From the dust I rise
To the dust I return
In an inconsequential flight
I rise and I burn.
The love, the hate, the humanity
All perish therein,
The rusting body ends my travellers’ joy
Annihilating the very proof of me.
Sitting on chairs in proper alignment
It seems a long ago, when we students were huddled about,
Celebrating India’s independence was the days’ requirement
Making our English teacher proud.
Constantly, we had chided and pleased
To do something else as a substitute to teach,
We did it often, played adventures
Making memories after memories to one-day treasure.
She decided she’d ask a question to the vibrant youth
To which we would answer with sheer truth.
With defined wisdom she asked
“How will you want to see your country at long last?”
The question she asked was very simple
But it created in my mind a momentary ripple.
I raced with my newest friend, over thinking
Sitting there paralyzed, unblinking.
Speaking up in front of people was never my thing
And so I sat there; to time clinging, worshipping,
But we were only thirty students
And I persistently fought against my prudence.
Smiling, nodding I heard what my friends had to say
Pondering, how meaningful answers they had their way,
From eradication of poverty to building roads
To making luxury cheaper- their thoughts flowed.
And in less than forty minutes I was called on stage
When all I wanted to do was hide in a cage,
What is my favorite teacher going to think about my dumb thoughts
But still I erased blank, and joined the dots.
With face turned hot, ears red
I held the mike, but my lips dead.
I gathered myself, blinked and blurted
What my teacher thought- was the secret of my being introverted.
“If I live to be an old maiden
I want myself in the world (not country) to reawaken,
I want kindness; I want honesty and no chaos
I want peace; I want beauty and no havoc.
I fumbled; I fidgeted and put the mike down
Ashamed, I got down feeling like a clown,
I went to my seat, hiding my face
Wanting the few minutes to retrace.
Up until then I hadn’t herd
The deadening applause,
And so I sulked deeper amidst the nerds
For such words, I thought definitely had no cause.
Years from that day, I stand by those words
But if only I could change my verse,
Or better still I could have at least tried
To say everything for which my heart cried.
That day is gone
But I have a little strength now,
I have a little word play drawn
Perhaps, you’d tap with the button ‘Allow’.
If I live to be an old maiden
I want myself in the world (not country) to reawaken,
I’d love to see so many blessed things happen
That life itself would feel like a welcoming wagon.
If only I could find things a little different
My little sister would have taken birth for starters,
Or I wouldn’t have to be constantly belligerent
Being an orthodox Indian daughter.
I wouldn’t have to go to an all-girls school
Fearing boys and all the various rules.
Comparing myself to those who didn’t even go to school
I should have felt my life a little less cruel.
I’d want my grandmother to give me a kiss
For I never knew that bliss,
Or for my uncle to not give me that stare
For it was mortifying, I swear.
I’d want for no one to give me an eye
When I say I don’t want to learn cooking,
I’ll have different means to fly
Than just making all kinds of pudding.
I’d want a life where my mom does not persistently say
When you get married please take care of your husband,
Darling, you are not suppose to go astray
For your in-laws will have us trusted.
I’d want a life when I wouldn’t have to think some things
Like what can I study, so they never cut my wings,
Or how will I mange so many responsibilities
Work-husband-in-laws-kids-kitchen- a trillion little things.
I’d want a life where everything will not be ‘my’ duty
And I won’t have to be an absolute bouzouki,
Yes I’ll want peace and love and no havoc
I’ll want kindness, honesty and no mental chaos.
I’ll want a life where I consistently don’t have to remember
That I am a woman and somehow, somewhere I have to surrender,
I’ll want a life where I don’t want to stand in front of the mirror
And see incessantly how from him I differ.
Today, I have a little strength, a little clarity
So, please allow me to speak my dwarfish insanity,
If I live to be an old maiden
This is how I’ll want to end my cadence.
PS: Do tell me if I have started saying the same things again and again, and if my words have started being mundane!
There is a whirlwind of chaos inside her
An entropy, a madness, a little emptiness
That ceases her sanity from within.
The mania, the frenzy, the wilderness
All a part of her nugatory existence.
The deadening disarray enchaining her minds
Building a claustrophobia
Which you may never succeed to define.
