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The Clay Pot & I

Sohni & Mahiwal

Tuesday
,
16
February
2016
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The Clay Pot & I

Sohni & Mahiwal

Tuesday
,
16
February
2016
No items found.
⟵ Back to articles

The Clay Pot & I

Sohni & Mahiwal

Tuesday
,
16
February
2016
No items found.

There is no greater poverty than selling one’s heart for respectability, wealth, caste, or fame.

I’m super-excited,
It’s my first pottery-making class.
I just love the studio—
Large windows, the sun pouring in,
I can hardly wait to begin!

The formless clay feels good in my hands.
I ply and knead it. I feel its warmth and I relax.

Onto the wheel the clay goes.
The wheel spins. My hands guide it.
I moisten the drying clay
and continue to mold and shape.
A pot emerges. With ridges and a sturdy base.

I marvel at it and before I know, words spill out:
“Will you betray me like Sohni was betrayed?”

The Pot replies: “I did not betray her.
Yet centuries have elapsed; the stigma remains.
When is redemption? Is there redemption?”

“What happened that night?” I ask with great caution.

“It is a long story. Few have the patience to truly listen.”

“I’m listening,” I whisper.

Silence descends.

I wait.

He speaks: “Gouged from my home, I landed at the potter’s doorstep. He took an iron rod and smashed me into bits. Then he sieved me, added water, and turned me into something I was not. After he knifed me, he threw me onto a cold slab of stone, and spun me around. And then left me to burn in the hot sun. From here, I was grabbed by Sohni’s enraged sister-in-law, who replaced me—the unbaked clay pot with a baked one that lay hidden behind the bushes.

“The dice was cast. I remember everything so clearly, like it just happened a minute ago. It was thundery night. Sohni came for me. I tried to tell her that I am was not the pot that she took every night to meet Mahiwal. I warned her, that I was unbaked and useless. And that I would disintegrate and drown her.

“But she was beyond listening. I can still hear her voice:
‘Scare me not with death,
Scare me not.
Don’t you know,
my life is in his hands,
my breath is with him;
I only see him.
There is no other, but him.
The storm outside is a shadow
of the storm within me.
Mahiwal, O Mahiwal,
I am waiting at the river-bank.
Where are you?
Where are you?
My eyes long for your sight.
Where are you?
O! Clay Pot,
take me across.
I must reach him.
I must.
His love is my pilgrimage,
Let me not sin,
Help me complete my pilgrimage.
Love rages within
I long for union.
Take me across—
Please take me across.’

“She then plunged into the raging waters of the Chenab.
I crumbled and she …
And she lives on…

“Her love was pure. I felt unclean touching her. Her love was unique; so were her ways. Through her I learned that the heat of love is more intense than the heat of fire. Fire burns wood, but love burns hearts. Fire is extinguished by water; but there is no cure for love. Where love lives, everything leaves.”

My eyes mist.

My heart melts.

From the corner of my eye,
I see long red flames.
I shudder.
How can I put him in the burning kiln?
And yet, if I don’t, I will lose him.

I whisper, “Will you walk into the fire, for me?”

With bated breath, I wait for his answer.

“Yes! Because, you see me. But know that,
my fate is not mine to choose. It lies in your hands.”

Gently, I lead him to the kiln and leave.
It’s too painful to watch.

A silent week ensues.

I ache and hurt thinking about him. I feel scattered. Rifts deep within me surface. What is existenceif it exists? What is annihilation? This momentary bond seems incomplete. Agonizing emptiness engulfs me.

I question:
My journey; my destination.
My dreams; my thoughts.
My joys; my regrets.
Endless questions—No answers.

I return to the studio.
From a distance, I see him.
He’s radiating or are my eyes playing tricks?
I stand before him. “You’re beautiful.”

“I’m flawed. Don’t you see my imperfections? Your world will belittle you.”

“You’re flawed and I am a fraud… It is a perfect match.
Let the world say what it will. I want to be with you.”

Revised:

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Written By

Creative Director

Inni Kaur is Creative Director at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). She has served SikhRI in several capacities since 2010, including Chair of the Board, and most recently as CEO. 

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