Dear Anupriy: Letter #19

(This letter is part of an epistolary series Speaking Our Souls and is a response to Letter #18. If you wish to start from the beginning, you can look at the list here)

It has almost been a year since I last wrote to you.

Why such a gap? I don’t know. I can say that I got busy, but it’s a lousy excuse. I guess I had a new job to take care of. I thought it mattered that I showed up 100% to this new working space, so I cut off the one thing I cared about.

I guess reading your last letter upset me too. I apologize for making you feel that your letter was unread. I don’t think I ever meant to isolate you in the company of my letter. I was merely excited to narrate my weird train epiphany. I am glad that you wrote back when you did, even if it took time to write.

I too found it difficult to pen my thoughts over the past months. I lacked courage. I have become dependent on the opinions of people around me. In my defence, having opinions is tough! You must deliver them out of a sensitive area, feed them through your gut and cloth them in subtext. Can they stand on their own? Or are they bubbling and shaking, constantly looking back at you for reassurance? When they grow up and mature, have they remembered their toilet training? Can they hold on to the essence that you have poured in again and again — spoonfuls of vitriol topped with rainbow fritters?

I don’t know why I find myself with these doubts. The more days I see on this planet, the less sure I am of my person. Am I becoming dumber? Maybe I want to pay less attention and willfully ignore what I am uncomfortable with. I keep wondering if I have enough information to take sides in such a polarized world like ours. Am I a fence-sitter? If I am, then what is it that I am waiting for?

You know what? I think I figured it out. Our lives need soundtracks. Not some abstract Philip Glass brilliance, but more Disney-esque du jour — that slips inside the ear and sticks to your brain. The kind of background music that informs you when to be happy, when to be sad, when to be in pain and when to apprehend the fantastical reveal of a cartoonish villain! Can you imagine if, on a particular day, I hear a b-minor interlude and know with 100% accuracy, that I must be offended? And like a warrior, prepare to fight the evil forces trying to arrange a zoom call with me?

What do you think? Would you like Hans Zimmer to score your life and help you decide which ice-cream to eat or when to stop worrying about missing alliterations?

I hope all this doesn’t fall in the same trap as my ‘Fiction is the ultimate toolbox’ epiphany. I hope it doesn’t seem like another imaginary way to escape my present reality. You touched upon the irony of ‘othering’ in your last letter. And you’re right. The ‘other’ is only a mental make-up — a universal feeling of isolation. Perhaps it isn’t just me wishing for a distress signal soundtrack, but all of us. And maybe we can’t hear it because they are all playing on top of each other. All you catch is a beautiful, messy ruckus. Headphones, anyone?

Hope you are coping well in corona times. Awaiting your next letter while I sustain a quarter-life meltdown.

Yours-truly-in-lockdown,
Roh

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Art. History. Books.

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Rohina Thapar

Rohina Thapar

Art. History. Books.

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