Friday, March 6, 2015

Choose To Look Up- Above Expectations and Beyond Horizons


“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and 

play with it.” 

You must believe the aforesaid words especially when a genius comic artist such as Charlie Chaplin says them. To break away from the monotony of our lives, humour becomes our ‘friend in need’ and if you notice closely, we laugh at things we relate to boy falling off a ladder, someone getting wet just because he was standing under someone’s balcony, how a man gets slapped for his marriage proposal.. We enjoy these little bouts of humour we may have left unnoticed or these scenes that may have been tucked into some corner of our brain while we were busy “living”.

It takes quite a lot of introspection to really make sense of Mr.Chaplin’s words. But come to think of it, we actually go through a process of experiencing grief and loss to then moving on to ridicule it. Maybe it is the christening of the step to finally move on to another set of grief and glories.
I am perhaps going through a terrible phase of my life with the sudden demise of my mother in Jan this year. And even in this entire paraphernalia, I saw myself ridiculing my grief, my stunned silence. I joked at being like a “stone-hearted daughter who shed no tear” or how we went for a vacation and returned never to be the same “we” again!
To be honest, it is relieving to choose to laugh at your pain than to writhe along. Agonizing through it will always seem much easier, what I saw and continue to see hundreds of visitors, relatives, well-wishers do. How the process of “mourning” is so crucial to settling them back to their normal lives from the very next day. I know I won’t be this easily out of the shock but then I refuse to bow before it, allowing the monster to swallow me from my head first.

Sometimes I end up offending people when I tell them that they were lucky not to be around when mum passed away. I try telling them kindly, how it was irrelevant, whoever was present in those 5-10minutes of suffocation and struggle she went through. But they don’t understand. They seem to have no idea how it is to light your mother’s pyre, to touch her cold, lifeless, decomposing body. To know that this one moment will be your last when you get to touch her. Hugging her felt terrible, for the warmth was gone!

And the most difficult part?

To hold on to your twelve-year old sister but allowing her to see her dead mother. This would be her last memory of her.
I can go on talking about those four days of our “family trip” and how she was perfectly fine until those last 10minutes of her life but then who’d understand?
I choose to instead show people her pictures, how I managed to click her smiling.. I remind people of the pranks she’d play or the jokes she’d crack. Her favourite books, serials, lipsticks and perfumes.
I do sneak into her almirah sometimes. It smells of her. The other day I saw an teaser of this upcoming Bengali show where a guy from the army expressed how he’d miss his Ma’s smell the most and would go sleep in her lap the first thing after returning home. I feel like a dog, sniffing around the house, tracing her through her leftovers.

It is a joke me and my sister share. We pretend she’s gone to Kolkata like she had in September. We keep listening to her Whatsapp audio messages I’d taught her to record.
It is during such times that you feel like closing in. Restricting your life to those you cannot live without. I did that. But I didn’t stop there. I made sure I let go of the pretentious people I once addressed as “friends” and I observed people. Strangers, especially those dealing with the loss of loved ones. It somehow gave me strength and I heavily relied on Gandhiji’s treatise of when your loss seems to grave, try looking at someone who is ‘poorer than you’.

One such example would be this extraordinary woman:

Imagine the kind of determination it takes to come out of a loss and then dare to dream again, to live fully; to trust people and to believe in the goodness of Nature and God.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do 

that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 

I also know of this young fellow of my age who was suffering from Cancer, such that his limbs had started to melt with all the medications he was going through. I remember my mother staying in his hospital room for hours, meditating for him. She’d stay hungry and thirsty for hours and not blink an eye. And when he’d fall really ill, she’d have tears in her eyes and say, “I wish I could make him alright. He is so young and he deserves to live.”

Today, as miraculously as is my agnostic belief in an Almighty, that Guy is Cancer-free. He is resuming his studies and coming back to normalcy!
How does a logical person explain this? The truth is, there are no answers. And when we do not find answers, we have two paths; one, to either let go of everything and just mourn and die. And the other would be to laugh at these perplexing circumstances we are brought into every now and then!

I’m pretty sure everyone is aware of the recent controversy of BBC interviewing of the rapists of Jyoti Singh who is popularly addressed to as “Nirbhaya”. The Indian Government has banned the documentary. I thought initially that it was a good move to stop the maligning of my nation.
However, I watched the documentary and was stunned. I cried.
And, mind you, I did not cry at my mother’s funeral.

But I cried when I heard what the rapist had to say about the incident. And more disgustingly, the defence lawyers called women to be “flowers” that can be either trampled if kept in the street or revered if kept in a temple! We’re gems even precious than diamonds that need to be protected by men. And for crying out loud, all that Jyoti did was watch a movie(evening show!) with a male friend!
How can one stop mocking such people outright! 

While such documentaries bring out the stinging realities of our society and thus have been shunned down, we have people like Laxmi who did not give up even after the horrific acid attack on her. She has started her own NGO and runs various campaigns regarding crime against women through it.

Losing hope will always be an option, like the albatross around our neck. Opt to take problems in life, face on. Halt and spend some time with your grief and hope will bicker in.

You’ll Never Find A Rainbow If You Are Looking Down

When we talk of inspiration we gaze towards the horizon but then horizon is just another imaginary line. Look around, for we find stories of courage, determination, hope and experiences of life that mold us into better human beings. The next step of getting inspired is to inspire others. This my friend, is the circle of life.

I wish to thank Housing for a prompt named “Looking Up” which made me realise how often I’ve looked down at my feet, sore and withered in the biting cold. But what if, I choose today to gaze at the sky, smile at the sun and let the world know,

If you liked reading my post or you didn't..if you have two words of advice to give or take, do let me know so in the comments below!