My Happy Place

He didn’t have one. So much so that he had stopped noticing it a long time ago. Is unhappiness a mere absence of happiness? Is happiness tangible? Could he put a label on the darkness that had consumed his free spirit, his very soul?

He went through life normally enough. Those who knew him, or thought they did, often associated grand words with him. Achiever, go-getter, confident, smart, intelligent, good looking. Basically the perfect package. He had felt gratified, satisfied, arrogant even, then modest. Until he stopped noticing it altogether. Until it stopped mattering. Until he sank back into his usual unusual existence.

But in today’s technology-driven times, how long can you stay immune from the emotions of the world around you? Not long. Those emotions came hurriedly to taunt him, mock him, demean him. They came to remind him brutally of all that he didn’t have, and never would. He had fallen off the wagon a long time ago, and getting back on it wasn’t even a remote possibility. Never a fan of TV, and an increasingly insane internet had pushed him deeper into his work, his books and his solitude. That was where he sometimes came close to that alien organism called Happiness. But that damned technology! It wouldn’t let him rest, would it? A random Instagram post about family and love and flowers and happy faces and countless hashtags had come like a thunderbolt from a perennially stormy sky. He hated thunder. He hated the one who had posted the picture even without knowing a thing about that person. He swallowed the bitterness, or was it envy, and immersed himself in his chores.

Over dinner, as someone switched on the TV, he welcomed the distraction for once. But that goddamn technology again! The screen filled with ads about the festive season, shopping offers for big happy families and what-not. He lost his appetite. Memories swamped him, his usual fortress of dispassionate acceptance crumbled and for once, he couldn’t escape. His mind was forced back into time. When was his last real Diwali? He could not remember. Perhaps nearly nine years back but he couldn’t be sure. He had burnt each and every mental bridge that could weaken him, so how could he recollect anything? A broken home, a lost sibling that made him lose so much more, an existence that had so nearly been extinguished chasing false love. The outer facade remained impeccable. Good grades, good manners, good job, good life. Just a hollow epitaph. He detested himself.

The diya can only brighten up so much. Where does the rest of the glow come from? He had stopped seeking these answers now. Not even three decades on the planet but he felt so old. So tired. Once as a young fool, he had tried to rebuild it all, not quite sure of the damage he felt, but sure that he was going to be alone. Seduced by sweet words and grand expressions, he had begun the lonely walk to Hell. He returned, but minus illusions and innocence. It had been more or less a downward spiral from thereon.

He could no longer be stable or satisfied. There is always always a restlessness within him. Like forever running after a train but never getting on, just seeing it fade away. When at one place, he wanted to be at the next. When awake , he wanted to sleep. When asleep, he struggled against the unceasing panic of missing the train. When at a party, he wanted to be alone, and when alone, his loneliness haunted him. When single, he wanted to be loved. When loved, he awaited the inevitable heartbreak. When unhappy, he wanted happiness. When happy…well that’s the problem, isn’t it? There was no happiness. He often thought long and hard, trying to pin his finger at that one moment when normalcy left him for good. He would do anything to return to that one precise moment. Could he erase the slate? His laptop had been giving him trouble and a friend had suggested he try ‘system restore.’ Did that work for Life?

He looks at the clock. Time owns him. As he writes, his mind wanders away to all the pending work. Files to be read,  letters to be drafted, notes to be studied, presentations to be made, meetings to be attended. But he already knows that he will yearn for the comfort and anonymity of sharing himself with a paper. Paper cannot hurt you. Paper cuts heal and are forgotten.

But time beckons him. His existence, devoid of any true purpose, yet governed by technology, gadgets and a hopeless pursuit of success (happiness?), that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, mocks him.

He thinks of those happy families on TV, and Insta and FB and wherever. He think of his own, the so-called. He thinks of the family he can perhaps make, but doubts.

Then, he starts shaking with mirthless laughter, shaking his head to shake of these strange cobwebs of emotions trying to creep up on him. He pushes the pen and paper aside, turns on his laptop and to feel better, clicks on ‘system restore.’

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2 Responses to “My Happy Place”

  1. This heartbreaking but beautiful blog made me happy. Good to see you back, musafir.

  2. Writing is a therapy. And i have been avoiding it for 1.5 yrs.

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