Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Love - One word that says it all

The following is a first-person narrative dating back to my school days. I must’ve been really motivated at the time, to have put myself in another's shoes and written this piece of fiction, the way it turned out to be. Or maybe I was just finding more interesting ways to keep myself occupied, by letting my mind and in turn my pen and notebook venture into new unexplored territories, as I sat through a free-period in school.
I must confess I found my old piece of writing quite juvenile to start with, when I read it after all these years. And so I ended up adding a little here and there and even did away with a line or two. But for those minor changes, everything else is essentially the way it was written all those years ago ! I would say, certain emotions and feelings are never too old and never really qualify as passé. It’s for the sake of this very emotion that’s ageless and universal, that I put up this article here. Well, that’s just my thought. You can decide for yourself as you read on… (Be warned that you may need to put aside all logic for a bit as you read the story below, as it is after all a work of pure fiction that I wrote as a teenager!)

> I loved her like I have loved no else before or ever will hereafter. I was crazy, possessed, obsessed, call it what you may, all in the name of love. But nothing came close to describing and nothing will ever diminish the intensity of what I felt for her, since the very first time I met her!
I do not seek to rationalize this feeling. For the very feeling is euphoric enough to make me drift away into a world of my own and not wish to return. But I ask aloud all the same. Is this really what they call Love? Or is this just another malady masquerading as love? If it is some sort of malady then what is the cure, is there an antidote to revive the person who has fallen straight into its depths? Who can explain why one willingly devotes all one’s time, one’s heart, mind and soul to a special someone, someone who can neither be replaced nor forgotten? Why does one wait endlessly for just one phone call, a note or even a few precious moments to be spent only with that someone when the world around has so much else to offer? Why does one have that burning desire to catch a glimpse of that person’s face, even if it’s just a fleeting glimpse in passing? Why does one seek out that one person in a crowd and strain one’s ears just to listen to that familiar voice time and again? And why does the sound of that voice or a whiff of that person’s perfume in the air put a smile on our faces for no apparent reason? The answers to all these questions I may never find, but one thing is for sure, if you believe in love, it will never let you down.
I am now going to narrate our story, which many a heart that has been in love may be able to relate to, to some extent atleast.
From the moment she walked into my life, I knew that we were meant to be together till the end of time. She was everything that I had ever wished for and to me there was no world beyond her. Her cheery smile and friendly ‘hello’ was all it took to brighten up my day. I relied on her presence in my life so completely that it did not matter where I was, who else was around or even if I was breathing or not anymore, as long as she was there beside me. Everything around felt beautiful and perfect when we were together, and it seemed as if this blissful feeling would prevail in our lives forever.
And then we broke up. The grand dreams we had built like sandcastles on a beach were then washed away by the wave of misunderstanding. It was as if a thousand daggers had all found their target in me as they struck me down hard. Till then I was living in a prolonged sweet dream; now I was all awake and sitting up and she was gone. No one could possibly understand and if at all someone could, words would not be enough to express the agony this breaking up lead to.
The two of us had been like two leaves on the same branch with similar thoughts, aspirations and ideas and our lives were evergreen with happiness that knew no end and sorrow had no room in our hearts. We were inseparable and the strong bond of love between us promised to keep the two of us together for all eternity. But now everything suddenly seemed impossible and our love seemed like an illusion.
The days that followed our break-up were miserable to say the least. I soon lost my appetite and spent many sleepless nights just staring into empty space. And even when I struggled to get some rest by closing my eyes, visions of her haunted me making me feel helpless about all that had happened. I so desperately wanted her back by my side.
No one, not even the closest of my friends could divert my mind to some other thought. Day in and day out, she was all I had in mind, she was the light that made me see, the air that kept me breathing and the blood that coursed through my veins. Now I was a broken man, feeling blind and choking in her absence. As time passed my condition became worse and a visit to the doctor confirmed that I was physically ill, not to mention the mental torture I was going through.
Then one day, it happened. As I sat on my wall reading a tragic love story just like ours, I felt for the first time in weeks, a strong urge to go and meet her. I don’t know what made me feel that way but something inside me told me that if I did not see her then, I would not be seeing her ever again.
Deciding to walk over to her house right away, I jumped off the wall. But I just couldn’t move a step as my mind kept telling me to hold back while my heart forced me to proceed. Finally I gave in to my heart, which had a very special place for her and her alone.
As I walked, I felt I was taking a trip down memory lane. The thought of our wonderful past together then brought out memories of our very first date. With warm tears rolling down my cheeks, I moved on but I just couldn’t make it to my love’s house. Before I even realized what was happening, I blacked out.
I remember no more but when I opened my eyes again, I realized I was lying on a hospital bed. Doctors, nurses, my friends and even she was there at my bedside. Or was it really her ? Maybe my mind was playing games with me, just like fate had all these years. But one thing was unmistakable, something I could not have missed with my eyes wide open; all of them were solemnly looking down at me in the saddest manner.
It was only later that I learnt that I had an enlarged heart and that I was not going to live for much longer. The thought of dying did not worry me, but some of my so-called friends now joked among themselves saying that the enlargement of my heart had been caused by my love and that it would keep on enlarging as long as my love for her kept growing within. When I heard this, it hurt me most.
But all this is to be forgotten. Its time to make amends. Whatever they said is partly true. The love I have for her in my heart will never cease to grow. And as I lie on my bed, awaiting death to come and embrace me, I strongly believe that people may die, but love never dies and that it is forever. This lifetime may not have seen us together, but someday she and I will meet again and start a brand new story of our own. < As a footnote, I’d like to add that I believe in the following

