarya Rai, who’s been voted one of the most beautiful women in the world, and Hrithik Roshan, who is no slouch either, but the film is also interesting for the politics, the costumes, the scenery, the sword fights — in short, it’s epic (see what I did there?).
There’s a scene in Jodhaa Akbar I particularly like. At this point, the marriage is unconsummated, and, as you might expect for dramatic tension purposes, unwanted to varying degrees by both parties. In this scene, the wife comes upon her husband unexpectedly in the courtyard.
There’s a lot of reasons I like this scene. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Yes, that is a very, very, very attractive man. Now that we’ve dealt with that (take your time, watch more than once if you must, no judgment), ask yourself how often is is that we see in film an extended view of the male body presented as powerful, sexually attractive, beautiful (note that arm cuff), and most importantly, under the gaze of a woman who is just realizing desire. And in the context of the movie, it’s not even an objectifying scene — since the entire movie is delayed gratification (no sex, no kissing, sorry folks) her appreciation for his physicality is just one of the many parts of what makes her fall for him. That’s heady stuff.
So let’s review: keys against my wrist chiming out into the night to bangles to Bollywood to female desire.