The restlessness, the anxiety, the neurosis
All a part of her woebegone reality.
She is imprisoned betwixt the chain and its steely embrace,
She resides inside the merciless bolt and clasp,
And yet she has the zeal to envisage dreams,
To live in a reverie, a trance, a ravishing fantasy,
Her weening tenacity terrorizing her pandemonium to feebly vamoose.
While on the one hand you are striving towards it, and on the other there is only faith and a vain belief.
What exactly happens?
Does that belief turn into the expectations that we are taught not to have?
Or the hope itself is a reflection on the said expectations which we are not suppose to have?
Or, is there a fine line between hope and expectations which I am blinded not to see?
Or they are just two words trying to play with my mind?
This post is going to be a little different from what I usually write here, but by the end of it you might think I am back to my usual. So if you get there, thank you for bearing with me.
“Mayi sarvani karmani samnyasyādhyātmacetasā;
Nirāśirnirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasava vigatajvarah.”
Renouncing all actions into Me, with the mind centered on the Self, free from hope and egoism (Ownership), free from (mental) fever, (you) do fight.
This is taken from the Holy Geeta, chapter 3 Karma Yoga, verse 30.
This brilliant passage is spoken by lord Krishna to his worshipper/friend/student Arjuna.
A closer study of the import of these two lines will make us understand clearly that, in this stanza, Krishna is hinting at the greater psychological truth of life. Krishna advises Arjuna to act renouncing both Hope and Ego; and this is indeed a primary instruction on how to pour the best that is in us into the ‘present’, blockading all unintelligent and thoughtless dissipation of our inner personality-energies, in the ‘Past’and the ‘Future’.
He further says to renounce all action unto the Lord and, getting rid of both Hope and Selfishness, must fight, free from all mental fever. How complete this technique is will be evident now to all students of Geeta.
The term ‘fight’is to be understood here ‘as our individual fight with circumstances, in the silent battle of life’. Thus, the advice is not for Arjuna alone, but to them all men who would like to live fully and intelligently.
And this makes more sense to me when right in the next stanza He says, without caviling, and with only faith in heart, one must live. For one can neither understand fully, nor come to gain the blessings of the way of life, by deep study and noisy discussions. It can be understood and experienced only by living it.
Time again, I have been told that thinking, will not help much, that trying to understand all the concepts of life is only a vain effort. But despite my agreement with them, I fail to accustom myself to these thoughts. The result of which is a PhD in overthinking and a certain sense of guilt and restlessness, and a tinge of permanent anxiety of un-knowingness. I have been told again and again, that to not think much of past and present, and only to live. But it took me more than a decade, and a number of people telling me so, a 100 different experiences and a second reading of this Holy scripture, to finally let myself understand that I can never understand everything (Just the way I can never travel almost every part of the world, or just the way that I can never ever read all the books in the world!!). It was this time, that when I read it, my brains finally, tried accepting this simple fact, it was this time that I felt, that Krishna was speaking to me, (Hypothetically, don’t worry I haven’t turned all too religious overnight and started hallucinating about Gods in front of me) finally making my dumb ass realize that I am not right, that I need to stop doing certain things to myself which are only hurting me more.
Now, that I have come to accept it, I am going to start trying to succumb to it; that is my attempts will be to not think much, about the past and-or the future. I will try and leave my ego and all kinds of hope behind, in an attempt of living a life without selfishness, and one full of faith. This does not mean I renounce my Karma, no, it only signifies how I will go about it; that is without my Ego and Hope but full of faith.
This is how I perceive these stanzas, and I am pretty sure, I still don’t get the inner meaning of them, or the depth of what He was trying to say. All the same I will keep up with my efforts of not understanding anymore, but only living my life, doing my Karma, because I sure ain’t getting younger!!
I have used the commentary and the English translation of the verse from the Geeta, written by Swami Chinmayananda.
Sitting at the top of the mountain,
In the open air,
I couldn’t breathe in.
Sitting near the holy pyre,
The woods burning,
I couldn’t even feel the fire.
Sitting on the green earth,
The flowers blooming,
I couldn’t even reckon my birth.
How can there be lack of water,
Near the ocean?
I tend to ponder.
