When nothing happens...
I went numb and felt death in my bones. It was an ‘over and out’ moment. There had been no specific stimulus to trigger this off. I was, in fact, sitting at the table having lunch. The rice was whirling before me and I knew even a grain could choke me.
Deep melancholia has lodged itself within me. You won’t notice it when I write, when I talk, when I sing, when I draw and when I smile at strangers in the lift. Then, on a good sunny day when life is looking up like a snotty diva at a social do, the winds hurl like cyclonic storms. Within confines I can feel their damning fury.
When pop star Madonna spoke about something similar, I understood: “I have moments where I feel incredibly invincible and know that I have the audience in my hand – I know that everything is absolutely perfect. And then I have panic attacks where I feel like everyone is breathing my air and I cannot live up to everybody’s expectations and I might just die on stage.”
I am not a performer, but the fear is so palpable and one does not even know the reason.
I clearly recall having these few powerful attacks earlier, strangely enough all while watching films. The first time was Drohkaal, by Govind Nihalani; it dealt with terrorism. I have seen a lot of such films, written on the subject. But I felt like a pair of hands was strangling me.
The next time it was probably a stupid film, and although I don’t relish stupidity, there is no reason to panic…I had to be taken home, ice-packs placed on my head.
The third time was In the Name of the Father. That was real bad, mainly because the violence was so internalised. Again, I broke into a sweat and my heart started beating so fast I thought it would stop. I rushed out and rather uncharacteristically lay down on the sofa. The guy at the canteen brought me a cola. In the fizz bubbling at the rim I thought I could see traces of what I had left behind. I returned to the auditorium and sat through with my eyes and ears shut.
What was happening here? I was, I think, identifying with the characters, the plot or just a feeling of disturbance and dissonance. I was looking for escape routes, not just exit signs.
This time it happened after long and I had nowhere to go to. I stilled my heart with my warm hands like a mother putting a baby to sleep. Just as soon, I travelled in my mind…so far that my hands looked like they were elastic, my eyes like a kaleidoscope. I was riding away, too close to myself, too close to everything…
So near that I could not see the distance. And when one cannot see the distance, the road is not visible, and it is roads that take us some place else.
I am scraping off the glue beneath my shoes and dusting my wings.