The Scare Factor


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Courtesy: graphics8.nytimes.com

Loneliness is probably the only thing that one should never hope to achieve. Some people embrace it, confusing it with solitude. Some embrace it, because they want to. But I'm not talking about them; I don't belong to one of those pseudo-intellectuals who believe, in order to create art, to create a masterpiece, one must first suffer. And what better weapon can there be other than loneliness? Oh no, not me. I do, however, suffer from loneliness, not by indulging in it, not by romanticizing it, but by constantly thinking about it. Believe it or not, this is worse.

It all begins with appreciating the present moment I live in. It all begins with, 'God, this is the best time ever.' But the next thought, when the best time is over, will be, 'Wonder if this is the last of it.' The time you spend in a local coffee shop with no intention of going home, those endless minutes of staring into emptiness when you have reached the top of a hill, then climbing down and indulging in activities that our forefathers would have called a cardinal sin; talking about the future and the past (the change in order is not a typing error) whilst enjoying the present with a delicious cup of coffee, planning the next trip … well, the list is quite big, as is the case with everyone my age and those who have crossed my age, and those who are yet to reach my age (my baby brother, for instance). But at the end of all that merriment, there is only one question that haunts me: 'How long can this all go?' And the answer is not fascinating: 'Just a little while, bugger. All this will come to an end soon.'

Although I'm still having fun, I still have the same friends, I'm still swimming in an eternal bliss, the after-effects, which only stay for a short time, scare me more than that sick cat from Pet Sematary. I don't know if this is normal, I don't know if everyone feels the same way, but it's frightening to me. Maybe there is a specific term for this kind of phobia, I don't know. And now that some of my friends are coming to Bangalore for the weekend, the scare factor is on an all time high. It's going to be one helluva weekend, I'm sure, but then, dealing with the memories on Monday will take their toll.

Having said this, I'm not naive. Neither am I an abject fool to think that this is all going to last forever. The memories will, of course. The process of making them will not. The knowledge of that fact will lead to nostalgia. But feeling nostalgic when you are still having a good time with the same friends is kind of silly, isn't it? I know. I can't help it. You know your friends and family are only a phone call away, or better, they are only a weekend away, yet when a profound emotion of losing them all soon slumps down on your heart, there is no way you can deal with it. Also the fact that you still haven't written the book you promised yourself you would helps a great deal.

We always believe that our best days are always in the past. Mainly because all our “first-times” are in the past: the first crush, the first kiss, the first time you tasted beer, the first time someone broke your heart, the first time you went on a trek, the first time you went on a lengthy motorbike ride with your friends in the middle of the night, the first time you got that red line under your subject score, the first time someone said you were good at nothing, the first time someone said you were brilliant at something, the first time you started a new story and managed to finish it, the first time you knew what you really wanted to do, that new spark in your heart, the first time you decided to follow your heart ... the first of everything you've done in your life.

The fear of losing the people you love, the fear of losing the present, the fear of being lonely in the future ... dealing with the odious nature of this fear is damn too hard. Maybe there are better times ahead, as most people say and believe. Maybe there are interesting things waiting to happen, interesting people waiting to meet you, interesting stories waiting to be written. Then again, the uncertainty of it all festers in your mind and gives rise to a fickle demon called desolation. Be hopeful, some might say. But hope is just an emotional response to many current disappointments and failures. Some things could've, should've happened by now. They haven't.

No matter.

It is always better to live in the present moment, enjoy it to the hilt, and suffer in an imagined loneliness of the dystopian future, than to fall in love with an evil witch called hope. Live now while you are still alive. Be in the now. This is the only absolute. Everything else is a sham. 

                                                                                                            Copyright © Karthik 2014

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