Saturday, September 25, 2010

On an emotional brink

Yesterday I broke down into tears at a rude comment passed by a colleague I hardly know or care about. Caught completely unaware on being spoken to in a harsh tone for no fault of mine, I was definitely hurt but it shocked me when tears welled up in my eyes. Was I that hurt by the rudeness of a random stranger? I wasn't and I didn't care. But I still couldn't stop the tears from falling.

This wasn't even a case of sudden outlet of some pent up grief. I have no worries at present, no stress factors. So, the sudden emotional outburst shocked and embarrassed me a lot. I remember an incident that my best friend told me a few years ago. She had gone out with a few girls from her hostel and one of the girls in the group made a totally uncalled for and rude comment about her and for no apparent reason. My friend called me up and cried a lot and it took me a long time to calm her down. Later she felt embarrassed for this outburst over a nearly non-existent issue and brought about by a girl she hardly knew. I too wondered about her behavior which totally contradicted the emotional strength she possesses that never faltered at very trying times. But it did falter at a stray incident!

I am an emotionally sensitive person but not to the extent that I'd cry at the drop of a hat. I didn't cry when my father felt seriously ill, or when I lost out on very important career opportunities, or when my close friend expired, or when my cousin relapsed while on cancer treatment, or when I see human suffering at close quarters while working in the hospital. It saddens me immensely, but I don't break down emotionally. But it had happened to me once earlier too when I couldn't stop tears from falling over minor issues. I had gone shopping with my family and my father rebuked me mildly about wasting too much time. What was highly embarrassing is that my tears rolled down in front of my cousin and his wife in a crowded shopping mall in Bangalore and for the next couple of hours had to shop around with puffy red eyes!

I wonder at times whether it's just PMS! But then guys I know too have these unexpected breakdown over non-existent issues. In this fast paced world where no one has the time to stop, collect and reflect upon their thoughts, emotions and their impact is painfully short. Work pressures and busy lives don't allow us the luxury to brood over how we feel or what might be bothering us subconsciously.

This apparent lack of getting in touch with our emotional self, makes us experience only the obvious reasons for being happy or sad. An expectation fulfilled, a pleasant surprise, a goal reached, a long craved object attained makes us happy. These reasons of happiness are obvious, measurable and looked forward to. Simple, everyday moments of happiness are taken for granted and they pass by unnoticed. No time to reflect and relish. Same with sorrow. It's always a job gone wrong, illness, failure, lost love and more such obvious reasons. A subconscious mental conflict might be the cause of that unexplained sense of gloominess that sometimes mar even the brightest of our days or brings about a sudden emotional outburst. But a lack of connect with our emotional selves keeps us totally ignorant of these issues flooding our subconscious mind.

I was in a bad mood while coming back home after yesterday's tiff. I was angry at myself for being emotionally weak and allowing myself to cry in front of a group of people for such a trivial reason. When my car got caught in a heavy traffic rush I positively fumed with anger. Looking out of the car window I saw two kids, around five to six years old, on their way home after school. Missing front teeth, blue and white uniform streaked with dirt patches, an orange lollipop in one hand, water bottles hung around their necks and chubby cheeks; they jumped over puddles and pushed their way through the afternoon crowd. The radiant smiles on their faces and the infectious joy they exuded vanished my anger in a flash! I couldn't help smiling.

Laughter and tears, their unpredictability truly amazes me.

Photo courtesy:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Last Day of August

They shake their heads grimly
Eight stern eyes follow her heaving chest,
A hand shoots forward to feel her feeble pulse,
She’s barely there, a wretched existence;
Plagued with a disease the poor can’t afford,
She peeps at us through her half-closed lids,
And attempts a weak smile for her saviors.

Her knight in shining armor had left at fifteen,
Impregnating her with a son at thirteen,
The son abandoned her at twenty-eight.
Mere numbers became agonizing milestones.
Her wrinkled mother seated at her side,
Pats the hand of a daughter without a youth.
The rush in the general medicine ward,
Masks their sighs and silent tears.
I look away; it is just another ‘case’,
One I can afford to allot ten minutes everyday,
Ten minutes that haunts me the rest of the day,
Her mother searching a sign of hope in my eyes.

The doctors pronounce their verdict,
A day till she leaves covered in a shroud.
I knew it would happen, but it breaks me,
5:45am, 31st August, 2010;
I check her death certificate,
She died an old woman of 30.