Tomorrow Will Be A Better day?

There it is. Brewing in the corner of my eye: darkness that eats light whole. How long could it stay away? I light lamps everywhere, that’s what I’ve taught myself to do. It’s the only way I survive. But the dark always watches from beyond the boundary of my light, sitting at the edge of my laughter, waiting. It is a shrieking gale that comes time and again to blow the flames out. And at times I’m too tired to light the lamps all over again.

I’ve been enchanted by a magician’s trick, too focused on the diversion, on the distraction to see through the illusion. Now the trick becomes clearer, and I wake up from this drugged stupor I’ve been in, happy and high in my head. The withdrawal is acid. In my heart, in my gut, in my windpipe and in my sight.

If I am one of the lost, floating on these dark placid waters in my little dingy with the rest of these adrift souls, then I see more than I should to remain calm. I taste my purpose and don’t understand its flavour: like seeing a person you have loved your whole life and being unable to conjure up a drop of love for them. You know you should love them because you always have, and yet one day the love is dead and it has been dead so long, you didn’t even notice when it turned to dust and vanished.

I am appalled at how comfortable I am in the jaws of this staid, numb life. Afraid to rock the dingy, afraid to follow through on what I know makes me happy. Always the fear. Be brave, the magician told me once, as he pulled out the rabbit from his hat and handed it to me. I thought he intended it as a gift solely for me. But the rabbit was the diversion: a side road into the pretty countryside when the moon was at its beautiful best. For that one night, the world was lit silver and blue and my mind knew no other colour. But then came morning, bright and blazing and yellow, and I was suddenly reacquainted with the sun and how little I had done to reduce the distance between us. The sun no longer questioned me, I had silenced him long ago. He had been my dream and now he asked me for the first time in years, “What happened to you?”

When I whisper about this darkness to other lost souls they shush me. With fluttering hands and soothing murmurs they stroke my bruises. “Don’t think too much, here drink.” “Don’t worry too much, here smoke.” “Don’t be too much, here eat.” “Don’t say too much, here sleep.” For them tomorrow is a land of perpetual comfort. Today is just an off day, tomorrow will be good. But today, in this pain, I feel more awake, more alive than I have been in a long time. I don’t want pipe dreams. I want the jagged truth. Even if I cut myself holding it to my chest. I don’t want to wake up to a tomorrow that numbs me, that allows my mind to anaesthetise itself so I can go through the day without screaming out loud. I don’t want a tomorrow as much as I want a today.

And I don’t want a today as much as I want a now.

Deep Divers And Snorkelers

In my instagram series called The Travelling Earring (because it’s about a travelling earring) I posted a picture of a conversation between a Swedish cat and the earring. The cat drawled, “You know T, I’ve seen a lot of people. And there are two types I’ve observed that constantly chafe against one another. If we imagine life as this beautiful, natural blue pool, deep as a TS Eliot poem, then the first kind dives in till say 1-2 metres max and resurfaces for breath. They can never go beyond that depth, it’ll kill them. The second kind dive in deep, they go beyond that level and more, even if they suffer without air to breathe, even if it kills them. And it is the lack of understanding between these two kind that breaks each of them.”

The deep divers, I’d dare say people like myself, tend to harbour a grudge against the snorkelers. But with time and the wisdom pills it keeps chucking my way, I’ve come to realise the snorkelers aren’t truly at fault. Someone, some time, while they were growing up taught them that to feel too much, to think too much, to be too much equals pain. Even media drives home the same point: pick up any newspaper, switch on the TV to any channel, scroll down your news feed and you’ll understand why it is better to be a Panda and chew bamboo shoots without a care in the world. Because the world is out to break you and if you remain open, unprotected, thinking and feeling too much, it will succeed.

The snorkelers choose happiness and succulent, two-second distractions to get through the day. They have hardly any expectations from friendships or relationships and are happy with the little they get from everybody. They know they are at the top of no one’s priority list, and they themselves keep no lists. For them life is a very in-the-moment experience: “The person I am with now is the most important person to me and tomorrow will be another day.” Over the years sedimentary deposits of time calcify these hearts and they become impervious to anything real or honest. Hopping from one stone to another in a stream, holding onto and letting go of light and frivolous bonds, they never really get more than their toes wet. I don’t blame them but I do wish for another perspective for them.

I was looking at an experiment the other day for work. It was about how a paint company had created these goggles for the colour blind so they could experience the range of colours that hitherto they couldn’t. The man who could only see shades of blue couldn’t stop crying at the beautiful, intense hue that was purple. The woman who had only seen one shade of green, was speechless at the different shades she could discern for the first time in her life. That is my gut instinct about the snorkelers. While they have seen the pain of a life lived deeply, they haven’t experienced the pure, unadulterated joy of that life. And that life makes for the closest thing to a truth in a world that seems more smoke than real.

By all means stay a snorkeler, but not because you never dove deep, but because you did and still choose to remain so. Without knowing, without giving something a chance, without allowing the mind to freely entertain a thought, one cannot decide who one is.

Relationships (family and friends) are sacred. I want full immersion in each other’s lives and the kind of love and understanding an extended family has for one another. I want my friends to know the little details of my life because those matter. And I want to know what’s going on with them. But even these expectations are at times foiled simply because not all my friends are deep divers, I dare say, a few of them are snorkelers. It’s hard to understand them at times because they have literally accepted the least threshold of expectations from others. While some say that is the path to happiness, I say unless you’re seeking nirvana like a Guru, that is a fake path to a temporary happiness. You don’t build a foundation out of cotton because it’ll be easier to lug to the construction site. Stones do the trick but they cost you in effort.

This is my truth, and someone else’s may differ vastly from it. And for all my talk of Snorkelers not being deep enough, I do value the diversity and perspective they bring to my life. I just wish at times that they’d dive a bit deeper with me, it would make for less frustration and who knows maybe they’ll like it at the deeper end.