It is only in the moments when you are alone – for quite a while – that you submit to looking at and through yourself. We escape the activity of delving deep into knowing ourselves by keeping busy, one distraction to another. We do it because it works so well. But it troubles us. We feel empty, but we don’t know why we won’t talk to anyone. We’re angry, but not sure at what or whom. Is it really ourselves we should be upset with? What if it is?
A lot of my friends don’t like being free for a long amount of time. Being left alone sucks. They want to do something productive after the semester ends. Some plan. Some do. Some think. Some talk. They want to learn new stuff. Meet new people. But they don’t have enough money. So they want to earn money. But they don’t know how to make cash quickly. So they want tricks, shortcuts. But they can’t apply them. Maybe they fail. Now they want someone to talk to about it. Makes one wonder, what do they actually want? What will make them happy, or satisfied? What is the one specific thing, that if provided to them, will they be able to say ‘I’m content now’?
Do you know what you want? Do you know what it takes? What if you don’t?
I grew up in a joint family, of 12 members. Living in one apartment. In fact, my entire building is just my dad’s side of the family. When I tell people this, they throw me a surprised look. Beyond that look, is pity. Sure, sounds like a dreadful thought. Sure, that it has been. We’ve had our moments of fun, pride, fights, love, unity. We’ve also had our share of gossip, mockery, taunts, hate, politics, lies. Our doors reek of groupism. Our lifestyles give away our differences. Our eyes scream of how we wish we lived separately.
But I’ve been sick too many times to wish for that. My parents have had numerous substitutes to take care of us kids in times of emergency. My cousins have failed, and soon lifted up by each other. So many days, we’ve learned from each other. We’ve brought laughter on sobbing faces. Do you know what it feels like, to never run out of people to talk to? People with different interests, thoughts, opinions, experiences, to be connected to you by blood, so easily available to you – one floor away.
As inevitable as it was, we built new flats beside the old ones. We shifted, and my brother who I was so used to in my early days, moved away for education. And I was left in one big room, furnished with modern art, two cupboards, two beds, a study table and a PC to myself. I never asked for this. Because I never believed it would happen. I didn’t think it was possible, thought I didn’t deserve it. And I won’t lie, I feel alone. Like hell. Living with my well-extended family has been the best and worst thing that can affect a child and her upbringing.
It’s funny. When I’m with people for long hours, I want to be left alone, get away from all the noise and social activities like… talking. When I’m finally alone, I want someone besides me so bad. Who am I really? What if I’m never able to decide?
Sometimes I like one particular guy too much. Actually, my love stories end as soon as they begin. Because I put a lot of myself and my thoughts into it. I begin to expect and dream, even boast to friends. Even after repeated lessons, I do the same thing. And the person I’m into, eventually fades away. I keep thinking I’m a stronger woman now, I won’t make this mistake. But it doesn’t happen. When will I ever change? What if I don’t? What if this is all the love I ever get?
Makes me wonder, what if…