I haven’t been much of a writer, confined to being just a dabbler of sorts.
There were a lot of things inhibiting creative expression; teething troubles related to married life: a husband forever on tours, growing children and demanding in-laws, a tired body, a baffled mind which could not multitask when a lot of jugglery was required - be it of emotions, tact or of managing a bank account that was always in a deficit. The house felt smaller then. One always wished there was a little bit of space that could be squeezed in.
Children needed their own room and sulked when relatives overstayed and had to be accommodated in their room. Privacy was a luxury one could not afford in a joint family. Too many probing questions were asked from all sides when no explanations could be furnished. I longed for peace when things were chaotic.
I consciously avoided all social functions as they drained me. I had no longing to indulge in small talk. I longed for solitude, to enjoy my own company. It was blissful when the family went for an outing and I stayed behind, just to revel in silence.
All that is passé yet what followed was equally mind-boggling!
One never thought there will be a time when silence will disturb more than the polyphony that prevailed in the house earlier. I sat in heavy stillness, twiddling my thumbs, not knowing what to do with the vacuous life. Children, having grown up, left home to lead their fiercely independent lives. Aging parents and in-laws departed from this world. I felt I was gradually losing hold over myself, not knowing how to deal with hours of freedom sans demands, tantrums and arguments. Time began to weigh heavy on hands.
In such a situation, the mind started hallucinating, thinking of unimaginable situations and fearful consequences. Aware that I was going to slide into the quicksand of depression, I consciously started sorting the chaos filling my mind with despair.
Waiting for happiness to be served on a platter is foolish. I realized that life is complex in all stages. One has to be careful not to indulge in self-pity or to be parasitic and pile on; encroaching on life and time of those around us. People are patient in the beginning but gradually they get tired. They start avoiding us. If we don’t understand the writing on the wall even after that and continue to spill our emotional baggage, they firmly banish us from their lives. One has to constantly keep in mind the point of view of others as they view us differently. Keeping the spotlight focused solely on one’s own problems adds to woes. Everything in life exists in a different texture; rough, gritty, smooth, satiny, silky or a velvety finish, having a different feel.
I realized the difference in textures as I moved along the learning curve of life. It is better to engage in reconstructing life. We all have to find happiness within, instead of looking for it outside. Looking inwards and having a dialogue with one’s own self is very constructive. Self illumination helped me to start looking for motive in life to handle the third quarter of my life with positivity .
I began reading motivational articles, inspirational quotes, autobiographies of famous men and women. I was still restless. The mind continued to remain cluttered. I began a journal and poured all my thoughts into it. It was therapeutic. Words healed me as the outpourings of my heart began to take shape. Cerebral hunger lead me to discover the beauty of poetry. Shair-o-Shairi gave me spiritual relief. To keep my sanity intact, I acquired basic computer skills. I found there is nothing better than keeping creative juices flowing.
Reaching out to like minded people, trapped in similar situations through a deft weaving of words and thoughts is a goal towards fulfillment. You help yourself while connecting emotionally with those who are on a similar journey, trying to stabilize and finding meaning in their lives. I stumbled across a beautiful couplet by Azhar Navaz. ‘Ik Tavaazun jo bigadata hai kabhi rooh ke saath, Shisha-i-jism vahin phod diya jaata hai.’ Translated roughly it means,’ The moment balance with the soul goes awry, That very instant, human body made of glass, is smashed into smithereens’.
Tavaazun, the magical word that inspired me, is an Arabic word meaning balance. It is a simple word yet holds deeper meaning in our mundane life. It stresses on the fact that all aspect of life have to be in balance. Work, family , social life, leisure are sanctuaries which weld us together, body and soul. To give priority to only one is where one goes wrong. The winner is the one who is able to balance all. Finding Tavaazun in life may be difficult but not impossible. Life has come to a stage where stability is needed though things may look deceptively settled on the surface. A little oversight and the cart may topple, causing unnecessary heartburn.
Over indulgence in food, exertion during an outing, keeping late nights or leading too much of sedentary life may lead to unwanted ripples in a still pond: Phones will ring hysterically; concerned visitors will insist on relocation, change of doctors, new set of tests and some local herbal remedies that will take care of all stubborn infirmities. Everyone will eagerly suggest cures but finally one has to depend on one’s own discretion and rely on one’s own resourcefulness.
I conclude with a couplet from a long poem ‘Mere Humdum Mere Dost’ penned so aptly by Faiz Ahmad Faiz ‘Yeh saffak masiha mere kabze mein nahin, is jahan ke kisi jeerooh ke kabze mein nahin, haan magar tere siwa,tere siwa,tere siwa’ meaning, ‘that ferocious liberator is not in my reach, not within reach of any soul in this locality, but with yourself, yourself and yourself.’
Tavaazun is the key in our hands to balance life. Live and let others live too!!