Written a long time back…but didnt feel upto posting it till now… 🙂
Its been a long break – and this time it was not a case of verbal constipation – Its just that it has been difficult to articulate things – writing has been difficult, somehow the words dont seem to come as easily as they once did, and if they do, they dry up suddenly..suddenly there are multiple backspace keys and a lot of empty spaces, and I dont mean just on the computer. Have you ever had these phases where so much has happened, so much is happening, to you, to people around you – where there are moments, memorable and otherwise, and yet you dont seem to be assimilating anything – They seem to be passing you, they seem to be telling you something but you just cant understand what it is. Its very simple and its right in your face and yet, yet whatever it is…it seems to be slipping away from your fingers. A small slice in time….fast paced moments, defining moments, loving moments..and yet that whole slice seems to be static.
I know I am not making sense, but I did warn you 🙂 Words dont come that easily these days. I have considered myself to be a good observer of life, and yet life as it passes by, with its innumerables follies, it doesnt seem trigger any response any more..at least with writing.
Life is a journey of self-discovery they say – and as each day passes I struggle to see myself, clawing aside the banality of existence, and clouds of self deception. I try to question myself, my being – not as much the heights I can achieve, but also the depths I can sink to. I try to smooth wrinkled beliefs held in tight-fisted but aged hands, to wade through platitudes and decaying romanticism and try to reach the bleary figure, that may or may not be me.
Each day has moments – pleasant, boring, sensible, even lovable. I try to sift through these to find the ones where I am the most comfortable with myself, even when I try to understand what means. I am not unhappy, neither am I lonely, but I do think I am alone. I find distance around me, voids which I am not sure will ever fill up. Some of this could of course be circumstantial- a strange country, a different work place, and a new life. It would definitely be unusual if I acted as if nothing was different. But there’s more – it suddenly feels that beliefs are perceptions and they need to change as the angle does; that convictions are rigid fingers that feed a self pandering ego, and that respect, as you were taught to respect it, is something which you cannot earn – it has to be there in everything around you.
Around 8 years back my roomie asked me if I had any regrets with my life, and I replied that I didnt. However, after a long pause, I did say that my only regret is that I hadnt done anything. She looked at me as if I has lost my head and asked me if I realised what a big regret that was. I had no words – my life at that point did resemble a newly mowed lawn – neat, pretty, and blooming…well, bland too. Almost a decade later I have the same conversation with another friend, and the answers this time were so different. A decade – so much happiness, and yet so much regret too – of kindnessess forgotten, of love thrown away, of malicious cruelty, of unwitting snobbishness, and the most unforgiveable of all – deliberate self deception. Oh there were always reasons; some days I even believe that those were valid reasons; on other days I take comfort with the reasoning that I woudnt be what I am without those reasons- and yet is it really important that I should be the Me that I am today?
As I watch TV, I seem to focusing on the little clock ticking away on the lower right corner rather than on whats happening on screen. Its a new movie thats playing, one I have never seen before, but all I can see is the remorselessness of time. The newness of everything around me just seems to bring the contrast of the old with it. I know that’s the way it is supposed to be. After all ‘old’ and ‘new’ exist as antonymns in the English dictionary, dont they? But how are you supposed to transpire the time between old and new?
Sometimes I think I am a creature of nostalgia – loving the anonymity, the safeness, and cosiness of the past. I have held on to old books, old clothes, old credit cards, old friends, old lovers..refusing to let go. The memories associated with all of them are not happy, some decidedly painful, and some horrendously painful. And yet I dont let go – maybe I feel that if I did let go, my life would be the plain green lawn again. I dont know. I hope I would know soon.
The strangest thing just happened now. As I write to you, I suddenly realised whats missing. No, its not a Eureka moment. I dont grab it with triumph, nor do I gape at it with discovery. I just hold it with sadness – with my fingers paused at the backspace key, hoping that maybe I can rewrite it. I cant.
I miss the sense of being ‘touched’.
Its ages since I felt that. Weird, isnt it? As I look back at the myriad motions time has taken me through, I recall the excitement of a new life, the comfort of friendship, the overwhelming love of parents, the kindness of strangers, but I dont recall being shaken by any of it. Why? I have not been a stranger to emotion – I mean, I am the same person who has touched raw wood being polished, and wept at the beauty of it. I am the same person who used to dance to tasteless Bollywood music on my own, and yet feel a million emotions as my arms arched into space. I am the same person who would rub oil into a child’s scalp and feel emotion tearing right into my toes. I am not talking abt the giddiness of romantic love or the the torrid vulnerability that comes with it. That came, that destroyed, that passed – into realms I will never know again. No, I am not talking about that. I am talking about the heart, the heart that has been relegated to the status of a organ, a biological one at that. I am talking about walking though a crowded, noisy street and feeling grateful, really grateful for being alive, and smiling as you stand like an idiot in the middle of it. I am talking about the ackwardness when I said good bye to a friend on the phone, when I paused because I didnt have anything to say because words could not do justice to that moment. I am talking about the soundless quiet that pervades your soul while you are walking around a temple in silent prayer, your feet pressing into the squishy mud. I am talking about the wind that blows into your face and your being when you are sitting on a train step and a fellow passenger joins you, and you laugh together at the way your dupatta is flying – at the smile he gives you before he moves aside for your friend to join you.
I dont feel that anymore. That’s what I mean by the remorselessness of time – not the first grey hair, not the ageing metabolism, not the signboard of thirty which appears in next year’s calendar. Not even the acceptance of the acceptability of a life without a companion. That’s what scares me – that time would take away the one thing without which I am just a shell, a shell with layers of self pandering beliefs – unkind, unimaginative, unreal.
Maybe its time to let go. Maybe its time that time learnt to be kind. Maybe its time that I learnt to trust it. Maybe..maybe words would be easier next time…