Gyaan

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A day in life of Swapnil

A day in life of Swapnil

Alone, alienated, detached, isolated, soliatary, withdrawn….

I cannot think of any more synonyms, but I just thought of writing this here. Wanted to purge these thoughts somewhere. These are the exact words that describe what I felt a lot during last few months.  Around the same time that I started working, my husband’s critical deals entered into advanced stages of discussions and he had to travel. A lot. Sometimes, in a month, he used to be home for less than 10 days, and not continuously (not consecutive days of being at home). That just left the situation being him back from one trip, just for doing the laundry and repacking and be gone. Thankfully, I had started working, otherwise, I would have gone crazy. But for all the non-working hours in the day, I was all those words I mentioned above.

Sure, I know some people here by now. Knowing is not same as being friends – I realised more than ever. They were available of course, mostly on whatsapp. Some who I consider friends have children and it was I who felt I would be imposing on them if I sought them out. Others… well, they let me know subtly and not so subtly  – that they don’t appreciate ‘clinginess’ and still others… well  I suppose they didn’t even care to understand my loneliness despite my own subtle and not so subtle hints…I don’t blame anyone of course, I should not and cannot be expecting support everywhere I go, cannot expect every person to like me enough to keep me company when I want… and I was alone for quite some time. So anyways, there would have been a limit on how many times I could impose on anyone like that….

I could have of course pursued my hobbies, etc during those days…but I didn’t. I didn’t handle this well. I have never stayed alone even as much as overnight before I moved here and somehow, I wasn’t able to handle it well. I could have explored the city.  I always wanted to. But I didn’t. Mainly because of my still fledgeling bahasa skills and the fact that my husband and I were both not sure about safety in exploring the deep interiors of Jakarta. He was out of the country and he requested that I postpone my explorings till he was in city for longer stretches. There are many ways in which I could have handled this better, but I couldn’t and I cannot – I think- even in the future.

I realised during these days, how much I had taken the social life granted back home. In India, while I was working, the work-life balance was disastrous with exceedingly long working hours. Still I will say, I was better off socially, simply because I had a great set of co-worker friends who had my back all the time. We each hardly had time for our other friends outside work, and we each had distinct tastes and personalities. Still these never were barriers in connecting, in talking about anything under the sun. We never judged each other, maintained our own opinions and still were one cohesive group. I think, most of the meaningful friendships in my life, were formed in my adult life and this group was a big part of it. While this happened because we each hardly had any time outside of work to engage more with our other friends, the most important reason was the great connection we shared with each other.  I cannot expect such connections to form everywhere I go, but then I know what great happiness it can bring. I could of course contact them and all of my other friends, though its not same as meeting in person. Though I hated to just be complaining all the times and consequently I avoided chatting with anyone.

Anyhow, now I expect my husband to be at home mostly. I won’t face this situation hopefully for some time now. Though I wonder sometimes, if expecting your friends to set aside some time for you is really an unreasonable thing… after 5 months of loneliness, I am inclined to believe, it isn’t mostly, because they too can count on you when they need you. Though here in NRI world, things are different. Or, they’re not different, this is just how the world works, its just that I had this moment of epiphany so late in life….

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I went to Uttarakhand in August 2010

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.”

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” – Sylvia Plath…

… on a trek. I had never seen the nature in such a glory before. Wait, I HAD seen it…only on Discovery, Natural Geographic or some posters. Like most other people. But when I actually saw it firsthand in all its glory, I realised, the TV and the posters don’t do any justice at all. It really felt heavenly, surrounded by so much purity, beauty and the quiet. To be very frank, the happiness I had felt during those days, seeing all these places…was incomparable on many levels to any emotion I have ever felt… Joshimath, Auli, Chamoli, Ghangria, Gobindghat, Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Badrinath, Valley of Flowers, Hemkund Sahib…those lovely rivers, Alaknanda’s basin… miles and miles of greenery and wild flowers, sound of stream / river waters, billowing  medow, colourful birds, imposing yet, silent mountain ranges, bright sunlight, pure air, cool breeze, the melting glacier… all those memories…the happiness I felt amidst something that was a hundred percent natural and without any artifice, drama or falseness about it. Such a beauty and yet, the unassuming silence of nature…I felt, the greatest creator had not left anything out to make sure this place was the most beautiful place on earth…. I came back with fond memories and times spend with a very close friend…After I came, I couldn’t stop myself from recommending this trek to every single trekker I met. Those 15 days were the high-point of my trekking life I guess. By far, the best trek ever for me…

Here’s 3 years later almost and I am reading heart-wrenching news daily about the sudden cloud burst and floods in the area. It is really heart breaking to know that all these places, almost every place that I went to got flooded, so many lives destroyed. I pray for the peace of all those lives. Nature’s glory was really silent and unassuming. Nature’s wrath wasn’t . These places are situated at an extremely high altitude and addressing rescue and recovery itself would have been a huge challenge, let alone trying to rebuild lives. Basic necessities that we take granted in our comfortable urban spreads are like luxuries in those areas and I cannot begin to comprehend what a tall task it would be to just continue existing there right now…

A friend forwarded me a quote after this massive loss of lives…

बडी अजीब सी ही मौत भी,
कभी कभी उस जगह पर मिल जाती हैं,
जहा अक्सर लोग जिंदगी के लिये दुवा मांगते हैं

– The death is a strange phenomenon. It can even meet you sometimes at the very place where people pray for life and vitality.

All these areas are also home to shrines of various religions, famous for their pilgrimages. My heart goes out to all these lives, the lost, stranded and hurt lives, who had to face the fury of nature. They will be in my prayers.