Gone are those days when…!

Gone are those days when birthing babies was simple.Today we have “maternity packages” in specialised maternity hospitals called Cloud 9, Motherhood, Nest, Cradle and other such gimmicky stuff.

Gone are those days when people looked at you when they spoke (as against having their noses buried in their mobile phones nowadays).

Gone are those days when a sanitary napkin was just that, a napkin. Today we have long, extra long, with wings, tampons, dry, and more.

Gone are the days when people smiled, laughed and actually had emotions. Today we have emojis.

Gone are the days when letters were written, put in an envelope and stamped and posted in a postbox. Today we see the time:stamp on an e-mail in our Inbox.

Gone are the days when kids played hopscotch, hide and seek and 7 tiles. Today they play Warcraft, Battlefield, Hotline Miami on their XBox or whatchamacallits.

Gone are the days when reading a book meant lovingly thumbing the pages, feeling the texture of the paper, breathing in the smell, dog earing it, bookmarking it. Today we have the Nook, Kindle and well, does it matter?

Gone are the days when we valued money, be it 10p, 25p, Re.1/- or OMG Rs.10/-. Today we can’t wash our bums with Rs.1000/-.

Gone are the days when dining out was about choosing a restaurant carefully and poring over the menu for minutes imagining the smells and taste before placing an order. Today we have mega brunches and mass confusion.

Gone are the days when there was an unspoken rule that adult children could lean on their parents when things went wrong, for comfort, for support, for unconditional love. Today there are unspoken laws: don’t ask, don’t tell.

Gone are the days when divorce was a last resort. Today it’s the first.

Gone are the days when there children used to be taken to lakesides or beaches or national parks for a picnic. Today, malls are the thing or how about Bangkok?

Gone are the days of neighbourhood stores with glass jars full of peppermint candy in zebra stripes. Today it’s Kinderjoy or nothing.

Gone are the days when friends came over for a sleep over. Today, friends book themselves into a 5 star hotel for a ‘weekend’ package.

Gone are the days when life was simpler.
Gone are the days when life was a joy (not a chore).
Gone are the days when life was at peace (not an everyday battle of wits).
Gone are the days when life was about humanity.

Where are we headed?

Is now all we have?

Are you, like me, thinking of taking a vacation, sometime in the near future?
Are you, like me, saving up for a new car, sometime in the near future?
Are you, like me, thinking of writing a book, sometime in the near future?
Are you, like me, thinking that this life of yours (as I think of mine), is forever?
Are you like me, assuming that you will remain young forever?
Are you like me, pretending that Time can be your slave?

Lol. Such fools. You and me.

Look around. Cast your mind back to yesterday. Can you live that day again?
Look around. You have your tomorrow all planned out.
6.00 am – walk
7.00 am – meditation
8.00 am – breakfast
9.00 am – get off to work
9.45 am – 1st meeting of the day
10.30 am – mails to send, follow up on that estimate, remind colleague/ team member of the report, check with boss on leave, some more mails
11.45 am – time for a caffeine rush
12.00 pm – stop by at colleague’s cubicle and chit chat – while away time – make small talk, share a joke
12.30 pm – time to head for lunch
1.15 pm – rush to cubicle, engage with some social media on your smart phone
1.30 pm – meeting again – so sleepy…shit!
2.20 pm – got to figure out what to cook for dinner
2.25 pm – quick call to boyfriend on plans for evening
2.45 pm – stop by for water cooler gossip
3.00 pm – time for caffeine
3.15 pm – send a couple of emails, thank some people, start on that report
4.00 pm – attend a few quick phone calls, get some print outs
4.20 pm – head to the loo
4.30 pm – check time – another hour to go, mental check-list – refuel car, pick up some DVDs, pay the credit card bill, pick up some ice cream, start on the tax investment planning, must speak to the cable services provider – just too bloody expensive for bullshit service – got to order the gas cylinder, sigh! am going crazy – lots of things to do…
5.00 pm – start on the report – interrupted by a few more pings on the local office intranet, a few flirty winks, sign off
6.00 pm – still finishing that report – got to send it by 6.30 pm latest
6.45 pm – pack up and rushing to the car park – mentally cursing for the crazy traffic jam and how life sucks!(why the hell can’t life get better? why am I stuck here doing this when I could be writing a book, baking cakes, finishing up my creative writing course, learning to be a teacher, go on that hike)
8.30 pm – home – exhausted, tired, irritable, hungry – and I have to cook dinner…Gawd!!!
9.00 pm – boyfriend reaches home – exhausted, tired, irritable, hungry and has to make small talk with girl friend and pretend to be interested in her day or her cribs or her queries
10.30 pm – both watch some stupid TV channel zombie-like and grope each other…quick foreplay and then retract – too tired to make out really
11.00 pm – lights out!

