sometimes we are emptied.
We are emptied
Life wants us to know
– Em Claire
Have you ever noticed how everything is suddenly so short lived around us? How come we don’t spend hours sitting at a coffee shop with friends, endless conversations and innumerable cups of hot cappuccino, pearls of laughter, leg- pulling and reminiscing old memories. When did these short gaps of talking end up being mere comparisons of who achieved what and who traveled where? Savings are no longer discussed openly. How come it was easier to talk to your friends when you were broke and had no money? A time when savings never existed and when debit and credit were mere words.
How come we don’t have long dinners that bring families together? The short, formal, sit-downs – do they satisfy people? I am sure they want those long evenings, with families meeting, drinking in abundance and laughing over childhood stories. Sagas covering decades of life – lived, experienced and innumerable incidents that have now met with blurred vision, old soft skin. Wrinkles laced with years of stories, tales of love, people and sorrow. What makes it so difficult to invest emotionally today? How come family events are now divided, making you simply, just another guest?
When did work goals become so abrupt? When did deadlines that lasted weeks in the past end up being measured in hours? How come we don’t have those long leisurely weekends? Where did all the free time go away? When did it become so difficult to balance it all out?
How can we expect our emotions to sustain when we don’t invest enough time doing things that matter or spend time with people we love? Our emotions are equally short-lived, like waves, violent, loud and deep and still just like waves, short, subtle and dead when it reaches the shore. Extreme isn’t it?
I always feel that we will be a lonely generation. Some people merely call me cynical. Some blame it on
my past. Some never respond. Some of us realize it; some of us don’t bother to think about it because we are busy. We are looking for our goals, our aim, the perfect partner, the truth, the purpose. Some of us find it. Some of us just live with what life throws at us. Short lived love, short lived jobs, short lived purpose.
We are nothing but ephemeral. Like soft bubbles. Here, and then gone away.
She was choosing the chicken pieces from the chicken and basil tomato salad bowl quietly at a slow pace. Every little thing she served herself was then served in another plate, in either the same or more quantity. Her partner and she were occupying the smallest and the quietest corner table they could have found at the spacious buffet restaurant at Marriot. The place was bubbling with energy, people sharing conversations over food, children running around the dessert servings, waiters serving portions of mixed Indian breads.
As my friends and myself carried on with our conversations, gorging on food and desserts, laughing over silliness of random people, I would, catch a glimpse of her every now and then. It would surprise me that she would spend so much energy in serving two portions every single time from each laid table. Her face had a calmness that is difficult to explain. She had small brown eyes and every single time she looked up, she would smile back instantly. It was like she was answering all my questions. I was at that point just unable to read them. Her grey hair was witness to all these years of experiences she had gathered.
I was curious about her and her partner. Each time I tried looking in the direction of her table, I only saw the face of a man, smiling at her warmly. They were enjoying a nice, personal dinner on Saturday night. It warmed me that people their age, had decided to come in, have a nice dinner on a Saturday night rather than sit and watch television at home over a meal of porridge cooked by the wife. I did wonder several times as to why the man wouldn’t serve himself. And in between my conversations with my friends, and of course tons of activity around food, I did try and take a peek at him, but for some reason my vision of him was obstructed by the soup and salad bar.
We continued having dinner and stuffed ourselves with a million types of desserts and fruits and decided it was time to head home. My friends wanted to have a smoke outside and so we were standing in the smoking zone, observing people, a favourite activity Indians have inherited in their genes. We love observing people, we are also unfortunately pretty loud about our opinions of them in social settings. We gave in to our genes and continued talking about people, their cars, their behavior and such. Then as we waited for the car, we saw an auto-rickshaw in the hotel drive-through.
The auto-rickshaw had come to pick up the brown-eyed lady and her husband. They had finished their evening meal and supposedly were now heading home. It took the old man a while before he could get into the rickshaw. Moving your entire body-weight from a wheel chair to an auto-rickshaw is going to be a tedious task. I found my answer. I was humbled by them. By their sheer will to survive, to come to a dinner on Saturday night and not choose the easy option of sitting at home because of his inability to move around comfortably.
Each of us, we fall in love easily. Unfortunately, we fall out of it even more easily. I asked myself a million times since I saw them there. What could have motivated them to go through that evening but sheer love and the want to enjoy an evening together. Just by themselves. She was committed to serve him every single thing and make sure he enjoyed his meal. He was committed to taking the pain of coming to a hotel, that is not handicap- friendly, unfortunately. (of course this topic deserves another note)
That is what I wish for each one of us. Pure dedication and commitment in our relationships. For me this was an enlightening experience to go through it all, to witness mere strangers change my life and realize that if the world were falling apart right now, each one of us should have someone looking out for them, no matter what.
You know its the longest day in the world when everything seems slow and words fail you. When you want to say things and you want to move on and you feel like you are stuck in a box.
You know its the longest day when you walk out of the house in the dark and realize there is never going to be a day when you walk back in.
You know its the longest day when you might have moved on because you realize you cannot even fantasize of the person anymore. When things from the past, are spoken about in wry humour. That they may sometimes pierce your heart because you wonder when you became so hard about a soft emotion like love. Or when did the feeling of love and genuine affection for someone turn into anger and sarcasm.
You know its the longest day when you wake up with a smile and you sleep with a smile, but you know you would have been more comfortable to find your own space in tears.
You know its the longest day when you take one step closer to the future and you are taking one step away from the past in the same breath and you have to deal with the mixed emotions together.
Have you ever felt like you are standing at the edge of a cliff? Like you may feel two extreme emotions and feel them with the same intensity. When you may want to roar with laughter and burst with tears together. The exact feeling when you are anxious and of course relieved in the same moment.
That moment precisely is when you know. That you are moving on. Fresh skin is replacing the soft scab on the wound. But its going to take time.