Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Three Sisters

He met the three sisters. They judged him frostily as he was welcomed to their home, which was small, incommodious and spartan. He surveyed the interior, and suddenly lighted on the windows, the traceries and elaborate craftsmanship of which he thought were truly dazzling. “Don’t look at me,” shrieked one of the sisters, abruptly interrupting his enjoyment. Astounded, he shifted focus towards the speaker, who lowered her head the moment she caught his quizzical gaze. The second sister, sitting beside the first and seemingly the most genial of the three, explained to him: “My sister disliked people who were too inquisitive.”

The third sister was always silent, but always attentive to their conversation, since a cryptic smile would be playing about her lips on cue the amusing moments of the otherwise dull, interminable talk. He gathered that the three sisters had lived together, in this house, all their lives. They had never stepped out of the house. Their knowledge of the world without was acquired chiefly through the vision they saw through the windows, (“through our ‘eyes’,” the genial one quickly corrected) which presented a view perennially monotonous. Their neighbours were a pair of sisters. They were, as well, ignorant of all the happenings outside their poky household, preferring to fritter away their lives staring at each other’s face, with hardly a word pass by. The intolerable vapidity of their existence was finally jeopardised, one day, when one of the sisters decided she could suffer no longer another’s vigilant presence. So she flounced out, in quest of her novel adventure. From their windows (“no, ‘eyes,’” the genial one apologised for her repeated mistake) they couldn’t tell what happened afterward to the deserted sister; she somehow figured out a way to elude their nosy observation. “Frightening, frightful silence,” the sister mumbled as an afterthought; her head remained adamantly bowed.

He wondered, have any of you ever itched by the curiosity to see the rest of the world? The silent one smiled, looking boldly into his eyes, amused. “We were like the rocks in a cave. We were granted but only a narrow view of the world outside. But visitors like you have stumbled into the cave and unknowingly left indelible marks all over the rocks. You blatantly disturbed the serenity of our existence, but we were thankful, for you enlightened us a piece of your world, your knowledge. The residues of your untoward visits etch onto the rocks a beautiful fresco. Successive visitors scratched their heads, trying to decipher the signs and symbols that they proclaimed were embedded in this mysterious work of art. But little did they know that there is nothing mysterious about it, nor do we ever profess to be indecipherable. Knowledge is foolishly boisterous, wisdom perpetuates in its deafening murmur.”

The genial sister rounded off. “Our eyes are the windows. We see the world in limited compass, in single dimension, but we are contented. The worldly always consider themselves so fortunate, for they are the blessed ones freely taking in whatever the Father can give. Very soon greediness sullies their pristine nature, making them ungrateful, constantly lolling out their tongues as they are thirsting for more. Too much knowledge can be detrimental; it excites turmoil and unease. Such a world we will close our door against it, but witness it through our eyes we shall. This is our only entertainment.”

He asked, but what about their neighbour who left her sister?

The sister finally raised her head, and answered him solemnly: “She is the selfish one, and thank goodness her sister is too unworldly to realise that it will be a permanent flight.”

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