An ear to listen and a shoulder to lean in the hour of need, don’t cost a thing!
A few years back, when I was clearing out my stuff at my parents’ place, I chanced upon some hand written letters. I had this school friend who when shifted to a different place after third grade, ensured that we stayed in touch through letters. Of course, the chain continued for a couple of years until fifth grade happened and, academic pressures diffused our verve to keep the connection alive. I am in touch with that friend on FB though. However, we don’t know each other as personally as we would want to. But, for some reason, the letters made me feel good. At some time in life, we both were the best of friends for each other. It was some time, for sure! Past – is a reminder of how we are merely stations/passengers for people we meet. And yet, such junctions make special memories despite not being a part of present. I still feel warm and fuzzy when I recall those good times, when we made cards for teachers, for each other and for others! Innocence in childhood is like a halo we wear off when we begin to adult. The halo is now replaced by a mask, a shield!
Pretense is a nefarious shield!
It is a dagger that can cut both ways. And, one never knows when it shall flip!
With my inability to be nice to the world, when I am not, I find it more often than not, tough to connect with people I come across. In a crowded room, I would either be standing behind people to not be noticed rather than, exchanging pleasantries smoothly. And no, it is not lack of confidence. Because, give me a stage and I can talk for hours. But, it is basically my lack of interest to bond! The complexity in maintaining social bonds has only tangled further for two reasons, One – I am more aware of the energies I would like to invite in my life and, Two, I have become friendlier with solitude as it helps me navigate through my thoughts with zero interference.
And, this is exactly why I am averse to keeping connections alive through social media, where we are merely chatting and not connecting. Especially, whatsapp groups are a facade where everyone is happier than toddlers chasing butterflies because their lives are filled with twinkles, sparkles, cotton candies and blue berry cheese cakes!
So, why am I writing about connections again? Something has been bothering me ever since I came to know of a particular incident in my extended family a few months back. Ever since I was privy to facts given first hand, I realized how messed up and vile humans can be towards each other.
Apparently, there are two kinds of people you CANNOT console whatsoever. Even silence would fail here –
One, those who have lost a loved one to death.
Two, those who have lost a loved one to betrayal!
I am sure, the second one must hurt far worse, because the lady I speak of suffered the second kind of blow! Worse, people she expected to support her in this hour of need, simply turned their heads away.
Sometimes, more than the the antagonist in the world stage, it is the neutral bystanders that are more wicked! Yes, they fan the wickedness after all!
So, while I thought that I am not a social person, my connection with this lovely woman, that has begun to lay a strong foundation happened just a few months back. And, I cannot describe how! Some connections just happen.. even when you have not physically interacted much! And as I pondered over how my heart wept when I heard her shattered voice, despite the fact that we have barely met a few times in the past few decades, with the couple having stayed abroad for most part. I finally understood that this is how the Universe connects us. When you feel someone else’s pain as deeply and, you suffer their agony as much, you come closest to understanding how vulnerable a human can be, how formidable can the same vulnerability become and how, just an ear and a shoulder is all that is needed to give assurance that things will be fine again and, the wheels of time shall turn again.
With her parents resting with the stars, and with a loving sister living on the other side of the hemisphere and, with children having flown the nest, this lady is currently going through the acid test of her life. Drowned in an ennui and, trying to understand why and how her partner of 34 years suddenly left her to be with someone else has been pushing her into a bubble of depression. But, the Universe works in mysterious ways. We had been unaware of the woman’s plight for the past four years and, then her meeting my mum at a funeral, confiding in my mum her angst and, releasing her agony in tears that wouldn’t stop, was a surreal timing designed by the Universe. Destiny’s designs are strange after all. And, it is times as these that unveil how deeply we are connected with our kind despite not being related by blood.
Why did my eyes well up when she cried? I have just met her just four to five times from the time I chose Mr and Mrs VS as my parents! And yet, I couldn’t sleep because her pain wouldn’t let me. What can I do to take her pain away? When will she regain her peace of mind?
This pain is a stark reminder of what we are made of. When the time comes, do we carry the courage to stand by what is right? The answer to that defines the very foundation over which we have evolved. The answer is frightening. But, it is fair! And, tough too! Especially when the person who has wronged the woman is related to us by blood!
Ironically, the world celebrates good times. Perhaps, good times only. In stormy phases of life, these good times hurt. And, people who celebrated these good times hurt more! Because, these very people with sugar coated tongues who celebrated them along slowly disappear into the horizon. And, there is simply none to guide you to cross over the burning bridge.
From the hundred percent of relations we tend to make in a lifetime, we only meet a measly one percent that may not be a part of all our life happenings but, will be there for us when we need them. And, a lifetime is already spent by the time we realize who is who and, made of what.
Everything is hunky dory, We are living the ideal stories with full glory!
During the conversations this aunt and I had over the past few months, I could always see our whatsapp groups abuzz with messages, poems and a lot more as if our worlds are shining gay and bright. Being optimistic about life and, sharing good anecdotes is one thing. But, being indifferent to someone’s misery is something else.
Sometimes, you don’t have to cross continents to help a person who is seeking to be heard. Even a call to that person would mean as much. Because, contemplating on whether to even knowing what the other person is going through, is a moral ambiguity. And, if you question yourself before doing the right thing, you have already chosen your nasty side! It is as if, you watch a person battling hell and you just won’t help the person because you either feel it is not your problem or because, you are indecisive about taking the right side. I am not sure how this effed up ‘theology’ should help, should the same morally neutral crowd, God forbid, suffer the same fate, or worse? Food for thought?
An ear and a shoulder are the two lanes that connect people.
The ear to listen and the shoulder to rest gives comfort far greater than the warm fuzzy blankets during winters and, starry cool nights of summers. That comfort is sometimes the medicine needed to heal the pain a soul undergoes.
Coming back to whatsapp world, everything is hunky dory here in all groups. Life goes on, they say! Yes, it does! The mask on the face says – Fake it till you make it!
Social media bonding is shallow. What is more comical is the fact that people do not feel the need to call people up and wish birthdays and anniversaries like was the tradition decades back. Sometimes, the Happy Birthday is reduced to a HBD! I am no good at remembering dates and, I do not really wish people through messages unless, I do not have their number. And, I may sound rude but I really do not wish everyone. Not because, I don’t want to, but because I do not know people that well enough. But that said, I do pray for the world each day, and that includes strangers beyond close relations!
Strangely, we live in a world where a smart phone appears to bring families closer. Sadly, it is just appearance. Because, many things are falling apart beneath the charade. Rather, things are toppling like a deck of cards. Today, I recount what my father’s friend always emphasized on – A good relation or NO relation in the real world and, there is nothing in between!
I agree. Absolutely.
And, this termite called pretense must die. Only then, will one know that empathy carries greater powers than being consciously blind to people’s miseries! All it takes is an ear to listen and a shoulder of comfort to feel the pain hidden beneath those camouflaged smiles and glassy eyes. No money, peeps! All it takes is, some courage to stand by what is right and fair!
You. Must. Die.