The full moon is shining in the sky. It’s full-moon day. Seeing the beauty of the moon, a tempest rises in the ocean beneath. The ocean, in an effort to reach the moon, sends the roaring waves one after another. But alas, can the waves reach the moon, howsoever big they may be! Can the moon ever come down to the earth, whatever is the intensity of the wish! Seeing the plight of the ocean and the moon, a small twinkling star says to itself. Alas! I am but a little star.
What can I do for the ocean and the moon? I shall only pray God--let the space in between the ocean and the moons unite them! --So, the waves continue to lash at the vacant space with the hope of reaching the moon. However, the reality is, the cosmos in which the moon and the ocean co-exist, is an integrated whole. So, what do the concepts like separation and distance mean? The ocean and the moon stand united as considered from a higher perspective. Their love stands fructified. You are the creator of your destiny related to your love-life, certainly not the victim. Love is to be lived and experienced in its trials, tribulations, duty and beauty and it is an import part of your self-discovery. Nevertheless, the ocean continues with its efforts to reach the moon.
I have chosen the stories, “Newly Wed,” and “Lizard” for the purpose of this essay.
The writings of Banana touch your heart and appeal to your emotions. Love is the subject that has enchanted and engulfed humanity since time immemorial. The mind-level problems related to love, either take you to the transcendental level, or to an emotional intrigue. For the desperate situation of the heart, one seeks desperate remedies. In the confused state of mind, one surrenders to magic-for example, the enigmatic healer Lizard.
The sacred texts proclaim every action (good or bad) has a reaction and the intensity of the reaction is in proportion to the intensity of the action! Every thought, good or evil, is an action. Over this, there is no dispute between the spiritualists and the scientists. One of the rare agreements between the two contending forces; the two opposing forces! The forces that do not normally see eye to eye with each other!
Love is not a homogenous force. The psychic circuit of each lover is different and special. The skill of the writer in the story Lizard is how the emotional complexities are tackled. Through the confusion, she strikes a reassuring clarity. Life hurts but her characters have the guts to accept that hurt with courage. In such situations they never tremble or tumble. They are able to find a solution through the medium of love coupled with spiritual solace.
Lizard: This is a story from a male perspective. He calls his beloved a Lizard, for she has a small tattoo on her inner thigh. That the man has seen the tattoo in that part, speaks about the obvious relationship. The man is fascinated by the superlative talent the Lizard possesses.
Some quotes to highlight her latent qualities and ingenuity:
“I was reminded of her separateness, a being with different organs, bundled in a different sheath of skin, who has dreams at night that are nothing like my own.”—the man explains how he sees the Lizard.
“Her profile stood out in sharp relief against the white wall. She seemed like a creature of a different species, one who lives quietly in the dark”—this is his observation about the Lizard.
“Her every gesture, every move, brought life to me, a man who had been dormant for so long”.-the man shares his feelings how the Lizard has affected him.
These are clearly the signs of man who is in deep love. Oh! Man-love once, before seeking liberation through spirituality! You are the part of the never ending long story through the ages-it is between him and her!
The central character of the story is a doctor, who works with children who are emotionally disturbed. He loves a young woman in whose reptile eyes ``I see my own lonely face, peering down, looking for something to love and cherish. ''As a child she had a bitter experience of witnessing a brutal attack. Rightly she becomes an acupuncture practitioner now dedicated to healing those in acute pain. But she can never forget her past. Her love tells her a similar experience, which reduces her mental anguish. He offers her the psychological support; otherwise she is a tough woman.
Newlywed: This story has a strange history. It was serialized on posters on the railways around Japan. It makes the issue interesting. It is about a strange woman that a newly married man meets in the train. This is also a story written from a male perspective. The man’s encounter on a train with a stranger who reveals to him a universal life force that encompasses even ``the slight feeling of alienation he experiences in his marriage ``
That young man is reluctantly returning home on the subway to his new and frightening role as husband! Along the way, he meets a mysterious stranger who shows him that the role he has chosen is a positive one. "The prose is as clean and smooth as a lacquered teacup," Geraldine Sherman claimed in the Toronto Globe and Mail, speaking about the quality of writing of Banana.
That drunken man, discontented, on his way home sits fixed to his subway seat. He doesn’t wish to return to his silly and troublesome wife. He's joined by a familiar Japanese character, The Trickster, an old man who transforms himself into a beautiful, wise woman "smelling like the scent of a place, before I was born, where all the primal emotions, love and hate, blended in the air." This mysterious fellow-traveler understands the narrator's innermost thoughts and gives him the courage to carry out his duties.
The undercurrent of both the above stories is love. “They (the scientists) may cross the moon, beat the stars, but probe they must the mystery of my eve’s gaze.” “Marriage is like a fort. Those who are within, wish to come out. (Newly Wed) Those who are out, wish to get in.” (Lizard) In both the stories, the human emotions are tackled at heir best.
Love woks through different layers of an individual’s personality. Its intensity changes with the time and circumstances. Banana has ably pictured this dominant human emotion, appropriate to the situation. ‘Loving’ situations are gift of the God to the one who is experiencing them. Let it be a beautiful experience- Banana propounds this love-philosophy in her unique style. She is a capable narrator many dimensions of love.