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Paradise Lost: Much like Satan, my fall occurred when I ‘fell’ from the heaven of childhood's simple joys

Ruchi Kokcha
Ruchi KokchaJul 28, 2019 | 13:54

Paradise Lost: Much like Satan, my fall occurred when I ‘fell’ from the heaven of childhood's simple joys

I never knew I would relate to the anti-hero of a 17th century epic poem so much. But as loneliness closes in on so many as a social epidemic today, it is clear I am not even alone.

I have no qualms in admitting right away that I am terribly frightened by the pace of life I am supposed to follow.

Ever since I was a young girl, I was told how I had to study hard, get good grades, if not the best, acquire a job that will enable me to earn my own money and so on. My mother always tried to make me understand how money is the basis of everything — even relationships. My sentimental, hopelessly romantic heart could never believe her. I got financially independent just as she wanted. I live an above-average life. But there is one thing I certainly wonder now more often than ever — why do people suffer, despite the comfortable lives they have?

I don’t have a huge circle of friends. In fact, only three whom I can share my heart and bare my soul to. All three of them are well-to-do in life. We meet, have a good time. Yet, there is an underlying sadness that is touched upon some times. We bask in silence for a while. I understand their intrinsic sadness and perhaps, they understand mine to give each other that solitary time. In solitude, I realise that I have no cure for it and they don’t have it either.

This part of our lives is a hopelessly vicious circle.

It never ends.

inside_072219020537.jpgAlone: Ours is a generation full of lonely people who are too afraid to show their vulnerable side to the world. (Photo: Getty Images)

The more I think about it, the more I am directed to only one answer.

We, as a generation, have stopped appreciating the charm of slowness. Half of our lives have been spent running after the things that we were told will bring us happiness and comfort. The other half will be spent in contemplating how much of our achievements actually brought us any solace.

When I was a child, my favourite part of the day was when I was left to do whatever I felt like.  As an eight-year-old, I loved to climb the highest branch of a Shehtoot (Mulberry) tree in our garden. I used to imagine myself as a pilot flying above everyone else. I would sit there for hours and just watch the ants moving in lines straighter than I could ever draw without using a scale. On lucky days, I would see a bird feeding its young ones. Luckiest were the evenings when my mom was too busy with her work to call me inside. I would lie on that horizontal branch like a leopard and watch the constellations form shapes in the dark sky.

I felt one with this universe.

inside-2_072219020612.jpgA paradise all mine: There are joys far away from our phones, in just watching nature and the skies. (Photo: Getty Images)

The more I grew, the more distant I became from these joys in my life.

The trees were cut. The birds disappeared. The sky was hazier than ever. The angry stars took back their light. I was forced to sit in my balcony and count the cars racing by on the road. People were always going somewhere or the other. Then, one day, I joined them in the race because that is exactly what everyone is expected to do when they grow up.

The fall had occurred. I had lost my paradise.

Everyone is so busy. The little time that is left after work is spent scrolling the screen of the smartphone. Lately, I have started to feel more disconnected from people I am close to than ever. Real conversations have become a rarity. People have stopped valuing real presence. Even when they are with someone they might want to be with, they are checking their phones every five minutes.

This strange addiction is one of the major culprits for killing the charm of a slow life.

inside-3_072219020642.jpgWhat are we 'like' anyway? A generation obsessed with likes, there is hardly a moment when we're not on social media. (Photo: Getty Images)

I wish to run away. I want to disappear like those stars from my childhood to a place where technology has yet not ruined existence so much. I want to exist in an age where I can spend a good amount of time dipping a quill in an ink-pot, soiling my hands completely in the process, my nails acquiring a permanent colour. I want to go back to a time where I can sprinkle the ground with water and lie on it — watching the moon move across the sky till I fall asleep. I want to hold a hand and sit beside a stream in silence and listen to the music of the silver water flowing before us.

I want to turn back the gyre to a time when a lifetime was spent in knowing someone, slowly pulling off the covers from the soul, an age when lovers wrote letters for their beloved all their lives without meeting them ever again.  

I think I should stop here, for my eyes have started to brim over, thinking about what we, as a generation, have lost — and the utter despair to ever find it back again.

Last updated: July 28, 2019 | 13:54
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