As I walk down the promenade near the sea, I chance upon a bunch of teenagers frolicking around, the mirth melodious and infectious. I can’t help remembering the time when I laughed in gay abandon without a care for the world. Surrounded by genuine friends and family.
Smiling at the joyful memories, I am reminded of my travails through the formative years. Abundance of happiness, intellectual discussions over snacks, tea and sweets. On literature, music, poetry, theatre, sports and politics. People genuinely interested in knowing what I was doing and about my future. So much din and laughter floated around that we would lose the track of time.
However times change suddenly. You realise that it doesn’t take much time for adversity to overpower you. And the only choice you have is to muster enough courage and a mind of steel to deal with situations that you had never even dreamt of, engulf you, with your back to the wall. Adversity is a ruthless and relentless enemy. In such situations no one is a friend. You are on your own. When days and nights dissolve aimlessly and solitude is your best friend.
Such is life. Happiness and sorrow go together. One balances the other. But I would never want anyone to experience such crises. Of course they don’t come to very many.
In your rough times people misunderstand your emotions. They consider you aloof, strange, selfish and keep away. It is a constant effort trying to shield those close to you from such intimate pain, camouflaging your emotional upheavals. Dealing with them silently, away from prying eyes. It is a battle of grit.
A sudden loss adds to the already rocking boat and reminds you of how fickle life is. You live from moment to moment, one day at a time. The dalliance of society that you live in is certainly not pleasant. It laughs at your predicament, forcing you to step back or step aside, avoiding friction. For you know that there are enough battles to fight, which are far greater in magnitude.
But the experiences sharpen and change you as a person. Metamorphosis really. Turns you into someone you never imagined you would be. Divine timings become evident, as if God walks with you when you are all alone. From the ceaseless pain pulsating through every sinew of your being evolves sanity of another kind. You turn into a seeker of peace and solace. A silent observer who misses nothing, is never fooled for a moment, but stands still so as not to disturb the surrounding tranquility so painstakingly wrested from the wombs of turmoil. From an extrovert you turn into an introvert, who is alert all the time.
And then, all of a sudden, someone crosses your path who imposes on your thoughts and your perspective. You feel the divine timing, as if God’s hand has come and touched you. Some laugh it off as a figment of imagination. But you have to face such adversity to be able to come so close to divinity. When you are living at the edge of time.
The raw pain of loss inflicted upon you time and again is a huge deterrent to positive emotions. Leo Tolstoy says, ‘The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.’ Yet, one knows, having gone through searing torment, that both are also transient.