The lost art of living

I woke up early today. It must be not even five when I found myself wide awake, my body torn from the night long twisting and turning in the bed. Eyes groggy and head heavy. And a stale taste in my mouth that left me with a feeling of stranded alone at the edge of the world. It was the worst feeling one can feel in the morning. I slipped out of the bed.

Feeling parched, I walked up to the kitchen and gulped down half a bottle of cold water until I could drink no more. It was then that I realized that how hot I was feeling. The T-shirt was soaked in my own sweat, clinging onto my back with a conviction of a six-year-old who clings onto his mother’s hand in a strange place. Feeling overwhelmed, I held the T-shirt from its neck and pulled it out in one quick motion. For the first time since I woke up, I felt a little better.

It was early October and the monsoon was still not showing sign of any retreat. The alternating spells of rain and sun had made the weather a little humid and sticky. A weather uncharacteristic of Pune. Yesterday only it rained twice. For short duration. Pouring heavily as if it was the heart of the rainy season. Dark and gloomy, only to give way to a blistering sun afterward.

It had been long since I woke up this early, before the break of the dawn. So I decided to take a walk out of the house. To watch as the morning unfolded. A series of dark greys and gloomy blues paving way for the first ray of the morning sun that turns the world upside down, night into day and vice-a-versa. I washed up my face and hands and slipped into a fresh T-Shirt.

As I stepped and entered the park outside my house, a cool wind had started blowing. There was no one in the park except me. I expected that. Still, the absence of any other living soul started growing on me a bit. For I’d always seen this park overflowing with people. Filled with the gay sounds of talks and laughter. Never silent like this. Never so lonely.

After walking for around ten minutes, I went to a nearby bench and sat with my head thrown back and arms raised behind it. I looked upwards, into the sky. The dawn was breaking.

The sky was a mix of grey and blue like it was part of a dream. A dark orange band was materializing over the edge of the city. Little patches of white clouds marked the sky. As if they were boats, floating in this vast vast ocean of nothingness, on this journey to nowhere. Towards infinity.

All of a sudden there was a noise. To my left. I turned my head in a reflex.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a flock of birds leaving a tree, thrusting themselves upwards in a sharp angle of trajectory. And in their wake, leaving behind a tree which shook with the same surprise the way I shook from the sound of these birds, a few moments ago. Its branches ruffling as they left, one by one, and some of its leaves falling onto the ground.

It was then I realized how elusive is silence like this.

In this age of constant chatter and distractions, where we are connected to the world for every waking moment of our lives but aren’t connected to our own selves. Where we have time for everything – Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, but no time for reading books. Where we want to be ‘live’ by capturing every moment and sharing it on social media but in this process forget to actually ‘live’ the moments the way they are meant to be.

And also where we want to stay connected to people in the farthest corners of the world, but forget to connect to those who are standing with us – real people – we have lost the art of living.

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