When Saajan in Lunchbox returned home, he had no one to talk to. It was just him, his dal and roti and cigarettes. The smoke that came out from the cigarette, they too disappeared. The neighbours closed the windows. They did not want any intrusion, whether practically or psychologically.
Saajan, not knowing what to think next to engage his mind, ate his dinner and went to bed.
Pain is a very difficult thing to handle. Even when you have nothing to worry about, it hurts somewhere. The pain of not knowing anyone and not being cared enough. This lasts much more than the ones which can be seen.
Deepak in Masaan asks his friends, “ye dukh khatam kyu nahi hota, bey?” why does not this pain stop?
No one has the answer. This deep grief of losing his love makes Deepak sulk in pain. It’s not just love or the sudden absence of it that he misses. But the fact that someone so special will not be there anymore.
The worst part is despite being told by many, you cannot move on. The pain prolongs and strengthens the belief of not forgetting the person you loved.
When I look back at my life, I find a few such ever-lasting pains. Some of them still exist. There is a reason why I don’t watch Pyaasa. I feel betrayed. I become Guru Dutt in it. What troubles me more is that Dutt was a depressed man in reality. He ended his life due to the massive pain in his life.
I wonder how this enormous guilt and sorrow can kill you? Why cannot one move on in life? How bad can a loss be? So bad that it might well kill yourself one day?
During my field reporting as a Municipal Corporation reporter, I have seen a man sitting amidst the shattered pieces of his fallen house. His house, as told by the Municipal Corporation, was illegal and encroached. He did not know this for years. He knows it now and how. He talks to me about how he built this house and how this was converted into a home by his family. They have gone to their village and when they come back, they will be homeless. This man could not stop his tears. I could not write about him in the newspaper where I worked because he was not my Target Group.
I came back, taking a little of his grief with me. I console myself that he has not lost his life. He can still build it. But what about that boy who failed in the board exams and hung himself from the ceiling fan? He is not coming back now. How difficult it must had been for him to live with the pressure? He could not deal with the pressures of life. Of waking up every morning, thinking of your guilt, pressure, targets, self-esteem, and on top of all that, the lowness of life.
I felt disturbed by all this but I needed to still write about them. The editor wanted to establish a connect with the reader while writing such stories. We needed to be a bit more emotional. I could not write such stories. The pain within stopped me.
I get tensed when I think of these people and of many whom I have not mentioned here. And when I think of Deepak, Saajan and Guru Dutt, I get sad. But I get scared when I think of myself.
What If tomorrow when I am making a tea for myself, I forget putting sugar in it because I was in habit of not adding it as my mother had Diabetes. And when I sip it to realize it, I also realize that she has left but my habit has not. What would I do then? How would I deal with it?
I see Kabir Khan fighting the loss of his pride every day in Chak De. He wants it back. There are many who could fight them. There are a few who cannot.
What if tomorrow I dial a number to talk to her and nobody picks it. Because there is no one on the other side.
I realize, hence, that the uncertainty of our future and our loved ones is the biggest fear of our lives. Pain is just its byproduct. And it will stay. You don’t live your life. You fight the pain all through it. It always stays. Always.