A 20 minute rant of a 20 something trying to find life from a lifeless place.
So when does it all stop? The chase, the mad rush, the checking of boxes and the bloody games? Or does it? And for it to stop, has it all started or is it just the beginning and the worst is yet to come?
Each morning, I wake up, pour myself a mug of pitch black coffee, hop on to the ‘mill, run mindlessly, aimlessly.. purposelessly.. lifelessly, take a shower, and ride straight to the office or the workstation or wherever (depending on what day of the week it is) and I grind, I hustle or I slog (again, depending of what day of the week it is) and it keeps going on. As a 20 something, it hasn’t been that long since this chore has continued, and I guess it might feel like a long time but it actually isn’t but all I can think of while I’ve been doing it is – ‘what’s the end to all this, what is it that the heart wants while the mind is busy adhering to the societal norms and at what point do I start flipping out and become a renegade or an outlier that the poetry and the art is so madly in love with.’
Often, it’s the chase of something that keeps your adrenaline pumped and when you’ve surmounted the peak, in a jiffy, all you can think of is going back down to conquer another peak. BUT WHY? What is there on the top of the world that always keeps us chasing? We don’t know, nobody does, they’ll be lying if they tell you that they have the answers. And yet we keep chasing.. running.. rushing into things.. without thinking for one second if our heart skips a beat when we do it.
On various sleepless nights, there is this fleeting thought that toys with my mind and leaves me vexed with anguish and disquiet and I cant help but ask myself, what is the order of things and why do we have to adhere to this order? On the days that I have failed as a person, I can’t stop but think ‘if this is the end of it all and is it the place from where I snap and go off the grid’ and then a contrasting thought hits these notions and tells me that ‘I haven’t hit rockbottom even if I think I have – there have been worse times before and there will be worse times ahead’. And on the days of my conquests, I can’t help but think – ‘how long will this glory last?’ and ‘why did I want to win it, in the first place?’
Since I was a child, I’ve always loved a good story. I believed and still believe that the stories help us to enable ourselves to fix what was broken in us.. and to help us become the people we’ve dreamed of becoming.
I’ve also rushed into a lot of decisions without having a sleepless night of introspection about them. I gave in, sometimes to my circumstances, sometimes to the HOPE of a grand future, and sometimes to my temptations. Of course I don’t find myself in an extremely dark place when I pen this rant but I can’t stop but wonder, WHEN is the right time for things? How long do we have to wait? And would I even wake up the next morning – and if don’t wake up, what stories have I narrated to the world and have I narrated enough stories for the world to remember me? And did someone even give a shit about them? And does it all even matter in the end if all we are is a speck of dust in the grandest scheme of things? And this? and that..? and that? There is no end to the thoughts that can haunt you if you let your mind wander like a wild horse.
We keep chasing – love, success, money, name, fame, glory, there is no end to what we “WANT” from time to time and we never stop chasing. BUT there is this hollow, this vacuum, a void that takes refuge in your heart when there is an apparent lack of content for what you do in your waking hours. And that is what it’s all about. I have seem to understood now, what my dad always used to tell me, ‘sam bhaav’ or ‘endurance’. Every time I craved a particular delicacy I would eat it with so much voracity and gluttony as if it were my last meal, and my dad would hate it. I used to think that he doesn’t want me to experience that kind of happiness. Also, every time I had a food that tasted really bad, I’d frown like it’s poison. My dad would hate that too. Both times, he’d tell me, “son, endure it all. sam bhaav. Life won’t be the same always.” and I wouldn’t really care. But now that I think of it, the solution to all my problems lies in what I’ve been doing all my life. Endurance. Endure all pain and suffering, Endure all glory and success, and both, just the same. Be a stoic.
