I’ve been staring at the screen for a while now. It’s been weeks, I think. It’s been enough for my coffee to get cold, and for the cold coffee cup to become empty. When I was tired of staring, I put my hands on the keyboard because what the hell, I figured, I know there’s something there. So, I put my finger on the I key of the keyboard, and then I softly tapped it about six times, syncing my tap with the blinking cursor on the blank screen, until a sentence came out.
I’ve thought a lot about a lot of things lately. It’s the tail-end of the year. It’s been one-third of a year since it’s been raining in Pune. It’s been two-thirds of a year since I moved here. I’ve thought a lot about places and time. I’ve realised it’s very similar to the idea of databases.
I spend roughly forty hours a week doing all sorts of things to data, so I’m sorry if this seems a bit technical, but you see, we have the concept of keys in databases. Keys help you find specific information quickly in a database. A key is unique, but sometimes, one is not enough. That’s when we look at composite keys. I’ve realised memories work similarly.
I’ve realised that every memory is nothing but a combination of a place and time in our lives specific to our context at the time. For example, I can’t help but smile if I look at Delhi in the May of 2019 for reasons of my own – reasons which make no sense if I look at them from Pune in September. That’s the thing though, I’ve realised it’s wrong to look at memories like we do – in hindsight.
Each memory, irrespective of what it looks in hindsight, was still felt. Some part of that memory exists always. Some of them are extremely pleasant to think about while some not so much, but I’ve stopped looking at life as a sequence of events. At least, I’m trying to do just that.
It’s a little wee magic here, but I’ve realised that the person who I am right now is very similar to the person who, let’s say, is sitting at Marine Drive, Mumbai on June 2017 or Dehradun in October 2014, but not the same. We’re two very different people who believe in very different things. So, to look at life as if everything was changing for the better all the time has stopped making sense to me.
Everything may be changing, and I don’t have anything against that, but for better or worse is not something I concern myself with anymore. At least, I don’t want to anymore. I’m tired of fighting the inner battle of doing the right thing all the time for everyone. I’m tired of trying to save everyone and forgetting to save myself. I just want to sit and have some coffee and not be troubled by the world burning anymore.
As years go by, I realise that there’s a false dichotomy forced onto us over time. The dichotomy of good and evil, right and wrong, black and white and while some things may be undebatable, I’ve realised, there’s a lot of grey between where these collide. The more I look at things with empathy, the more I understand that everyone thinks they’re in the right – even the worst of us – whatever worst means to you. It means nothing to me anymore.
I’ve thought a lot lately about all the things. I’ve thought a lot about time. I was fifteen last week. I was eighteen a couple of days ago. It seems I was twenty-one last night, and I’m twenty-two today. I’ll be thirty next week, all things considered. Everything seems so immediate, and each memory so vivid, and each version of me so distinct from each one that I cannot seem to fathom the serendipity of life and the human experience. I commend those who make it to fifty, to be honest.
When I was fifteen, I looked at the world in strong blacks and whites. I swear, I could separate the wrong and the right. I could even look past what most people couldn’t, at least I thought I could. As the years went by, I saw grey creep into everything. It crept into the shirts I wore to the shoes I have to the decisions I make and to the life I have. No ideals seem to fit everything anymore. No matter where I look, it’s all grey, everywhere.
I cannot, for the life of me, agree that there is an actual right and wrong. Even when I studied morality, I found three equally palpable arguments, none better than the last, and yet, none all-inclusive. I’ve realised that everyone is the protagonist of their own story – written or unwritten. Maybe, I’ll disagree with these words next week or when I’m thirty, or perhaps, I’ll believe in them even more. Time moves fast, and our understanding of things changes more quickly. Each version of us is a different person in a different place at a different time.
I think I could wake up a different person tomorrow to have completely different beliefs and a completely different life, and I believe no one can raise anything against that. Sure, some people around me would find that version of me not a lot to their liking, but that’s just it. I’ve realised I don’t care anymore – about anything.
I’ve thought a lot about a lot of things lately. I’ve thought about how I feel about how I’m feeling lately. Maybe, this aloofness, for the lack of a better word is a mistake, but I’ve realised that any mistake I make is my own personal privilege. I just want to sit and have some coffee and not be troubled by the world burning anymore. I’m tired of putting out fires all around me anyway.