– ->-@ Love is formless, ageless and timeless and it surpasses the limitations of our mortal mind and physical form.

->-@ Love is the purest of feelings that transcends the boundaries that we have created for ourselves like caste, creed, religion, social status and race. It is thereby not bound or restricted by the colour of our skin, our gender, our nationality, the tongue we speak in or by the worldly wealth we possess.
->-@ Love is not about the possession or the ownership of another, it is the joy and contentment in knowing that you are together no matter what and nothing will stand in between or separate you, not time, not distance, not even death. It does not seek to be qualified nor does it get altered in any way by the adjectives we prefix it with, be it romantic, platonic, young, old, new, motherly, brotherly, sisterly and so on and so forth.
->-@ Love is not limited to be shared just between lovers. All living beings have the innate potential and the right to love and be loved by every other living being around regardless of their way of life, thinking and all else.
For Love is more than all of that. It is a way of life. And Love is Immortal just like all of us.

So love with all you’ve got and welcome the warmth of love into your lives. Let its magic and healing powers transform your lives. Remember, it is Love that forges a relationship so let not a relationship define and decide if love should enter your life.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Memories of a LifeTime

She walked in and heads turned around in the packed room. For a moment there was absolute silence and then music began to play, it’s joyous notes matching the mood of all those around. As she tread down the carpeted floor, flowers adorned her path, their sweet fragrance filling the air. There was a sparkle in her eyes, her mind was blank but her heart was aflutter. It was the day she had been looking forward to, a lifetime of hopes and dreams that were just beginning to unfold right before her eyes. It was her wedding day.
She stepped up on the altar and took her vows with the blessings of all those near and dear. She cherished dreams of a blissful ever after with this man who now stood before her and took the vows with her. And thus began, in a Golden Book somewhere, a new chapter of her life and the seedlings which would one day blossom and grow into memories of a lifetime, found new ground.
Dreams swiftly gave way to reality and soon she found herself immersed in daily chores in her new home, her safe haven. Or was it? No sooner had she accepted the fact that she was no longer sheltered within the walls of her parents’ home but in fact thousands of miles away from it, across oceans deep; she was engulfed in a wave of gloom. It was not because she had not foreseen this inevitable change and separation from those who’d cared for her, loved her and nurtured her right from birth. It was not because she was unhappy in the least bit at the thought of starting this new phase of her life. In fact she had looked forward to setting up her own sweet home, one where she and her husband would spend many happy years together. It was just that she needed a little reassurance, a few gentle words from her husband to help her settle down in this new and different environment. She would make new acquaintances and friends in this new place, develop skills to run a household efficiently and do all the things that every other married woman across the globe had been doing since time immemorial, to keep her new home intact and her husband happy and contented. And all she had hoped for in return was a little support, acceptance and plenty of love and caring, from the man she had put her trust in completely and accepted whole-heartedly as her lawfully wedded husband.
But destiny had other plans for her, like it sometimes does. Some say we make our own destiny consciously through the decisions we take in life, some others believe destiny is our life’s plan that we choose even before we’re born in this physical form. Whichever was true in her case, one thing was certain. It was to be something that would mark a major turning point in her life.
What she considered her safe and happy new home now turned out to be the very place where she felt threatened and violated. For day by day, her husband who had taken to verbally and emotionally abusing her, by shouting and screaming into her face at the drop of a hat, would find new ways to intimidate her, threaten her and simply put down and ridicule every honest effort by her to keep things running smoothly. She soon realized that all she could do during those outbursts was to cry in silence, for if she so much as tried to explain anything at all to him at that time, things would only get more severe and the outcome only more horrifying. Each time she tried hard to figure out the reason for this behaviour of his, she drew a blank. There was no telling what could and what would trigger another episode of his uncontrolled fury. All she knew was that each time it happened, they seemed like the most terrifying moments of her life, memories of which she would perhaps carry with her for years to come. Almost each and every time, when yet another incident of his rage broke out, she had to just end up apologizing profusely for something she had no understanding of as to why she should be apologizing for it, but she had to do it all the