I must have been 20 when i got a headache for the first time in my life. The headache is a typically adult symptom, and there’s a remedy for it which exists only in India, sir dabaana.
I must have been 20 when a woman went to work on my head with nothing else but her fingers and some parachute coconut oil. Made me sit on the floor and made me rest my head on the chair, sat on the chair legs spread apart and told me to totally relax, close my eyes and go limp.
Her fingers worked in strange manners, her palms at times using my scalp as a percussion instrument, her fingers would get intertwined in one another, at other times, they would tussle my hair and at other moments, they would massage my neck and my eyebrows and the space of the eyeball below the eyebrows where all headaches live and then my ears, making them all oily, excruciatingly painful, and then she would drum, press, roll, massage, cuddle and do all strange things to the head. All the thoughts left my head for those 20 minutes, i remember that the headache became all the more intense, my head felt light like it was nothing but a device to store headaches but i was smiling as if i wasn’t painful but joyous. Go sleep for a while now and you’ll wake up alright she said.
I started looking forward to headaches from that day. I became a junkie for her hands and oil.
My thoughtful wife who has to see something done only once to master it, soon learnt the art from her of getting my complete and thorough attention while rendering me essentially helpless when her hands met my head. But the first time always remains the first time, and at times i hope her partner doesn’t get a single headache in his entire life.
Years later, i came across another woman with magical hands which could literally enter my brain at will , twist the grey matter and pull out the headache and the blues again and again at will and the joy and the will to be anything at all, leaving me with nothing at times, and at times with a coherent view of the world that you see as a child when everything is nameless, when you do not know that the big brown thing with something green on top is called a tree and that it and the blue thing poking between the green is separate from it and not a single being of which i am a part too, breathing it in and out, not free of only memory but also free of knowledge, also free of breaking things into discrete parts, also free of myself.
Her hands have never touched my head or even the tip of my hair and they never will they don’t need to all she needs is a pen.
Did i just trade one addiction for another, this one beyond even the ? Can i let go of the addiction but keep the feeling for myself so that i never ever feel lonely again?