My Conversations with a Friend
‘Love thyself’, he said.
His voice as if surfacing from eons ago or maybe in the future or maybe timelessness.
The unmistakable voice of a long lost friend or maybe a new found one or of someone who had always been there just beyond the realm of the horizon where my shortsightedness could not reach
‘From the moment you are born ,the maximum time you spend is with yourself’ ,he continued ,’and its yourself that you neglect the most. How can you make others happy if you are not happy with yourself?
I pulled my shawl closer as the wind blew by the riverside, the moon on whose silver steps we sat talking, two stars who chose to break from the mundane night sky, growing colder.
‘Every relation you attach so much importance to is because you were told that world runs on the basis of relationships and you were indoctrinated with the beliefs that this is your mother, father, husband, children ,friends etc etc.and that you have to put their happiness foremost .What no one told you was that you have one more relation, a very important one and that is with yourself, the person who is never going to leave your side and whose will and wishes you largely disrespect and ignore as you are trying to humour all other relationships, and that person is You ! And then the dissatisfaction seeps in . You become unhappy, a zombie on a move and you can’t figure out what went wrong. All you were trying to do, was keep everyone happy but then why are you unhappy with yourself? ‘
At this point I chuckled at the somberness and seriousness in his tone, I had never came across till date in that happy go lucky boy who had always made me just laugh at his antics and jokes since the day we had met eons ago or was it yesterday?
He caught a piece of cloud passing by and gently wrapped it around his wrist like a bracelet . I looked at him expectantly to continue not saying a word as he always had this grudge that I did’t let him finish what he is saying and today I actually wanted to just listen to him.
‘ I am not telling you to break free of relationships and duties. Consider this life is like a house ,consider everyone as rooms, living room,bedroom, the lawn and so on ,very Important and to be looked after with care and furnished lavishly but do consider yourself as one small room with a small cot with a simple cotton sheet and a pillow, a stool with a earthern water pot and a small painting on the wall . Just try to spend few hours in that peaceful room ,see what it needs ,what can uplift its look, what can alter its colors. Just a couple of hours doing what you want, tending to your needs. Stop thinking what will make others happy. If it doesn’t make you happy, its not worth it. At the end of life its yourself you will have to answer and then it will be difficult to meet your own gaze. Don’t bother about past life ,don’t fret about future, just be present in the present. This is what you have!’
He stretched himself a little and leaned his arm on the stair. I got up and walked till the edge of the milky way to look out into the vast sky. The stars were now fading fast and theirs was a streak of light just behind the dark night as a new day was coming up.
‘Where were you all this time? I needed to hear this long ago, so many times when I stood defeated at the altar of selfless love and wondered what had gone wrong, when I wondered at my sense of dissatisfaction and strange feeling of bereavement at the time of some of the biggest failures of my life. Today I know why, but where were you when I needed these answers?’, I said softly in a tone laced with a tinge of melancholy
He got up, silently brushing stardust off his hair and laughed softly ‘You had never sought any answers. I am here today because you looked for me, as you had realized you needed few closures but the pain and obligation was not letting you do so it’s only now you sought me out ‘ he picked up his bag to leave.
My heart skipped a beat, a sense of insecurity crept in ‘ Don’t go, what will I do when am lost again in this quest ‘?
‘Just go to that single cot room, lie with your eyes closed and you will have the answers ‘
And he left quietly to maybe meet me again many eons later, or maybe tomorrow….