Monday, September 24, 2007

We are all myrtyrs

जब दर्द नहीं था सीने में,
तब ख़ाक मज़ा था जीने में,
अब के शायद हम भी रोयें,
सावन के महीने में.

[Jab Dard nahin tha seene meiN,
Tab khaak maza tha jeene meiN,
Ab ke shaayad ham bhi royeiN,
Saawan ke maheene meiN. ]

Literally translated it means:
When there was no pain in the heart,
There was no fun in living,
Maybe this year I will also cry,
In the month of rain.

Yes, yes, rain is not a month, I know, but that's how the song is worded. Actually the word "Saawan" is the name of a lunar month and it coincides with July-August, bringing rain. Unlike western culture, rain is considered a romantic and welcome thing in Indian culture. So, rain reminds one of his/her mate and that in some situations brings sorrow. But this poet is actually looking forward to that seasonbecause now there is pain in his heart. Makes sense? No!

Even though, like a normal person, I have been in and out of love for like a million times, childhood crushes, teenage crushes, love affairs et. al. (I wonder if it can be called a love-affair if the girl doesn't know that you have a pair of binoculars trained on her window?), yet, there was a period in my life when I had none of these. Listening to a sad song on the radio, I realized that even the most recent romantic loss was not so recent that I could think of it with any sorrow. To my surprise, I found myself missing that feeling of missing someone. Not having someone to miss was also an emptyness just as much as not having someone to love. Idiotic, right?

Well, not really, otherwise old Bill wouldn't have said, "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all!"

Pain and sorrow are as much part of our build-up as happiness. To tell you the truth most people feel safer and more secure in sorrow than in happiness. How many people do you know who are always happy and never complain about anything in their life? I don't know any. Including myself.

Of course, there is always something to complain about. Most of the pain or problems are real but some are imaginary also. But we really don't want to do away with all problems. What we want most, even more than solutions, is for the world (meaning our friends and loved ones and any strangers we meet) to recognize these problems and admire our strength and courage to continue living under such hardships.

Hari Shankar Parsai has written a short story about two very close friends, who share a room, and one night start talking about their horrible lives, they are really in bad shape, and struggling through life with each other's support. But when they start comparing misfortunes, it ends up in a bad fight. According to each one, he only has his sorrow, nothing else left in his life and the other one is trying to take that away from him.

I have done that myself, not written a short story but comparing of misfortunes and troubles. I have stopped doing that now, at least consciously.

But that positive thinking apart, there are things in life that make you sad. Real problems, real losses that can't be helped. Think about it, a dark room, and you, alone with your thoughts, thinking about that one thing that made you sad, perhaps shedding a well-deserved tear...no, I can't say that all sorrow is bad. It is what makes us human!

That's just my opinion and I ain't no enlightened soul. What do you think? Maybe I am talking through my hat?

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