And then from time to time, one has to go through a phase of feeling low – sometimes with reason, sometimes for no reason – it just hits you for timepass because “Hey! You’ve had such a long, blemish-less phase of feeling high! Guys let’s get him!”
‘Cut-to’ moments when you find yourself sitting with your chin resting on your palm, or sitting on the sofa, absentmindedly staring at the formations on the mosaic floor, looking at nothing, feeling nothing in particular.
And in that phase, you find yourself become a passenger of the bus, rather than the driver of this bus called life. From cutting through a day, embracing and grabbing and tackling and devouring and making an experience of each thing that makes up your routine day, you imperceptibly transform into one that goes through the motions of the same routines. Much like how a coin might feel in a slot machine. Or a drop of water that gets jostled and knocked over the edge of the Niagara Falls.
You go through an entire week or even months on end feeling low but not knowing why. Sometimes not really sure if you actually are feeling low. Not really sure if you are not. Just a state of daze and drifting.
Most times when it is indeed a decidedly low phase, I have never found the reason, the why, but of course we all know why in a lateral sort of perspective.
Mt Everest would not have any of its Brobdingnagian associations if not for all the other smaller peaks scattered over the globe. A mere 9.74 seconds of Asafa Powell’s life would not have made any difference to the world if there were others who covered 100m faster by foot. You can never appreciate the importance of youristri wala, unless he stopped coming for two weeks. You may never know what a great boss you had yesterday if you did not have a lousy boss today. You may never appreciate the food on the table unless you have felt the weakness caused by hunger at some phase of your life. And you may never appreciate your wealth – or the pay cheque you get today – if that hunger was caused because you could not buy food to eat.
We need a reference point. Every low phase is preparing you for a higher experience of happiness. A higher state of being. An ability to cherish and find more joy.
Anyway, by now you have gathered, I am sure, that I may not exactly be going through a great phase. You gathered right.
Why – and this is not in a lateral sense – is quite a difficult question to answer. It is lot of things – the usual things that strike all of us living the city life – work, taxes, friction with those that you love and subsequent heart-burn, land-lord giving you a less than a month to vacate, the responsibilities that you have that you are not happy about the way you are shouldering them …you know the rest.
One a very significant contributor has to do with me coming across this quote about a month back.
The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don’t have it.
This was George Bernard Shaw.
And by the end of the day, many more random quotes and words of wisdom, insight and spectacular depth came rushing back to my mind.
And there was something common in all those quotes. These were quotes we – sis and me – grew up listening to. Right through childhood, rebellious teens and those crazy twenties. Not a day passed without an insight – either quoted or indigenous – into some mundane day-to-day incident. And the common thread really was humour, a sense of lightness in the view of life, a reiteration of the larger picture of life when one is experiencing the turmoil of a contextually significant, yet insignificant and sometimes even irrelevant in the macro view of life, but never taking away the importance and necessity of the current context.
Dad always gave us a fresh point of view that helped us sail over a difficult situation without letting the situation get to us and affect us at the core. When he was on the hospital bed, he had an oxygen pipe running down his throat, and could’nt talk to us. He would write short notes and when I read them today, it seems incredible but they all had a powerful underlying humour that was hard to miss.
And then I read this post by Jawahara. I don’t know how this appeals to people in general, but I can relate to it so much. A very touching, very deep reflection of the time immediately after dad passes away. Those, strangely, were the very same thoughts that had overcome me too.
I too saw old men weeping. Women crying, uncles and friends sobbing uncontrollably. And those moments gave a glimpse-no a revelation- into to the way each of their lives were woven to that of my father.
Grief is a strange thing. Because it never comes with a label ‘Grief’ written on it. It comes in the most unusual moments. It is not always a phase, but a moment, a flash, a thought, a fleeting state of mind. It can bring a frown to your face. It can bring a tear in your eye. It can bring a sigh. It can bring a memory. And it can bring a smile.
And my next phase of high sputtered on and I was thinking – You may not have control over a lot of things in life, but you have control on how you let them affect you. And how you react.
Let me leave you with some of the lighter, more common, quotes of quotes we’ve grown up hearing.
GB Shaw: The test of a man or woman’s breeding is how they behave in a quarrel. Eisenhower’s Mother: Which one? (In reply to a reporter who had asked, “Don’t you feel great about your illustrious son?” )
Dorothy Parker: This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. Dorothy Parker: She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B. (about Katharine Hepburn’s performance) GB Shaw: Youth is wasted on youngsters. (Original: Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children) GB Shaw: Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open. Groucho Marx: I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. Groucho Marx: I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. Unknown: The best way to judge a man is from the way he reacts when something is given free Unknown: When you are the Host, make your guest feel at home. When you are the Guest, Make the host feel at home. Unknown: I am a man who has many things to be humble about. A certain Professor Boyd, at the Madras Christian College: You’ve got two marks. And don’t even think I gave you two out of twenty. I gave you two out of pity.
And here is the biggest gem of all – which, we are now sure, was probably something he told himself rather than us – Lucky are the Parents who have no children.