Some rants are not about how frustrating LIFE IS, sometimes, they are about how frustrating WE MAKE OUR LIVES from time to time and it calls for a change. But a lot of times such frustration stems from the labyrinth of circumstances we get trapped in and the only weapon that is best suited to aid us is TIME. And we can kick and punch and try to fight back but to no avail because the world is larger that you and I and its merciless. So you wait, and wait, and wait for the right time, the right moment, to show your cards. But what if you’ve waited too long, not awakening to your ‘right moment’ and missing the bandwagon altogether? See, this is what frustrates and perplexes an ordinary soul. The patience that comes with being a stoic. Because, you don’t see it coming, both the good and the bad that’s coming to you, you endure it once it has arrived, but you don’t see it coming. HOW LONG SHOULD YOU KEEP LIVING IN THE MOMENT?
If we were to just stay in the process, without thinking about the end game, the agitation wouldn’t be there. But, there’s one problem with Stoicism, you lose sight of the end game. The whole idea is to find out what the end game is, if you lose sight of it, one trigger and the vacuum and the darkness would creep in and there’s no going back. So if I were to take it back to the beginning, no matter how many pages I fill writing about it, my mind never stops asking “When has it all started and when does it all stop, or does it even stop?”
Sometimes, I counteract on this frustration by calculating and toying with all possible outcomes that can result from each significant decision that I take, I have this vivid fascination for calculating my moves almost as if life is a game of Chess but you can do that for the bigger things that impact your live – like, should I take up an hobby of mine as a career path? should I continue staying in a toxic relationship? Should I move to a different city? should I quit my job? should I even take up a new job? and What are the possible outcomes that can result that can result from each of these decisions that I take and how many of them unfold in my favour? But what do you do about it when you are already exploring alternatives and you are not really sure? Or about the small things that impact your life in a big way? Life cannot be planned, of that, I’ve become pretty sure. One bad judgment call or one unfavourable outcome and all that you’ve planned for days comes crashing down like a house of cards. It has happened before and it will happen again. In the niche circle of poets and artists, this is something we called poetic justice. And this is what keeps us on the edge of our seats, always on our toes WAITING and WAITING and WAITING to see how it’ll all unfold. This is what makes each of our narratives different than the other.
And like every other troubled bystander of a spectacle called life, I sit here, in a shack on the beach away from the city and it’s people while I pen this and guess what, I haven’t felt this alive in a very long time. Having my guard down and my masks in my bag, what I’m witnessing is pure bliss – a bliss that you can feel only when you’re closest to your truth, when you’re pretending or performing for no one, when there is NOBODY to take that moment away from you. I often wonder if people are ever tired of pretending.. acting and performing.. all day, everyday, to their loved ones, their families, their colleagues, their friends, even to the strangers, we’re a different person to all of these people, isn’t it exhausting? You don’t want to disappoint the ones you love or the ones that seek out to you but a lot of times all you want to do is sit on a bench and just gaze aimlessly at the bright blue skies, and not talk about anything to anyone. Sometimes, loneliness can be a virtue amid all this chaos.
One of these nights when the loneliness was killing me, and I was struck with panic, discomfort and a strange unease, I jumped on to my bed trying to sleep my panic away.. but I couldn’t. I was staring at the wall for hours, then suddenly, I felt lighter, at peace, secluded, isolated, at ease. Then I realized something about myself, that I liked sleeping alone, stretching out like a sky-diver, reminiscing about the times when the things were better. That night, I appreciated loneliness a little more. And as I sit here by the beach with my feet dug deep into the weirdly comforting soggy beach sand and I sip on my drink, I can feel that ease and life again. No baggage, no expectations, no proving it to somebody, no grind, almost as if life has come to a stand still.
May be, that’s all that we want sometimes, a pinch of loneliness in our lives bustling with people who look upto you or down upon you or look forward to something from you. Each of the paragraphs I have written above has a solution to a lot of problems of my life but each solution brings with it another problem like its a cobweb or an endless maze or a vicious circle. And, I guess, that’s how it is going to be because life can be a game of chess where you plan your moves and be in control or a game of poker where you play with the hands you’re dealt with and stay in the game, but mostly, life is just a roll of a dice, you don’t know what you’re getting until you’ve gotten it but you’ve got to live with it, because it keeps rolling new numbers for you. Life doesn’t have time for your rants, its ruthless, and it goes on.