Friday, September 8, 2017

An incoherent post about grief

It is a lonely autumn afternoon that I’m spending in my room in London. This means it is typically cloudy outside with hardly any ray of sunshine at the moment. I was in a different place three days ago. I was in Delhi – with its people, chaos, noise, and sunshine. Lots of sunshine.

I recently lost my grandmother. Just wondering, can I call it a loss if the other person is in a better and happier place now? She was suffering since a long time. Physical ailment in old age often breaks human spirit, and I cannot say for sure if it hadn’t broken hers. But she had faith. And it is through her that I touched the tip of this iceberg termed Faith. Her faith wasn’t particularly specific to Nature or God or people- it was just in her own ‘self’ and the continuity of ‘life’ as a concept. She spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking what – I do not know.

My Nani had lost her son several years ago. I can’t say I understood her grief. I have never had a child, I do not know what it is like to lose a child who you’ve nurtured him from a tender acorn to a sturdy oak. Love is felt intensely, I believe. But what does grief feel like? It is like a prolonged state of nausea for the one who is grieving. The more you think about it as a permanent loss, the more you will feel miserable. Further, grief and remembrance may or may not overlap. For people like me, it was hard to distinguish. The closer you are to a person, the harder it is to distinguish between the two, I guess.

Chants and prayers soothed her but did not particularly elevate her spirit. Our culture does not teach a child the importance for living for himself/ herself. Living as such is implies a heightened sense of individuality and borderline selfishness. Simultaneously, the society also condemns taking your own life. We must teach our children the importance of being social – for man is a social animal. But it must also guide them to carry on when the people who you love are not around anymore. They grow up to be you and me.

Life in itself is meaningless. It’s us who assign meaning to it. For instance, a man I knew once threw a part of his dead son’s ashes in a garden, and then when there were flowers and foliage growing on the spot, he found comfort in the belief that it was his son living in another form. He believed that life is life, no matter what form it continues to live on in. What is this if not faith? Faith can be a strong purpose to live. Using it might lead us to give meaning to our lives.

If you are a Giver in love, you’ll find it easier to find love around you. Grief can only be overcome by giving love. Find someone who needs your care. Think of them as someone who deserves your love. Love shouldn’t have to cost too much. Who knows in what form we might find our loved ones who we’ve lost? Grief can never be a purpose of life. It will only distract us diametrically from finding the real purpose, the real meaning of our life. And that purpose need not be singular. We can have a different goal each day, as long as it takes you forward in life :) 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Unpacking Life Stories: Late night musing

The few hours after midnight and before dawn are either filled with complete mental peace or of total sentimental breakdown. There is no in-between. The emotional bravado of the day starts to peel off and a more real self is revealed. For these few hours you either fall in love with yourself or discover profound self-loathing. But despite its dangerous nature, late night remains my favourite time in a 24-hour long day. You can get high even without the wonderful smoky Talisker whiskey that I’m fantasising about right now. Sigh.

12 am to 6 am is when I’m on my Cinderella time. Everything looks the way I want it to. I become a storyteller, imagining myself as a princess from a classic narrative of either a conjugal romance or lamenting a personal loss. I try not to lie to myself between 12 to 6. I don’t tell myself that I’m in a perfect relationship, I don’t hide the fact that my past is still stuck to me like hot wax gone cold on my skin. It is during this time that I openly admit to myself about the times when I hurt people. People who deeply cared about me. And sometimes they hurt me. I get infuriated at myself, and then eventually I forgive because I know the next morning is going to be a struggle. And I better be on my side, you know.

They say that all the stories ever told in the world originate from only seven universal plots. Seven classic narrative plots. On some nights I wonder which one is mine. Or maybe, just like Christopher Booker, we will take another 34 years to come up with ‘basic plots’ for the story of lives in our generation. Initially I remember sniggering when I found out that he managed to put every story ever told in such simple plot-frames. How Chris, just how? But Wise Man Chris is wiser than I gave him credit for. Maybe if we try to break all the complexes in our lives and categorise them into separate plots, the umbrella narrative would become easier to understand. That might help us unpack our emotional mess and deal with in a story-format with characters and causal-links. It might not look like it at first, but I think this will reduce the amount of unnecessary directionless thinking that we often resort to.

So yes, 12 to 6 will now be used more wisely and fruitfully. For truly forgiving and forgetting. And for having whiskey, of course.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life is short. Nah, scratch that.

One of the overwhelming moments of joy in my life has been when I’ve wanted for somebody to magically appear and that person telepathically has obliged my wishful thinking. I was almost moved to tears one time- in a good way, of course! People you love have this ability to sense your feelings and someone or the other of the lot just shows up with a smile on his/ her face,leaving you amazed and often grateful.

