the long search

When you have nowhere to go, go back to yourself.

The Blur

At this hour of the night, my senses fail me but still, a strange chill runs down my spine as I prepare to write. That's because I am writing about something I always have had a fascination for. Yes, it's death.

They say, the only truth in life probably is death. It puts a full stop to everything that's good and everything that's bad. To be fair, it puts a full stop to everything in life. And that's fascinating.

It always left me bewildered when I attempted to know what death feels like. Is it just the biological end?

I always wanted to find out what runs through a human mind when he realises he would not be living again. What does that mean to him? How does his mind react to this condition? When someone breathes his last, what are the very last moments like? Are they like scarily dark? Or are they bathed in a heavenly brightness? Does he go through a phase of transition after that? Like going into another life, another life form may be.

Getting into a dying man's mind may just be impossible but I always wondered how he feels upon realising that from here on, he would never get to see his dear ones. May be they would live on without missing him as time moves on. All that he called "mine" during his lifetime will no longer be his. Does he feel detached or does he feel even more attached to everything that's earthly.

I don't have any answer for my questions. I am not sure if someone else can provide me with one. It's then this strong fascination for death grips me. Sometimes I want to know how it feels to go through extreme pain which threatens to end your life. Sometimes I want to endure such pain too.

I know someone who finds death fascinating might just sound suicidal. When a very dear friend recently found it out, she was quick to admonish me saying: Just live life.

I will live life like she says. But I guess, I want to live death too and feel the blur that divides them. May be for a moment.

In Tushar Roy's words:

Often I feel a strong sense of void,
It stays on all day long and stirs up anger within.
I feel cheated by Death
Who promised to come back quick
Before he had left down the winding alley.
I keep waiting under the umbrella he left for me
And watch the slowly declining days.
I know for certain
That not long he will take to return,
And will be back in the dead of night, I fear,
When I will remain lost in a cover of sleep......

The Fear

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut deeper.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,
My need of God
Absolutely Clear....

Nothing describes my state of mind better than the words of Hafiz. Sitting all by myself as the violent waves of Bay of Bengal kept hitting their heads against the stone walls of Pondicherry's Beach Road, I realised loneliness was driving me unstable. There were even times when the deep sea, enveloped in an eerie darkness, appeared inviting. Trust me, I wanted to walk into it. It was gut-wrenching as emotions welled up inside me in a strange fashion. But did not you ask for this, said a very dear friend. Yes, I wanted to be alone. Just by myself.

Once inside the Ashram, I always felt assured. There too I was alone but not unstable. I know why. When your mind is clouded by a million thoughts, you lose way.

By the sea, I was asking myself questions that always bothered me. Am I on track? Am I doing professionally well? Are others racing ahead of me? Am I doing what I like or all that is just perfunctory? Why do I hate some people so strongly? Why are the people I love so intensely not with me? And why am I alone? Did I choose to be lonely or have I been left alone? Have I been a good son?

The answers are hard to come by. Then I met this guy. Only a few days ago. Someone who can easily make millions sitting right in his chamber in an international bank's corporate headquarters, he was busy looking for solutions to environment problems and livelihood issues in some of the most backward districts of India. I asked why. "I wanted to. Moreover, I love this sense of uncertainty around me," he replied.

I don't know if he was honest or just had this facade but I realised something. It's that fear of losing something or someone you possess or you want to possess so badly in life. When it grips you, you tend to hold on to things and then try to cling on to more and more as a sense of insecurity keeps invading you. It’s a vicious circle and never ends.

I found myself encircled in one. And I want a way out. That’s why this search. The long search.

The Beginning

You know, when you have nowhere to go to, you got to go back to yourself. That's a truth I learnt. I won't say I learnt it the hard way but I could see it coming as a New Year approached. I took a break - the longest in my professional career of about 10 years - so that I could embark on the search. And here I am at Pondicherry. You got to correct me, it's Pudducherry now.



There is nothing really spectacular about this coastal town but the moment you step into Sri Aurobindo Ashram, you realise you have walked into a world where it is very difficult not to remain silent.



The power of silence can be so overwhelming that it at once forces you to talk to yourself. Your link with the outside world is severed. And you are just connected to yourself. The moment you close your eyes, shut yourself out, the entire life plays out like a 70 mm movie. Like a kaleidoscope.



That is when you meet yourself. You meet your I. Trust me, meeting yourself can be very disturbing. For me, it was. For, you start questioning yourself. You probe your every move, everything that you have done in your life. Your subconscious is awaken and it can take your peace away.



But that's exactly what I am doing. I am talking to myself. Interrogating the self. I am right in front of me. For, I have nowhere to go now.

About this blog

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed