Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
I was empty. My life has not been how it should be; not that it’s supposed to, I support transitions; but this was entirely different. I couldn’t connect with myself, or with anyone else around me. My introvert alter ego, which majorly forms my character, was magnified; making me increasingly accumulated with myself, turning me into a closed, sequestered unit.
I couldn’t feel my emotions anymore. To cover up this paucity, I turned into someone who is imprudent, quiet, and indifferent. That was when my father noticed this precipitous modulation. “Is something bothering you?” he asked me one night. “No”, I lied. He seated himself on the bed. “Yes, something is. You have never been a good liar.” I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? How could I possibly express myself? While I was thinking of a response, I remembered that I had already given one.
“You have never been silent.” he observes. I turn away from my study table, facing him. “What do you want me to say?” “I don’t intend to annoy you by any means. You seem to be annoyed enough.” “Then don’t. Just go away. Leave me alone.” I wanted to carve out an apology, but the words died out.
Few minutes later, he re-enters my bedroom, carrying the apartment’s and the vehicle’s keys in one hand, and his phone, in the other. Yes, entirely up to something. “Let’s go out for a drive.” “Are you out of your mind? It’s about fifty minutes past eleven.” “I will not hear any excuse. I need to talk to you.” “I have school tom” “School can wait. If we’re too late, you can take a leave, too.” I was running out of excuses.
“Alright. Give me a minute. I’ll tie my hair.”
I have always loved long drives at midnight. According to me, that is the closest I could reach to Nirvana. Viewing rapidly changing scenes, illuminated by the soft yellow gleam of Mumbai’s streetlights, gives me a sensation of leaving. Leaving my worries. My past. Leaving who I am and being who I want to be. In no time, I find myself absorbing the Queen’s Necklace. The sea has always been so calm. The car is accelerated, and I radiate a chuckle. “Now that you are casual. Mind telling me what’s bothering you?” The chuckle dies.
The moment has gone.
“You should be asking me, what’s not bothering me.” His sorrowful eyes meet mine. “I know things have been rough. I understand. But, you know it hurts me. To see how much you’ve been affected. It’s hard for a father.” “How could I possibly explain?” My eyes moisten.
We reach a traffic signal. I abhor the disruption in my journey to attain momentary peace. It felt like the air had stopped blowing, and I was dying. But, had I already died?
Just then, I spot a woman, on the pavement of the sidewalk, with a giant box full of roses. She giggled and laughed, without a care in the world. I thought of the thought that involuntarily comes across people’s minds when they see a person elated without much reason. But then, I found her reason.
I saw a small girl, wearing tattered clothes, run towards this woman. She jumped on her lap, and hugged her. The woman reciprocated this action. They had found Nirvana in each other, the Nirvana which I was still in search of. And such was the satisfaction of its attainment that the woman did not care about the cars stopped by the traffic signal, through which she earns her daily wage.
That was when I realized my father’s sorrow, watching me shatter to pieces, every day. I looked at him, and our eyes met. We smiled at each other, and for the first time in weeks, some enigmatic sensation pierced through my insolent alter ego, and made me believe that everything is going to be alright.