Outsourcing My Love
(Originally appeared on Eyeshot, March 14 2005)
Dearest, Most Wonderful Darling:
I write this letter with all the hope of Vishnu and all the essence of Brahma in pronouncing that today is the very best day in the history of the entire universe! That is how much I think today is the best day in forever and ever!
Ekam sat, virprarh buadha vadanti!
I know, I know! You are bored by such a tired cliché, but may I give you the pleasure of uttering once more its full translation?
That which is the sole truth, the wise (and by implication, the unwise) call by many names.
The truth. That is why I am writing to you today, my dearest, most wonderful darling. Not as your husband. Not as your lover. Not even as a friend. Not even with my own hand. In another’s hand. A stronger, more capable hand. Hence the odd, exotic postmark to be found on the Air-Mail envelope from India from whence this letter came. Also, the fancy handwriting that you may not quite recognize. And the aforementioned reference to Vishnu and Brahma. I write this love letter, via proxy, from a distance, with all of my heart and soul. Which is a far more difficult task. And expensive. But more meaningful! I outsource my love for you half-way across the world! This is how much I love you!
Do not cry with happiness, my lover! I have so much more that I would like to now tell you, via this Indian expert’s thoughts in my first-person voice, on this, my first love letter to you in over 15 years, as I play golf in Bermuda while on a company retreat, that is both unavoidable and much regrettable, but necessary.
Let me explain: I have taken the liberty of jotting down a few of the specifics that mean the most to me about our beautiful relationship, in general terms, and then forwarding it to this gentleman who now writes the very letter that you hold in your no-doubt trembling hands. (I think, but cannot fully remember, that the name of this letter writer is Suku. Regardless, he promised me, with all of his might, that he would perform this enviable task with both conviction and honor. I can only trust that he is a man of his word.)
But enough about me. Allow me now, through Suku, to write of you! Where to begin? Let me start with your lips, as red as a sunset rising over the Himalayas at dawn and more moist than the steam hissing off the great River Ganges! I do not exaggerate! But why stop there? You are, indeed, the most gorgeous woman on any continent, India’s or otherwise. For millions of kilometers around, there is no one to beat your beauty! And that goes for North America, where you reside.
One cannot deny, my darling, that we have had some wonderful times over the years, yes? Do you remember that weekend when we both traveled on vacation? Or when we mutually took a long drive and enjoyed each other’s company? What else? The walks. The love-making sessions. The dinners. The lunches. And other meals. I could go on and on, but I shan’t.
Let me, by way of Suku, digress. Can you recall the scene in the classic movie “Lakshminarasimha,” in which the main character puts down his plate of moong pani and then roars with joyous laughter, as the women around him fling rose petals and proceed to dance? Of course you can! That is how I feel now! I am laughing and laughing and laughing—and I can only assume that you are laughing as well! Or are you shaking with joy and delight? Do not feel the need to answer. But if you must, feel free (after paying the proper postage) to send return correspondence to the address listed on the back of the Air-Mail envelope. Please allow between four to six weeks for a response, six to eight if you wish it to be detailed.
And yet, my darling, this love of which Suku now writes through my first-person voice is not all about Indian musk roses or laughing with joy at those who dance the bharatanatyam around you. It is also about other things, far more important things! May I once again borrow one of our favorite sayings?
Avidyam antare vartamanah svayam dhirah panditam manyamanah jagghanya manah pariyanti mudha andhenaiva niyamana yatha ‘ndhah.
Okay, okay! You have heard me utter this pearl one million times, plus one! And it is no mystery, as you know, that this pearl is translated as follows:
Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.
Blind. How could I, as your lover, have waited so very long to hire another man on another continent to write you the love letter that you have so often tenderly requested? Laziness, too much time spent at work, boredom—all these are mere excuses! I was wrong! And foolish! Which is why I am praying that this missive will remedy any lack of attention that I might have exhibited over the years for a woman with eyes the color of the black marble at Humayun’s Tomb and with hair the shade of the golden sand on the Marari Beach that is located in the south-west Kerala town of Alleppey!
In short, my darling, I love you, by proxy, more than life itself; a love that I could never, ever!, come close to capturing on paper—even by way of another man’s most honorable hands and thoughts.
With warmest affection,