Ennui or indifference or just acceptance…

Imagine you are in a car, it’s evening, the sky is red, but a hazy red, partly because of the pollution. The city road, barely two lanes wide, sandy, choked with dust and a phalanx, of vehicles, like an overgrowth of mushrooms. Unhindered. Unabashed. Untenable. Ugly. Bikes crammed against the rickshaws crammed against the cars crammed against the buses. The blaring horns, the cacophonous songs, on the radio.

Snailing vehicles through snaking roads. The ambience, discombobulating.

Nauseating. Vexing. Agitating. Angering. 

And your feeling of discomfort and discontentment here is even more profound if you have experienced such routine ordeals rarely, until now.

A couple more such experiences, and your righteous, angered, indignant self is humbled into submission. Rendered helpless before the circumstances, the realities we often avoid facing, compartmentalizing and tucking them away, far away.

  The irated hollering demeanour is replaced by that of a calm discontentment, consternation is whittled down to just resignation, and in some cases, the sense of submission is so true that those people start finding fun in the ordeals, and looking at (actually squinting at and groping for) the rare positives. 

But for others, it’s just ennui. Enthusiasm is further than the farthest cry. And it’s constant. That feeling of tiredness people often keep complaining about. That feeling of mediocrity. Those sporadic bouts of sadness, those pangs of failed dreams, which can strike anytime, and terrorize you, and then abandon you.
And this… is not just the traffic or the dust or the honking. It’s everything. Everything which relates to adult life.

 
The systems we created as we accelerated into the future, those constructs, rituals, those practices, attitudes, choke us now.

Kids, they are fresh, they look at things simply, call spade a spade, find happiness in simplest things, have very basic, simple emotions. Until. They start learning the ways of the world. 

And boy! Are they good learners.
But in us adults, the emotions, the acquired traits, learnings, attitudes, make our personalities so complicated, facets struggling among themselves for precedence. A constant battle. And so, with time, and circumstances (which we and our predecessors were unable or not brave enough to change), everything changes.
And people learn to live with it, ennui, wade through it, smile through it, somehow. Maybe it’s our innate ability to fool ourselves and put our hands up in the air if things don’t go our way. Maybe it’s our fear to live on our own terms, or to challenge the existing conceptions, constrictions, constructs. Maybe, it’s the realest form of indifference.
We are accepting the modern ways, attitudes, fads, the future, so rapidly. Like an insatiable void. And we are not shunning those obsoletes as rapidly as we should. Just because they are too big. Just because they were actually applicable at a time, but now are just prevalent, and hurtful. 

This… this complicates things. This creates a suffocating, marshy present that we live in. And we have more or less surrendered, accepted. 

We are too indifferent to oppose, to resist, to rebel, to repel, to renounce, to repeal. Or maybe too submissive now (even if we care). 

We look at these words above with such contempt, and fear. For these, to us, denote conflict, and such inconvenience, and pain.

But these are some of the very fundamental ideas and ideals of human existence and sustenance if looked back at from a neutral perspective.

But as we have seen, and been led to believe, resistance, and revolution and rebellion has brought in many sufferings, deaths and pain to this world.

And to avoid that we are ironically resisting our own human nature from blooming.

We are becoming mere slaves of the rusty reeking constructs we foolishly think to be true and absolutely firm. 

And thus we smother the radical, the righteous, the rebellious, in a sea of inertia, insecurity, and submission.

Everyday a possible revolution is bedraggled and pummeled to just a feeling of discontentment, and a dream. Everyday.

Thus the ennui, then the indifference, and then acceptance.

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Romance, love and our obsession with it.

The depiction, act, feeling of love, divides our opinion.

So many of us get lost in the misty surrealities of it, lingering a tad too much in the dreamy conclusions and possibilities, smudging the boundaries of the story and our own existence, subliminally hoping, and imagining those surreal scenarios, wondering how it would be like. 

Getting amused by the extent of and the beauty in our stupidity. Shaking our heads and laughing, you know that, don’t you. Our hearts soaring, our minds put on hold, and our dreams fluttering like doves in the unlimited sky.

And many of us, choke on what we see as the profuseness of hope and exaggeration of everything, unnecessary exaltation of love, for what is love?

