Monday, March 5, 2012

Dark to appreciate Light, Death to appreciate Life

Sometimes a shock is just what you need to realize you were racing. I got such a shock last weekend…
It was Saturday, early evening. My husband and I were at the farm for the weekend – a ritual we started three weeks back. But I really was not at the farm. I was in my to-do list as usual, more specifically in my class assignment for the week which was to interview somebody on video about some experience the person had. I had woken up from my ‘siesta’ (that word is just put in there to make ‘my tool to recover from mental exhaustion’ sound good). I had consciously decided to take a nap not because it was weekend and it was okay to indulge a bit but more to wake up my flurried mind fresh to think clearer about my assignment.

I am the pitiable kinds who can worry about work sitting on Miami beach (much to my husband’s chagrin and rightly so); who can plan for tomorrow while having sex and who can think right now about what I’m going to do next after the one hour I have reserved for writing this. Blessed are the carefree souls for they can enjoy peace of mind. Let alone peace; if I could, I would have divided my mind into tiny pieces and assigned each one a different task. Why do I want so much out of my life every single day, every single moment? Why can’t I just let life pass by sometimes and observe it for a change? Why am I in more hurry than life is in? My poor mind: it must have committed heinous sins in its past life to be slogged on my assembly line like it is some over-priced labor and I have to squeeze maximum value out of it for the time available.

By the way, the above description of my vibrant state of mind was not for your reading pleasure but to give you some context here. Back to the Saturday evening. Without acknowledging my husband who was sitting on the bed and working (bearing a bad posture just to be next to me while I recuperated), I stormed out of the bedroom and marched toward the lawn. I was partly cursing my mental clock for making me oversleep for 10 extra minutes over the budget during which the most wonderful idea for my assignment may have come to surprise me but seeing I was sleeping, may have returned back. I could not allow my mind any booting time and to ensure that I hit my eyes with glare from the sun as if my eyes were gateway to my entire system.

Minutes later, hubby came out with badminton rackets in his hand with the intent of using daylight for a different purpose than I had intentioned. Although I saw him wave excitedly at me, I ignored him while I meandered in the garden pretending to think about an issue as serious as world peace.

After requesting a wedding planner for an interview and coming to know that he was out of town for the entire week (way beyond the deadline for my assignment), I called up a freelance writer. She was the first in the list of contacts in my phone because of her name ‘Aadal’. I had never met her but we had sporadic online chats and emails going back and forth, mostly she fretting about numerous projects at hand and me asking for advice as a novice writer. I was mentally drafting how I would first apologize to her for calling in the weekend, explaining my class assignment and for the short notice before the interview. The tring-tring went on for an unusually long time. My disappointment grew with thinking about each possibility of her also not being in town in the next three days or even if she was in town, not having the time for the interview in my time frame. Suddenly, the phone was answered, albeit by a man.

"May I speak with Aadal?" I asked. "Who is this?" he asked. "Smita, Aadal knows me," I replied hinting that I was not some stranger whose number his snob wife had not bothered to save on her cell phone. "Do you have some work with her?" he asked. Annoyed by his questions but still pretending to be polite, I blurted out, "No, I just…" "Aadal left the world two months back," the man said maintaining the same, equanimous tone. This was way beyond all the possibilities I had thought about Aadal or could have thought about her. He said he was asking because if there was some document of mine lying with Aadal, he could return it to me. I told him that wasn't the case and passed my condolences to him. He did not have any more questions but I had many. He was Aadal’s husband. Aadal died of an attack (how I thought about the huge probability my mind may lead me that way some time soon). She was in her thirties and she left a five-year old daughter behind her.

Obviously, I had failed to notice that hubby, having taken cues from my body language, had taken seat in a chair in the garden long back. He looked dejected like a child who was refused his favorite chocolate. I deleted Aadal’s number from my contacts, sat on hubby’s lap and gave him a hug. We picked up the rackets although the sun was almost done for the day.

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