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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014
Notes from a defeatist
Jairaj Singh, Hindustan Times
November 11, 2012
First Published: 17:46 IST(11/11/2012)
Last Updated: 17:52 IST(11/11/2012)

Grief is not easy to grasp. One moment you're fine and picking up, the next you're broken, low, and feel like throwing up. The past few weeks have been surreal. I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of dreams and I can't clear my thoughts. I haven't slept for nights. If I do, it either comes after endless trials of 4am, or whiskey and exhaustion.

Each time I close my eyes at night, I hear a kitten crying in the distance, which sounds like a little girl, or a chudail from one of my stories. I can't tell. I don't know what sense to make of life or death anymore.

It's been a year now, I haven't lit a cigarette and taken a deep, long drawn drag to calm my demons. I think with time it will get better, easier to forget. But each night I have this dream in which I am smoking. When it slowly dawns on me what I have done, I tell myself in a soft, calm reassuring way, it's just a cigarette. How bad can it hurt?

My friends used to say how fortunate I am to not have had a nervous breakdown, which hits you like a sandstorm and cuts you in thousand ways like bits of glass. When you lose control, shut out everyone, and can't crawl out of your room towards the sunlight for days. Now, I don't know how long I can hold on. Don't ask me if I am okay. I am not sure what it means. What is okay?

The great American writer Gore Vidal, who died earlier this year, once said, "Write something, even if it's just a suicide note."

I'm not planning to kill myself, but I am using this to write something. I don't exactly know what. It most certainly isn't mainstream or commercial. It's just been difficult to write. Everything is so subjective these days. Everything is so easily consumed. Everything is in ruins.

There is a poem by Charles Bukowski called the Bluebird, which I like to listen to on YouTube before I switch off the bedside lamp these nights. It's not a sad poem, but each time I listen to it, it doesn't make me regret being a little broken inside.

I read somewhere a long time ago that the best way to deal with sadness is to consume it. But, try telling that to a person who has lost someone close to him.

How can you lose someone? When you have them in your thoughts and prayer. When you can't forget them and don't want to.

Nothing lasts forever except cobwebs and scars. Not even sadness. But I prefer it to happiness most times. Happiness is just a shoestring of words as meaningless as a Facebook status update. You can find it in a fast food restaurant, TV commercials, and anything that comes with a price tag. At least, hope comes with a shawl of despair covering its head. Don't hope. Hope's just a word.

But, grief is not sadness or despair. Grief is like a void in the soul that needs repair. A knife in search of a murder. You cannot hold it, or grasp it, like smoke in an upturned glass. It's like the bluebird that sits in Bukowski's heart, which he knows is in there, and wants to get out, but he only lets it out at night when everyone is asleep.

It's not easy to lose a friend. I'm not sure I can afford to lose anyone, anymore. Yet, I know everyone I love will one day merge with mist and rust. One can't be sentimental about life or death. What is the point of looking for a point all your life when we don't care for answers, or clear blue skies?


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