At this odd hour, when the darkness of night ends and the chaos of day begins. I sit here. Upright in my bed. 4 am. Twists and turns in the bed. Tears. Splash of cold water on my face. Hand towel. Back under my sheets. A fort of pillows. My eyes half tired half awake. I sit here and think, I don’t know. ‘I don’t know’ sometimes feels like the most certain thing I’d ever learn about myself.
This darkness. That’s both strikingly quiet and insanely loud at the same time. This darkness that creeps alongside me at the night hours, and poses questions. Questions that I otherwise successfully clutch under my feet or slide away from the table at work.
All the other possible versions of me. Had a thing in the past taken a different course than it did? I suddenly miss myself. The old me. Those people in my past whom I thought were going to be there till the end. Childhood buddies. Pets. Plants. How many things did I have to let go, growing up! How many people! How many memories. Smiles. Promises. Dreams. How many?
I miss the 16 year old me. I don’t know who she was. I don’t know if I went back in time to meet her, would she recognise me? And would I? I don’t know.
I think about the world. I think about myself. A lot. I think about every love that could’ve been. I think about each future that could’ve been. I think about this body. My body.
I fear panic attacks.
I fear love. I fear losing myself. I fear the danger that comes with having to live alone. I fear the monotony of a married life. I fear monogamy. I fear change. I fear success. I fear life. I fear hope. I fear drama. I fear.
I see a lot of people married but not in love. It’s a contract, they say. Marriage, a social contract. I call it an institution. A patriarchal institution that benefits men. A woman works for nothing. All that unpaid labor. All that work. All those sleepless nights. All that burden of child care and no rest until old age hits and you die.
I both fear and despise that life. I despise you. I think. You who’s reading this. I think we are all hypocrites. So good at hiding truths. Why do we hide the truth? What’s so scary and remarkable about truth that we have systems in place to keep them from unraveling themselves? Why?
Shakespeare. Budhha. Modi. Orwell. Beauvoir. Nehru. Jefferson. Columbus.
Names. People. History. Books. Stories. Government. Power.
Fringes of our existence, woven through those words. Seven billion people. One life. One death.
Greens. Stars. Notes. Imagination.
How does it feel to live? To be alive? To be. To see. To happen. To exist.
I just don’t know.
And yet I have to open my mouth. And talk. And answer your questions. And seem to you that I am thinking. I have to look amazing. As if I am really there. Listening to you. Nodding in agreement. Completing your sentences. My eyes wide awake. Smiling. Laughing. Looking alive.
I am here. You are here. But where are we, really?
The dichotomy of being. Of needing a human. Of not needing too. The unbearable pain of living. Of getting through days and nights. Of figuring out oneself. And the world. Of wanting something. Of sometimes wanting nothing but death. Here’s to life. Here’s to being. Here’s to not knowing.