Archive for life

My Happy Place

Posted in It's all about the soul with tags on October 6, 2016 by Shry

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.’


Thirsting for more…

Posted in It's all about the soul with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by Shry

Your sojourns in far-away lands will bring you face-to-face with hundreds of people. These people will be fellow travellers, tourists, drivers, guides, kids, locals, photographers, newspaper vendors, caretakers of your accommodation, maids, street urchins, etc etc etc.  They pass by you like the gentle breeze. Unseen, but pleasantly felt. If you are a traveller, no experience of yours can be complete without such people. No matter how many places you see, or how much money you spend, none of it will matter if your memories don’t touch upon a soul that touched you in its own way. There must always be that core within you where you safeguard those cherished whispers of the world that were muttered to you through words, smiles and glances.

You come across these people. People you wish you could spend more time with. Perhaps sit down over a meal or a hot chai and talk endlessly. Hear their stories, steal a peep into their lives just as you allow them a few into your own, laugh with them about their wonders, cry with them about their sorrows, contemplate with them about the purpose of life or even why India’s cricket team lost to Australia! It is all a part of our journeys, and the journey of life. It is an insatiable hunger, nearly a lost cause, because you have to forge ahead. You cannot stay at one place for too long. Your wanderlust keeps pushing you and you keep chasing it. But none of this takes away that feeling within you that someday, you must stop and dance before the music ends. Someday, you must sit down with Tashi, your driver in a small kingdom, who drove you around with a gaiety that you are not used to in your part of the world, a hopping walk as he came to you when you beckoned him, him randomly singing along with a song on the radio, and his shy goodbye as he blushed when you gave him a hug for being a sweetheart. Someday, you must sit down with Karma, a mother of 3 working round the clock to make ends meet and to fulfill her lifelong dream of having her own small hotel. Someday, you must sit down with the old, bespectacled caretaker of a guest-house who personifies Tennyson’s “…men may come and men may go, but i go on forever…”.  Someday, you must sit down with another Tashi in another part of the world and laugh in utter amusement and merriment as you see how books and cigarettes can form a bond among strangers in the most inhospitable of terrains! Someday, you must sit down with Torton and perhaps watch him play with his colouring book, feeling your heart melt under his angelic smile. Someday, you must take a walk with the old saadhu and listen to his monologue on religion and modernism…And the list is endless. The Tashis, Karmas and saadhus of the world are many. Everyone has a story to tell that is unique and remarkable in its simplicity, and yet intriguing in its endless diversity. It is upto you to sit down with the patience that travel doesn’t permit, and enrich yourself. You MUST thirst for more.

There is so much more to a place than just the tourist spots. People constitute culture, and the culture makes up a place. And this is undoubtedly the real essence of real travel.

The thirst must remain. To seek more, to know more, about people, about places, the why and how of everything and anything. Because only this thirst can propel you forward towards new frontiers, new shores.

Only this thirst can someday complete you.