Wilting World

If, by some stroke of good fortune, you obtain the chance to overcome the earth’s orbital velocity in a satellite, you’d have a remarkable panorama. You might see The Great Wall of China like a bulging vein on our blue orb, or Seattle’s Space Needle puncturing a cloud, or the pinnacles of the Great Himalayas like outsized spines of a porcupine shrouded in a garment of snow.

But, come a little closer and you might want to perceive the state of affairs on Planet Earth and you will infer that while your home has much to boast of with all the splendor it has to offer, it also has a downside.

Frankly, you don’t have to be in space; you don’t even need a visual aid to have a handle on what this is all about. Look around. What do you see? Dissension here, robbery a few feet away, a conspiracy down the avenue, a murder in the next block, a rotten politician behind it, a hitman in the window above you, poverty in shanty adjacent to your dwelling zone, a mountain of debris next to an overflowing trash can… I could add to this list and ramble on forever. (But I can’t and I won’t unless I intend to bore you stiff, dear readers.)

Patriotism and national integrity have been reduced to mere words in the dictionary and concepts in textbooks. Every country nominates secularism, religious tolerance and a multitude of other such principles as the values they stand for, but there has always been this incongruous instinct of a handful of the populace of this world to adulterate a pure reputation and stain the face of the earth red with blood, black with underhand money with the flesh market thrown in, and brown with grime.

It is a natural tendency for the dwellers of a country- especially those in high places- to boast of their country’s achievements in various sectors, but on digging a little deeper, one can find that there is more to it than what meets the eye or what enters the auditory canal. Veiled beneath the mantle of praises and superficiality is grim reality which can only provoke one question: What has this world come to?

With a pair of eyes and a functional mind, I can see this world wilting under the sun of vice due to the shortage of the distilling waters of virtue. If there are people who serve the purpose of social, national and global contamination, there are indisputably others who are capable of being agents of purification.


Putting Pen to Paper

There have been several instances when others- and sometimes I myself- have wondered what it is about writing that I love. If anyone posed the question to me out of the blue, no matter how good I am with words otherwise, words would always fail me then. As the clock ticked, reasons started manifesting themselves like rainbows after a squally downpour.

So, here’s why I love to write:

  • It allows me to express and impress…

The former is much more important than the latter, but the written word provides one with the scope to do both. Be it a congratulatory or a rueful letter, the pen has put my tongue to shame. It confounded me to see the jaws of my comrade lose their elasticity when and after her eyes had scanned and her brain had grasped the denotation of my work.

  • It showed me a side of myself I never knew…

I wasn’t the least bit serious when I penned my maiden poetry at the age of eleven. Only when my penmanship was lauded and admired, I came to understand that I had the heart, the mind and the soul of a writer. I was someone inebriated with the spirit of language enhancement, intoxicated with the sound of syllables, inflamed with a burning passion for all things written.

  • It was- and still is- therapeutic…

Nothing under the golden orb of the sun can ever rival the gratification received when the unspoken thoughts in the recesses of my mind are transferred onto paper. My mouth serves me well when conversing with others, but when an array of cluttered thoughts swirls around in my head with the gyration of a tornado, the sole way to draw them out in a coherent sequence is by putting them down in ink. It’s factually like getting a glimpse at the contents of your brain without having to resort to gory methods- kidding!

  • It opened the doors of my mind…

Not only did it open the doors to my mind, but it also gave a voice to my heart. When my speech failed me, I could rely on the connection I forged between my mind and my pen-clutching hand. It solidified my reasons to think, to analyze and to discover. It enhanced both the meaning of life and the world.

No wonder Sir Francis Bacon quoted: “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.”

Solitude: A Resourceful Instrument in the Experiment of Understanding Oneself

I learned much from company, but more from myself. I understood other people when I was with them, but I took my understanding of my own self to the next level when my only company was my shadow.

To me, there’s nothing that summons up a picture of melancholy when I consider myself hemmed in by four walls. For me, my favorite place to visit is nowhere external- it’s my core: a place with so much to explore, so much to delve into, so much that yearns ardently to be discovered.

I prize the serenity of solitude as much as I treasure the gaiety of amity. There was never a time I voiced a complaint about being left in the circle with me, myself and I. It was in seclusion that I discovered the value of giving myself the time I deserve with myself.

If there is one person who understands- and ought to understand me, it is indisputably none other than me. I know that I can’t expect to understand other people, or have them understand me if I lack a complete and concrete understanding of myself.

