August 30, 2004

Backpacker

I for one am not the first, in most cases, to point my fingers at anyone. That is the case not due to any heightened sense of wrong or right, which I don't possess in any case, but more due to the fact that I am wrong in most cases. Wrong to the extent that the person that I find the hardest to believe in is myself, making justifications and rationalisations wonderfully amusing ways to spend time. At the same time, I also spend considerable amount of time trying to convince everyone around me of the same devious schemes. It is not as if I don't believe in one or all of the explanations I come up with. It is just that I do not know which is the one I 'really' believe in.

As far as I could remember, I never really had any fantastic dreams. I did not want to, as a kid, become a pilot or an engine driver or even a soldier. I was probably less than ordinary, with a mind that was a bit twisted and I simply did not want to be anybody in my life. And it has not changed a lot even now. Of course, I would want you to believe that at age 30 I would chuck everything and go backpacking through Europe, write an absolutely self-centred book that I would hate for the rest of my life and change a million lives in such an unseen manner that every third person I would meet would have been affected directly or indirectly by me.

Cutting back to reality or something close to it, I find myself sauntering blindly through oncoming traffic that resemble bees, with tiny red tail lamps on them, around a hive that is buzzing with an extraordinary level of activity. I am a million things, ranging from the unambitious prodigy to the patient other half, at different times in the day. Somewhere between turf wars fought over mindlessly boring, useless meetings and the indisciplined efforts at the household's book keeping, I cannot honestly say if there is anything at all left of me to come back home to. Somehow, I am on this huge thing just on the verge of happening, while I feel that I am on the edge of a precipice - deep, dark and endless.

Fear. It is a feeling that leaves you once you befriend the demons. They are always there, unseen and not understood by anyone else. After all, behind the closed doors, there are no ghosts, only more of the same dark emptiness. On Sunday, I had seen a man mindlessly drunk, sitting on a heap of rubbish, bruised and wet, uttering gibberish. I still do not understand why he affected me in the way he did. I was shaken, not by his state, but by seeing a fair degree of someone familiar in him. Despondency is what made him not get up from where he was. It might have taken the drink to bring it out of him, while for some others even that might not be necessary.

Maybe I am pontificating as a cheap way to give an outlet to my vanity, but I cannot understand the thought behind a lot of my actions, for mostly they have no significant amount of thought behind them. I feel as if I am a lowly paper boat in an ocean of liners with no legitimate right to exist or complain in their shadows. I have none to pacify, none to give heed to, I just take on water ungrudgingly. It is not mine to complain, since I am a lone stranger in these oceans. I will float as long as my fickle make up allows me to withstand the onslaughts. But, where were we? Yes, we were back packing across Europe.

Which is actually the last thing on my mind right now. Tomorrow, at 11 in the morning, I have another of those fancy meetings to attend. I shall twiddle my thumb, mouth a few catch phrases that even I cannot make any sense of, and in general play the dependable and sensible young idiot. In a way, I do not have much to complain about, even my memory has begun to serve me well, blanking out entire spaces covering years. I am tired of explaining and I think the numbness is a welcome change. Not that I don't feel anything at all. It is just a gentle warmth that hurts just a little bit, but it is really nothing that dreams of backpacking in Europe can't obscure.

August 23, 2004

Momentum

What if the life you are living is very different from the life you wanted to live? What if you wanted opulence, flamboyance and adventure and ended up with meagerness, mediocrity and the staleness of routine? How many of us wonder if we got it all wrong and that this was not the way it was meant to be? I do that, every now and then, wanting to believe that I can push the boundaries a bit further apart, while the real reason is that it is a convenient way to invent a purpose to my loneliness.

It is pelting down outside, the sounds of tiny pebble-sized raindrops overwhelm even Dylan crooning Make You Feel My love. After the ocean, the thing I miss most about home is the rainy season. I would watch it fall incessantly on the handful of trees in our courtyard and the muddy brown streams rushing down on the road below. Later I would head for the terrace, under the pretext of cleaning up the choked drains, where I would ‘accidentally’ let go of my umbrella and be soaked from head to toe, watching the whirlpools form around the outlets.

Sometimes I feel so much at peace with everything. It then feels almost as if I have died and gone to another world, without any complaints, regrets and with nothing left to do. Then there are other times when I feel anything but complete, inconsequential and struggling for time, effort and ability to do a million things that I know I will never be able to do. Where is the time? Where is the energy for all this? What all will I be able to finish? How many more miles do I have to run? How much more do I have to do?

Then there are times like now. Times when I want to just give up on everything. It is not my battle, it is not my cause and it is not for me to affect, if at all I can effect anything. It is not my world, nor is it my reality. I am just a spectator, a passerby and an unpublicised interlude in a drama that enacts itself on the other side of the window, in which my own clandestine reflection, interwoven with my vision, is my only possible contribution.

It has stopped raining now, a pleasant lull before the splotchy business starts all over again, I can hear the solitary bird chirp outside. Is this not what I value and want the most? To be honest, I do not know anymore. The last time I cried in front of anyone was because I was afraid of having gone so much over the line now that I cannot recognise perfection, even if it is right in front of me. I have ceased to have any impulsive responses to anything, I have been reduced to a handful of constructs, each with its own pre-determined responses to circumstances.

August 02, 2004

Quarrel

And then there are times when you run into the dark stranger called as loneliness and you wonder whether it is good or bad that you are running constantly away from. Being equally capable of good and bad is a logical blind spot and that blinds you towards the true nature of your inherent inclinations.

If you step away from the safe heavens of self-bestowed purity of intention and purpose, it can be scary to face up to the nakedness of the real intentions of your actions. Often, they are bona fide, but they can be mala fide too, more often than what you would want to admit.

What happens then? What if you turn the tables around and get to that point where everything begins at the ledge of fuzziness and gradually falls into the abyss of pristine clarity, performing an alchemy of sorts, turning the best of your intentions into something that could not get any worse?

That said, it is not impossible or improbable for such things to happen. When it sits with you on the carriage called as life, all you can do is to sit tight, hold your own hands and smile at everything in the world. For you are your own ghost and the living can do nothing about that.