“I am not sure if I feel anything.”, she said. “Its like my soul has shut down, stopped to feel. Both sadness and happiness. I am just floating on the surface ready to embrace whatever is destined for me.
I used to be afraid of sadness. I used to fear heartache in the wake of love, I used to fear attachments, I used to fear the fall after soaring too high, I used to fear a lot. But then I experienced it all. You see, happiness ends and is followed by melancholy. Both are consecutive, so in life at one moment you are on cloud nine and at other moment you are drowning and suffocating for air and the former moment is not mere moment but eternity on its own! The only thing that helps you survive through this lengthy phase of sinking is, the memory of being on cloud nine.
So I have felt too much to feel anything for a while….”
She still remembered the time when they both were enough for each other. She took care of his battles and was always by his side while he knew that whenever he needed, his sister would always be having his back. That was how strong they had been and she strongly believed that though distance and people may have come in between she could ascend fearlessly forward because she knew that if she ever tripped her brother would be there for. Right on time. Right when she needed him the most.
She recalled how once in childhood her cousin broke her doll and he saved his allowance to get her a new one though he wanted to buy a transformer car. And how they fought over winning the race and he always cheated and she pretended to let him win in the board games because she loved to see him tease her over his victory. She was happy in his success, whether she lost or not. She succeeded when he did and that was enough.
Life took its toll over them and they grew up fighting and smiling, teasing and chasing, together until their paths differed. The course of life changed for her and his life took different turns and they parted on their ways moving towards the opportunities, fulfilling their dreams and chasing their aims. She never settled. She had her postings from city to city over the last twelve years. In the race of life she missed the good old times, when there were no responsibilities but more of innocence and carefree leisure.
They met only once at his reception however, she was in a hurry and was on board as soon as their vows ended. Work was important. But she did make sure to be present on the most important step of her brother’s life. He understood and was okay with it.
And here she sat now in the cafe, waiting to meet her brother after such a long span. He called her last night to inform her that he had come on vacations with his children to Alaska and wanted to meet her. He did not complain of anything. Just that as soon as he arrived in Alaska she became the priority and that was enough. She was playing the memories back and thinking when her shoulder was tapped by a light hand. She looked around to see a 4 year old girl standing beside her smiling, wearing a pink frock and pony tail. Her features were same as hers. What a remarkable resemblance! The little girl spoke, ” Hello Aunt Jane!” and leaped forward for a hug. She instantly responded and picked the child up in her lap. She looked around and there he was. Her little brother, 6 ft tall with a beard and in a nicely cut and stitched navy blue coat having a baby of roughly 8 months old in his hand while his wife approached her with a warm smile.
This reunion was perhaps one of the perfect moments in all those long years. The evening flied, she accompanied them to her humble residence later on.
“We cannot be logical completely all the time, or in fact emotional. Being the first, all the time may complicate things, hinder you from opportunities and may cease you from having a more clear, brighter and wider prospect. Being the former all the time may bring lots and lots of embarrassment and hurt because everyone does not deserve to have the raw version of you and your mind.”, grandpa appeared to be in deep thoughts. He spoke of emotions and I saw his face tighten more as though he was speaking out of grief.
He further added, “What is important is being a realistic person, forming a balance between logics and emotions. You must decide who deserves you and where you must invest your emotions, you must decide where logics fit and where nature intervenes… ”
“So there is no room for mistakes?”, the little boy asked.
“Mistakes is what you will learn all this from.”, said Grandpa smiling.
“I want to be so very me, so that you know, in me perfection doesn’t exists, that I am not flawless and I am too learning from life like you are, I make mistakes, numerous risks I take and things do not necessarily turn out my way!
So that when you commit ‘you are the best’ you really know who you are talking about and that the definition of best is actually what you see in me”, she said.
“In life’s buzz I went through places and met people, I got indulged in chasing luxuries for my life… sometimes it became obsession, so much that I consoled my endless desires with Mercedes cars, puffy branded robes and diamonds and gold that I generously showered on acquaintances … I forgot the real joys in this race. I forgot how enchanting it is to enjoy a cup of coffee on cold mornings or how soothing it is to embrace your beloved… I forgot the simple joys and lost myself… And here I am today twenty years later, standing far far away from life’s ‘liveliness’. The heart warming joys and memories to cherish? there aren’t any. I have everything and yet I have nothing at all!”, he lit another cigarette when he finished his sentence. It was like burning the cigarette and turning it into ash would sooth the agony that burnt inside him.
The audience was awe struck. No one has seen this blunt side of him and it was the very first time he wasn’t superficial. He wasn’t plastic, someone glamorous basking in attention of millions for his heart throbbing personality… He was less Hollywood today… He was himself!
It was late September. The crisp wind started to blow and the mornings were more misty and more chilled. Like the spell of falls has broken and it was spreading through every inch of life present on earth. The windows were now shut in an unwelcoming way and the wind would knock on the window glass every now and then as if it were the late evening guest one was expecting…
The houses, you could see down the hill, stood in magnificent rows and glistened with warm glow of light as soon as the sun sank in the West and one could sense the fragrance of hot coco spreading in the environment and could hear the cracking of nut shells and people enjoying the taste of cashew, walnuts and peanuts!
Kids wore heavy coats and gloves and their cheeks were tinged in shade of pink and lips were cherry red! Everything and everyone seemed to be embracing the season turn and people were filling their hearts with warmth of love and affection as they sat by the fire place listening stories and enjoying the light conversations.
Everyone felt glee except her. She didn’t look much changed. The glum look did not go away. Rather she looked more pale and more cold. Lifeless as ever. The fact perhaps was that in her house the falls had lingered too long. Life had frozen to ice and cold spread in her soul… She was like that weird book with a very odd book cover and people would judge the cover first and leave, never really caring to read the profound words…
So she was struck by a very different fall… The falls that had lingered too long…
It weren’t the evenings that delighted her the most but the mornings. She was a morning person. Her favorite thing being a morning cup of coffee, a toast with cheese spread in a large amount than usual because she loved cheese and a morning news paper. No, she was not interested in the current affairs but the columns she read dearly and then she was seen drowned in books or writing reviews in her office.
She had her own office which was decorated well with antique bookshelf on the right wall which was bought from an auction and entirely her choice, a desk which was larger than any other desks in the cabins around that building and a chair with a cushion at the back to make her comfortable when she was working late. Her office had a marvelous view with tall buildings signifying the rapid modernization of the country after being nominated for the host of worldcup in the following two years! She often liked to look through the big glass window, something about the tall buildings and rapidly rushing cars on the road which had always delighted her.
She was the chief editor and was proud of it. So, it was the morning when she’d come to office earlier than the rest and there was still an hour till other people started arriving at the office, so she stood by the window again with starbuck cinnamon latte in her hand. Sipping the latte she drifted to her struggle. How satisfying it was to be standing where she stood now, the feeling that made her feel proud of herself and her choices after all!
To be Continued.