When we're young(er) there is a certain belief, call it false confidence if you will, that tells us that "Bad Things may happen to everyone else but not to me or mine." As we mature, that feeling changes for no particular reason (not necessarily because we keep seeing bad things closer to us). We feel afraid - more than we care to admit. The What if it happens to me? returns more often, accompanied by If it can happen to them, why not to me?
A popular blogger whose pages I occasionally read, lost her 19-year-old daughter a couple of weeks ago. The girl had a blog too, which I visited after hearing of her death. It was a difficult experience, reading her aspirations, dreams, thoughts; her last post was published a few days before her death (she even mentions catching a fever). I could not bring myself to read more than two of her posts. Apparently as the fever progressed, her internal organs were damaged and the doctors could do nothing more. (Some of you may know who I am talking about, but I will not provide the link here for the sake of those who don't. I really don't want to make you depressed as it did me.)
That was the start of a series of lows that troubled me for days. The few good messages that trickled in were not sufficient to drown the bad thoughts. The Whys and Wherefores had no end, even though I knew worrying about it would serve no purpose. I managed to work myself into a highly volatile state: getting oneself agitated is easy; calming down requires effort, solitude, or even a distracting conversation with someone. Now it's behind me (I hope) and I can write about it.
Remember the scene in DDLJ where Kajol closes her eyes and ears to shut out the sound of SRK's guitar? The last time she does that, when she opens them again the music is still around, signifying that it was not her imagination, it was real. Not worrying or thinking is somewhat like that. You're only closing your senses against what could be really around you. You're only pretending not to see it. It helps for the time being, because it does not let the fear eat into you. When you open your eyes, you might as well be prepared to see it approach.
When I was small, I was afraid of wild animals creeping into my room at night. I would stay awake with wide eyes, staring at the dim, rectangular shape of the window, waiting to see a lion climb in. It was always a lion. However much my parents tried to convince me that animals do not come anywhere near human habitation, let alone climb through my window, or that they lived very, very far away in the forest or in the zoo, I still spent sleepless nights not daring to close my eyes (if I see it pounce, I can at least scream), till somehow sleep would overcome me. After what must have been weeks or months, I managed to convince myself that if I close my eyes and think of other things, the fear would go away. It worked, for a few days. Then I realised that, it is only the fear that went away. What if there really is a lion at the window, staring inside, while I am peacefully thinking of something else with closed eyes? God, it got really terrifying night after night, till somewhere along the way, I grew out of those fears, or new ones took their place.
We hear of road accidents, plane crashes, train mishaps, almost every day. We read of others' loss in the newspapers. Yet we travel by road, plane and train, believing that what happened yesterday, what may happen tomorrow, what happened to others, will not happen today - while we are involved. We feel for those who have lost and yet do not realise that it could easily have been us. They had the same medical help that we would have, they did everything that we would do, and yet it happened to them. Is it that some of us are just lucky(ier)... for the time being?
The fear can be pushed away but not reality. Whether we close our eyes or not, it is always before us... Nonetheless, what keeps us going is Faith.
Besides, there is nothing else to do but go on.
I don't know if everyone passes through phases like these. Maybe it's a woman thing. Maybe it's a Mother thing. But it does not matter.
A very pessimistic post. I know. Not the kind I like to publish at my blog. I promise a happier one soon!