Sucking in, not giving in to the claustrophobia,
I intend to combine ocean and fire,
Not to forget the earth and the sky,
Believing in the impossible,
Why not just reach out for more than possible?
This is no revelation now that we live in a hypocritical society. We have come very far now to even question this fact. So when it comes to the topic of depression we are no different. And when I say we, I mean every one of us. There is no exception!
We give so much importance to this word, and try and spread so much awareness about it that we only talk about it. We talk and talk but what exactly do we do about it? We know that someone is depressed, that someone wants to talk about it, but what we do is, we simply smile at him or her and ask him or her to hold up. We give them our own selfish philosophy that in this world every one has come alone, and has to deal with his problems alone, no one is going to come rescue you. If it is a woman, she is told that there is no knight who will come to rescue her, and if it is a man, he is told to man up. We shower upon them all our human tendencies and tell them how our world is run. We ask them to forget about it all, and just move one. Talking about it is a no-no because talking reminds you of your problems, crying over it is an absolute no too, because that will make you more miserable. A person who says is depressed, is also told to just lighten up the mood, why take everything so seriously, “these days people call any low phase in their life as depression; it’s taken too much for granted.”
But honestly, one doesn’t understand until one wears those shoes. And once you say these words to someone, that someone is sure to show you his true colors. If by any chance the person is genuine and knows how painful all of it is, then you get lucky and a pair of ears who will listen to you, but if the person belongs to the typical swarm then what you get is a long lecture to your drumming ears to be a little more brave, to hold up, and to stop fussing over your own problems, because there are other people in the world who have bigger issues than yours.
I guess these people don’t just get what exactly depression is. It is not something, which someone is proud to go through. It is not something that people like to have lived. Depression is not a choice!! And no one in my opinion will ever want to have any loved one go through it, let alone go through himself.
Depression is not a choice!!
No one wants it.
Depression is a state of mind so dark, so murky, that it wraps itself around you so strongly that you will need every ounce of your and your loved one’s energy to bring you back to sanity. It is a state of utter senselessness where you know what’s happening, where you hate what’s happening, you want to do so much to change things and yet all you can do is shut yourself in. All you can do is to grip your hair from the roots and scream into nothingness.
And yet, I feel that it is a drug. Sure, a druggist when drugged, might feel like he is flying in the air, but deep down he is doing it only to numb his pain, either pain from life, or the pain of his addiction. In the same way a depressed person wants only one thing, to numb his pain. He is never in the seventh sky, but he is constantly at the same place, away from the earth, his own world, and knows not his belongings. Depression is almost an addiction, because try as much as you want, you don’t get out of it easily. You know it’s not doing you any good, but you become so comfortable with that state of life, that it becomes a toxic addiction. I am not saying that the person does not want to come out of the state, no, far from it; the person is dying to come out of that helplessness. But the problem lies in the fact that that depression is not only inside his mind, but outside too. People make it difficult for him to do so. At first he is scared of opening up and being judged, then if he finally musters the energy to discuss his problems, then he is in reality being judged, and given solutions, which he already knew. “Talk to people” is what is said so easily, but when someone does it, you take it so lightly that you break the person’s trust permanently; you break his beliefs from the roots.
I am not saying that it is the fault of other people that someone is depressed, all I am saying is it is sometimes far more comfortable to not talk and instead be in that comfort zone of depression.
It is a drug to which one takes again and again, despite all restrictions. Elizabeth Gilbert speaks in Eat Pray love of how her Guru talks about breaking down becoming a habit. The more you tend to break down; the more it becomes a habit. Every time one feels that something is wrong, breaking down and shattering won’t help. So you gather your own remains and rise from the ashes just like a phoenix. But all of it sounds irrelevant when going through bouts of depression. Sometimes you want to come out of these chains, but don’t have the energy to, and the other times, you simply don’t want to come out for fears unsaid.
What troubles me most is people tend to take depression so flippantly, sometimes the person going through it too. It is not a state where someone stays drunk all the time, and lies about simply doing nothing. It is not only when someone has thoughts of killing himself. Sure, these are signs too, of extreme depressions, but there are people who go about their lives just as usual but deep down there are signs of the said drug. These people start cocooning in their shells, distancing themselves from people. It is not that they don’t smile; it’s just that their smiles are painful too. I won’t say that depressed people stop going to offices, and louse around all day long, they go to their office all the same, but they just lose the vigor to work. They are simply dragging themselves around life, devoid of certain feelings within them.
