My first brush with loneliness was when I moved to Bangalore for my undergrad, second was when I moved to Vancouver and third… It was progressive. With every move, I have hated it more. Thankfully, I recover quite quickly and find ways of filling the ‘hole’ in my life.
With time, I have however come to realise that this loneliness comes in several garbs and is there even when I am too busy to look. I am not going to take you down the rabbit hole of my ill-baked ideas (which are anyways meant for myself) but will instead illustrate my point with a simple story that I learnt as a young kid: In this story, a person is told by death that he shall keep on living only if he were to find a substitute for himself to die. He searches far and wide among his nearest and dearest only to realise that he was alone and that he should accept his eventual fate. You might take this story pessimistically but I do not. To me it talks about the mortality of attachments (human or otherwise) and tells me how much it is desired that we embrace the inevitability of loneliness. In any case, to me this loneliness is absolutely essential and I guard it as I might a treasure. Here is something I wrote a long time ago!
I have no songs for you my friend
Or words of love that I may share,
That you are there, I am thankful,
I would be still if you weren’t as well.
Those hymns that I sing your presence,
Vanish in time,
There is no tide to carry them along
The grey old sea.
I do recognise that you have been a loving friend,
Visiting every now and then,
Listening patiently to my endless qualms
And returning them with beautiful songs.
Yet how can I ignore the poison,
That you stir in so many lives,
Not all are accustomed to your presence,
Oh Solitude! Withhold your fury from them.
Yet I embrace you,
For my throat parches in your absence,
My fingers quiver but do not write,
And words remain unsaid.
Some of my friends haven’t had my luck, have felt it chronically and at close quarters. At times, I have tried to help but have rarely been able to. But why am saying this midst an extremely busy period?
I came across (thanks to Stefan) this article: https://thewalrus.ca/the-science-of-loneliness/ which brought my business to a sudden halt.
Here is a quote so as to get you thinking: “when it comes to a heightened risk of mortality, loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” I am not going to scrutinise their statistical abilities but given how many friends struggle with solitude in various forms, share it.
In case it was a waste of your time, let me make it up to you:
P.S. Not sure who to attribute the strips to! Thank you and I hope you do not mind if it is you.