Life in a Glass – a metaphor

Memories are like grit – scattered, tiny and part of a larger whole and yet they retain a distinct identity. They are very potent in transcending you through time. Some memories send you into a pleasant reverie, some bring a smile, some make you emotional, some make you cry, some nostalgic and some bring regrets.

And life is like a glass – filled with water, just plain but still water. When you are born, you are a pristine glass of clear, new, fresh water. You are uncomplicated and there no frills to your existence. You are pure and unbridled. You retain a pure identity. WYSIWYA – What You See Is What You Are!

With time, however, experiences and memories adulterate you –  just as grits of dust, particles, pollens, dead insects pollute a glass of water kept still, no matter where the glass is – indoors, outdoors, in the woods, in tropical climate or temperate climates.

The interesting part is you never realise when these impurities and foreign agents enter the glass. All you are allowed to see is that they have entered. When? You can never know and will perhaps never know. When you pause time and again and bring your eyes close to the glass, you see a clear fluid; light travels through it. You’re assured it is pure, and you carry on. But there are sediments, hidden in dregs, waiting to be seen but not just yet.

And then something happens. Something that stirs the water in the glass:  a shake, a tremor, a deliberate stir or vibration or some movements that reveal the purity of the fluid.

The dregs unsettle. Grit rises. You see them floating up from where they laid as passive residents all this while. At this point, the glass of water experiences a phantasmagoria – connecting past events and life to all that is floating about its volume – one memory or grit at a time.

Now, it’s an unsettling experience to know its current composition. For the liquid in the glass, it sure is so! It likes to remain undisturbed. Just as we are most blissful when life is smooth, undisturbed and the road ahead is clear, when we don’t have to strive too hard to see what is coming up next, when we don’t have events that make us look back and ponder about our existence.

The slightest of stir – good or bad, romantic or unromantic, friendly or unfavourable – rekindles our minds and makes us reminisce all that we had then and have not today.

Imagine that you are living a busy life. You wake up in the morning with some struggle, grab a bite on the go for breakfast, commute to work, try to remain positive about the various onslaughts at work, live through meetings, get things done, manage people, call it a day, travel back home and have some private time with yourself or your partner or family. Day in and day out, you have your ups and downs. You challenge yourself. You pat yourself on your back. You admonish yourself. Repeat this for several months. It is mundane and dull. Quite predicable, but it is stable. You have minimal complaints. Of course, you may want that privileged break and that extra dough to travel to an exotic island or picturesque Alpine valleys and take some time off. But you’re looking to the future in this desire. Now, suppose your best friends – from school, or college or university, no matter from where, but the best friends – pay a visit to you. You all lament that you can’t stay together anymore as you could in the past when life was simpler. You plan a holiday together and have two or three days off. In this period, you are switched off from being your usual self. You have exited your mundane spell. You are in a bonhomous trance during this period. Everything is positive. Unbelievably good! This is the stir that is shaking the glass – your life.

And then the friends depart. You’re left alone, back in your old track. You can hear the silence – the void that is clearly shouting out loud about the absence of the jokes, smiles, friendly banters, laughter and voices of your departed friends that filled the air around you just a day ago. As you walk alone, the void follows you, taps you on your shoulder and tells you about the emptiness, and keeps telling you. It won’t shut up for a couple of days. You reminisce not just the most recent memories with them but the old ones too from two or three years or even earlier. You miss them bitterly and wish that you could travel back into the past and relive those memories again. This is grit – the memories – that have risen from the dregs of the glass called life. They are traversing through the volume of your mind and knocking all those sentiment doors.

Few days later, you’re back to the drudgery of everyday life. You struggle to kick yourself out of the bed, grab a bite, commute to work, live the day at work, return home, retire to bed. When you walk back the lonely path to your home, you hear something very bleak. You stop. You look back, and it is the void again. This time, it has lost its voice or its too feeble. You know it’s there but it’s weaker than it was the last time it followed you. You carry on. Life has plateaued again.


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