Just Another Sunday

Navdib Moktan
Published on: 22nd September 2014
This Sunday is like any other. There really isn't much that makes it any different from any of the other days that I live here. Apart from the weather which seems to have come alive today with the sun in a particularly feisty mood, nothing else seems out of place.

If anything, it's that letter from someone who decided to do what was right by leaving me. You see, we started as acquaintances and then quickly became friends, followed by lovers. After that it took a month before she'd tell me I wasn't worth the trouble and distance was really a bother. Women always take out the best, the worst, and the funniest out of me. It made me wonder, 'let me try this on a woman and I'll have hell to pay'. But when a woman does it, the guys are supposed to walk away from it unscathed. How convenient it is for women!

She's having trouble with her bank. They've frozen her account she says. I wonder why. She says it is because she's been buying too much stuff online from websites outside her country. In other words, she's spending American Dollars. But well, that's got nothing to with me I tell her. Anyway, for a woman, who figured I'd make a bad father, wasn't rich enough and not from her community to be introduced to her family, and supposedly managing a bank her father started, I'm sure she can handle whatever it is. Not that I don't want to help because I'm bitter, I do want to help her but perhaps my decision to do so would have been made easier if she'd at least called and apologized for the way she left me. Guess pride does have a lot to do with it and so I shall be equally full of it and let it be.
just another sunday,relationships
The day's news had nothing interesting today. I managed to work out after almost three or four days of being lazy and feeling a bit tired more than usual. And after, the afternoon had me doing the familiar. Today's ride in the local squash bucket on three wheels sputtering along on a modified scooters engine took the same old familiar route lined with garbage, tea bushes, drive-in's to a couple of schools, a bridge over a river which always reminds me of that poorly sketched depiction of life along a river in notebooks when I was ten years old, a 'new' construction that has been going on for well past a decade and it's still not finished (I wonder what they mean by new by now), and garages with rust colored tin shutters that have been pulled down as it's a Sunday. Some of them are left open with vehicles that are either crushed or are missing enough parts to make it a bad investment of time stealing it. Meanwhile, the familiar comes with that nauseating smell of sweat mixed with oils that most people here find comforting and I have a hard time controlling my disgust for it. That smells some say reminds them of their mother's. I cannot even start comprehending how because when I think of my mother, I do not ever recall her ever smelling that way. After sputtering along a stretch of road for about fifteen minutes paused with the occasional stop to either pick or drop passengers, I reach my destination. After this, I take another similar sputtering jaunt for five minutes before I reach that Café with horrible coffee and lewd music. As much as I have a hard time getting used to it despite having now used this mode of transportation for the past two years and more, I am grateful for one thing though. You see all this sputtering coupled with the nauseous smells and being squashed in costs you a paltry twenty five cents one way, half a dollar to go back and forth. Come to think of it that's the cheapest ride anywhere in the world. In a place like Cambodia (Phnom Penh), that ride would set you back by some five dollars and in Thailand, it would be something in the range of two to five dollars on a similar sputtering little three wheel jaunt but with a much stronger engine and without the need to be squashed in with as many people as possible. So, if there is anything I could be grateful for, it's got to be this cheap transportation more than anything.

By now I have discussed the letter with two friends and my predicament of helping her or not. One has suggested using a wonderful parable which reads, 'once a farmer took a frozen snake with him home but when the snake woke up, it bit the farmer'. The other suggested I ask her to not lie and to tell me the truth about why her accounts were really frozen. I cannot possibly do both so I've decided to toss a coin later today and then do whatever comes. In closing on the issue, I have decided that it is never worth trying to help someone who thought of you as not worth much.

This brings me to this strange question of emptiness I've been feeling for some time now. In response to my question, I have written a few lines. I wonder if any of it makes any sense at all. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't but whatever it is, it does help find some level of peace deep down inside. So here is what I wrote.

'If not for love, what is this life worth living for?'

I've often asked myself this. Yet, I often find myself in a void feeling alone and unloved. It isn't true that I'm not loved. I am. Does that make a narcissist fool with a low self esteem? Maybe! But I wouldn't agree if some were to try and vehemently prove it.

Out of turn I asked this question to a monk as he busied himself to sit down for his evening prayers. His reply was, 'I agree. Some find love in the arms of a lover. Some find love in the warmth of a mother's smile. Some find love in their father's sacrifice. And then some who find love in the camaraderie of their friends and siblings. Or for that matter in the loving snuggles of their pets. If not for love, this life is not worth living for anything. After all, it is a journey filled with hardships where we try and find those fleeting moments of happiness that are as rare as the moments itself'.

For all the truth that I see in what monks say and for all the truth I could see in his reply, my curiosity would not let me be and I wanted to know more. With a knowing smile, he looked at me, smiled and waved his hand in a gesture so as to suggest I speak whatever was on my mind.

I smiled and gave into his request. 'So why do I feel alone?'

'Because we all are; we are connected by relationships, some of blood and some formed by circumstances, some by commonality in thought and perspectives, but we are all alone otherwise. You must understand that the state of loneliness is one that the weak cannot bear. It takes courage and strength to be well and truly alone'.
'I'm not sure if I am strong or have the courage to be alone. I mean I feel alone. I'm not alone as such as I do have friends. My family is always there for me and sometimes overbearingly so.' This makes him burst into a loud laugh that echoes across the high ceilinged prayer room of the monastery. 'But I understand they are so because they worry about me and love me for I am their child. Having said that, why do I then feel alone?'

Well, I guess bad coffee and lewd music can sometimes make one a bit philosophical, and for some, loony.

The sun's on its way down and I'd better get back home as well. There's a muffin waiting to be accompanied by some tea; much better company than all the assorted mixture of couples in this Café making me feel even more lonely.
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