Again, I think people tend to think that depression is caused only due to certain trauma. Our perception of the word is so wrong; that we think a person is allowed to be depressed only when he is going through something volcanic in his life. We tend to not even take it into consideration that little things have been piling up in his already over burdened heart, and all of it is going to burst soon. He might just not want to live with it anymore, but he is denied of this title being given to him, for the lack of a tragedy. Tragedy or not, a person can be depressed; period!
There are so many different phases of depression that we have taken only the darkest side into consideration, all thanks to cliché movies, and our societal belief that you simply cannot be depressed, because being depressed is a sign of being lunatic, and you simply can’t let that happen. What will the people say?? SIGH!!
A person suffering may not be crying 24*7 all year long; that is not depression!! It is not when one is crying his eyes out, with blood red eyes, a drunk head, a ruined liver, lungs full of smoke, a crying heart, and a murky mind. Yes, this could be it. But this is not it!! It is not that the one who is depressed does not smile. He does. He does feel happy sometimes, he does feel that everything will be all right soon, a pinch of positivity does rise from the ashes sometimes, but it evaporates too soon to be carrying him above it. That negativity envelops him too severely, too stringently.
But all of this does not mean that there is no solution, there certainly is. But the first step towards it, is accepting the fact that you are depressed. You cannot live in denial. I am not saying that you can’t avoid your problems for a while, well according to me that helps, because living with certain things constantly may not help, so avoiding it for a while is okay. But accept it, accept that you have a problem, and avoid it. Say, you admit that you are depressed, but then you avoid the said depression. Sounds, okay? Fine, I agree, easier said that done.
But now that you have accepted it, you know what the problem is. Believe me, people aren’t going to help, unless you have an understanding family, and a set of very close and loving friends. If so, then it becomes so much easier for you. Talk to them, not once, again and again, with all kinds of words and emotions, with all kinds of slangs and love. Talk!! Talk till you wear their ears out and then just leave it behind. Divert your mind, do things you haven’t done. Learning new things might keep you more occupied, since you have no prior knowledge of it. Do things you love, and then slowly think of real problems, and how you want to go about it. Take your time!! You might take from days to years, but it is your problem and you deal with it at your pace.
But if you are in a fix, and you don’t think that people are going to understand, then write it down. Write all different thoughts jumbled up, write till your ink wears down, and then deal with it yourself. But never in a fit of desperation go to someone who you think will not understand a word of it. This will simply disarray your mind up, and will send you to such extreme levels of low, which was yet unknown. You cannot feel dejected, useless, and broken at this point. You might start thinking that you were there for someone, and in return you got plain misery from him, but this is not the time, to cry over someone else. He abandoned you in times of need, and now you don’t need to go back to him. That’s truth, and you don’t even have to accept it now, you simply have to try and deal with yourself one step at a time.
Accept- write-divert-learn-deal-take your time.
I am no depression or counseling guru, but this topic has bothered me so much, our callousness sometimes gets into my nerves, and I cannot help but think how casually we take these important issues. We can share suicide prevention causes and messages, for all we want, but it makes no differences until we actually do something about it. On the one hand we say that suicide is a crime, you should not even think about it, and on the other hand we are simply mean and so selfish that we don’t even care to think of others. And it’s not only in the society, but online too. People, sometimes act so, so inconsiderately and are so nasty and unkind that I fail to understand the hypocrisy of the society that we live in. I fail to bring out the words that I have in my mind for such people. No one wants to end his life willingly, unless he thinks that he cannot deal with his problems anymore, alone. No one wants that!! One goes to such extremes only when he thinks that he can take no more. But we keep giving them some more.
There is a lot here which I might have missed out, or which I might have portrayed wrong, and I apologize for that. I have no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings. But at the same time, I take the liberty to say that instead of becoming the cool and classy people that society so much accepts, why not show some love and humanity in general. Sometimes I sincerely wish if honesty and kindness was in trend, I think our world would be lot more better then.