A potion of infatuation, longing, lust, and circumstances…

Or a vortex of unnecessary feelings we fool ourselves to believe are as real as the sun…

Maybe love is a distraction, or just attraction… Moulded accordingly with time and our whims…

And on and on…

Here hearts don’t soar. People wince at how the depiction of love and romance is sugarcoated because what happens is the exact opposite, there’s no happily ever after, there’s no absolute purity in love, the blacks and whites are in fact greys.

Love stories are deemed hagiographies.

Some of us try to keep an open mind as long as we can. And then inadvertently or consciously tilt to whatever seems believable.

Maybe, in our bid to understand the complexity of feelings, we try to quantize them. But feelings overlap, they twist, they tangle, without a pattern, they just happen. And that’s what baffles us, agitates us.

The former ones are maybe not as cynical about those feelings. And don’t bother to mull or analyse them. They just delve. 

The latter ones want to hope, but can’t. Maybe they see the ugly side and agree that it outweighs the beautiful one. Maybe they see the futility in all this. Maybe they see the selfishness more than the selflessness. Maybe they see the sorrow, and see hope as a facade, a red herring.

But what we can be agreed is that, love is one of the fundamentals of our existence, or so we believe.

And deep inside all of us want to feel it and know it to see if its real.

The curiosity remains.

As does this debate.

Corporate life, is hard to cooperate…

People, and more people.

Deeper, and deeper.

Crammed together in an abyss.
Ties and id cards like nooses round their necks.

As mediocrity becks.

And all there, choking.

Coughing. 

And retching.

Hyperventilating. 

Tears trickling through their sullen sunken faces.

Needless politics, mindless races.
Every task is a deadly deadline. 

A race against time.

Every thing, nothing else but another prop in a pantomime.
Pestering colleagues.

Grimacing bosses.

Plastic smiles.

Pangs of frustration.

Bouts of ennui.

And trips to the cafeterias.

Habits. 

Redundancy is the norm.

Beware if you flout.

Brace for the invisible clout.
And you live in fear.

Holding this sham dear.

As life shoves it in the rear.

Slowly. 

And tastefully.
And the sheen wears off.

Well you had begun to see through it anyway.
Corporate life, my friend, is hard to cooperate.

Why do Religious places suffocate me? 

Obviously, I’m an agnostic. Unsure. Troubled. Yet hopeful.

The more I visit religious places, I realise that a tranquil walk of reverence is much better than being a part of an over-eager jostling congregation.

The abject ignorance to this thought baffles me. Like it’s a felony or something.

And that’s why such places suffocate me and make me feel like a bullied kid, all over again.

Millions of us flock to such places, with deals in mind, to haggle with our gods, to just touch that holy stone at any cost, (Fuck the other person in the crowd, I am gonna get blessed today.), reciting our sermons under our breath so swiftly and incomprehensibly so that we complete more recitations and feel good about ourselves.

Buying some offering is the unwritten law. One who goes to worship empty-handed is looked at like a convict.

Many of us see through such things, many of us are agitated by them. But fear makes us conform. Fear makes us turn a blind eye.

How easily we people deify the most trivial of things. Almost everything is worshipped, fear and promises are so expertly packaged and marketed here, and to visit the epicenters of such businesses is so disappointing and taxing.
We earmark our savings for such practices. Show our magnanimity in giving some extra bucks to the Brahmin or some devout beggar. And how seriously we think we are big-hearted and charitable sons and daughters of mother India.

Atheism looms in the distance, looking like a simple answer. But India is a country so culturally and religiously intricate and emotional, an immediate transition to atheism is both impossible and laughable.

And I, so eagerly want to believe, in some higher power. But it is so hard. 

The basis of every religion has been a moral code, a sense of spirituality. And so spirituality is so much more important than religion. 

Even if you’re not a religious person. If you have a moral code, if you’re spiritual, you’re fine. Flying much above the millions of religious scumbags out there.

Fin.

Death

The only thing more devastating than death itself is eternal life. Well, we haven’t seen examples of the latter lately.

Or have we?

Death is always surprising.

Any sort of death.

Even impending death.


But then again, that’s life after all, a promising euphemism for the phrase ‘impending death.’ 





Death is painful. Untimely death is unimaginably so. But then again, how’s death not untimely?

Death is untimely.

It is what defines death.





A voice inside us whispers, I will live long. It is a voice of hope, bordering delusion, and it smothers the voice of reason which bellows, Nothing’s permanent dude, life’s great, but death will be here, anytime now.