My favourite people have found me when I was in pain. They have found me feeling lost in a crowd which was celebrating my own achievements. They have loved me, fought with me, annoyed me, made me want to tear my hair apart, but they have never left me alone. Shunning the scientific purpose of our ‘stint of life’ on this planet, I feel a sense of responsibility towards humanity in general. What if we got the purpose of our lives totally wrong? What if we were sent to Earth to make people happy, and not disappoint them? No, I retract from that statement. This does not sound convincing. Especially not in the world we are currently living in.

Love is sacred. Something we are blessed with. Something that finds a place inside most of us and stays. Sentiments and emotions are tremendously precious to me. I don’t know any other way to be. If I find a place in someone’s heart, I feel accomplished. I wear it like a badge of honour. I am not indifferent to people’s opinion of me. I am not bogged down by how they feel about me but it does matter a great deal. I believe in ‘Right and Wrong’. I believe in what is ‘Right or Wrong for Me’. And then, there is a Right and a Wrong for Me at ‘that particular instant of time’. All three sometimes have completely different answers. I have fallen in love with places, non-living tangible memories and some incalculably crazy people. But there are zero regrets. Because I cannot imagine unconditional love with regrets burdening me down.

Life is short. Nah, scratch that.

Life is too short. Love like there’s no tomorrow.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Guess who.

I think I am dying. In fact, I know I’m dying. I have never been anybody’s destination, only the most essential accessory of their journey. My appropriation has only been done by poets across the planet. Those, for who I am of high value, have made me a part of their religion. I have existed alongside jealousy, anger and sorrow. You will find me at the cusp of love and fear.

-  Hope

Friday, August 15, 2014

The hopelessness of logical dreams

I don’t fly up high in my dreams anymore. I don’t get to have coffee with Bollywood stars; no playing with snakes. Not even making love to others’ boyfriends! Since a few nights my dreams have started becoming logical. They have started making sense, linking one scenario to another, sliding smoothly from one frame to another. This is just sad. My visions include convincing my parents for something that I stand for, receiving appreciation for some crap that wasn't even worth it, handling rejection for the work I actually gave my best to and getting my feeling crushed by someone I feel deeply for. What is this? Why am I seeing reality in my dreams? Why is life stalking me when I close my eyes, ready to be transported to another world of colours, beauty, humour and horror?

This is downright unfair. I have started to dream increasingly infrequently of people I have lost in real life. How do I make life understand that I can’t lose the sight of these people in my thoughts? Why is it depriving me of their dark yet comforting company? My mind at night becomes the site for perfectly written scripts from end to end, like that film-maker who is afraid to risk his narrative with open endings. I have to say it- the imaginations of my mind have become utterly boring. I used to be a bold heroic character in the romantic imaginings of the night- confessing my love in the most poetic manner, daringly staring into his eyes while he blushes and then laughs at my audacity. And now,I feel a tangible desperation to say it but simultaneously nudged by a sensible silence to stop. Damn! I hate this! I miss the magical times. I do not wish to dream anymore and real life has too many self-proclaimed ‘rationals’. I feel hopeless. Wish my visions would return. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Does it matter?

Being human was never as complicated. In a world with fluctuating moralities, humanity has worn a thousand gowns. But I don't wonder about that any more. I wonder about 'being' more than human. What are we? Who are we? The first question is probably easy to answer, courtesy evolutionary science. The second is what captures my imagination. Are we just a body with our brain as our God and brain as our Devil? Who owns our soul? Who defines us? How do we interpret our own selves? Are we how the society views us? Or how we view ourselves? And even in the society, how different people classify us, based on their own experiences and their interpretations by the others. These questions form a mesh in my mind- overlapping, knotting and tearing each other apart.  And then I realise- I am only a human, with a mind that is still awaiting the ultimate truth. So I move on to the only important question in life that, according to me, we ever need to think about- 'Does it matter'?

Friday, June 27, 2014

An Untitled Blogpost

Sweetness is alluring. Like the innocence of a rabbit leading you to a dark forest. That pitch dark space where everything leaves you, even your shadow. Happiness isn’t exciting unless it is holding a dagger behind your back and you know about it. Love doesn’t feel passionate unless it is on a deadline. Sorrow is not responsible for any of it. It is the joy that creates all the fear, the inhibitions and its conventions. You don’t feel happy in life unless it wrongs you in some way, you keep feeling there is something wrong. And ultimately when something bad does happen, you love to be the one saying, “I knew it! I knew life would screw me over” and then take pride in the fact that you predicted something negative (which was bound to happen at some damn point later). Why?

