Friday, November 3

Smiles for Tears... 

"...And when the stars are shining brightly in the velvet sky,
I'll make a wish, send it to heaven, then make you want to cry,
the tears of joy..."

~ Savage Garden

Today it is nothing beyond a strident spasm that lasts exactly the span of a single sand grain dropping down the hourglass. And then it is merely a muffled whirr in the ears, till the tears well up and dry out on their own, in perfect harmony with the submerging lump in the throat. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think it’s true. Motherhood, like ageing does sometimes, mellows one. And heartache doesn’t seem to hurt as much as it used to.

There used to be a time, when love came wrapped in the silken smokescreen of pain. The entire world spoke of its ills, yet one, in all one’s unassuming, juvenile glory, embraced it, and beamed, sitting pretty right on its shaky periphery. And then the books, music, movies, conversations, growing up, work, friendships, more lost love, more love, poetry, more conversations, travel, caffeine - a bunch of random dynamics, like compost, nurtured one’s maturity, allowing it to bloom like a bonsai in the pounding depths of one’s heart.

I do not know whether it is the outcome of that, or the sheer need to overcome heartache because one loses time, as time gets more and more precious as one moves on, and one finds that one owes it in a gazillion ways to the very people that cause the heartaches. But all this explication doesn’t exactly suffice to take one by surprise. One grows, and learns, and unlearns, and grows. But what baffles me is the way that motherhood cankers one’s selfishness away. Sure, volumes have been written about a mother’s unconditional love, but mothers still need something for themselves. Be it a moment’s peace, a new possession, or something more fancy, like a surprise gift. Yet, it is possible for us to separate our own needs, our wants, our desires, our likes, and our life in general, from those of the ones we love; and I don’t mean spouse and children alone. How we are able to do it is as enigmatic as anything else in the universe, if one looks at it that way. Givers can’t always be takers, perhaps.

I shall keep from delving further and gashing at the phenomenon just so all the mothers in the world can get another round of roaring applause. And I am not exactly speaking from a motherly standpoint. It’s just that the dilemmas and despairs that life throws at one don’t really bring down the tears anymore. The tears are better saved for the nicer things in life. Like joy. And for that, one has to overlook the overwhelming power of heartache and wring out the little things from one’s life that make one smile. Or cry. And may be that’s how we do it.

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