Soldiers of Serenity

Spending one’s early youth in a place like Kolkata, brings with it an undeniable share of staidness. Which unfortunately does not kick into realisation until long after, especially until the time one decides to move out of the city. And when it does, it comes with the added eye-opener of deprivation and time lost forever. Everyone I went to school/college with, or played with in the evening, led a more or less similar lifestyle. No one did anything out of the ordinary. Depending upon the age, people would be going to an appropriate educational institute, play or have long chat sessions with neighbourhood friends, go to some nearby touristy place once a year with the family, wait for Durga puja all year long, eat a cake on Christmas day and generally take an imprint of the whole year and paste it over as the template for the next one on New Year’s day. Now that I look back on all those years spent and share stories from the past with friends from other parts of the country, its easy to mark the diffs.

Anyways, what brought me to this post was a general chat earlier about yearnings. And the sometimes unsatiable longing to chase after unknown bearings. I remember my parents were pretty happy that I was not a fussy child. What probably they or even I, did not realise is that I was unaware of things to ‘fuss’ about. During the aforementioned ill-spent years,there were no hills to trek up to, no bikes to ride around, no street theatres to play a drum in or walk around aimlessly discovering the streets of a city. However, unlike most of my other friends, I used to read. Mostly about escapades. By normal people in their daily life. Yet, they were still stories, because I could never reconcile these settings with what I saw around me.

I moved out of home at a considerably late age. And walked straight into a reality check. The fantasy world from the books did not seem so fantastic after all. It was pretty much around me. One just had to jump on to the bandwagon. The bandwagon can lead to the known territory or the wide unknown expanse. Probably bucket lists are drawn up from the former (I have mine). Yearnings are the free baggage that comes with it all. Especially, when the numbers from the lost time/age keep poking.

On the other hand, there are the lucky people who don’t need to try too hard. They gather the berries from the roadside as they trudge along and fill their baskets. And I find a serenity around them. Like a floating kite. Calm. In peace. High above the mortal evils. Never ruffled by cravings and satiated by whatever comes their way. They can allow themselves (often unknowingly) the privilege to make choices and draw limits and stick to them. The makings of a monk perhaps.

Probably that is a reason, why we end up in conflict after our conversations. My restlessness is beyond their comprehension. I chase any microscopic will-o-wisp that holds within itself an opportunity to lead me onto my yearned path. Most of the time, the chase ends in failure. It takes along with it the resolve to chase on. Only to make me return back to the staid waters, with a whirlpool running within the dark hidden depths. A chimera of hope lives on. It raises it head from time to time, with wicked intentions. To make people like us go on a well-trodden path yet again, and then laugh the last laugh when we falter and fail.

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