Look around you. White light. Blinding light. You feel weightless. You look and you see yourself, sitting there in your room, thinking, planning, for tomorrow. Worrying sick about the day after tomorrow. Angry about all the miserable things that happened yesterday, no, 10 years ago. Look around you. There’s nothing, just a feeling of weightlessness and the unbearable lightness of being. You can see your body, you can read your own mind. Worry, fear, pain, guilt, shame, lack of confidence, worry, fear, pain, guilt, shame. For what? For tomorrow? But, look, I planned out my tomorrow, I was grappling with my yesterday, but I died today. I slipped and fell in the bathroom and hit my head on the commode and had an internal hemorrhage. I just lay there lifeless, with a pool of blood slowly spreading around my head and crawling toward the ivory commode, with my eyes lifeless staring at the ceiling, my body twisted. I died today.

Such fools you and me. We plot and plan for days that were never ours to plot and plan for. We had today, sorry, now. But we were too busy giving the now the short shrift. Move over bitch, make way for a tomorrow that is going to be rosy, and healthy and rich and happy. Yeah right!

Who has the last laugh?

Look around. You and me. Such fools.

Are you like me, thinking, that tomorrow will always come? That tomorrow is another day?

Such fools. You and me. (“now” winks at me slowly, hands in pocket, whistling a tuneless tune, merrily leaving me as I chase a dark shadow called tomorrow).

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

“More, more, more” – it never leaves you alone does it?

“Do more.”

“Play more.”

“Work more.”

“Earn more.”

“Be more.”

Why?

Am I not doing, playing, working, earning enough already?

And be more what? More human, compassionate, kind, loving, forgiving, patient, altruistic, philanthropic, caring, humane? Nah? Nah!

I’m guessing in modern-speak it would translate to:

more successful, more rich, more networked, more “liked”, more blogged, more retweeted, more instagrammed, more Pinned, more bought, more planned, more vacationed, more stressed (?), more “followed”, more quoted, more photographed, more autographed, more wins, more watched, more homes, more yachts, more cars, more bank accounts, more Ponzi schemes, more 6,7,8 pack abs, more calories burnt, more designer clothes that are honestly unwearable, more shoes from Choo’s, more gasps at audacious ventures, more buying power, more staying power, more power (period), more lovers, more adopted kids (Brangelina anyone?), more shamed, more stalked, more suicidal, more bipolar, more obesity, more You tubed, more “fans”, more 101 guides for dummies, more yoga, more “how to stop working and earning without lifting a finger”, more “me too, me too, look at me, me too”, more reviews, more criticism, more benchmarks, more murders, more dysfunctional families, more loneliness, more alone-ness, more swag, more Tinder, more swipes, more tripe, more carbs, more barbs,  more airbrushing, more waist cinching, more liposuction, more rhinoplasty, more tree felling, more taxes, more carbon monoxide,  more breathlessness, more gadgets, more books, more Vines, more swine (flus), more speed, more greed, more, more, more, more profits, more hits, more beheadings, more killings, more awareness, more darkness, more porn, more con, more curbs, more blurbs, more Nazi, more paparazzi, more expression, more depression, more divorces, more discourses, more tears, more fears, more inhumanity, more insanity, more Jon Stewart, more Martha Stewart, more prankster, more disaster, more money, more phoney, more packaged racks, more guilt racks, more pangs, more also-rans, more sleaze, more disease, more pain, more fame, more game, more dreams, more creams, more suits, more boots, more stripping, more trippin’, more, just more more more.Dammit, I can’t shake this more thing off!

It’s tiring. The pressure is killing. The Earth is shrilling. Bricks and stones will break my bones, “being more, doing more,” will never leave me. Sigh!

(Is it ok anymore to say, I want to rest and not have ambitions, not have desires, just be happy to be me, you, she, he, her, it?)

The Angst of Guilt!

Have you ever felt that sudden perplexing yet completely fathomable emotion sweeping you heartwards, going down to your stomach and traveling to your ears that go warm and then feeling your throat constrict? That sudden clenching of the jaw, the clenching of the palm and this sudden urge to lash out? Yup, been there done that right?

Before you nod your head or shrug your shoulders like, “so who doesn’t feel anger?” pause. Anger has many hues. The colour of anger born out of injustice is different from that when you’re frustrated, or when you’re trying to prove a point to someone stubborn, or when you feel jealous or from someone’s apathetic attitude. But when someone nonchalantly makes you feel like you’re wrong, and dips into the bowl of guilt hiding just under your skin, you yearn to scream. Every time.

