Very recently while chatting with a friend, I happened to say, “Probably I am living my life in reverse”. That was a strange thing to say perhaps. But there was so much of truth in it. When I was young I desired for adventures, mysteries and mischief in life. But today there is a desire to lead a simple and calm life devoid of any kind of complexities. I have realized that life is good on its own and it does not require any stimuli or excitement to make it lively. These days a pleasant breeze when I return home or a whiff in the air of the approaching rains or a sudden early leave from office makes me happy. When I was young my senses were too numb by the otherwise “fun” in my life probably.
Back in 1998 when I was having my first tequila shot of my life, a Chinese friend of mine had suddenly said that back in Sweden (where he used to work) boys and girls stopped having “fun” once they cross the age of 18/19 years. That’s because by that time they had kind of finished having all kinds of “fun”. I didn’t know why exactly he had made that comment. Probably because he had felt that an Indian girl (me) was having too much ‘fun’ by the then Indian standards. I mean a 17 year old Bong girl from a ‘decent’ family sitting in some remote resort and having tequila with some 10 years older guys could have been considered kind of ‘bravado’ then.
And it was just the tip of the iceberg. In the next 10 years, I had seen myriad facets of enjoyment, fun, pain, complexities, desires and depression. Sometimes I had failed to segregate the incidents and the emotions. It seemed like one solid whole. I had borne the burden for a long long time and then one day I just got tired and thought of putting it down. And from that day I feel so much lighter. I feel smile and laughter is just so easy. Being spontaneous is such a fantastic feeling. Having a simple life is often such a difficult task and I had spent a decade of my life just to realize that. And now that I have realized it, I make an effort to keep my life simple everyday. Now I have few friends, few places to go, and few people to meet. I have planned routined days and try to go to sleep early at night. At times it becomes monotonous. But looking back I feel this life which I have today is so much better than the maddeningly fast paced and complicated life that I once used to have.
The other day somebody told me about life getting complicated once we grow old. I feel all human beings have this urge to “return to the innocence”. Being simple is not that simple though. It requires a kind of maturity and an understanding of life. Understanding that there can be happiness in just having a walk on a cool evening, or having roadside biryani when budget-to-enjoy is limited or just listening to music on the mobile phone. Life perhaps tries to give us a lot of happiness in simple ways but our complicated (or rather uninitiated) mind often fails to register them. We miss out a lot when we fail to respect and cherish SIMPLICITY. I also feel that everything successful and great is all essentially very simple.
I go to office and I come home. And in this continuous repetitive action, I feel I have become so much like a zombie. For 8-9 hours everyday, I am surrounded by many other zombies - both living and non-living. I end up spending most of my time with a demonic machine called computer, trying to exchange thoughts. And in my effort to interact with this machine, I feel my ability to interact with humans has lessened incredibly.
I dont know how many times I have actually thought about it...but at times it bothers me. Cant remember when it started happening, what were the initial syndromes, what were the causes... But I can see the result. It grows in me everyday. This thing which I have recently detected in me, but I realise that it has already spread its deep root inside me.
This thing inside me which I call "zombieness"....
Sometimes it feels like a disease which I am suffering from. This disease which kills emotions inside me. It kills at a drastical rate and relentlessly. And I can feel the damage.
Like I can remember crying for hours over a heart break. But that was years back. Now it just does not happen. Sometimes my eyes do get moist or I shed a drop or two of tears. But I dont weep. Or when I do its more out of a need for catharsis. Lot of things pile up - stress, loneliness, neglect. And probably only sometimes in the privacy of bathroom or a cab ride, I cry. But there is hardly any sense of acute pain. Only a feeling of barrenness, a void inside.
Sometimes I feel its like a comfortable habit...this sense of zombieness. I have got used to it so much that I dont even feel the need to recover. It has made me form my own shell. And once inside, a lot of things do not bother me anymore.
When I get home these days there is hardly any exchange of words with anybody. Its not that I am not conscious of the warmth that presence of family gives me. But I feel my shell too around me all the time. Not that I am so immersed in my world that I am oblivious of everything else. I dont even have a feeling of my own world. There is this dearth of passion in most of my actions. Sometimes I feel I have become like that PC in my office, dynamic but yet so mechanic.
But this zombieness is not always that bad. At times it saves me from expecting. It also saves me from anger. Something snaps inside me at the right moment and stops me from getting angry or even expect. Then I am left with just a feeling of detachment.
Not that I have no reason to get angry. Rather I have so many that I fear they might just drive me to insanity. So, the shell helps, zombieness helps. I can just cut the cord inside me and set myself free. This freedom which is the essence of my whole existence today makes me write my mind. It gives me the courage to live my life on my own terms, it gives me the strength to fight my fears.
I dont believe in the concept of forgiving because I have never consciously done that. I have just forgotten. All the pain and bitterness, all the tears and tortures. And in the process I caught on to this zombieness. Not that it does not have any impact on my happiness. It has curbed my sense of happiness. I laugh and smile with honesty but I generally monitor my happiness, my involvements. I have this hard shell around me which no happiness, no pain, no anger can break. Inside that shell I am free, free from the world around.
But there is this feeling of nostalgia, this desire for a "return to innocence", which makes me hate my zombieness a bit. I wish I could know whether I love my zombieness or I dont. I sometimes wish I didnt have this sense of zombieness. I wish I could connect with my family and friends the way I used to some years back.
In the swirls and turns of Sufis and Bauls
In the music of Fakirs and Ektara
Sometimes when I keep lying on my bed awake till late in the night
Sometimes when I forget to take the next bus and keep walking for long
And when I stand alone in my terrace and get drenched in a sudden shower
And when I sit in a crowded night lounge getting blinder by the disco lights
I see you, I see him.....
Much familiar, much stranger
I do not see your face but I often rest my head on his chest
I know he is real, I know you are my imagination
I have walked with you for miles but have hardly spoken to him
Your mystery haunts me at night, his smile makes me happy
I see your strong arms and I wish he holds me forever
There is a train waiting, I listen to the whistle
Where is this train going?
Is the train moving?
Which station is this?
I get down and walk to find out....
I am lost....
I run to catch the train, I board it
And now I forget my destination
I look at the next station and the next...
All station looks the same....Where do I get down? Am I lost?
Should I stop waiting for a station?
Should I just take a leap
Probably I know you will hold me
I know you arms are strong
You shine like a golden man and I burn!