Monday, 10 February 2014

Withdrawal Symptoms

I have known withdrawal symptoms. I have known them more than I have ever known any other emotion, I think. Yes, love inclusive.

It's difficult to explain what it is like. And of course I do not know any of the medical terms. I never even saw a doctor. But, let me try.

Have you ever jumped off a cliff? I did. And I did not know swimming, which meant that I was scared, very scared. But I wanted to do it, nevertheless.

The point is, you start with being scared. You're scared for your life. There is a moment of consciousness, and a moment of decision-making follows. Do you want to, at all? And then, you take the plunge.

Though you know the decision has been made and you've left behind the other track, a sense of fear still lingers for those few early moments, even as you dive. You still feel conscious of the possible consequences, and of the rationality that you had been weighing out only seconds back. But then, soon enough, this consciousness trails off. It is not overtaken, it just leaves. Evacuates. Leaving behind a numbness that is like never before. You feel the emptiness. Or rather, you do not. You cannot make up your mind on how, exactly, you are feeling. You try to grope a sense of Space and Time, but you cannot; and therefore, you let go. You sink, you float, you lose, and eventually you let go. There is a strange peace to it - in this act of letting go; in this realization of having let gone. Yes, even if you did not really intend to let go.

Oh, I started off to discuss withdrawal. Did I digress? I don't know!

The feeling isn't quite the same, but for the void.

Withdrawal symptoms, as I have felt it, do not mark their presence when they just arrive. They silently creep in. They silently spread their roots. It is only until the roots were deep and strong as to feel a pull every time you'd try to behave otherwise will you ever notice them. And then you realise. You realise how you had fed and nurtured them for some time already, without you knowing about it all.

Let me try to recollect how it all begins.

Well, the conversations would no longer be sweet and easy. It would typically have two of you at two ends and not at a merge. It could lead to bruises and wounds if the pull continued; and so you let go your side of the rope. You realize it's wise, at least, even if it is not right. But right to whom? And, didn't they say peace came first?
So you let go conversations. You do not talk.

Unless in groups. Unless your groceries need to be stocked. Unless the bank called for some documents. Unless your child's fees are due. And never, otherwise.

Then come materials. True, love should not have anything to do with them. But then it does, doesn't it?

The gifts would not be liked. The choice of items would feel low on warmth. The things would never mean special any longer. Would never look like any thoughts went behind them. The price tags will be flaunted over their meaning. And then, you ask the other – why not choose your own thing? And then, why even buy? Who cares to!

There, you let go giving. You do not give. You do not take. You do not use them. Never again.

Though at lonely moments, you faintly remember those first gifts out of the first salaries. That suit length that always seemed beyond reach, bought. Those pens that were got from rich relatives and then went missing from the house ("Ma, I don't remember where I lost them.") That first book of poetry by your favourite poet. Sigh.

Dinner time. Music time. Television time. You let go the togetherness one by one.

Movies - only if it's a theatre visit. And only if both of you want it badly. Else, one wouldn't give in for the other and agree just to accompany. And, the other would've stopped asking anyway. Long back.

The clothes that were once packed in one big suitcase every time there was a trip, would now have grown in range, number and colours. They would have their own space in their individual, separate luggage. They would now be carried by their individual owners when they needed to be. They, however, need to be carried in suitcases much less frequently than before.

The two toothbrushes that shared their stands one beside the other would now have been moved to separate washrooms. Why not, if you have separate ones.

And there you go. Separate soap cases, separate toothpastes, separate bottles of shampoo, separate loofahs. You don't smell the other's lingering presence when you go for a bath any longer.

You don't miss it either.

It continues. It spreads. It roots. It reaches every corner of the space you live in, and every moment that you live. It does not announce; it does not dominate; it stealthily captures your life.

You do not even realize until it makes its presence strong enough. Even when it does, the feeling of righteousness overtakes the feeling of loss. You look back, realize, and defend everything you have done to help it spread and grow. You don't love its presence, but you wouldn't ask it away either.

You ask yourself - what really do you need in your life, pray? The question is however not meant for a real answer. You are not open to a real answer any longer. The question is meant for what you want to tell yourself, now that you are here.

And so you tell yourself. You tell yourself that you, of course, need food, clothes and shelter; and medicines. You need to pay off your EMI's for the house you bought. You need to provide for your child's education. You need a corpse when you retire. You need to support your parents even though they don't let you. And so you need a job that gives you money. Oh, and that helps you pass the day. You have whole goddamn twenty-four hours to pass each day, every day!

And thus is life.

And thus would be life.

Until, something happens.

Trust me, something will happen. It has to.

They call it “life” after all!