A metal garden chair,
A man on the chair
Legs spread, hands behind head.
Birds humming, human life almost non-existent
A jazzy balcony of a jazzy house in a jazzy part of a jazzy city
A cup of tea, not hot anymore
Half eaten packet of chips
Ash in the ash tray.
I see him and I feel jealous
This man is in his own heaven, at peace when people die a thousand deaths before finding it.
As I sit on a garden chair in a lovely balcony
Of a majestic house, smoking away to glory,
Eating chips, sipping tea
Listening to birds and staring at the sun setting
Not at all lamenting the absence of human life,
With nowhere else to be in the immediate future and nothing to do.
I should be happy
I should have found the peace we spend all our lives looking for.
But I am not and I have not.
I see chaos in the calm
I hear wails in the silence
I smell horse shit, not the ambrosial fragrance of the Earth.
I feel trapped by my own freedom.
I look at my son and I envy him
No, not because he is at peace,
He is not, no one is
But because he at least hopes he would be one day
Or that someone else is and it is something achievable.
He reads Philosophy in college,
Is currently studying the concepts of liberation
Excitedly, he tells me about it
Thinking me to be a wise old man who knows life and the workings of the world,
Both on the outside and the in,
So and so achieved peace or liberation through such and such method
And I nod and pretend to marvel at these accounts
It breaks my heart to live with the reality that there is no liberation from anything in this world
I should tell him now and prepare him for the future but can’t because I am too weak
To burst his bubble, to take the meaning of hope out of his repertoire forever
And so I pretend to be content with the horrible life I am leading
Just so he doesn’t surrender to forces of nature and his own senses, his own mind.
He is not a fool to believe me though, just that I am a damn good actor,
Have been all my life.
I have seen many people with money, jobs, steady marriages and a lot else
I have seen them happy, but not content
They haven’t bowed out of the rat race that ordinary life is,
This struggle to look and sound and feel cool
And to make others realize how amazing they and their wives, husbands, kids, parents, friends, jobs, cars, houses, their whole bloody lives are.
Happiness is like sex,
Good for a while, but downright hollow as a composite entity in the long run
Peace, like love, is transient, it has mystical depths, is wholesome.
Happiness is a want
Peace, or at least a hope for it, a necessity.
I’ve seen many happy women and men and their children,
But I have only seen my father at peace.
He is not happy, but he is content, maybe because he knows he can’t ever be happy.
And through this strange life he has lead, I know I can find my own truths, I can find peace.
And when might that be, I ask myself as I write this.
I almost smile right now.
I know the answer,
The expectation of which makes me gush
But another question pops up in my mind now
Is this gush due to happiness or peace?
A lower or higher pleasure, as Mill puts it.
As I sit and ponder over this
I get another answer
Which if I think harder may lead to another question.
I laugh out loud and hard now
I am the LOL you text your bestie, the laughing-so-hard-tears-come-out emoji you’ve killed with overuse.
“What is up with me? Am I intoxicated?”
No, it’s just philosophy, poetry and insomnia being the devils they are.
Peace or no peace, who cares.
Happiness or no happiness, who cares.
Just bloody live and avoid death as long as you can
And all will be well.
*Featured Image Courtesy – https://in.pinterest.com/pin/497155246338221549/?lp=true