Nepali Kalasahitya Dot Com Pratishthan


Bal Ram Adhikari

It's always with me

Standing at the open gate of the campus, he stopped me, "Arré yaar, why always this rush?"
I was exiting from the campus, while he was entering. He was neither inside nor outside but in between two parts of the gate. It was dusk– neither bright nor dark. It was like a part of scene of the story from the incarnation of Narasimha1. I replied, "It's not any rush at all. This is how I move to the tune of my life."
He picked my expression 'the tune of life' and rhymed with it– You take about tune of life, here mine is totally out of the tune.
"Out of tune? What happened?"I echoed his words.
"Look at this life." He requested me to look at his life. But I didn't see anything wrong with it.
"Are you doing Okay?"
"Yea." He responded.
"Is your family fine?"
"Yea. They're fine"
"What's not fine then? Job?" I added.
"It's going so-so too."
Now he started exploring the causes of mistune of his life.
He mostly used the words like 'wretched', 'wrong' and 'bad' in every meeting. These words were like his clichés. Psychoanalysis asserts that the words the person thinks, chooses and uses betray his/her state of mind. Hearing his words, I figure out his state of mind.
I made up my mind to return to my place rather than listening to his story. Let him observe his life himself. With this thought I started down the road to the south. There was no such hurry but I was already late to leave.
"You've no worries at all?!"
Now he wanted to prolong the conversation. It seemed that he wanted me to be encumbered with his worries. I didn't know whether it was his query or a surprise. But his smirk indicated that he was mocking me.
Whatever he thought about me, I didn't feel it necessary to reject, clarify or explain any more. I headed towards the south. Then I took the alley on my right while the moon was on my left. The moon was climbing high above the buildings by the alley, which reminded me of my village. While playing hide and seek with the moon, the Gazhal of Jagjit and Chitra Singh echoed in my head– 
I'm in the foreign land, the moon might have been out in my homeland,
How lonely might be the moon above my house…
No matter how much I walk, how much I see and how much I wander around, these allies of this town are always alien to me. My mind is there in the village itself. But I'm not unhappy here either. I'm happy thinking of the moon above my village. The moon is the moon, whether it's hidden in the heart or shinning out in the sky. 
While the moon was hidden behind the skyscrapers which looked as if they were going to pierce the sky, I remembered the colleague I met at the campus gate. I didn't tell him the secret why I am not sad and I don't look sad. I know he is full of appreciation of this quality of mine. He is my publicist. A critique  too. Often in our meeting, he presents himself as a serious thinker. His thoughtful visage reflects as if he is musing over something really serious. If he would compose poetry, he would be the Nepali Matthew Arnold or T.S. Eliot. I would read the reflective poetry of this thoughtful poet in a carefree way. And also would teach to my students if I got the chance.
I often find him in the worrisome state. It looks as if he is going to make it his identity. He behaves as if everyone is prosperous in the world and he is the only sad! It seems to me that he is the only person carrying with him all the sadness of the world.
I kept moving to the south, recalling the worrisome and humorous talks with him.
He says– We're getting old.
I say–Worry not. We're not only aging but also growing. .
He says– Look at my hair turning white.
I say– Yea, you're aging gracefully like a flower!
He says– My job is temporary.
I say– Our life itself is temporary.
He says– I'm not able to achieve anything in life.
I say–Life itself is an achievement.
He says– Students don't study these days.
I say– Our teachers also used to say the same to us. When these students become teachers, they will say the same to their students too.  
Some of these worrisome and humorous talks between us are real, while some are imaginative.
After reaching the room, he becomes the topic of my diary writing. In the name of writing about him, I start writing about myself.
I don't tell this worrisome colleague of mine the reason why I'm not sad. I've been skipping it. Sometimes as a part of my lecture, I say, "Leave the talk of eternal happiness in this transient life." But I don't disclose the secret to my students. I haven't told him that I practice some medication and some meditation. In other words, this could have been simply put as science and meditation. In English, medication and meditation rhyme sweetly. Besides, there is another infallible treatment method too. This one, I've never told to anyone except writing in the diary.
The way of happiness is not so uneasy. The Buddha is believed to be the first person to suggest the remedy of unhappiness. Perhaps he also learnt it from others! I also agree with him– there is suffering. Yea, there is. I face suffering; I see suffering; I hear suffering. Suffering is ingrained in most of the things that I face, that I see, that hear in my everyday life, like smoke and dust mixed in the air of Kathmandu. Suffering creeps into my dream too. Dream itself is a suffering, for it disturbs the peaceful sleep. There is a cause of suffering. I think of the causes of my suffering. There is cessation of suffering. I look for the possible remedy instead of losing myself to suffering. 
Sometimes, I disagree with the Buddha. I look other way round– there is happiness. There is a way of happiness. Whatever you need, just think of that and look for that. Your quest is your happiness. If you need happiness, why think of suffering? Why to go that way?
The reverse to the truths of the Buddha sometimes works, while other times it doesn't. How could I dare to reverse the noble truths of the Buddha? But this whim has in some way worked for me.
This Buddha consciousness can be read in French psychoanalysis too. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has defined life as a dis-ease. I fully agree with him. There are two types of meaning in it. First, dis-ease or unease, meaning there is discomfort in my life– physical discomfort, mental discomfort, discomforts by day and discomforts by night. The second meaning of it is disease, meaning illness. The disease of life. Where there is life, there is a disease. Every discomfort is a mini-disease. There is some portion of death in every discomfort or disease. The realization of this discomfort and the feeling of death each moment is an easy remedy. Discomfort is there by day and by night. I accept it. The acceptance transforms  discomfort into comfort. That is, discomfort turns out to be a sort of comfort after it becomes a part of life.
Sometimes my body suffers. I've medication for the suffering caused by physical pain. Science has made it possible. I'm rich enough for the treatment of diseases except for the chronic ones. I'm living joyfully by paying 15% tax to the government, that doesn't show any concern for me. I'm able to enjoy myself. On the other hand, spiritualism has given me meditation for mental suffering. I often take meditation for my well-being. I neither owe any bills against it nor does the government charge any tax.
Now, what if medication failed? What if meditation failed? What if one suffered with a chronic disease and didn't recover? What if suffering penetrated the mind and shattered it beyond recovery? At that point, neither would I go to the doctor nor to the Buddha. I won't have any option left other than accepting the suffering. I would agree with Lacan at that moment– death is the best treatment of dis-eased life. Death dwells in my own being. It can awake at any moment. I needn't wake it up. If needed, I would give it a poke to wake it up. It doesn't require me to think more or develop an action plan. It lies inside the self like the lava deep beneath the surface of the earth. I would cast the flickering flames of life on the black canvas of death and would enjoy with the same light until the light burns out.
There are some easy means for making my life happy or at least to avoid sadness. But my colleague on the other hand always enjoys the dis-ease or disease. Neither does he goes for medication nor does he ever go for meditation. He says, "There is no time for meditation." He spends hours worrying and gossiping but doesn't have even 15 minutes for it. It seems to me that he has never ever imagined about this last means to avoid suffering. He behaves as if he's going to be immortal with his ill-mind within the ill-body. In the anxiety of living, he's living with suffering. He doesn't seem to be aware that there are different means to alleviate it. He seems to think that he would earn in this life and live happily in another life!

1Narasimha is an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, one who incarnates in the form of part lion and part man

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