We so easily cling ourselves to the sheen of the possibility of life, to the wobbly promises of our heart, that we fail to accept that death does not differentiate, it comes for every one of us, any one of us.

All our lives in the back of our minds, we keep bartering with destiny (God), we pray to live long and then die peacefully, and even if we were to die unexpectedly, we plead to make it less painful for us and our loved ones.

So much for logic.

We don’t accept the fact that we are a sitting on top of our respective ticking bombs, with different timers. And we’re all going to die, sooner or later, in ways we can’t fiddle with.





And sometimes when we brood about it, it feels so depressing. Its not, but our fragility makes us see this fact from such a lowly perspective, and we’re so terrified, we compartmentalize it and any thought of it and tuck it away in some deep closet in our minds.
Our worst mistake.





All our lives we are scared of that yawning void, that endless abyss, that we might trip and fall into.

The unflinching constant.

The invisible fundamental.

The only truth if there ever was one.

And we take life for granted.

We learn to sail through the caprices and brace for the challenges. But we fail to live the moments. As we always have an objective, a will o’ the wisp, at every stage of our lives, which derails us from our reason of being here, to live, to imbibe these memories and moments.

Life becomes a tick-box regime. Desires, objectives rule here, mechanical dreams, delusionary safe havens of basic minimums. 




But the irony is that, we endear ourselves to this life (and our dear ones) so much, that we find it so difficult to accept the sheerness of death. The unbearability is astounding


The only thing that is more devastating is suicide. Probably the most devastating thing there is.





Its beyond my imagination how excruciating it is for the one who commits it. How shocking it is for the person’s kin and friends and acquaintances.
Suicide the utmost form of denial to a way out of the mire.

The mire of your sorrows, regrets, the vortex of your memories, the ashes of your failed dreams.



I honestly don’t know what goes inside the person’s head. That he actually deliberates upon this, actually plans this.

Of course, there are no brownie points for guessing that the person isn’t stable, he needs help, he has no will power, no thought of his family, he is a big big fool.
Right. Absolutely.

He needs to speak out.
Yes. Totally.

But in a very subtle manner, we shrug off our responsibility and obligation towards him.

Not every person actually speaks out, oh but he screams in other ways, we unfortunately fail to see sometimes. There are many such junctures. 

And suicide is an agglomeration of such junctures.





And oft times even before looking at his circumstances, we start branding him.
Mad! Stupid! Callous! No heed of family!
That’s understandable, in our rage we do this. But this rage is partly directed towards us, our inability to prevent a suicide.
We sympathise, we understand.

But we don’t empathise, we don’t feel.
The circumstances, the shame, the pressures, the conundrums.
No. We don’t delve that deep.
Human mind. Emotions. Our actions. Our fancies. It’s complex. It’s not something to be taken lightly. And certainly, no one or no action of this sort should be branded whimsically and prematurely.

Nothing is sadder than someone fiddling with the death timer he sits on top of.

Death comes for all of us. 

Lets not wrestle with that.

Neither the fact. Nor it’s manner.

 

Dormance…

Seconds, minutes, hours, days…

All pass in an unmindful haste…

Time plies it’s trade in mysterious ways…

Plans, schedules, dates…

All of it a fucking waste…
Bed beckons like a serenading lover…

Eyes dance on the ceiling like a drunk rover…

Seeing through the blades of the languid fan…

Lost in some thought…

Or some memory wrought…

On the horizon of your ever tempestuous mind…

And thus you unwind…

Obliviating everything behind…

Every chore, every job, even mom’s call…

Comatose, like a pall…

Over the sarcophagus of your will, your vitality…

And you’re lost in the surreal ethereality…
Aimless, listless, hapless…

Squirming alone in your own distress…

Loads of things to do, lots of dreams to realise…

All of them rotting under the scorch of your needless, maniacal surmise…
It’s not slumber, you wish it could be…

It’s a trance, stupor, where time stretches and loops and waves…
Dormance is crippling, enticing, mortifying, stupefying…

And it’s there, always, lurking…

Right behind your conjectures…

With your outlandish adventures…

Ready to ensnare…

I know it’s hard to get up and blare…
But like it or not, it’s the only way…

So get up, clench and bay…

Smile …

Smile and sway and don’t obey…

The foolish rules of the world…

The laughable decrees, the despicable commands… We bear so painfully…

So shun them… Its that easy…

But it isn’t… Is it ?

