Just read this the other day and it got me thinking. When do we probe enough to peel the layers? How often do we scratch the surface and look at ourselves or other people sans the layers? Do we care to scrape the masks and see people without labels? Without trappings of a function or a designation. We live in such transactional and mechanical times, where people matter to each other as long as they are of some use to each other. The moment they stop being of utility, they cease to matter or exist. Then there are others who become a role. They identify themselves so obsessively with a particular role that it percolates into all spheres of their lives.
What are we beneath all those layers? What are we beyond the trappings of labels, societal expectations and materialistic paraphernalia? We’re all achingly vulnerable and trapped in longing. Lost in translation. We bear the burden of buried dreams, of having loved , of winding in a sense of loss, of being trapped in fear, aching to be liberated from the lies we weave around ourselves. We’re waiting to be accepted, hungry for approval. We’re seeking our space, creating a metier. We’re all wounded little children waiting to fly away from hurt.
We live for the moment and we die in moments. I wonder why we fret over the future or dwell on the past, while all we ever have is a sequence of moments. Life is interspersed across those peals of laughter, in the eyes that brim over with tears, in the curve of lips that silently twist into a smile or in an energizing effervescent exchange of ideas. Life is squeezed between the moments when you reach out to someone in need, or when someone wipes off those tears, in moments when you give of yourself without expecting anything in return. When you stand up for what you believe in or brush your knees after a fall. Moments where you rise from the ashes or start from scratch. Life is transient, ever-changing, always evolving and yet we hold on, cling to its familiarity, hang on to its sameness. Seize these moments, yet let go of them. Carry their essence and yet leave room to embrace new experiences.
An epiphany has a way of unfolding in the most chaotic of moments. In one of those rare reflective moments, it dawned on me that we attract the difficult situations and people we need in our lives. These are merely a reflection of all that we refuse to confront in ourselves. Our relationships or conflicts with other people will always reveal something about our own selves that we refuse to own up to, they hold a mirror to the chaos that we mask with our seemingly calm exteriors. All that we deny or brush under the proverbial carpet surfaces during tumultuous encounters.
If you’re the kind of person who is essentially non-confrontational, you will inevitably be thrown into situations with aggressive people who want to corner you and pin you down. People who go please others at their own cost, inevitably attract people who want to exercise control and those who refuse to be pleased with anything you would do. These difficult situations and people keep manifesting in one form of the other, until we draw our lessons. Until we unfetter ourselves from all that holds us from being our authentic selves. . Life has its ways of catapulting us into situations that force us to wrestle and confront our demons rather than shoving them in a quiet corner of our souls. We can choose to resist and close our eyes and carry on the business of life. Or take on these demons head on and emerge wiser and buoyant.
We live in decadent times. Hedonism starts early where parents fulfil needs and wants even before children realize they have needs and wants. They are given easy access to mobiles, gadgets and tabs which ensures they get to tap into a host of information at the touch of a fingertip. How will that ever leave room for creativity and curiosity to find roots? I too have been guilty of leaning on nursery rhymes to soothe a bawling toddler. Yes that is the trouble. We’re so busy strutting about like zombies starved for time that we look for quick fix solutions for everything. Even the things that matter like relationships, parenting, friendships. We think we can compensate for the poverty of time by amassing material possessions. We think we can punctuate our emptiness by acquiring brands and gadgets we’re going to lose fascination for soon. We are so gladly ignorant of the long term ramifications of all these quick fixes. Our parallel existence in the realm of social media is yet another space where we seek instant gratification by getting instant likes for our rants and rambles, narcissistic selfies or vacation snapshots.
As a parent and a bystander I shudder to think about the self-gratification seeking monsters we’ve become and the little monsters we’re in process of rearing. We’re heading towards a world where we’ll find it hard to think beyond our own needs and wants. A world where we’d want instant solutions for all our troubles. We’ll be men and women who’ll find it hard to look beyond their own noses and whose sympathies will be narrower than Kendal Jenner’s nimble waist. Where nothing will hold our attention and instead of finding solace and satiation in real human interaction we’ll depend on the deceptive virtual world to seek companionship and derive sense of self-worth.
Is that where we’d like ourselves or our children to be?