Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Mid Life Crisis

Nature has been most generous to us humans. It usually allows us to first settle down in this world before wrecking its torments on the mind and the body. One may argue that it's not the benevolence of nature, but a battle that man has won against an indifferent nature, that lets us settle into a comfortable life. I would agree and yet disagree but will save the discussion for some later time. For what has been occupying my mind lately is not what nature is up to and what the great mysteries of evolution are. In fact, what keeps me awake for long hours is this pathological disorder of the mind, peculiar in its kind, that has a remarkable ability to make a reasonably balanced person feel utterly worthless and disoriented. It may occur much before the torments of the body even starts showing signs and old age is yet a distant reality. They call it the "Mid Life Crisis".

On a lonely evening, not too long after my thirty fourth birthday, when I sat on a comfortable couch with a mug of coffee, contemplating where life is heading me towards, Mid Life Crisis suddenly made its appearance from no where and placed itself comfortably in front of me. I was in no mood to entertain strangers. I looked at it and turned to the other side taking a sip of coffee from the mug so as not to pay much attention to the unwelcome visitor. The Mid Life Crisis was not to be bothered by such impudence. In fact, it felt more at home by the disturbing disillusionment that showed on my face. In order to begin a conversation, it introduced itself - "Hello...I am what is famously known as the Mid Life Crisis!!". I continued with my rude demeanor and told that it was an uninvited guest and showed no further interest in a conversation with it. "I came here only when I was summoned by you. In case you have decided against it, you just have to ask me to leave", it said. I thought for a moment and since I did not have anything better to occupy my time with, suggested it to stay on for a while. I finally decided to talk. "You might have found me difficult but I was not like this always. My miseries are immense and you have no idea about it. It deeply saddens me to realize that half of my life has already been consumed and yet what is left of it appears to be such an unending and tiresome journey". The Mid Life Crisis didn't show the slightest sign of being moved by my plight. It preferred to instead stare at some point in the distant space and appeared lost in its own world. Was it because it had heard these words repetitively to the extent of indifference or was it simply trying to reciprocate my impolite behavior, I could not tell. To keep the conversation alive, I asked the Mid Life Crisis where it came from and what it did to pass time. After a long pause it began to narrate it's story.

"I have existed for many thousand years. It has been so long that I don't remember when I was born. Things were different then. There was a period when I had the leisure time to enjoy the small joys of life. People were mostly not familiar with me and did not need me much those days. But it is no more so in this modern era. I have a grueling work schedule that never ends. I am called for my services any time of the day and night...I work on all days of the week, weekends being particularly strenuous. I witness aging men and women staring at the mirror, trying to hide their wrinkles and graying hair desperately. And when they fail to do so they call upon me. I have been a part of many gatherings where people invite me only to gang up and curse me. And yet they don't let me leave. I have accompanied many bored and lonely people and watched them do weird things. They sit in front of their television sets constantly flicking through channels, taking pleasure out of the crazy things happening in some stranger's life in the form of the so called "reality shows" or gape at their computer screens, at some networking sites, peeping into profiles of people unknown to them, taking care of their cows and pigs in some fictitious farm of theirs for hours. However, it is not that I am hated by all. Many psychiatrist, novelists, film makers make huge amount of money on my account. They quite like my existence as long as I stay away from them." The Mid Life Crisis went on about it's experiences spanning across many different eras and different regions. By the end of the conversation I forgot my own issues and let it leave. But before it took leave, it looked at me and gave a mischievous smile. "It was interesting to converse with you today...I am sure you would want to meet me again soon...very soon...may be tomorrow the same time?!!", it said to me and disappeared.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Real World...

Long time ago I knew a woman. She lived in a beautiful place surrounded by mountains floating on top of the clouds and a blue lake flowing in the air alongside the mountains. It was as if God had used a special brush to paint her world. She would have been the happiest soul but for the surprisingly strange fact that this world of her's could not be seen by anyone else. Not that it bothered her but it did concern the rest to the extent that they called her insane and sent her out of their community.

When I grew up and became a part of the real world, I noticed a stark similarity between the sane people of the real world and the woman whose faint memories still lingered in some corner of my mind. They all lived in a world that was seen only by their own selves. The difference in their world being - the mountains and lakes were replaced by images and opinions about themselves, others and various incidents in life that were purely a figment of their imagination. The images and opinions formed in their minds were distorted, bloated or inflated based on their convenience or need. The incidents were interpreted in a way that suited them. This, they used in an attempt to assuage their miseries and conflicts(many a times self created) in the real world. However, they continued living as sane members of the community since they never saw a mountain or lake floating on the clouds.

The woman in reality lived only in my mind (and never died). However, some traces of these sane people could be found all around including my own self when I dared to take a glance inside.