Thursday, August 30, 2012

Walk Away

In the dead of the night Siddhartha got up and walked away, from everything he knew. You often think of people who disappear, who go away on their own will, vanish. All of them may never see the light, return with riches, not even be aware of what it is that they seek. Most of them, probably, will just unravel. It kills you.

You who only ever wanted to be the catcher in the rye, going about the soul-deadening drill of earning your food, while thousands fall off the ledge, every day. There are people who want to receive, and those who want to give, probably in equal numbers. But so rarely do their paths cross. In the meanwhile, for so many, there is nothing left, but to Walk Away.

"Every year thousands of men and women disappear. I don't mean the ones who sell up, move away, remarry, get a job in Acapulco, go into a nursing home or mental hospital, or even out on to the streets. I mean the ones who are never seen again. The ones untraced and untraceable. Faded photographs, out of date clothes, the years piling up in the place left behind. The place where they walked away, without a suitcase or a passport, bank account untouched, appointments still fresh in the diary.

I think of a see-saw. At one end, life's accumulations, at the other end, the self.  For many, perhaps for most, the balance can be maintained. The not too unpleasant ups and downs of day to day, a little loss here, a little gain there, the occasional giddy soar or painful crash.

What happens when the accumulated life becomes so heavy that it pitches the well-balanced self into thin air? All the things that I had and knew, crashing to the floor, myself shattered upwards, outwards, over the roof tops, over the familiar houses, a ghost among ghosts. I might as well be dead.

I shall be treated as dead. The dead have no rights, no feelings, the present deals with the past just as it likes. I shall become a thing of the past, worse than dead, a living dead, to be avoided or forgotten, to be abused because I shall have revealed myself as someone who can't cope.

We have to cope, don't we? Get on with life, pull ourselves together, be positive, look ahead. Therapy or drugs will be freely offered. I can get help. We live in a very caring society.

It cares very much that we should all be seen to cope."

Page 194, 'The Green Square', from 'The World and Other Places' by Jeannette Winterson (absolutely stunning writing)


Madeeha said...

You, Asha, will probably be as blown away by this: I was.

As always, reading what you share is one of the things I look to, in dark nights.

Rukhiya said...

You know sometimes I think it'd be great to be at the receiving end of all this 'caring'. Say in a 'facility', no body including myself knowing 'what went wrong'.

P.S.: Btw, its becoming increasingly difficult to 'prove I am not a robot'. I really feel a little dyslexic.

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