Comparison of common words and their possible alternate usage can bring us to very thoughtful mental spaces. These places are usually found by a mind slipping slowly into the realms of sleep, giving it a rush of thoughts in a single go to tire the muscle that shall be drifting for hours through a dream. My friend Praveen and I were brought to the same place while very much awake through a conversation inducing leisurely stroll. The thorny walls of this Mother Dairy, a standard design, towered behind us as we looked at summer loiter into the empty park from all the gates with winds blowing a trumpet of rustling leaves.
The words in question here were – leher (or lahar) and dhaara. Both the words are so similar and commonly used yet very different. Leher is used in context of the waves of the sea while dhaara refers to a current of a river or a stream. Both refer to the movement of water but one is turbulent while the other has an order even when strong. We saw the faces of parenthood in them, not necessarily universal but a socially defined image of the two genders – the masculine force and clumsiness standing with the feminine calm and persistence. The idea seemed beautiful.
“Look at the leher – unstoppable, raw, violent, unpredictable – the firm hand and presence of a father. He will smash you against the rocks and test you so well before you step against him again for he will have his way. Then comes the dhaara, the motherly tenderness which carries you away regardless of who you are or what you are like, fighting against her is easy but she never changes. She is strong nonetheless and equally destructive when challenged. Stubborn in her thoughts the maternal love will welcome you and take you to the same place every single time.”