I saw a gleaming Porsche in my colony yesterday. I eyed the beauty with a single thought, ‘How does it’s owner manage to sleep peacefully? Every night this dream is parked outside unguarded; must be possessive agony till he/she sees it safe and sound next morning.’
I found out the next day…Today. The Porsche was fine. My car had been banged into by an unknown reckless driver.
I received the gloomy details courtesy my maid. Time: 9.30 am. Damage: Emblem ripped off, Bumper hanging out. Witness: None. (Yes, on a crowded, buzzing with life, weekday morning. I can totally see why Nobody Killed Jessica can happen in our country). Assailant: Absconding.
I heard in silence. My heart held anything but silence.
2 voices babbled within me. The Intellectual one; saying ‘Don’t react. It is a mere material object; not worthy of emotional attachment. The mind always blows out of proportion a minor problem. Intellectualize the problem.’
The Emotional voice sobbed, “It is not a mere material object. She is My car. My baby!’
Intellectual said, ‘Possession is a Momentary Joy; and Permanent Agony at the thought of losing it.’ When I brought her home 2 years, the dread started: regarding the First Scratch.
My Liva is an electric blue. The tiniest scratch would stand out like a jagged scar. Why hadn’t I listened to my brother’s sensible suggestion of White or Silver? He then offered me another sensible suggestion, “Make the first scratch yourself. It will hurt less.’ I had shuddered at the mere hint.
Back to today. As I rode down the elevator, I steeled myself for the inevitable. Practical one reminded me gently to carry the home key(or you are stuck outdoors), turn off the geyser (nobody wants two accidents to crash into their lives). Intellectual one prodded me- ‘Visualize the damage and make it as worse as you can. Reality will seem much bearable in comparison. ‘
Emotional one screwed shut its eyes before they saw. Practical one glanced to see if the car was jutting out; badly parked? It wasn’t. I was not guilty. Then why? Out of all the cars parked in a row…unaffected. Why my car? Why Mine?
Intellectual one reasoned , ‘It could have been worse.
1.You could have been inside when the other car banged into it.
2.You could have been the cause of your car accident.’
Maybe. It could have been worse. Perhaps the blow we receive is a pre-softened version of the one meant for us.
Emotional one stooped over the car, with trembling lips. ‘No, it was not mere metal and paint. She was my darling. Hurt, bruised, ripped. I wanted to scoop her up in my arms and carry her home. She was my private Oasis from the humanity overflowing outside it, my Chariot. Mine.’
Wynand says in Fountainhead, ‘Whenever anything becomes Mine; it acquires a special quality, a halo around it.’ I identified completely with him.
The Practical one assessed the damage in cool detachment. It checked the Insurance date. Checked the PUC. Mechanically reached for the service station and dialed an appointment.
Tomorrow, the mechanic, the truly emotionally-detached will decide whether my Baby gets hospitalized or waltzes home with a mere band-aid.
So, is ‘Emotional detachment’ a farce?
If a Philosophy is not practicable, can it still exist?
What does your car mean to you- Possession, Object or Beloved?