There is nothing as powerful or as alluring as the Forbidden Fruit.
That Adam and Eve can have everything, everything from the blue waters, enormous mountains, and peace and harmony between man and beast. They can have everything but the one fruit. It was near, and yet so far. It was like the carrot that was dangling in front of the horse. Similarly, it was there in front of them, but they couldn’t pluck and bite into the apple. They couldn’t dip its crunchy slices in peanut butter.
The Forbidden Fruit is not a biblical concept. It is in our every day.
Take your whole life. Is there something you want, but can’t? Is there a person you want to love, but can’t? Is there a place you want to go, but can’t? Is there a shoe you have to buy, but can’t? Do you want to be pregnant, but can’t? Is there somewhere you rather be, but possibly can’t be there?
All these things, logically, can be done. All these things are not out of reach. They are surrounding us. They are everywhere, especially and most dominantly, in our heads. The Forbidden, does the exact opposite of what it should do. It creates more gravitas. It pulls people into this vortex, making people obsessed and paranoid about the one thing they can’t have.
You know he is engaged to be married. You know she sees you as a friend and nothing more. You know you have the money to go to Kenya, but you need to save up. You know you want a baby in your arms, but biologically incapable to do so. You know he is interested in you, but you are interested in someone else. The Forbidden Fruit.
There is a prayer from the Bible which uses a very specific word. “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. “Trespass” comes with a connotation of an intrusion of space. Only till here and no further. The exit is this way, not through here. There is all this other land that you can explore, except this area.
The seed of curiosity is set. Why can’t we go inside? What lies within? What will happen if we do?
Today, that word has been toned down to “Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”. Not quite the same thing, but they have managed to put down the essence of the Forbidden Fruit. Whoever consumes it, pain is inevitable. But redemption is possible.
What is about knowledge that brings suffering? Knowledge is power for sure, but sometimes the weight of the power is too much. Eve spots the apple every day. And eventually one day, the snake charms her into eating the fruit. She takes it to Adam and both of them take a bite. And the world has never been the same.
We know what we have to do. We know what is right and wrong if there is such a binary. We know what we are supposed to do than what we are doing now.
The Midas Touch is a reminder of the forbidden. It is ancient folklore of the wealthy man called Midas, who was so greedy that he was cursed. Whatever he touched, turned to gold. Not bad at all. He was mighty thrilled and excited that he started touching everything around him. And like the curse predicted, everything turned to gold. Flowers, tiles, the house, plates, glass, clothes. This pure elation very quickly turned sour when his chefs brought him rice and chicken. Famished by his excitement, he settles down takes a piece of chicken and bites into a rock. It has turned to gold. He takes a rice grain and it turns to gold. He picks up water and that too solidifies.
How many of us have this touch?
That we eat the apple (ironic, the most healthy fruit) and fall. That we eat the burger and inevitably put on weight. That we can’t help ourselves to steal more kisses from a married woman. That we have sex with a best friend’s boyfriend, against our better judgment. That we use a plastic toothbrush and say “Ban Plastics”. That we love a person who can’t love us back the same way.
A man once told me, “I used to live near the beach and never did I go. I moved away and I come to the beach every weekend”. My friends buy fancy notebooks and never use them. They don’t want to ruin it. And there are always people we love, from a distance. The distance makes the forbidden. The distance puts the rules down. And when it is near, you will ruin it with your Midas touch.
In the same spectrum, we love what we can’t have. And we love it even more because we can’t have it.
Sex is punctuated with an aggressive tone when you know the other is taken. The kiss is tastier because she is forbidden. The chocolate ice cream is far better because it is so.
All these stories were told to keep so-called vices such as gluttony, greed, and selfishness in check. That there is a Lakshmana-Reka for everyone. It is safe here, not over there. It is good here.
But imagine without the forbidden object, no story will spin its tale.
Hanuman will never torch the city of Lanka. The entirety of Ramayana rested on Sita’s shoulders. Without the warring families, Romeo and Juliet would cease to exist. Cinderella was forbidden to go to the ball.
It is in this very transcendence that we reach out of the lines and boundaries kept on us. That there is something that is always on the other side of the room, which you cannot have. And yet you can. And you have.
There is a certain sense of power the object yields and gives us in return.
You have tasted the Forbidden Fruit. You can never go back.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it”.
One of my all-time favorite shows responds to this:
“Yes, losing your heart’s desire is tragic. But gaining your heart’s desire? That’s all you can hope for. This year I wished for love… to immerse myself in someone else and to wake a heart long afraid to feel. My wish was granted. And if having that is tragic, then give me tragedy. Because I wouldn’t give it back for the world”
Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons