7.27.2004

Uncertainty

For a while I thought despair arises from uncertainty. The unknown haunts the self as the consequences of today’s actions lie beyond the grasp of the mind. But is it really so? What am I uncertain about now? Now that things are settled and I know what I am doing and where it might lead me … what is left to be uncertain about? College is over. I have a job. In fact I have two jobs. Jobs that I like: work that I enjoy and it pays well too. What am I so desperate for now?

The restlessness remains and so does the hollowness within. Where do I rush to now? Where do I seek an escape now? I wanted control over my life. I have it now. I am self sufficient and independent. Why the empty feeling again; why the same discontent again today?

I have told myself many a times that it is the pursuit of ones goals that makes any achievement worthwhile. I have believed often that it is the journey towards a destination that makes the destination worth moving towards. I set achievable goals for myself. And no matter how distant or uncertain today seemed yesterday, things are settled now. I have achieved what I wanted or rather I have achieved more, much more than I wanted or expected. I wonder why then the same feeling of nothingness. My being has translated into a meaningful presence. My dreams have materialized into outcomes that I can see all around. Why I am not satisfied then?

I have told friends time and again that one must have something to live for; a hope or a dream to worship, a rainbow to follow. Could it be that I need to find new hopes and dreams? Could it be the lack of new goals that makes me feel without purpose? I guess I need to sight another rainbow. I need to find another destination. I need a new wish. A wish for what I want tomorrow to bring. And once I have set new goals and managed faith enough to follow them I will have peace.

But would it be so? New dreams will bring new uncertainties and I will find myself struggling against my own pessimism. So where do I end up? Where does this road lead? Where do I see myself in the days to come? Do I see myself without purpose or searching for a purpose with little hope of finding one? On one hand I dread the thought of nothingness on the other hand I cannot bear to feel the hollowness within any longer. I need to make another choice, another decision and overcome the consequent uncertainty. May be this is all there is to life. May be life really is a string of choices; decisions whose consequences only tomorrow will reveal. And till the outcomes become visible I can only struggle with the strength of my faith and the despair of my limitations.

I must take up another quest; a quest that will bring hardship and despair. But I must be strong. Only the strength of my will can liberate me from where I find myself today. And I must get past today. I must get past what I cannot bear today for tomorrow will be a better day. And I must not let tomorrow slip away, I must not let what tomorrow might bring slip away.

7.21.2004

Survival

I have never really believed in survival for the sake of survival; living for just being born and moving forward just to come to an end. The desire to witness the end of the road has always been there. At times the yearning to escape grew so strong that the hollowness of quitting appeared more promising than what tomorrow could bring. May be this is so because tomorrow is always a step farther than today. And if one can turn back today the journey seems much shorter. But is it really so. Is it really so simple to bring to an end what started without desire and has progressed farther and farther many a times without will?

I have wondered about life often about the injustice of birth and the tyranny of a life refusing to embrace death. I have hated survival time and again. If only letting go was easier. If only death was a solution more achievable than life itself. Denial is a tentative solution. Its fruits are as bitter as those of pretense. I have tried it still though only to discover its reality for myself. I think I do not give in easily once it comes to the question of giving up life. At times I thought I can never escape the ambivalence of living for nothing or dying for all that I believe in. I tried to convince to myself that if I believe in something strong enough to die for it then may be I should just live to prove that what I believe in is really worthy. But then for how long can one just keep wandering in a desert.

I do not believe in miracles though there was a time when I did. There was a time when I fell prey to the deceit of every mirage. Oasis! I tried to convince myself every time I came across a hope of life and as soon as my conviction to not believe gave in the new found faith in something better shattered. Ah! Such is life. Such is this supposed creation of a Divinity characterized by perfection. What perfection can one seek from a being so tainted by imperfection? Why does one need a Divine character at all? Why expect perfection from imperfection. Why not just let things be? Let things be and accept life as it is: imperfect.

I live an imperfect life. Life is imperfect. That is the way it is and always will be. Why do I need an imperfect Divinity to believe in. why do I need to carve an idol that I will only shatter myself in time. My first mistake was to make an idol to seek refuge from all I refused to accept. The second one was to worship that idol to an extent that it shattered my faith in myself. It is time now to take recourse; to pull myself together and embrace reality. I do not need an idol to worship. I must shatter the idol I carved. I must shatter the Divinity I created. I must wipe off the symptoms of my own imperfection. I must move on.

7.02.2004

Denial (a short story)

Certain things are always hard to accept. Sheila wondered if being an adult made it any easier for her than the four year old sitting next to her. She stared at him in silence, his ever inquisitive eyes questioning her. The boy asked again ‘mommy, where is daddy’. Sheila lightly stroked his hair taking him in her lap. She searched her minds for words she had been rearranging for over ten minutes now. ‘He is here’ she said unable to think of anything else. Ali gazed around the room and looked at her confused. Sheila knew this was going to be difficult. She had been pushing it further for a week now. She had sent Ali to her sister’s house the day his father was hospitalized again. The doctors had told her a year ago that her husband only had six months to live. He had outlived his time. The miracle had happened and faded away. This was it. Amir was dead and she had to accept it. She had to explain it to both herself and her son.

Every time Sheila thought of a story for Ali she could not get herself to believe it. Nothing could make it easier. Nothing could make it better. Her husband was dead, leaving herself a widow and her son an orphan. She could not get herself to think beyond this. Ali pulled at her sleeve, bringing her back to where she was, asking her the same question again and again. She could hear it echoing in her ears since the day Amir left. Mommy, where is daddy? Where is daddy? Where was Amir? Where was her son’s daddy?

Sheila shook her head as if trying to break out of a spell. This had to be a dream, an ugly dream. She must wake up now. She closed her eyes and opened them again. May be reality would change if she wished hard enough. Ali was getting impatient now. He was staring at her with his bright black eyes; wide open and waiting. Sheila looked at her son’s na├»ve face; innocence sprinkled with anxiety. He wanted to know where his daddy was. He wanted to know why he had been sent away from home for a week. She called him everyday to tell him she loved her. Every day he asked her if he could talk to daddy and every time she made up an excuse, Ali said the same thing. ‘Mommy, tell daddy I love him’. Sheila wished she could tell his daddy that he loved her; she wished mommy could tell daddy she loved him.

Sheila felt tears welling up in her eyes. She held her son’s arm firmly to draw strength enough to hold back emotion. She could not let him know. She could not break his heart. Ali looked up from her lap. He could sense mommy was upset. He knew something was wrong. ‘Are you mad at daddy, mommy?’ he asked innocently. Sheila shook her head. ‘No, no mommy is not mad at daddy’ the words deceived what she felt. How could she not be mad at the man she had fought with all her life and who had left her alone to fight her way through life? She had to tell Ali. She had to tell him a story. A story they both could believe and a story she could live for.

Sheila picked up one of Ali’s bed time tales. She read out to her son. She read out to herself. Daddy was Sindbad and Sindbad loved to sail. Sindbad loved to sail to far off lands. Sindbad loved his son and wife. He sent them gifts from wherever he went. He sailed for years in the oceans and traveled to new lands. And when his son grew old Sindbad came back. Sindbad came back to live with his family. And they lived happily ever after. Sheila, Amir and Ali lived happily ever after.