The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

Menu Close

Tag: introspection (page 1 of 2)

The Strange Awkwardness

Have you ever experienced a strange awkwardness?

It seemingly comes out of nowhere and settles in your chest. I feel the slight weight descending within, like a greyish cloud. I wonder where it came from. I look around. I think back to events in the last hour or so. Everything seems to be okay. Was there a disagreement, a barbed remark or argument? None. However, the discomfort is absolutely obvious. I pace around, wondering what to do next. A cup of tea won’t help. A walk outside is a great antidote but I feel like someone’s sitting on my tail… I cannot muster up the enthusiasm to step out. Of course, all meditation teachers will tell you to go meditate. I kinda force myself to do that but I don’t really want to. I try to obey my teachers. Nothing works. I am counting the hours until I can get to bed. Perhaps sleep/oblivion is the only way out.

Next day, I discover that I am running a low fever. Perhaps that was it. I have observed that emotional disturbance causes me to develop a fever. So let’s work it backward. Perhaps there was an emotional disturbance. Really? Maybe I didn’t catch it right away. It is like a tiny thorn that lives under the skin. Too small to pull out but it bloody well makes its presence felt. I wonder how many such thorns exist, pricking my insides, making me bleed within. One day, all the little rivulets will coalesce into a huge flood that gushes out of my body. Or mind.

So, do I pull out every thorn? It isn’t an easy job. It is a matter of skill and patience. You don’t want to cause a gash or wound. Then you think, ahh, never mind. It will stay there a while, and shortly get integrated into the body through scar tissue formation. Or I can simply focus on building awareness, so its clear brilliance throws everything into sharp relief — thorns, gashes, open wounds, blisters, scar tissue. Does time heal all wounds? Does loving attention help?

Is this about sensitive people only? Does this practice help in halting illness? Is it an indulgence or a necessity?

Playing Solo

If it isn’t obvious already (from the previous posts), I am by myself these days, a lot.

The husband is currently traveling for work. I have no children or pets, plus my social life is virtually non-existent, so this means that I spend a good chunk of time in my own company (apart from the time I spend at work with my delightful colleagues). I have also begun to go out for dinner, to movies, on hikes, etc. as a solo person.

All of this is new to me.

I hope this isn’t coming across as pathetic. Indian women are so geared to be in a relationship with someone (parents, husband, children) that this might feel like a rather unconventional picture. Actually, I don’t think it is that unconventional. The truth is that there are many girls like me in other cities, here and in India, living on their own, possibly liking it too.

I have been married for 13+ years, and we, my husband and I, have rarely been apart. However, starting last year, things have been somewhat different. He travels for 3-4 weeks at a stretch, and I am left to my own devices. As I recently discovered, I have quite the fondness for solo time; some days I wonder if I am turning into a semi-recluse of sorts?

But it isn’t always easy-breezy.

There are some evenings when I am at a loss. Something within tells me, ok, now read a book. But I just finished reading a book some time ago. What about watching a film? Okay… not feeling like it. Go out for a walk? Surf the Internet?

There is an urge within to keep moving, one activity to another, stay busy. Keep going, don’t stop until it’s bedtime.

“Keep yourself occupied, so you don’t have time for unnecessary thoughts.” This is some ancient wisdom that I have heard repeated again and again, ad nauseam. Let me be the first one to call BS on this bit of wisdom.

You can run yourself down in this tremendously silly attempt to be busy and occupied. However, your mind is smarter than that. Sure, your body will be exhausted, and you will drop dead/asleep on your feet. But the litany in your mind isn’t going to shut down, if that’s what you are trying to achieve. It is a better idea to be still, sit silent, think about what you are thinking.

“Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” — Susan Ertz

Sometimes, I wonder if life is preparing me for solitude/loneliness in the future. I am certainly getting good practice these days.

This situation can go forward in multiple ways. Like countless others (women and men) who face up to their alone situation, accept it completely, stop searching for things and people and activities to fill their “isolation.” Or spend the time and energies searching. Or remain somewhere in between.

Some days, I feel dejected, as I think about empty promises of friendship, none delivered. I feel angry at my bravado, thinking that I could be independent and free, on my own. I feel pride/resignation, as I contemplate my own mind that has consistently refused to buy into popular rhythms and patterns.

And then I think, you just chose all of it, baby.

Each life is magical

Some of you probably know that I am a fan of reading film scripts. Why, you may ask. Well, an old friend introduced me to Drew’s Script-O-Rama and I was hooked. I have spent countless boring afternoons reading one script after another. In fact, there are films where the scripts have been so well-written – often, the films have hardly compared! My Best Friend’s Wedding, The English Patient, Sideways are some of them although I love Sideways, the film.

So I was reading the script of The Namesake, a film that I enjoyed (probably more so because Geetu didn’t like it one bit and my expectations were pretty low). I loved the performances of Kal Penn and Irrfan Khan, loved the way their relationship was depicted on screen, loved the coming-of-age of Gogol as it unfolded on screen, loved the camerawork. Then I started wondering about Sonia, Gogol’s sister. Wasn’t her life story significant? Didn’t she go through a similar coming-of-age experience? Did she share something special with her Mom/Dad? How did she come to terms with her mixed identity? Was it smooth sailing, or laden with uncertainty? Did she find her peace easily?

Why didn’t we see anything about that in the film?

The answer is straightforward. Gogol’s life was magical, it was special – only so because we were examining it through the lens of the story. His life had its beautiful moments, it had the shimmer of love, the glamor of lust, the pain of loss, the happiness of finding and being found. And we know that because we saw it. If only we had the opportunity to view Sonia’s life (or anyone else’s), we would have seen its loveliness.

Each life is magical, it really is. You just need to look closer.