Friday, 23 December 2016

Winter Morning (1)

As I stood at the sidewalk waiting for a cab to get to work this foggy morning, he trotted up from nowhere and stopped right next to me staring philosophically ahead. I could picture an image of two old souls, in a parallel universe somewhere, sharing a cigarette over a quiet encounter, the kind that is acknowledged without any words. My reverie was cut short by a slightly noisy arrival of the cab. There was some confusion on his part as he sheepishly gave me the way to get in, suddenly being aware that the cab had stopped for me. As I was being driven away, I stole a glance at him from the rear window and smiled back at him wagging his tail. The spell was broken.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

I can sense its sting through my tears. I can discern its overcast piercing through my laughter. I am mildly conscious of its weight as I strain to smile. I can taste it's remnants as I swallow the lump in my throat as I try to focus on work. I grapple with its tenacious embrace as I try hard to finish a lonely meal. I bear with its raw nip as it trickles down to form a tight little knot in my stomach when I shower. I can hear its glaringly pounding sound shrouded in absolute silence when I pick up my brush. I can smell it’s acrimony on a damp pillow. Yes I have learnt to live with it.

I am thankful to those imperceptible little restroom trips ‘when something gets stuck in my eye’ or to the all-knowing pillow that has survived all the clenching and clasping. I also find newer and supposedly healthier ways to deal with it. Gritting my teeth as I push myself to do that extra rep in the gym or closing my eyes for a moment before I pick up my brush and let it merge and flow with the paint on its tip. I no longer fight it. It’s no more my aim to deny its presence, to run away from it, to be ashamed of it.

In fact I have let it spill out of some deep crevice in some remote corner on my being into my everyday life. And with that I have found freedom. I have come face to face with what I was scared of facing. I have allowed myself to weigh firsthand its intensity and potential to hurt me as I peel its numerous raw layers one at a time. Its no longer a nameless, faceless monster struggling to be let loose and threatening to play havoc with my sanity.  

While I have no wish to put it up for display, I do not attempt to hide it as well just because there is some sort of  guilt and shame associated with it. I have been urged to ignore it, deny it, be ashamed of it and wish it away without an iota of healing or worst still hide it with a (fake?)smile. Its overt display of happiness that finds easy quick hi fives from society because happiness is an approved measure of success. Anybody who does less than that is considered worthy of sympathy and thus warranting self righteous and half assed efforts by relative strangers to lift that person to a delusive level that matches their approval. Maybe that's the reason for many a fake smiles and happy selfies because we just don't want to be looked down upon with pity 'Smile, you look pretty when you smile'. Its like you have been contracted to provide an aesthetic entertainment, a contract I don't remember signing. Do I owe it to the world that I look all pretty and sunshine 24/7? Or 'chin up girl'.Well why is okay for people to give unsolicited advice to others on their body postures? You might want to give yourself a pat on your back for getting somebody to smile but how genuine is that smile, do you even care? In the process you have done more damage than good because you have succeeded in denying the person his/her autonomy on her facial muscles she uses to deal with her/his pain and reducing that person's worth to a society's pet trained to perform tricks on demand. I have a planned my trick in advance for all the smile bullies. Keeping a half eaten oreo in my mouth all the time. Or you ask me to smile and I ask you to get rich in return.

Yes happiness is a goal for many but doesn't the goal post move every time you reach it. For a whole lot of us happiness is not the goal but to soak in a variety of experience. To find peace in the present. For some putting out a smiling face while going through a tumultuous experience inside maybe be akin to being brave but for many of us its not important. We do not even wish for titles like, 'brave', 'strong', 'positive' to match up to new age teaching despite many such posts doing the rounds.

As I sometimes focus on my breath I can feel it easing out my system into the thin air.I admit that sometimes I let it drag and hold me to the bed longer than necessary but then a deep breath is all I need to be out in the sun with the whiff of fresh air searing the crude pangs anew. I know you are fading away but I also know you may return with a fuller force but I am not scared. I know you, I experience you, I live you. You are not a nameless, faceless monster under my bed.