Some time ago I came across a very insightful analogy on relationships in a monologue while watching a Hindi daily soap. The protagonist suggested that relationships are not like the mirror – which when broken cannot be mended and had to be replaced – but are like wet clay instead. If cracks appear on clay, they are easily fixable, just how amends can be made in relationships with love, care and patience. Instantly, I fell in love with this particular way of thinking.
Today, on my way out of the house, my eyes glanced over an art piece that has long been hanging on the wall but I hadn’t ever noticed carefully. This combination of mirrors and clay is a typical piece of traditional artwork from the Kutch region in Gujarat, India. The colours that have been used in the making of this handicraft are all natural and last a lifetime without fading. Here we have an analogy on clay and mirrors and then an art piece that incorporates the two together into one. “Interesting,” I thought to myself. The rectangular mirror placed at the centre of the piece had a carved wooden window to cover it if needed. If the analogy wasn’t interesting enough, this surely was.
Mirrors have a long history of myths and superstitions associated with them. Some of the most common ones suggest that they reflect a person’s soul, show only the truth. In ancient times, mirrors were simply a luxurious item that only the rich could afford and others used to see their reflections in water bodies or on shiny metal objects. But today, we live in a world of mirrors. While mirrors might not define a relationship between two people, they surely have an impact on the relationship that one has with the self. Today, I wake up and walk into my bathroom and see myself in the mirror. My ‘morning face’ is the first version that I see of myself. Then, I shower and see a ‘different’ face and after that, when I get ready, put on some makeup, arrange my hair neatly, I see another version. I constantly keep seeking the mirror’s approval. In the afternoon, when I’m a little worn out, I see myself in the mirror and get scared sometimes, I fear what it shows me, a ‘tired me’.
We are constantly covering our true selves, our real feelings and emotions, with a painted image. Just like the wooden window to the mirror, our photo reflections are shielding our sense of self that lingers in our hearts but doesn’t appear on our skin. The mirror’s shiny and polished surface is echoing across all the cities today, but it is merely an emptiness. If left alone, it would be creaking somewhere desolately all by itself. Yet, we listen to it. We consider its opinion important.