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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

When I was about 5, I’d spend most afternoons lying on the floor and imagine I was dead. My idea of death was – nothingness. It was simple. Being 5, the memory of being in total nothingness was, perhaps, naturally easier to connect with. With nothing much worthy to be termed as life experience, I would try very hard to recall as far back as I could, to my initial contact with my existence. Awareness of my being, some would call it. I had to settle with the fact that I could never remember the sensation felt from my mother’s first touch and what it was like to behold the form of human for the first time. I could, however, remember vaguely waking up one night not sensing my mother by my side and being terrified by flashes of camera lights. I ‘knew’ at that moment, that there was a time when I did not exist, and I concluded, when one dies, one returns to the same state of nothingness. I was afraid.

My first major revolt – I was 7. I protested to the fact that I had to go to school. The idea that an entire population is made to sit in a room and do the same thing at the same time was an abomination to me. That kind of institutional confinement was an intimidation. I had to ask permission when I wanted to pee. It was scandalous to have to hand over what was naturally engineered as the excretory system of the body to the personified unilateral prerogative called teacher. If I had to pee I just had to pee! Occasionally, the rights to my bodily function need were denied. Understandably so. It was a price to pay for my curiosity. On my way back from the loo, I would often wander through the corridors of the training chambers called classrooms and wonder at how people would willingly give up their rights to throw stones, play marbles and run as freely as they want.


I returned to class one day and was told that I had to draw a chicken. I couldn’t. And I cried. I was afraid. Afraid because everybody else could do it. But I couldn’t. 

Like everyone else, I had my first dance and it was sweet. She was hot. But it didn’t work out for me. She ended up angry with me. I didn’t understand why relationship was so complicated. I was afraid that people would not love me. In fact, I grew up finding it rare to see people really loving each other, selflessly. Later on, I decided that I should just let someone love me. I found out that I am afraid to be loved. That I am not able to love in return. And she too ended up angry with me.

I have so much to give. But people are generally selfish. I am particularly sensitive to these tendencies of late. They want to change others. They want to own and consume others. Yet, they sound so weak and needy. They have their ways of making others feel guilty and weak. And the world sets up the stage for it. It suffocates me. I am afraid of people. People who are over dependant on others. 

I ask my friend the other day. Does relationship mean anything to him. There are some relational connections which one can’t change. I don’t choose to be connected to some people in my life. People who make choices. We worked out how we interact which each other. We started from love, respect, honor and ended up in anger, disappointment and resentment. Now, I think I am indifferent. But what is the right thing to do? But what can be so wrong? 

I was taught that everyone is special. If so, then who is ordinary? If no one is ordinary, then how can anyone be special? I settle with this: everyone is different. I am happier. 

I am still afraid of the idea of nothingness. Perhaps I don’t fear death as much. I can remember what I did and where I have been. But of course, there’s no way to know if it has been nothingness all the same. 


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