It's tough being lonely. You really really need a lot of will-power to hold on to your sanity. You'll say we all have been alone at some time or the other. Many would look at you as if they were the Buddha and philosophize that ‘man is, in a sense, always alone.’ But you know the loneliness you are going through is that of being friendless, relative-less and, outside of the office, colleague-less in a mega city. Your family and friends are all thousands of sky-miles away and you can’t meet whenever you feel like. Do I sound like I'm trying to seek pity or sympathy? Hell, no. I'm just trying to analyze my own feelings, a la Dr Sigmund Freud.
Imagine you are participating in a reality show where you share an apartment with two people (that’s three males, just for the record) who brag about sharing expenses, taking turns at household chores, hanging out together and what not. The first few weeks are bliss, of course, with all three going out shopping for groceries, for a swim at the beach on weekends, watching the latest movie release at half the cost because one of you has a credit card which offers one on one free movie tickets. Oh this is life, you say to yourself, and wish it could go on forever.
A few weeks after agreeīng on the Declaration of Independence, you come home and find that it’s dark because your rent-mates haven’t returned yet. You’re hungry so you browse the kitchen only to find a pile of unwashed dishes (you have no option but to wash them). Then you cut the veggies while watching a movie on the laptop in between innocuous glances at your watch. You look longingly through the transparent lid as the potatoes become semi-soft. You stir them more rapidly hoping that it might make them cook faster. You have already been hungry for the past hour or so. But you put your hunger on hold.
Your you-know-whos turn up when dinner is ready. They go directly to their I-pads and jump into the black hole of social media, totally oblivious of your presence. You’re famished and want to have dinner and hit the sack, but you are oh-so-polite. You drown those premature digestive juices with some water and pretend to be looking up facebook, waiting for the hunger to overtake you and move on to the other two.
An endless 15 minutes pass by, then 30. Your stomach starts yelling, “Why the hell are you keeping me hungry?” You finally ask them should they all have dinner, only to be told (very casually) “Oh we’ve already had dinner.”
Suddenly you’re inspired to be Vijender Singh (Indian boxer, bet you didn’t know) and wish you’d taken up boxing in your college days because you feel like breaking their jaws so that they could never eat again.
Anyway, the moot point is that you pick up your plate, serve yourself and eat – alone.
The scene shifts to your office. Some shithead grilled into you the habit of wishing everyone you meet, including the office boy who doesn’t serve you tea when you badly want it. But after keeping up your good spirits for months together, one fine day you skip the routine only to find out that nobody bothers to wish you good morning. Even if you happen to cross their paths, they look right through you. You try to recollect that website where you’d read that in every culture, people have a custom of greeting each other when they meet. You vividly recall that not only humans, even monkeys have a custom of greeting each other. You will be forgiven if you ask yourself, “Are we worse than monkeys?”
You are friendly with everyone you meet, and you take pride in living that way. Then you learn that you can be a friend to everyone, but not everyone is your friend. Being, by nature, an extrovert, you go out of your way to befriend as many people as you can. You plan outings, be ‘pro-active’ to make things smoother.
But one fine day you get up in your room alone, having nothing to do. You call up some of your friends and ask them if they’d like to have lunch at Marina mall. They umm and aahh and finally refuse, because they already have their own plans. It's natural that people will make their own plans, what's tough to accept is that you're not part of them.
Then that little heart that beats within you reminds you
If you love something,
Set it free,
If it comes back,
It is yours
If it doesn’t,
It never was.
Big deal. The same emotional fool, if he was alive today, would say -
If you have a friend,
Call him and check
If he answers yes, you can hang out together.
And if he doesn’t, you can still hang out -