More and more the society around was becoming alienated. Moving to this new town couple of years back there was a sense of homecoming for him. The feeling of things turning for the good was the resounding theme. He was least perturbed by the surrounding chaos, pushing you around like the famed Mumbai local. Though much of the old charm was hidden by the new, there were nooks and corners where you could relive the last decade.
Change is much like the turbulence which you face while on an aircraft. You know the certainty of it. But every time the air-borne beast dives head long into that patch your innards shudder a bit, grip tightening on the seats as if putting an effort to stabilise this disturbance. And most often it last for 20-30 seconds only. People have some standard responses in these situation. You will always find that family where the dad will be gripping the kids more so to comfort himself than the tots who will be writhing to get free. Then there is the ones with the slight hint of concern on their face, glancing from the corner of their eyes how the person next is coping with this. And always the cool ones, with no bother of the happening around either immersed on the song playing on the earphones or the book they seem not to be able to keep down.
He was like the second one on really good days and third one most the time of conscious existence. Lately the town had begun to lost it’s lure on him. He couldn’t quite separate this feeling from the turbulance he was going through in his personal life. There was a constant pressure to go out of his way of things to fit to an external demand. On occasion it was from his inner circle, the true bastion of self expression, and other occasions from the society. Many a time distinction is hard. Demands on him were to curb those, in favor of conformance and a misplaced sense of responsibility. The consequences was his and his only to bare. Others seem to have dismissed that like the most ludicruos connection could exist between the two.
You get a feeling in some situations that the vents are closing down fast. Lest you make the move the steer is gonna be yanked out of your hands and passed on to the next in line. With no certainty of when you will be able to be in charge the next time. He was in that space at least in it’s head. Outwards he was wearing the third type’s mask. He looked around the airplane to wonder has he got company here?
On a run. The road seemed vaguely familiar, the kind of nondescript, dusty stretch with uneven tarred surface you tread very often on one of those long-drives. Summer sun is still someway on its perch to the peak which is when tricks are played by the road beneath. For now I can feel the lushness around, even with the sparse evenly spaced tall trees lining the width as if forming an outer boundary. The canvas is laid straight as far as the eyes can see, and then some more. I pick up the pace. The weird thing was I could neither feel the breeze up my face, nor any pressure on my muscles.
Thinking about that now it seems weird. Other parts of the scene were all in their own true self, only this was unreal.
It was light. Someone was running along trailing me. Who I have not the slightest inkling of, only the surety of a presence – the kind you get halfway through a train journey, or on the walk through a deserted alley.
I stepped up the pace with minimal exertion almost as if there was an accelerator inside me which was being gently pushed forward, ever so lightly. The steady increase in pace seemed to do nothing but drive my heart-beats up. Still no flow of the wind around my body. The pedal kept being pushed. Slowly I could feel the momentum lifting me up, the road was still grazing beneath. There was a rush inside while I floated with an increasing pace off the road. All the while keeping within the track. Not the slightest change in direction or a wobble. Overwhelmed by the feeling or of an impending task I woke from the dream. If felt as if I gracefully glided onto the surface of the road. I woke up on the sofa. The heart and my arms still seemed to be reeling from the effect, possessed by an energy as if reaching a crescendo through the flight.
Five minutes had passed between me dozing off one late morning and waking up thus. It’s been almost 4 years to that run and the feeling still eludes me. Such is the way with profound experiences, they come to you in that fleeting instant. Moment you try to catch it must have passed on to an unreachable realm. Leaving behind the faint essence of what it was. What man can do, but to let himself be to other profundities. The key it appears to be to cease the chasing and surrender.
Tyler Durden just staring at your face from the wall poster – This is your Life and it’s ending One minute at a time. And you are never the wiser of it. But is this reminder of life’s frailty doing you any good. Well, why should everything have to? On goodness, I have blabbered before as well. This is nothing new. For better things we all crave and slave off; some hide behind the barb of passion, some enlightenment, and some more in pursuit of happiness. Fallacies; some body rightly said life’s a pursuit – damn right. Why not have some fun on the way? You’re going to regret this later – ah, judgement! Or collective wisdom?
Possession gives purpose to life. For one thing it makes you wiser to the way of world. You learn to hold on to it with the price of your life all the while possessing some more. To what extent? To the extent of securing your future – one percent effort put in extra behind the pursuit will earn you 1481 times the points than the loser at the other end wasting one percent effort doing nothing. Revelation from a Facebook post! Some years back my confused self would have said ‘..and they will take it to their grave!’. But I have wizened up from that. Got myself a couple of oak coloured couches and mahagony bed – next in line is a runner carpet. Should I get hold of a 40-inch flat-screen as well. See right there, purpose defined for sometime. The problem is the effort, rather the cost to it.
For the romantics who are feeling the angst I would recommend ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ – and so for the rationals. It beautifully immerses the reader into an ever looming tragedy and explores this chasm of the two worlds. Was one of the books which can take much more than it can give from you. But then, why else you seek those pages! I now stare hard into the darkness in the living room. Muffled breathing beside. Timer still clicking to remind the mortals. Tick Tock.
Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi sounds in my head. Chilly morning breeze freezing my face and hands. I see the field at a distance. It feels warm. Bright as early morning. The breeze is softer. The field was always as I imagined. Endless and golden. I see her. I swoosh past a couple of lorries. And then she’s not there. I am all alone. The gush of air in my ears and revving of the engine. Its not a bad place to be in. The calm lets my mind wander wherever it wants. Memories. Hopes. Freedom. And I head deep into the traffic.
Life is full of contrasts and semblances. Sometimes I feel the world outside to be a projection of my state of mind. It swings from peace to chaos like a pendulum in perpetual motion. Wasn’t the traffic I was heading into a reflection of the conflict inside me? I squeeze my way past two semi-trailers. Why do they let these vehicles within city limits during peak hours? Buggers. One moment I am in a serene field and the next I am searching the skies for the source of disturbance. Reminded me of the calm before the first monsoon rains back in my hometown. A longing to be back in the safety of childhood pangs at my heart. Jerked back by the rickshaw taking a near impossible maneuver to overtake me. Moron.
As all journeys this too has to end. A friend told me recently to count my blessings each day, it will make me a better man. Well I had my share of blessings today; the wonderful thoughts, the drive, the field and most importantly her. I see the field once again. She is there. And so are some others. That’s my field. My world. I park my car happily and head into the house. And I hear a low pitched rumble coming from the sky behind me.