The answer lies sometimes in our own insecurities, and other times in the intense philosophies which poets around the world offer time and again as a part of a race to establish themselves as the greatest lovers. They keep giving us yardsticks we cannot match up to. I blame them for making tragedy an integral part of romance; not only that but a necessary and unfortunately, a sufficient condition for some. Now we feel incomplete even when aren’t particularly aware of what is missing, thanks to the instilled poetic insecurities. I blame our own minds too, to always want to see what we cannot see, to feel what only are words out of someone’s cruel mind. We all search only and only for pain, under the garb of seeking happiness. We search solely for chaos while claiming to seek solace. We want only the things we have lost- not the ones we have and certainly not the ones we might be blessed with in the future. Hypocrisy is more a part of us than we would like to admit.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Beguiling Love That Never Was (Part-I)

The whistle-blower of love is silent tonight. He had quite a lot of his favourite scotch. His arguments from the evening sounded hollow to his own self now. He never discarded the cynics; instead, he was the one to welcome their views with such acceptance that they were impressed with his sense of communicative justice. Freedom of expression, he said, is what makes you know more about people and that’s the way there would be less hatred and more love. He never needed to word it all out- his calm persona did that for him. It was a stifling formality of attending a party that night; he had to concede to the repeated requests of a dear friend. He thought he’d wear his blue shirt which was gifted to him by a woman who he had helped long ago. His friends thought she liked him, but he would never know and she would never show. Or maybe she did. Heck, he just decided to wear the white casual shirt and headed out for what was going to be quite an eventful evening. Life-altering would be a more appropriate term, perhaps.

Like a camel’s hump, he had his own depository of the things that were vital for him- his memories. A laborious walk down the memory lane was the last thing on his mind when she walked in. This woman resembled someone he knew, but he couldn't remember who. He looked at her with suspicion, narrowing his brows, stiffening his lips, trying to place her, but failed. He was not in a mood to think much about it and dismissed it as just another déjà vu moment. The party was taking the form of a classroom, where groups had formed and topics of discussions were fixed. None of the intense discussions seemed inviting to him. Cars, gadgets, gossip, food, pay packages, wannabe junkie narrations and horror stories! The party indeed was a compressed world in itself. He decided to retire early for the night and moved from his chair to look for his friend. The host friend was busy talking to the same woman he had seen earlier. Fifteen minutes later, he learnt that she was a banker, hailed from Bengal, living with two flatmates in the city and that her pet dog was suffering from an upset stomach. As she was talking about her life, he was wondering how to process those bits of unnecessary information. She seemed quite pleased to find company in a noisy surrounding though; perhaps she was as lost. There was nothing particularly striking about her, she was quite ordinary, he thought. Ordinary, but sweet. And kind too, he made a mental note, while she helped a young drunk lady get up on her feet, took her to the ladies’ room and helped her clean up.

He could feel his head becoming lighter now. He offered to go along with her when she declared that she was going to drop the young lady home. He had no idea why he said that and was even more surprised when she gladly agreed to his proposition. It would be nice to have some company on my way back, she said. It was quite a fearless and kind offer that she had made to the host, considering nobody wanted to take the pain of taking care of an ‘irresponsible young woman’ who ‘should have known better’. He seemed more interested in her words now, solely because he thought she deserved a good conversation, at the least. Talking to strangers about conjugal relationships has been a favourite past-time for all of us at some point or the other. He was no different but she brought it up first. No, my wife is not waiting for me at home, nor is my girlfriend, so we could go back to the party if you want, he uttered in response to her first question. Did he really say that? Was he really considering going back to the party he wanted to run away from? But the words were out of his mouth before he could think them over, damn the scotch!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sense...and a little madness.

‘Nothing worse than living in
A loveless place’; the words of you,
How they laugh at me now.

Countless conversations,
With no promises made;
How conveniently beautiful,
The words of you.

I’d rather be a wild fowl
Than a sparrow of gold;
Ah, the words of you;
How they’ve spoilt me rotten.

Such pride ignited by love,
So much vanity in vain,
Good lord, these words from you,
Of my beauty and your pain.

‘Almost possessive about you,
Like the lyrics of my favourite song.
Tenderness needs protection’, dazzling lies;
The words of you.

Now I’m sitting in a corner, by that
Lakeside nobody’s ever trodden,
Lamenting a future loss, hearing the
Last few words from you.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

बैक टू स्क्वेर वन.

"दिमाग़ी पागलपन एक बीमारी है". प्रतिदिन हम सैकड़ों सवाल पूछते हैं. हर परम्परा, चलन, रूढ़ीगत मान्यता की खोज-बीन करके उसे आधुनिकता के मापदंडों पर परखते हैं. फिर पागलपन के साथ इस तरह का भेद भाव? मानवीय संवेदनायें बदल रही हैं. हम सब तनाव-ग्रस्त हैं. अकेलेपन में न जाने क्या ढूँढ रहे हैं. बड़ी अपेक्षायें हैं इस एकांत से. आशा है ये हमें अपने आप से मिलवाएगा. पर उनका क्या जिन्हें ऐसी स्थिति सिर्फ़ अंधकार की ओर धकेलती है? ये एकांत जब खाने को दौड़ने लगे, तो कौन जवाबदेह होना चाहिए? इतनी गहराई में जाने से तो अच्छा है कि आँखें मूंदकर मान लिया जाए- "दिमाग़ी पागलपन एक बीमारी है".