The more I graced myself with my own time, the more I learned the merit of silent deliberation, of interior conversation, of internal mysteries that would never have unraveled sans my loyal ally, solitude.

People these days hate themselves because they don’t take the time out to get to know themselves better. They know- or they think they know– others on a better level and that’s the reason they invest their feelings in another party and rely on their verdicts and opinions and when they’re met with destructive or negative criticism, the doors of their hearts fly open and let it in and then, the ensuing reaction- they crash. Had they known themselves better, they could have saved themselves the hurt.

Knowledge, understanding, acceptance and love of one’s own self is a precondition for the knowledge, understanding, acceptance and love of the self of another.

So give yourself the time you deserve. You’re not a waste of your own time. You’re worth it!

Twin Salt Rivulets

Breaking down on the outside is a sign of breaking up on the inside.”

— Susanna Correya (This girl)

Did you ever experience the convergence of two threads of liquid on the rims of your eyes and the warm trickling down the contours of your face? Did you do it so frequently that it became as natural as breathing to you?

Well, I did, and when I did, I learned myriad things that happiness could never have imbibed in me.

To start off, why does someone cry?

One question with innumerable possible responses, none of which can be deemed incorrect. Maybe it was the heart-shattering impact of a relationship gone sour, something that should have and could have gone a certain way but chose to navigate the other end of expectancy, or it could be the loss of something cherished (sanity and peace included).

Whatever it might be- it’s obviously something wrecking enough to provoke the production of liquid water.

I christened myself a Weeping Willow not too long ago, the reason being this: hurtful things that people say don’t go to my head, they instead take a detour and head straight to my heart that in turn sends a message to my eyes that well up and overflow like a dam on a day blessed or cursed with a torrential downpour.

Crying caused me to view myself as a person with a dearth of emotional stability, but, like many times in my life, I was mistaken. The foamy wave of realization swept over me while I was sprawled out on the seashore of my thoughts. It was then that I understood that crying was not a sign of being weak; rather, it was a sign of being human.

It’s just a mechanism of release. When words fail you, your tears serve you. People don’t always understand their own tongue, but crying makes them fathom if someone’s on the verge of breaking or that someone’s been holding it in for too long.

I’ve garnered the strength to control my secretions of salt water, but when I let my guard down, I don’t feel weak- I feel freed, purified, lighter. It’s like the mass I was lugging around just detached itself from me.

And who doesn’t like to feel that way?

It’s as true as the fact that the sun rises in the east that crying does leave you looking like you’ve gotten windburns, and it leaves your eyes looking like you allowed a chimpanzee to do the makeup there, but, truth be told, you’d look a tad or two worse if you don’t let it all out because (time for a self-quote), letting go is harder than holding on, but sometimes, being weak is better than always being strong.

When You’re Down and Out

“Why me?”

— All of us

We’re as familiar with this question as we are with our names. It’s a phenomenon of human nature to absolve oneself of all blemishes and throw our lamentations to the dome of the sky when things go south or when we trip on the perceptible taut cord of our own folly and meet the muck of the earth.

Believe me, I’ve asked this question to myself, the walls, the sky and my notebooks more times than I can number on my ten fingers and toes.

In the face of adversity, I cower sometimes, and I’m not too resilient. When adversity’s merciless eyes bore into me and its razor-sharp claws graze at the membrane of my strength, I’m often left on the verge of collapsing like a building without a strong foundation that has been bombarded by a hurricane.

That’s when I ask this rhetorical question. Well, it was rhetorical until wisdom gave me the right shovel to dig up the answer in the right place- within.

The sunbeam of understanding shone on me and permeated me. My question was answered with a question. The voice without a face (because it’s inside my head) asked me, “Why don’t you ask the same question when you’re in high spirits?”

Discomfiture coursed through my system along with blood because I drank from the cup of life with a tongue that chose to taste the mountain-top moments as sweet and the ones in the vale as bitter.

Like a swarm of fireflies, thoughts illumined the dark chamber of my mind with the sublime truth: I would never know to cherish happiness if I didn’t know sadness.

Those times when I thought I was being knocked down were actually the times I was being built up, though I never could perceive it.

The spirit of altruism was yet to penetrate me as I was still shackled by self-centeredness that is evident in the quote that serves as the opener to this passage. I was just being bent, being fine-tuned, and whetted against the stone. I wasn’t being broken, I wasn’t being pulverized. And, the most essential crux: it’s not just me.

So, next time you ask the question, know, understand and remember that while life is not a bed of roses, it’s not a bed of thorns either.