Monthly Archives: March 2020
As we enter the second week of lockdown, I find myself asking such existential questions – the kind you would normally confront only when seated in a therapist’s room. I would have otherwise laughed it off, but today I decide to humour it a little and here’s how it goes…
The first seemingly obvious answer that comes to mind is of course I am me, Apurva. I am currently doing masters, having worked for a bit and so on..
Academics and career do define me to some extent but is that what makes me….me? I mean am I this Apurva, only because I am studying in so and so college or getting so and so degree? Is that all there is to me?
Having scratched the surface, I decide to prod a little more.
Then come the next set of “Maybe I am my personality, my looks, my fears, my inhibitions, my anxiety or my passion.”
But say I decide that my Apurva-ness lies in my interest in art, would that mean I am no longer Apurva if I chose to move away from this field? Now that doesn’t make any sense. I mean, people lose interest in things all the time, don’t they?
That brings me back to square one. Who am I?
What is that one thing that defines me? Is there a quality in me that is constant? Or is change the only constant? Well, then what’s the point of naming me Apurva, which means unique? Might as well have named me number 42000 or something like that.
I then happen to take a step back.
Maybe I am thinking this all wrong!
A flower in a garden, whether we call it a tulip or a rose, doesn’t really give a damn about the nomenclature, does it? It knows only to be, a flower- nothing more, nothing less.
So why can’t I be content just being a human? Why do I need to cling to a name, an identity that I can’t even really claim to be my own?
Why do I need to be distinct from everyone else?
Why can’t I be just the same?
And that’s when it hit me.
If everyone in this world thought about themselves as being essentially the same, there would be no nation, no religion, no name and no identity to fight over. People would have so much empathy for the other person that hurting them wouldn’t cross their mind.
And that’s not an easy thing to do, considering the way we are conditioned since childhood.
Maybe that’s why there are so few enlightened beings on this earth. And maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to get there.
“You guys don’t let me work, otherwise I would have finished washing the utensils by now…”, says my granny, after being caught, stealthily going into the kitchen to do her favourite chore. My mom’s compassionate pleas of “But you are old now, you have worked hard all your life, why don’t you take some rest?” fail miserably to convince her. “But I get bored doing nothing. I like doing kitchen work,” she smiles, her toothless smile.
What can you say to that?
And so begins the race to finish the kitchen chores before granny even gets a chance to do anything!
Trust me, it’s not that easy.
Once I stepped into the kitchen, a good two hours before lunch to see if I could be of some help, and lo and behold! lunch was already ready…thanks to her!!!
I never quite understand what drives her to work this way, relentlessly, every single day with such passion and energy….
hats off to the ‘Great Lady of India’ as my grandfather jokingly calls her…but that’s another story…