Monday, 14 November 2011

The Blind Boy-Colley Cibber

A simple poem, read more than a decade back. I remember telling my Mom that I did not want to re-read it because it "made me sad". A 6-year old's view of life did not allow for people being sad without being sad myself. Cut to 2011, I find the poem beautiful. It is not an awesome piece of literature of anything. But it shows the simple, honest kind of courage in going through difficulties, which I see around me in so many forms, and have learnt to appreciate greatly.

The Blind Boy
                ~ Colley Cibber

 O say, what is that thing called light,
 Which I can ne'er enjoy?
 What is the blessing of the sight?
 O tell your poor blind boy!

 You talk of wondrous things you see,
 You say the sun shines bright;
 I feel him warm, but how can he
 Then make it day or night?

 My day or night myself I make
 Whene'er I sleep or play;
 And could I ever keep awake
 With me 'twere always day.

 With heavy sighs I often hear
 You mourn my hapless woe;
 But sure with patience I may bear
 A loss I ne'er know.

 Then let not what I cannot have
 My cheer of mind destroy;
 Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
 Although a poor blind boy.

[photo courtesy:]

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On Losing the Meaning

My childhood thesaurus put melancholy as a synonym for sadness. But life taught me the subtle difference. Sadness comes with tears, anger, indignation, denial. It blocks out everything else. Sadness heals. We give Time, time, and sadness heals. But melancholy? Melancholy comes with a tired acceptance. It stays. Softly, unobtrusively but it stays. It never stops anything, but like a tinted glass, it dims the brightest of sunshine.

“And everyday life loses a little bit of its meaning.”

Thus read a friend’s text message while we were philosophising on the phone. Strange how depressing observations reach across people. No one died today. No dreams were shattered. No one cried out for help. No shots were fired. There is melancholy, not sadness.

And yet there is a ever-deepening sense of loss. Each day goes by with the feeling that it left me a little bit poorer than the previous. Small, almost imperceptible, but undeniable. Every day I lose a little more and I know I will never regain it back.

For someone who grew up believing in the glory of life, the brittleness of the meaning of life in the face of the world is hard to swallow. As I pick apart all that is around me, everything unravels with an ease that is almost scary. And it all echoes emptily with a single question, “What does it matter?”
So is that it? I remember shaking my head, and thinking “Crazy fellow”, when I first read that life is something that happens to you on the way to the grave. Somehow, I don’t do that anymore. Shake my head disbelievingly, that is.

No one died, because no one lived. No dreams were shattered because we lost those long back. No one cried for help because they learnt way early that there is no one to hear. No shots were fired because there is nothing left to fight for. And there is melancholy, not sadness.

They say sorrow shared is half. Perhaps it didn’t hold good for this because as I said, there is melancholy, not sadness. There was small comfort that two people, miles apart in terms of geography, ideas, age and background, both shared this depressing (and accurate?) view. The walls the world builds between people effectively prevents any real exchange of emotions, except perhaps in rare unguarded moments. We did not talk about this anymore beyond those five minutes.

My reply was that “If everyday life loses a little bit of its meaning, and you are still not done with it, I would still call you lucky. Because it means you started out with a whole lot of it in the first place.” Old habits die hard, and the eternal optimist says perhaps, just perhaps, this is the meaning of life. That in spite of it all, we still had this conversation.

[photo courtesy:]
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