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Allegory of the Body

Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. In solitude, we are speechless.

“Picture a beauty, shoulders rich and fine,
Letting her long hair trail into her wine.
Talons of love, the poison tooth of sin
Slip and are dulled against her granite skin.
She laughs at Death and flouts Debauchery;
Those fiends who in their heavy pleasantries
Gouge and destroy, still keep a strange regard
For majesty – her body strong and hard.”

Baudelaire (Allegory, Flowers of Evil)

I opened my eyes, still in a dream. A leafless tree, a sombre flower.

I opened my eyes, not in a dream, in my bed, clinging on to the pillow as tightly as to have almost ripped it apart. The window is open, it’s dawn. There is a tree outside – leafless. There is a flower on the ground – sombre. Now I have to go back to the dream. Close my eyes, recall a dream, revisit it, redream it, investigate it.

I opened my eyes; in a dream. A headless dorsum, a set of arms being thrown around in ecstasy. The lone image of solitude itself.

Speech petrified, sight sored, ears numb, senses dissolved, it is in some oblivion that I reside.

Home – the structure – the ‘shelter’ as we tend to consider it, is one our many layered addresses. The belief over one’s identity and existence is the innermost of those layers. In case of the outermost, we have not yet been able to map out our situatedness in the cosmic arena. The mind – the body – the home, and so it goes on. In contained existence, advancement of time causes spaces to become irrelevant. In confinement, being ‘human’ is a struggle in itself for community specific organisms such as us. Spiders and Lizards share spaces within our home. In dire times such as now – amidst the pandemic – the door is locked, the gateway to ‘outside’ is closed. This abrupt imposition on human condition causes a strong implosion of the ‘self’. It is by some subconscious centripetal action that the question of existence becomes an inward contemplation.

I exploit and exhaust myself in this world. I can rest and undress in my house. But I am naked only in ‘me’. Hence, I exist under the skin.

The articulation of physical movements including autonomous actions become results of conscious scrutiny and inspection. With no existential change in space, physical senses turn numb, get saturated with the environment due to its prolonged presence in unchanging milieu. Permutations and combinations become resources of the mind. The gaze turns from within – into within. My being is in frenzy. In one of my dreams I was saline, sodium, semen and sober – liquid and formless.

Desires of the body are more consciously perceivable, hence distancing me from them at the same time. Emotion being distanced by reason; the flow of the subconscious is comprehendible. Consciousness prevails over it. No dreams anymore, but lucid dreams. They are anarchic, chaotic and in knowing them I willingly submit to turmoil. Knowledge of the self has caused epistemic violence within. I am the cause; I am the effect; and therefore, I am.

The mind is body and body mind. Boundaries dissolve, hysteria takes over. But the process is smooth and sublime. Material desires have evaporated. The woman’s touch dissolves into mere presence of sexual identity. Enchantment of solitude is a sublimity that approaches with stealth and grasps a strong grip on the self and I have been charmed.

The body, which has now become one with the mind attempts the fulfilment of symmetry. Desires do not attempt to find fulfilment in ‘outside’ objects but rather tries to fulfil them in finding the desired object’s personification within the self. Therefore it becomes more about connecting with the ‘outside’, by finding elements to facilitate it. I am the woman I desire. I am the suffocating flower in the garden, and so on. The complementary pieces of symmetrical existence lie within the self itself. Melancholia fades away, solitude becomes virtue.

In perceiving the selfness of the self, I am more connected to the world. It is the cosmos within which connects us to the cosmos outside. Man exists, as an organic presence. We are in the air, breathing each other in. Formless, liquid. We are one with the world. The world is my home.

I am a body, I am a mind, I am nature, I am human. I have a cosmic address. Hence, I am.

Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Sharing spaces – at home with spiderwebs
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Just a curtain on the wall.
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Desire within – I desire, I am the desired.
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Metamorphosis (of me and the world)
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Pleasure, on the bed.
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Hysteric ecstasy,
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Invisible walls, lost heads
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Plasticity and Skin.
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. Breathlessness – shared
Kolkata, India – ‎June ‎2020. The Flowers of Evil
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Saumyakanti Bhattacharya

Saumyakanti Bhattacharya (b. 1999), is completing his final year of undergraduation in English Literature at Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, Belurmath (Calcutta University). He has been… More »

One Comment

  1. In conclusion, the Allegory of the Body is a masterful piece of literature that challenges our preconceived notions about the physical body and its significance. Through its allegorical narrative, it invites readers to reflect on their own experiences and encourages a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between mind, body, and spirit. With its profound insights and captivating prose, this work has the power to inspire and transform the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

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