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Monsters of the night

When you live on autopilot, it’s rather easy to get through the day. Because, you really don’t have to think about yourself, your emotions, your life. You are surrounded by people and your mind is on work most of the time. Basically you are safe as long as you don’t let your mind wander off to the thoughts that concern “you”. The thoughts that constantly bother you- the thoughts about the very instances that have led you to lead the autopilot life you’ve created for yourself in the first place.

In short, it’s easy to kill your heart during the day.

But it’s not the case with nights. As darkness approaches, and as everything else fades away, you are trapped in your own thoughts- the miserable prison that you have so carefully built for yourself. The prison you are unable to get out of, or let anyone in. It’s those few moments of the night when your insecurities and sadness come alive and loom large before you. You have gone past the stages when shedding tears gave you a bit of a relief. Now, you have exhausted tears. You are just waiting for the merciless night to pass. There’s no sleep, no peace – just you and bitterness.

In short, it’s harder to kill your heart at night, for its laments are loud and clear, thanks to the silence around you.

I wonder if this autopilot life will ever end. In a way it doesn’t matter, as it’s now only too familiar. Hope and happiness are too far away, they seem almost alien. 

When you have learned to cope with the monsters of the night- the thought of  embracing hope and happiness brings fear and apprehension, lest they are taken away from you, again.

Incidentally, I am reminded of a beautiful Kurunthokai poem I came across on Twitter. I cannot appreciate this poem enough. It’s amazing someone hundreds of years back went through the same things some of us are destined to go through.

நள்ளென்றன்றே யாமம் சொல் அவிந்(து)
இனிது அடங்கினரே மாக்கள் முனிவு இன்று
நனந்தலை உலகமும் துஞ்சும்
ஓர் யான் மன்ற துஞ்சாதேனே

எழுதியவர் – பதுமனார்
திணை – நெய்தல் திணை

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Living on autopilot

In this age of artificial intelligence, when they are making robots as intelligent as a human being, there are some human beings training themselves to be as emotionless as a robot. For their own “good”. As a means to protect themselves from, let’s say, emotional hazards. You are reading one of them. Yours truly has been eating, sleeping and working on autopilot for quite a while now. And the autopilot life, is here to stay.

It doesn’t really suck to live on autopilot if you accept that this is your destiny. It comes from the thought that, Chalo, everything is over, you have to “exist”, so you find a way to fulfill obligations to work and family even though your heart may no longer be into anything you do. You kind of stop caring for yourself. That’s the autopilot way of life.

Say you are at work. You stare at a blank Word doc on your computer’s screen, but you are not really looking at the blinking cursor. You are looking at the past. All the mistakes – mistakes that a backspace cannot erase.

You curse yourself for how easily you let things mess with your head. The challenge is to fight these thoughts and the temptation to let your bitterness devour you. It’s tough to fight the urge to let yourself waste away. You hear inspiration speeches left, right and center. But some struggles are hard to explain, they can only be felt. So those peace less nights before falling asleep is a challenge, continue to this day. 

When you are on autopilot, you cannot afford to sit idle. It is important to keep yourself occupied – my work has been a blessing in disguise. It’s also good to surround yourself with people, but don’t depend on them. Dependence leads to attachment which in turn leads to expectations and finally disappointment. So quit depending on someone for your happiness.

You wonder if it’s possible for a person’s life to end before it began. Can life end before you turn 24? Sounds absurd, dramatic. But possible. Like you grow old, lead a life filled with no peace, living in the past and finally die unhappy. This is one of those nights when I think a similar fate probably awaits. You never know. Or maybe not. There may be a slight chance that things may be okay again miraculously, but you dare not hope. Yeah, that’s the rule. No hoping.

But this is a constant debate for which there’s no answer.

And then you wake up to another day of autopilot – and the realization that you have lost yourself and may never be found again.

On considering something a “bad dream”

“Nadanthathellaam oru ketta kanavaa nenachu marandhudu” is a convenient piece of advice you are often given when something goes unexpectedly wrong for you or against your wishes. Well yes, shit happens, but to ask someone to consider it all a bad dream?

Well, what do I say? I am only reminded of a TV clip that I watched long ago.

There are two women on-screen; woman #1 is crying her eyes out. Woman #2 is trying to console her saying “Nadanthadhellam oru ketta kanavaa nenachu marandhudu”. 

The woman in tears pauses for a moment and slaps the other woman hard. When a shocked woman #2 looks on, woman #1 says, “Ippo nadandhadha oru ketta kanavaa nenachu marandhudu.”

It’s better to consciously refrain from using this line to comfort someone  – not just to avoid receiving a slap, but because it’s simply not comforting. I have been at the receiving end of this piece of advice and I know how it only adds to your pain. Very counterproductive, never say it.

When someone is clearly affected by something, asking them to consider it all a dream is like shrugging off their suffering as something light. Or if you yourself were a reason for their suffering, you are trying to minimize your contribution to it by trying to convert reality into a dream just because it works well for you. It only induces anger and further pain for the other person and makes them feel like they have been taken for a ride.

The fact that you are able offer this advice also shows that you have followed it. It’s not a very nice thing to be informed that your existence as a person with emotions and your actions have been dismissed by someone as a “bad dream” to suit their convenience. It only gives the impression that you were never taken seriously.

You may not realize it, but don’t tell someone in pain to dismiss it as a dream. Reality ≠ Dream. For them, their suffering is so real that it shakes their very core. 

A starting point to remove a problem would be to acknowledge its presence. Not deny its existence hoping that it would go away.

With that, I rest my case.

 

 

Have Mercy

Dear Night
I’ve heard that you bring darkness
But for me, you bring daggers
Would you have mercy?

Dear Time
I’ve heard that you cure
But to me, you seem to kill
Would you have mercy?

Dear Life
I’ve heard that you go on
But for me, you have stood still
Would you have mercy

Dear Love
I thought you made hearts stay
But you’ve taken my soul away
Will you not show mercy?

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