23/100: Finally, An Weekend

Finally, an weekend: One with no prior commitments, no pressing housework, no coursework to be turned in on Monday, nothing to prepare for, nowhere to go. I knew this was coming and hence, had a late night yesterday and returned home quite drunk: So, as usual, half of Saturday was over even before I started. But, even with that slight regret, that of missing a gorgeous, blossoming spring day, complete with pure blue sky and chirping birds on the street corner and an unusually light traffic on the road outside my window, I feel happy. That deep happiness, which is only a fine line apart from melancholy, that of being alive at this gorgeous moment, as if I have waited my whole life to be here; but only a whisker apart from missing everyone else, all those who should have been here with me, and of all the imperfections of this steady state and indeed knowing, back of my mind, that this is not the steady state.

The only way I can explain happiness is as a momentary feeling that you don't want to move on. It is that sense of wanting to freeze time that defines it. Everything else that we live by - ambition, desire, curiosity - suspend themselves at this point, only if momentarily. In a way, one feels weightless in happiness, suspended in the unending journey of time, as if all the frames from all the beautiful moments of one's life mesh together in one perfect picture. But then, past takes us back.

As it did to me, a while ago. My one beautiful moment of a late morning cup of tea and of looking without intention towards the Jet leaving a trail of white line on the otherwise unstirred sky took me back to the autumn days in Calcutta, when we would usually see the blueness of the sky first time in a year after the unending rainy season. This might as well be the last day of school before a month-long break, and that last maths class, almost bearable, before the sound of the school gong set us free. I could see myself stepping out of the windowless class into a bright late afternoon, with no hurry to go anywhere, no classwork to do, no commitments to run after. And, then, the evening at home, full with people, with my brothers, sister and everyone else, and that naive feeling that the moment would go on forever.

As that past reclaimed me from my present weightlessness, just before that very briefly, that moment returned again. A bit faded perhaps, smudged on the edges like an old photo, but with a beautiful smell and the softness of the corner of my mother's saree (with which I shall wipe my hands), but it seemed that moment never ended, just subsided in a stream of desire, ambition and quest that followed, only to wait for and to surface at this perfect moment. It seemed no less real than all the other events, all successes and failures, all the journeys and all the returns, of my life. In a way, it is as if I have always lived at the core of that perfect happiness without ever having left.

Then I returned to now. The post arrived, with bills and all. The computer screen announced the coming into being of some of my 'contacts' on Skype. A bus whirled past the fences, to the stop nearby. I knew I had to get up and use some of this time into reading up a few reports that I did not find time to read earlier. I left the morning on its own, and resumed my quest of happiness all over again.


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