I want to be free.
Last week, I was in hospital - for something as stupid and innocuous as a viral and malaria. Apparently, I'd had the infection for so long that my liver had gotten infected. Apparently, I'd had it for so long that I had to be given IV...which, I have to say, is the most painful thing I've undergone in life. It's ironical that something this horrible and painful comes in the category of 'treatment', not 'torture'...but medicine is full of such ironies. And if it all weren't so annoying and crappy, it would be amusing. But try being amused with something icky dripping into your veins! It's horrible. Scares one out of happiness.
In any case, the first night that I was admitted, was surreal. I'd insisted that my parents go home. I didn't see the point in them losing sleep over my illness. After much resistance, they left. So, there I was, in some stupid 'deluxe' room - spending the money I was saving to spend in some seaside resort later in the year. It was dark - pitch black. Only the outline of the door could be seen because of the light shining behind it.
I've never felt so scared. It was lonely, sure, but I think that was the best part of it. I can't imagine how people get through their illness having their families and friends around them. Just too much pressure!
It was a different kind of fear. It was like the shadow of fear - not the real thing, but definitely borne out of the real thing. It was a fear of what lay ahead - not in terms of recovery or time, but just...of what?
At that point, I realized that I am tired. It wasn't just the illness. It was just...what's there to do? Get happy? Then get sad? Then get sleepy? And hungry? And happy again? And sad? And be moved by beauty and poetry? And then happy? Sad?
I don't want to be saddled with any of that any more. I don't want to think or feel. I don't want to feel happy anymore, or sad. I don't want the summers of hope, or the winters of despair, or any of its varied seasons. I just want to be at peace.
I mean, I think in all my years, I have thought and felt everything that needs to be thought and felt. How different will yet another happy or sad feeling be? Every time, I feel an emotion, I'm compelled to share it, record it, ruminate over it, or bottle it up so that it becomes vintage memory to be savoured later. But optimism is as draining as pessismism. It takes a lot out of a person to hope and wish...even if it is a natural trait.
I just want to be free of it all. They say that death releases. Unfortunately, everyone who says that is still on this side of the fence. And although I am very curious to find out about what happens when one dies, I'm not quite sure if I really want a first-hand experience yet.
That night, lying on the hospital bed, drifting in and out of consciousness, feeling a thick sickening trickle in my veins, I remembered all the people who I cared about and who were dead. My grandparents, my cook, my friend who committed suicide, my friend who was shot, my teacher's mother, my uncle...They seemed to be on the other side of the door...oddly, they seemed to be in the part of the world where there was light. Whereas I, with my labored breathing, lay in darkness.
I don't know if there is some kind of metaphysical significance to what I felt then...but I just realized that I wanted to be free. I don't want to feel let down by people. I don't want to feel guilty because I'm not realizing some humongous potential I'm supposed to have. I don't want to feel so stricken with pathos or humor that I feel compelled to write. I don't want to feel angry or hurt. I don't even want to feel encouraged or charged up. Ironically, despite my innermost urge to be that way, I don't even want to be free. I, basically, don't want to want.
I'm done with people. I'm done with life.
In yoga, after one is through with the class, we do the shavasana - which most people like because its the most restful pose. It's often said to be the pose for the laziest people. But it's not. In that pose, one is required to be motionless, sure, (because you're supposed to be like a corpse). But more importantly, you are supposed to be thoughtless. You're supposed to surrender completely to the earth or the beyond. It's a beautiful feeling.
I want to live that feeling. No motion. No thought. Just surrender. The business of life being nothing more complicated than breathing in and breathing out.
I was like that when I was a teenager in college. I embodied all those traits Kipling wrote about in 'If'. I could meet triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same. I could risk everything at the turn of a pitch and toss. All people used to matter to me, but none too much.
But when I was this highly evolved soul haunting the corridors of my college, people thought that I sleepwalked through life. And I tried to remedy that. Slowly, over time, things started to matter - which wasn't too bad. Then, people started to matter - and that has been my undoing, I think. I just shouldn't have cared about people as much as I did...as much as I do. It's not worth it. I mean, I'm sure a lot of human beings benefit from a close circle of people they love and who love them...but it doesn't work for me. I should only connect with people, at the level of ideas. Not anything more.
It's just entrapment. One day, the trap-door will open, and I will be out!