Thursday, 14 June 2012

Halfway through

Exactly 183 days done and anther 183 to follow for this year to end. I would not say it was a great year or excellent or a horrid year even. To say that an year was/is bad shows the inherent human weakness to pass on the buck of bad luck, famine, world war or a failed marriage on something as inconsequential as a tangible but, non-existent time scheduler/ scheduling device.

To say, that 'it was a good year' always makes me think of ripe and full-bodied red wine. It simply does not work. Whether good or bad, the year has nothing to do with what happens in our life, however time does. How am I spending my time? Most of us have no answer to that question because we are so busy squeezing out every moment from time to finish whatever it is we need to do on a daily basis. As we grow older, the list also grows and very soon we are slaves to time.

Not that I am saying we should be irresponsible and stop doing whatever that is expected of us and take off on a self-realization/actualization path. No, in fact I'm not saying anything like that at all. What I am saying is, do whatever it takes to make your life worthwhile. If it is responsibilities that you need to take on go on and take them on by all means and finish off all your tasks before hanging up your boots.

The problem is that we all have finite lives and more often than not it comes to an end much before we realize that we never even got the chance to put that bucket list together! What I am trying to break here very gently and also perhaps, not too gently is that fact that death is the only truth of life. I was born and therefore I shall die (and thank God for that!) However, I need to take a breather at least once in my busy irrational life to sit back and reflect - "Why was I sent here? What is the real purpose of my life?"

If it was just procreation then I could have been sent on Earth as an insect - to die after mating or giving birth!

For many years now that question has been nagging me in a myriad different guises. I ask why am I here and life throws a barrage of answers back at me and I am too stupefied mostly to react. Then, I go back to being my adult and responsible self - like a worker ant or bee pulling my weight unmindful of the imminent.

This year however, has been different. There were deaths - several deaths. They shook up my complacent existence and pushed me to a corner where all the possibilities stood waiting.  

"What if you die?"

"Now? Today? After 10 years, 20 years? What if? I know I will." (smirk)

"What about today?"

"Yes? What about it?" (faltering a little)

"What would be your contribution?"

"What contribution? Don't talk like local goons seeking chanda for Ramlila?" (irritated)

"Nonsense! You know what we mean? What will be your legacy?"

A cold sweat breaks out and I stare unblinkingly at the bunch without moving a single muscle not even twitching the irritated nose.

Legacy? I'm supposed to leave behind a legacy? That was daunting. Only revolutionaries, politicians and leaders in the field of art and culture leave behind a legacy. What can be my contribution?

Scary shit this legacy business. It actually makes you feel crappy about all your other achievements. And yet, is it a strange query? I think not.

Who will cry when I die? I have been grappling with that question for a while now. Forget your own small circle of relatives, friends and neighbors. They don't count. Maybe your dog, if you have one does and the little boy who delivers bread, milk and eggs to your doorsteps everyday does if he is unhappy to see you no more because you treated him with respect. Yes, and the little girl who sells flowers by the temple counts if she waits for you to show up once a week and give her a smile along with the change.

Can kindness be a legacy? Maybe yes. I try everyday and fail several times in 24 hours. I try again but, am crushed by other people's unkindness, uncouth-ness, injustice and above all their cruelty. Therefore, where I take one step forward, I find many hands pushing me back and forcing me to take two steps back. My back is bruised by the rough wall I'm pushed against and I need to breathe.

"Soon, very soon", tells my brain, "you will be free." Also inane things like, 'this is just a phase', 'you are better than the others' etc.

So I run away. Literally, and lock myself up in me. Being a recluse is also very restful. No need to talk through the day or plan, strategise, rework other people's shit, mentor, tell, do - no stress. Soon, the head clears up - this I'm sure is better than any spa experience.

So, what else can I do? I try and think back and remember how I wanted to be an artist when I was young. I pick up a pencil, put it on  a paper and see the same old lines coming out of it - 20 year old lines that have not matured with time, only become more inflexible - I shed tears for lost opportunities and throw away the pencil in self-disgust. It hurt - specially when there was so much talks of possibilities in my growing up years.

Then, I spend days re-reading and evaluating each book that had made me happy, sad, confused and clear-headed. I put a pen (proverbial) to paper (read computer) and words start flowing, paining pictures of places, people, skies, seas and forests. I decide to give myself time with it and that is how I have spent the last couple of hundred (almost) days. I still do not know if anything would come off it or if it will ever allow me to leave a legacy behind but, at least I tried!

I know that for a little while now, when I face the bunch of rascals in my head and they start asking difficult questions after cornering me, I can shrug them off saying, "I'm doing my bit for posterity".

What's your excuse?

1 comment:

  1. There was a time when I almost died. The doctors almost gave up on me. My body had started getting used to sleeping. And ironically, that was my wake up call. Strangely it does take death to make you realize that you need to live life every day every moment. Fortunately for me, I did meet some awesome friends, who did not want me to go away. They did pray and thankfully their prayers were answered. I try to take out an hour out every day just to do things I really love and just spend it with me. I try and soak in as much love as I can in a day. Yes I am greedy. Life is extremely short, and sadly we do not realize it till we face death or experience it in some form. Remember that you need to tell your parents, family and friends how much you love them. Never go to bed without resolving any fight. Small things are the ones that REALLY matter.


Thanks for reading the post and commenting. Please come back for more.