It’s lights out and I’m high as a kite, and I keep thinking about me, you, us, him, her and them. This whole generation, the so-called millennials. I keep wondering if we’ll ever stand out. When will we make our point? Is it cigarettes? Travel? Artistic expression? No. Social media? SEO engagement? NO! What, then? And did the past generations know it at the time? Did they know that they would make it to the eternal eras? Maybe they just skipped a heartbeat, and maybe our generation is yet to die out. But I miss the Woody Allens, the Linklaters and the Scorceses. And where are the Mitchells, the Dylans and the Floyds, the Armstrongs, the Mandelas and the Musks, and the Hawkings, the Einsteins and the deGrasse Tysons? Are they hiding in plain sight, or have I turned deaf and blind towards the good, the wondrous and the beautiful? I wish I knew. I wish I knew if we are all doomed, doomed to fret wistfully over the adolescence of our times and the beautiful nostalgia of the past.
The frivolity of death has always bewildered me.
Sometimes I feel close to it. I sense it around me, slowly inching forwards. I hear it inside my own beating heart and in the hopes and dreams of the people I love. Some nights when I can’t sleep, I can see it hovering, lingering, lurking in the shadows that dance on the walls, whispering with the moonlight. I dive inside a blanket, shut my eyes tightly and plug my fingers in my ears but now there is a loud ringing in my ears, the shadows on the wall are dancing on the canvas of my mind and death is suddenly a spiraling loop of the faces of my loved ones, creeping closer every day.
Sometimes I see it in the vastness of the ocean, an endless, bottomless life form that breathes and recedes, exhales and flows and engulfs our dead. The living seem as dead as the dying, and it pains to see precious lives die a little more with each nightfall.
And yet I’ve known a few moments, when life pushes me to the brink, right at the edge, the closest I could get to the stairway to heaven, and I do not even think about death; I simply live. I know it when I make heady, passionate love. I feel it in the thin air at the top of the mountain. I welcome it when I take a hit, smoke a joint, piss in the wind, howl at the moon, succumb to the highs and soar among the clouds. I can sense life in the trickles of water that drip down my skin after a dive. I can taste it in my nostalgia as I summon memories of sunshine, laughter and friendship.
It mesmerizes me, amazes me and drowns me. I am befuddled, still, at the transience of life. After all our struggles, ups and downs, hits and misses, what remains is the absurd frivolity of life and death.
It was almost like a summer romance; a friendship that was as sudden and unlikely as rains in March. The three of us first met on a train speeding to Delhi – the start to an awesome trek in the Himalayas. One was a lanky curly-haired boy of 21, who alternated dangerously between acting like he’s five, or getting lost deep in thought. The other was a sweet-looking helpful girl who I didn’t really interact with during the trek… Not in my wildest dreams did I think three such varied individuals would become inseparable within less than a month’s time.
It began simply for one reason, that of the trekking group of 15 or so, we were the only three people who had ‘time’ on our hands. We were all unemployed; I was awaiting professional qualification after which I was sure to start job-hunting, and these two were 2 years younger than me and had much lesser worries of education and jobs.
And so it began. We were like three forever-hungry and almost-always-broke teenagers, and on most days we had no option but to lock ourselves in my room, shut the blinds and watch back-to-back movies, since we could not afford going out. On lucky days when one of us had some money, we treated ourselves to chicken subs and wraps, and that too secretly, as it was in addition to what my Mom used to prepare for lunch.
Now, I had already realized that living with the parents past The Twenties is a big disadvantage. To top that, these two taking up residence plus dining in my room, was maddening enough for my parents, but they were pretty much helpless, save the weekly fights we had on the ‘kind of friends I bring into the house’, and how ‘I was wasting my life’. Nothing unusual there…
We all knew this was short-lived, and would come to an end once one of us started working, or my parents decided to throw us all out, whichever happened earlier. We thus had an unspoken pact to spend every waking moment together. We prepared bucket lists of movies and series to watch, and devoured brilliant films of every possible genre, day after day.
The evenings were the highlight of our time together. The best part about my building is a terrace on the 10th floor, which has a splendid view of mountains and city lights around the necklace-shaped bend in the road on one side, and speeding lights of cars zooming down the highway on the other. It was this terrace that had become our sanctuary, and here we retreated to enjoy our evenings with delicious chicken steamed Momos, and some John Mayer playing in the background.
Conversations were never needed on such evenings. We were dreamers, artists in our own ways. Silence itself was our conversation, and we were often at peace, lost in synchronized thoughts, perhaps… When the moon rose and the sky reminded us of the nights spent in the Himalayas under a glorious blanket of stars, I knew we all felt that connection some alive within us.
Looking back on those days right now, I would honestly be perplexed at how we spent 2 months doing absolutely nothing productive or worthwhile to boast of. But then I remember the laughs, the music, the fights, the wrestling, occasional partying, and I know they were magical days we may never get back… A life-long summer friendship, and some moments of peace that vanish in a heartbeat…
Housing.com is this new wonderful thing on real estate that everyone’s been talking about… Although personally I doubt I could find something there as wonderful as my terrace and these long-past moments with friends!
It’s an important date. It used to mark anniversaries of a past love. Year after year of gifts and romance, cards and special surprises, then absence, distance, bitter fights to coming back stronger with a sweeter love. The aging date stole time from under our young, naive eyes, only to throw them back at me as memories of a lost dimension.
5 anniversaries later, I started resenting the lost years of stumbling through life unquestioning, unaware of who I was and where I was headed. I was restless, and I knew this time the upheaval was far too big to be subdued under compromise. I knew then, that I would always be restless in love. I would always be certain only of what I don’t want, and always seeking what I want.
On 21st November last year, I bade goodbye to my first love, scared of letting go and guilty of having hurt him. But my instincts told me I’m doing the right thing. A year later, and nothing has changed; but nothing’s the same any more.
Who knew so much could happen in a year, especially so much of what would ultimately be remembered with either sadness, guilt or regret? I believed I was still the same person inside, just doing things I didn’t usually do. It’s just a phase, and I’m living someone else’s borrowed lifestyle of excessive partying, drinking and occasional screwups, I kept telling myself. Well, not anymore. This girl is sobering down, it’s done and resolved.
The date is still significant. This year the clock struck 12 and time passed by a drunk me in a stranger’s arms. It gave me a good hard much-needed slap on the face. It left me wringing my hands in despair, and the more I thought of what I’m doing the more I fell into depression, terrified of confessing to anyone for fear of being judged, and completely clueless of how to get out of this mess.
So I wrote this post and decided that if there’s one thing I knew about myself, it was that I’m not a coward. I told myself to take a deep breath and start by being completely honest, without fearing who I might lose in this process. Once again, this date seems to have woken me up from a deep stupor.
I guess now the date marks my years of stumbling down an unknown path, stubbornly alone, just as unaware of who I am, and just as sure of what I don’t want.
I hope you forgive me
Each time I go
That are just mine
As I tread these solitary paths
I wish to create some imaginary ones
To retrace in my later years
As boulevards for my nostalgia
I hope you forgive me
When I hop far and wide
Trying to dodge
the reaches of society,
nursing my wanderlust,
Like the horizon waiting in earnest
For the orange rays of the setting sun
I come full circle
and merge into myself
Lost, submerged in the splendor
of each caress, each breath of nature,
And the wonder of feeling so alive.