Monday, September 14, 2009
Zest. For Life. In Spite Of Life
It hurts. To meet people dear to you after a span of months or years and see them less cheerful, less happy and more cynical. It hurts to see flowers wilting away.
But I understand.
In the face of hopeless circumstances, fleeting time, a body that is creaking under the demands made of it by stressful days and sleepless nights and generally, the unfair ways of life, it is very difficult to have faith in goodness, keep the hope in your heart, a smile on your face, spring in your step and zest for life.
As I write this, I am thinking about some of my friends and acquaintances, who were extremely positive in life at the time I met them. They were cheerful and confident of themselves. They believed strongly in certain ideals. There was an innocent belief in “As you sow, sow shall you reap” and “Good begets good”. Their effervescence could even light up other peoples’ lives. They were more or less in control of their lives or so they thought. These were people you could draw inspiration from.
I met these people again after a long time. Of course, I met each of them separately and at a different time.
I was eager, ebullient and enthusiastic to meet them after a long time.
But I was surprised and pained to see them so changed.
What happened to her smile?
What happened to those ideals? “It was just my perception. And perceptions change with time” came the reply. But I could see that she was not happy to let go of that ideal. She had let go but with reluctance.
Rahul. A die- hard romantic. He had written some beautiful love poems. He had loved before. And lost. But his search had not stopped. He would find her. Sooner or later.
Now when he told me he was engaged, I was all curious. “So, did you find her?”
“No. it’s a typical arranged marriage. There is no such thing as love. One has to be practical in life. Can't go on waiting. I am 34 already”.
That was a long wait. And a futile one.
Though he did not say so, he was disillusioned and disappointed.
He would probably never love her enough to be inspired to write a poem for her. He might. But who knows? It was not somebody he could not live without. It was just somebody he could live with.
He was one of the people who had shown me my next level. It had just been a three hour conversation. And I advanced by leaps and bounds after that. Twinkle in his eyes. Dimple smile. Purpose and meaning. A versatile fellow who had written 20 short stories and was looking forward to get them published.
We were meeting after just two years. But he looked so much older. Whatever happened to that twinkle now?
Life had been harsh in these two years. He had lost his father. And a lot of money in the stock market crash. A dental surgery. A painful one. House loan. EMI.
The book is not published and he is not even making an effort. He does not write anymore. "No time. Work is crazy. I hate it. But..."
What happened to the promise you had made to yourselves? About living the life you wanted? What happened to that self assurance? You always told me to listen to my heart and follow my inner voice. You always said everything happens for the best? Do you believe in it still?
It did not seem like that with these people. A tenderness had been lost. They had smothered their Ideals. They had allowed time and circumstances to harden them. A shade of resignation could be seen in their demeanour. The incorrigible optimism had been uprooted and cynicism, though imperceptible had germinated in its place.
These were people I once drew strength from.
It hurt. It pained to see them having given up. It feels like I could do anything to revive that hope, that twinkle and that dimple on their face.
It’s amazing how life strives to prove unworthy of all the hope and trust people have in it.
It’s remarkable how it chooses to let down, among all, those who have believed in it the most.
Those who do not pause, even for moment to think about it, life leaves alone; but it hunts down those zestful, thoughtful, lively custodians of life who strive to salvage it from the negative philosophy of the cynical, pessimistic ones who proclaim that ‘it all ends in death’!
I walked back home after meeting these people with a heavy heart. The weekend saw me in a philosophical, contemplative and serious mood.
No matter how life treats me, I don’t want to resign, I don’t want to be hardened, I want to keep hoping and believing. I want to keep my innocence. I want to hold on to my ideals.
No matter what happens to me, I want to be positive enough to tell people "Everything happens for the best."
No matter what destiny has in store for me, I want to be able to tell people to keep trying, not to give up.
Whether or not life rewards me for all my good, I want to be able to tell people to believe in goodness and tread the correct path.
Whether or not I find love, I want to always believe in love and be able to tell people "Do not marry someone you can live with. Marry someone you can’t live without."