same so that eventually he’d stop tormenting her. This was fast becoming a repetitive pattern and she would live in perpetual fear wondering how long it’d be before he lost it again. She now found herself struggling to keep in touch with her family back in her homeland, for he now forbade her from maintaining any contact with them. In his mind he believed that her parents and the relatives that she spoke to had ulterior motives to interfere in their lives, were ill-intentioned and were basically people who were no longer needed in her life anymore. And accordingly he made sure she had limited and monitored means of communication with the outside world. Thereby she felt she was slowly being distanced from the very people who’d been around her all her life so far. Every move she made to reach out for help and support had to be thought out carefully for if he got to know, all hell would break loose. Even her crying had to be done in solitude, in the shower, for fear of him getting to know and screaming at her for even crying out of sheer helplessness. She was now like a prisoner in her own home.
And then one day, after months of suffering the prolonged nightmare, like a miracle in disguise, what started out to be yet another episode of escalating physical manhandling and abuse, led her to flee from the house and seek shelter with some well-wishers. From then on, one thing gave way to another and finally she found her way back to her homeland, and her parents’ home.
This may seem like an end to some and in a way, it is. But it’s far from putting a closure to things. For we, whether we’d like to admit it or not, still do live in a world where the pain does not end with just that of broken trust and bruised feelings. It doesn’t just end with recurring nightmares of inhuman treatment meted out by one human being to another. It continues with myriad issues, some very basic ones like societal acceptance, finger pointing and ridicule, not to mention the million conflicting thoughts running through the mind of the victim of all this abuse.
There are tens of thousands of such women the world over who have suffered and are still suffering at the hands of their abuser each day as we go about our daily lives. Perhaps the sheer number of victims of domestic abuse makes it almost impossible to reach out to them all. Many a times several such cases go unreported due to the very questions that may haunt the victim’s mind – “Who will believe me if I confide in them? “, “Will there ever be someone who can bail me out of this living hell?”,“ Will I be accepted back and treated the same way I was before all this happened to me or will I be a social outcast and blamed for everything that happened to me?”. Or in some other cases, the victim simply may not have had the opportunity yet to make it out of the situation.
These victims of abuse, either those like the girl in the story above who made it out of the situation before it took a more serious turn, or ones who are still in it all, undoubtedly need our empathy and support. But what they also need is to be made to feel accepted, wanted and loved just the way they were before it all happened and most importantly given a new lease of life, another chance at reclaiming their sense of self-worth and confidence they’ve lost through no real fault of theirs. Our genuine concern and efforts here are needed in spreading awareness of this prevailing reality of our times.
Yes, Domestic Violence is very real, it’s all around us and it does have far reaching consequences. Be it in the form verbal, physical, economic or emotional abuse, it still is very wrong and no human deserves to be put through it. Thereby, as compassionate citizens of the world, let us spread the word – “Fight Domestic Violence; blow the whistle on it when you notice any form of it happening around you. Bring the guilty to book. Let homes continue to be the safe dwellings they’re meant to be, not torture chambers.”
Last but not the least, as we put aside our day’s work and call it a day today, let us spare a moment thinking about these victims of circumstances who maybe reaching out to anybody who would care to listen, and pray that somehow, someway, they’re delivered from their miseries, that they find all the mental strength they really need and that this cruel reality of domestic abuse fades out with time.

Lonely as an Island

Lonely as an island, carefree like the wanton wind that blows
My life is but a wretched mess,
Cold and choppy like the waters that touch its shores

I wait with a flicker of hope that burns eternal
Waiting for due deliverance from this weary mortal frame
But the Moving Finger has different plans for me
And I am just a mere pawn in His game!

What misdeeds have I done to deserve this all
What grave sin is mine that I suffer so
Is a question that I fear to ask
Though that is something I yearn to know.

Sadness some say is a passing thing
And that mercy is all pervasive
But all I see is a lost cause, that’s become my life
And the remotest signs of happiness are so elusive.

Hang on, there must be light at the end of the tunnel, cries out a part of me
Again that darned thing called Hope!
But does He know, he who rules up there somewhere,
Of this miserable solitude, that I can barely cope!

Lonely as an Island am I
Carefree like the wanton wind that blows
Not a soul to call my own have I,
But only a dull pain deep within that grows.