Snagging those cobwebs… Those rusty iron gates which you need to pulverise…

But which stand still like an undeserved, old king, unwise…

Refusing to give way… To your dismay…

So smile at your fate… smile at this hate, that is bred so easily…
Smile at the irony… Smile at your felony… That is smile.

Smile at the pain… Because smile is the only gain…
Until you decide to change all this… break all this…

brave all the struggle that will come your way… When you won’t obey…

And then smile… More broadly…

And sway… And have things your own way…

In love with the hills….

The nonpareil beauty smiles at me.         Like a knowing mother.
Because beauty never screams.                     It smiles, then whispers.

The star spangled sky, in all its sheerness  looks at me with those starry eyes.

The moon dazzles in the lapping waters like an angel revelling in her endless ethereal beauty.

Morning, like a gust of fresh air caresses me.

Evening, airy, jovial, but heavy, is like a friend saying goodbye, vowing to return soon.

Those immutable, immovable, timeless, ageless sentinels stand silent, unblemished, unperturbed- mountains.

Along with them stand their gnarled brothers under the foliage, a green curtain.- Trees.

The sweetness in the unaddled air is almost intoxicating, addictive.

The sun jives with me.

And shines. Then dazzles. Then glistens. Then goes back beneath the shoulders of his friends. To make someone else’s day.

Clouds are like fleeting halos around their gods. Those towering leviathans.

And we still don’t see it. And we still don’t get it.

The sound of silence is absolute, like still water, and a distant random sound, like a small pebble upsets the tandem.

Simple lessons of life.

The birds do what they do.                       Chirp and caw and coo.
The insects make their own sounds too.

And this cacophony is like a latent euphony, waiting for the willing ears.

What makes me happier is that all this is not a fantasy, but reality. But then what else would fantasy be? If not this.

Realism screams at me, that it’s all so obvious, trifling, trivial, not a miracle.
Reality pulls a face, and asks me, “is it so?”

“We always fall for the wrong ones.”

“Do we?” The boy asked.
“Yeah. We fall for the wrong ones. Always.” The old man said.
“Is it in our hands?”
“No.” The old man smiled. “Love doesn’t happen like that. ”
“I don’t understand. ” The boy said.
“Oh you will. Son. ” The old man chuckled.
“You will like some. You will lust for some. You will love that ONE.”

“Really? That’s … That’s sad.” 
The boy pulled a face.

“Life’s nothing but those pockets of happiness in the seemingly endless expanse of sorrow and hardships. ”
” Damn… That’s deep.”
“We meet many people. You will meet many people. While we make many bonds with many different people. Some of them come close. Very close.”
“Why are they the wrong ones then?”

“Because they were never destined to be with us. Because the ones we love were never made for us. Because the ethereal is always ephemeral. Because they just go away. Far away. Giving us just memories. And their bittersweet taste STILL lingers, after years.” 
He answered, without blinking.
“Just like that?” 
“Just… like that.” 
The old man sighed.

“We always give our stupid little hearts to the ones who were never ours. Who could NEVER be ours.” 
Lost in his little reverie, a wry smile adorned his craggy, crooked profile. And he wondered at the atrocity called love and marvelled at the irony called life.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Leave it be.

It won’t be easy, no.

It won’t be breezy, no.

It would wrench your heart.

It would rack your gut.

To let go of these moments.

These precious little pockets of time.

Now nothing will rhyme.

As beauty rhymed with a smile.

As happiness rhymed with laughter.

And time careened, faster.

And faster will the memories fade away.

Like how water evaporates in the summer.

Yeah. That’s a bummer.

That the only constant in this world is change.

Rest are all fickle, fibbing fiddles.

Variables, mere syllables.

But some of these people, emotions, moments delve so deep.

You have to carve your heart out to make them leave.

And it’s dejecting, to play villain.

But time makes you do so.

But life commands you so.

And so you spend your days, loving, accepting, shunning.

Everything and everyone, like a treacherous snake.

And then out of the blue.

Those vestiges come back to haunt you.

And you cry, and you smile.

And you squirm in agony, and you leap with joy.

They lift us, but they rankle so deep.

As we imagine what might have been.

Because as they say, we can have what we want,  but we can’t keep.