So tell me: has it ever happened that you’ve answered emails promptly every time and then that someone who usually never bothers to respond let alone on time looks for an opportune moment and asks when you, on that odd occasion haven’t responded, about why you haven’t responded?? How do you feel? Guilty, angry, both? It gets my goat.

What about those times: when you’ve always made it a point to call people and wish them well before they embarked on a new journey in their life – an engagement, a baby, a new job, a new house, – and they never ever bother to actually keep you informed in the first place, because you’ve always heard it from someone else?

Or wait a minute: or that very thoughtful post that you posted on FB that got perhaps 10 Likes and 5 comments, versus someone who only posts pictures of some banal stuff in their lives and it gets about 110 Likes and 78 comments? How does that make you feel?

Or or or: you wonder how not to wear your heart on your sleeve and show your dislike and disgust towards really Ugh! people and their attitudes, who are just plain unlikable, and then you see other known people doing a marvellous job of sidling up to them and pretending that they’re the best people in the world? You do start to question your own attitude don’t you? Like, is there something I’m missing here? Somebody? Anybody? Please, tell me?

And hey remember that time: when you’re supposed to be invited to a very important but intimate family occasion, but all you get is a hand-me-down invitation from associated family members? And the ultimate groundswell of humiliation swallows you up when you learn that this very family actually deigned to bill and coo an invitation out to some other associated family members but couldn’t pick up the phone and call you? Wow! Talk about being shown your place! Or like some people I know would say, “really? oh don’t feel so bad, she/he’s like that only”. Yeah, right!

Yup, so these things happen in our lives as we live day-to-day. You may think why make such a brouhaha about it. But I can bet you that you’ve felt miserable about similar happenings in your life and have felt a minor (or major) twinge and let it pass. Because you’ve shaken your head and thought, “Ah, it’s okay. Why make such a big thing about it?” You’ve sometimes writhed in humiliation, hurt, pain, disappointment and that ugly little five-letter word called GUILT has bared its fangs and dug deep into your heart. Sheesh!

It can make you toss and turn as you wonder if it’s only you who feels hurt. You justify other people’s miserable behaviour, and even more jaw droppingly,how no one ever says a word. Hush is the sound that emanates from these hallowed hearts. And a smile that doesn’t reach their eyes, but hey, when the world gets by on theatre, what’s a little pretence eh? While Guilt continues to pierce deeper and deeper into your weak little poor heart.

“Is it me? Why don’t others say something? Am I just a funny person with a hyper sensitive psyche? Or maybe that really horrible person is not so horrible after all and everything I feel is a chimera? Maybe, maybe it’s time to look at my hurt and disappointment and anger in a different way? no no, wait, actually I’ve got to forgive myself and free myself from this chain of thoughts that keeps me imprisoned in my mind. Yeah right, everyone is good, everyone is pristine, you must really understand how they operate, maybe they didn’t really mean something even though their behaviour was obnoxious, because perhaps the rancid smell of stale relationships comes from your mind not theirs. As if you don’t put your nose up in the air and give people the cold shoulder. Why does it bother you so much? Oh look, they’re best buddies and how amaaaaazing they are no? How thoughtful, cheerful, fine specimens of humanity.” (And all you want to do is shout out loud, A-Hole! Bitch!)

On and on and on the carousel of the mind keeps turning, with angst and guilt following each other. While you twist and turn and gripe about it, these “people” who so expertly make you feel at once, guilty and angry go about their lives so surely, amassing adulation and confidence, empathy, sympathy, even admiration. Yuck!!!

“Hey, so can I treat you out to lunch because I’m a really nice person and genuinely think for and of other people and their sensitivities, and you, yes I know you never bother, you’re blinkered and you only call, talk, share when it’s convenient, or not at all, but yet, I’m asking you, would you like to go out for lunch today?” (Can I hear someone piping up and saying, how come you asked him and not me? And the spiral of angst ridden guilt or is it guilt ridden angst starts the slow churn.God, I need a break!)

From now on, I’m going to try and see if I can lead my life giving other people ulcers. Must be nice methinks to be a little callous, a little selfish, a little self-centred, a little blase, a little snooty and have people falling all over you no because you’re so “cool”? Because somehow the world wants you to believe that it’s all about being lovable and gracious and compassionate and sensitive and loving and forgiving. But sometimes, just sometimes you want to say, Bullshit! because these people are serenaded by the world, while you and I and the rest can end up licking our wounds in the hollow of our pillows, with our silent queries, ‘what did I do wrong?’ Go figure!