Poetry, Uncategorized

The Unpredictable Stagnancy

The ever grinding wheels of life bring forth many destinations and scenarios. Some carry a visual splendor, an image that elevates the experience of viewing it into a pious feeling, and some push you into the depth of decrepitude, function as shattering place markers in our shallow lives. The events that have led my life to this point, do not transcribe to either. Sure, I have had the fortune of living moments of elation and I have had moments of despair. But these moments function in a fragmented fashion, they act as spices, sprinkled over a larger entity, some spices carry a tantalizing taste and some are not so pleasant, but at the end of the day, the spice of life is essential a ‘spice’ the real flavor of life is found in our monotony and our daily rigors of existence. Our life.
Lately however, I find myself questioning the meaning of the direction that life has been taking. There is an air of unpredictability albeit a sense of stagnancy about that has stalled movement. Heavy words aren’t they. Do I even understand them, I wonder. Let me deconstruct it, break myself down, strip my flesh out layer by layer and muscle by muscle and understand who is it that I am and what is it that I would have liked to accomplish and how is life stopping me from doing so. A sense of unpredictability. Yes, that is easy. The past 21 days have been exactly that. They have been a roller coaster of emotions, the highs of elations balanced by the pits of despair, moments spent in sweet happiness rejoicing over the sound of someone breathing and moments of despair over the same sounds of breathing.
The human heart is a victim of a fabric of association, we associate feelings with people who are associated with us and latch onto them for comfort. These people may not necessarily do much for us, but exist in a fallacy bound by a sequestered tradition that festoons and wraps around the vessels that carry blood to organs strange and undefined. They give us comfort in their existence. My grandmother is one such person. A frail woman of 73 years old, she has withered harshness in life and has withstood seasons and geographical dislocations. She has recovered and survived cancer and poverty. She has lived in misery but never lost her pride in her family. She imparted values onto her children and govern her house on her own terms in a society that does not let a woman do that. Her lack of education, itself a result of a forced marriage did not make her limp, but almost acted as a buoy, made her steely resolve stronger, she made sure her children got the best education. She wasn’t always successful at this, because resolve and tradition are two mortal enemies. The strongest of resolve finds itself crumbling in alacrity in the face of tradition. But still she did not give up. She sold her earthly possessions, in order to get money to feed her children. She started trading traditional Indian clothes, almost becoming a buffer between the merchant and displaced friends and family members. Not a year went by where she did not carry a large suitcase filled with clothes, ready to sell them to whoever showed interest. She tried.
And now, after 73 years of relentless fighting for every single thing in life, she finds herself failing to the most unexpected of foes, her own body. She finds her senses failing her, basic needs going unaware and left to be taken care of by watchful eyes of her family and the workers of medicine. She fights a battle but it seems careening on a cliff that is abysmal in its height. This is where the unpredictability comes in. The greatest inheritance that my grandmother has is her family. A watchful, opinionated set of children who fight often but love their mother without precondition. These guardians have had a harrowing few days and watching them has been difficult for me as well. We find ourselves latching onto any good news and erupting in a guarded hope, hope that lasts for days few but then is trust into darkness again. A few days of good heath displayed by grandma is matched by a couple of days of bleakness, the ominous knot in the stomach with an underlying feeling that despair is around the corner. Unpredictability.
Now where does stagnancy come in? Well, unpredictability itself has become stagnant. The ever twisted river of life has stagnated itself into delivering news of melancholy. There is a defeated air around. My mother is depressed. She finds stagnancy in her efforts to revive her mother. She spends sleepless nights with a watchful eye over grandma hoping that her condition does not deteriorate. She is unprepared for the eventual moment but in an almost surreal manner is aware about it. She has not found acceptance. My mother has not given up. But she has tired of the stagnancy of despair and has tired of the familiar seesaw of our lives.
Families give comfort to each other and act as blankets of reassurance. They shelter us from the storms of worry and give us warmth in indemnity. Often nameless wanderers rediscover a forgotten family and are suddenly brimming with happiness, rejoicing at the one person who cares for them. Within each family however are people who are called guardians. These are the leaders who guide the ship and work towards steering everyone towards a better future and preserving unity. My mother is that guardian. People often ask me about my childhood in passing muster. They do not ask with interest but they ask with a disenchanted interest. Why is it that I talk more about my mother and seldom about my father, they ask. Truly, why do I?
When I look back at my life and recollect all the memories and experiences, I am momentarily frozen. The familiar image of a misty world suddenly springs in front of me. Our lives in dilapidated homes made with red brick and built with a cubical aesthetic suddenly appear before my eyes. I remember all the struggles I have had, with studies, with emaciation, with eccentricity and I am suddenly aware of an undeniable fact, I do not see my father in any of those images. The ubiquitous presence is one of my mother. She finds herself at all events, happy and miserable. She is the guardian of my family of 5. She has relentlessly fought for us her entire existence with almost a maniacal intensity. She thrives in her duty and his guarding of her children with almost a ravenous passion.
Today when I see her physically detest the thought of spending another night in worry at the hospital, I find myself feeling helpless at her helplessness. I am not as upset about my grandmother because I understand that the human body is not immortal, it is a timid branch of a massive tree, if one branch breaks and falls down, the tree will continue in its expansive growth. I am upset at not being able to comfort my mother. I find my purpose and my fabric within my family devoid of meaning. What is my worth when I cannot even comfort my own mother? The wheels of life have indeed stagnated. My existence is mired in immobility. I am the soundless and faceless man, screaming in a sea of nothingness, does anyone hear me? Does anyone…

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