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The winter of discontent

Indifference is like a blanket you drape over your body and soul to shield yourself ...

Gulf News

It’s a recurring nightmare — a long road to traverse, hurdles to cross, obstacles to overcome, dreams to realise and destiny to fulfil. The sweat on my brow continues to stream across the edge of my face and as I try to catch my breath trying to fathom the nature of the race I find myself in. Just when I think I have pulled off the tedious goal, I find myself once again at the start line instead of the finish one, with the horizon stretching across the boulevard where I have to begin all over again. Perhaps you have been through this too.

Call it midlife crisis or the shock of losing loved ones — life just feels as raw and vulnerable as an open wound.

Feel like a confused actor who has missed a vital cue and lost the script. A cocoon that was built over the years that lulled my senses now has its roof blown off, exposing me to the ultraviolet magma slivers of the sun that singe straight through to the soul.

Until a short while ago, there was this endless surge of natural optimism brimming over. No matter what the challenge, no matter how intense a break down, I could rise up like phoenix through the debris and the cracks. Now, the life energy seems to have been sucked out as I flop on the road like a spineless rag doll, a deflated air balloon.

Nothing, absolutely nothing seems to charm me these days. Social media is unimaginative and inane, work feels like I am tom tomming a broken drum, routine is a dead horse that I am trying to drag across the finish line, the arc lights, the big party, the music the food, the clothes, the glitz, the glamour feels like a phantom circus bereft of people and real action, just a mundane, repetitive, run-of-the-mill music on playing in a loop like a broken record.

Word wizards

I mourn a loss of many things. Real people who laugh out loud, smiles that begin in the heart and reach the eyes, a warm nudge on the shoulder that touches the soul, a song with words that make you believe in a tomorrow and lift your spirits, action that makes you shed good, healthy sweat on your brow and helps you sleep easy on your pillow in the night, smells that remind you of the first rains on earth after a parched summer, fragrances of frangipanis and jasmines on a sultry summer night ... they have stopped making the real things.

Everything these days is manufactured, warmth and intimacy spun by word wizards that can be beamed out to thousands at a touch of a button, flowers that smell good but come only in expensive made to order bouquets and smiles that begin at the mouth and stop way below the eyes.

I look back to my student days, the pushing and heaving in local trains, the brawls and fights to get a coveted seat in peak-hour train, the sense of overwhelming gratitude to be able to see a little patch of the sky and feel the fresh air through the window grills of a 9.07 double fast from Bandra to Churchgate. It makes me wonder what is important — the sweat of an effort and struggle that made me human and vulnerable or this aseptic silence of having alighted at a dead-end station where there is no sense of looking forward to another eventful journey.

Sometimes life does not provide you with much choice, but to go through the motions of being part of a nightmare however, horrendous it might be, because that is proof that you are alive and wiling to subject yourself to this endurance.

Indifference is like a blanket you drape over your body and soul to shield yourself from this winter of discontent in the hope that it will give way once again to a spring that will trigger a season of rejuvenation and revival.