Friday, July 26, 2013

On the face of a catastrophe

There's this bloke on TV, dashing - bordering on knee-weakening irresistible - who's just had his world collapse all around him. It did collapse around a few others too, but it's this dude we're worried about. For obvious reasons. He bears it stoically, his shoulders straight, when the bad news is delivered like a sheaf of papers thrown at his face. A couple of curves appear on his forehead. The depth of pain in his eyes makes you want to jump right in and drown in it. Like, really. He says something brave - one does not care what he says as long as one gets to hear his deep, gentle voice, dripping with sorrow. Then he slowly turns around, a picture of dignity and composure, and leaves, his lips set in a grim line.

He then gets himself drunk, very, very drunk. The only thing that's deranged is his tie. He slouches in his seat - in dignity - and falls asleep with his head on the table. Our heart totally breaks all over the place.

When people in movies have issues they seem so painfully wonderful that we kind of long to borrow a few of those. And the way they carry themselves on the face of catastrophe makes us beg for a chance to be so dignified and poised as well.

Except that when a couple of them (the issues, not the people) make their appearance at our door, we are anything but.

We jump out of our seats. We rush to have a drink, a cup of tea, a glass of water. We avoid looking at our friends because they will demand to know the reason behind that insane confusion morphing to animal rage in our eyes. We take a few deep breaths but the heart refuses to stop pounding. Fear. We rub our hands over our face and realise that we have been sweating like a waterfall. We turn around to face an acquaintance's surprised eyes and we say, God, isn't it hot! 

There's a low rumble, no, it's a distinct roar. Look around, the walls are crumbling all around you, your world is coming down like those buildings in Inception. You either get out of the way, or get crushed underneath. There are people around you, they are looking at you in surprise, in sympathy, in sarcasm, in contempt. They just watch you, and do nothing. They wish to see what lies in your eyes. You wish to see too, but you cannot see yourself in their face. Nothing is falling apart, except yourself.

You go back inside and then you go out to make a phone call. Afterwards, you remember pretty much nothing. Except suffocation. Dizziness. Heavy-heartedness. The endless wait. Sandwich, half-eaten. Laughing for no reason. Crawling to a ball under the blanket and trembling all over. Trying not to blurt out or whimper or make a fool of yourself. Worse, you begin to sympathise. My own fault, you think. No one else's. Ice cold latte left untouched, in Café Coffee Day. Words, felt rather than heard. Anything, you say. Anything at all. Drizzle. That sinking feeling.

Then - nothing. A numbness that grips the heart like the so-called hand of death. Shivering for no reason. Staring at a mark on an immobile wall for what seems like hours. At the blank Windows desktop for hours. People passing by; casual talk, their lives seem intact. Insensitive minutes that last for centuries, threatening to never end.

What was once your world, in bits and pieces all around you. And you know there's no gluing them back together. And you walk all over them, mumbling, cursing, throwing.

Anything but dignified and composed. Bold? Nowhere close. Banging-head-on-the-wall frustrated? You said it. Confused? Absolutely. Uncensored swear words? Plenty.

Mr.Dashing was evidently just acting.


1 comment:

  1. In real world when we see such people, we see that "On their face is a map of the world".

    Tough times are in every basket, and the initial reaction is of panic. But it is how we swing ourselves from the perigee back to the apogee.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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