The Homecoming – 2/2

The train that had dropped him at his hometown was long gone, but Lou was still standing in the station. His emotions were a medley of guilt, regret, longing, and enthusiasm. His fantasy of his return tricked him into believing that it would be a treat. Never once did his restiveness allow him to question the sanctity of it. Had he been more apprehensive, he would’ve been more prepared.

But he mustered the courage to go on. He stepped out of the station and decided to walk home. He wanted to look for familiar faces on the way and surprise them. As he walked more into the city, he noticed that many changes had taken place since he had left, but the town still seemed to carry a dreary, rustic spirit.

He was now keenly looking for anyone familiar, when his watchful gaze fell upon a damp alley towards his right. He only looked for a second, but that was enough to notice 3 hipsters lunging a knife at a terrified, puny man who probably refused to “co-operate”. He was petrified, but he quickly walked along, hoping that they didn’t notice him. Lou was now rambling. Nothing had changed. Mentally, he was taken back 20 years, to that horrible night in the market.

He was desperately trying to shake it off but it had caught him like a leech. He had assumed that he was inured to such atrocities, but how foolish of him to think that fleeing from them was the solution. Although, he was at least handling it better than the last time, given that now he was still in town. He continued on his aimless stroll, and a while later saw the vast corn fields. They only reminded him of how naive he had been. The carelessness, the insouciance, the countless hours spent being chased by the poor old farmer left him feeling ashamed.

He hoped his naivety could be forgiven and moved on. Heavy-hearted, he continued. Pensive and sad. A few lazy strides later, he was standing before Aunt Maira’s store. He entered hesitantly, like he did years ago when he knew he was going to be reprimanded. He walked inside, and greeted the wizened woman behind the counter. Aunt Maira recognized him instantly and was elated to see him return, but sadly, Lou couldn’t reciprocate. The apparent indifference confounded him but he could quickly discern why.

After seeing her, he was pricked by a sense of guilt. The woman had always tried to correct him, but all he ever did was wait for the candy. It gave him a niggling feeling now and he was desperate for some respite. He consoled his teary aunt and promised he would come to visit her again. He stepped outside and took a deep breath. He tried to collect his thoughts and calm his nerves. There was one final stop before he would go home to his mother and that spot was his “Happy Place”. He turned to the alley which was between her aunt’s store and the local grocery store. And once again he was inundated with memories of his past.

He playing with the toys, alone; Role-Playing games in which he was always the brave warrior whom everyone loved; Hiding from all the other boys; Making it his safe haven. He pitied himself. He hated himself for being a coward. For having a “happy” time by living in pretense. For never standing up to anyone. For running away.

It was all too much for him. It was not the welcome he had hoped for. Every dear memory of his had started to turn bitter, and by now he was starting to wonder if trying to relive them was a bad idea. Maybe sealing them away in the depths of his mind, unexplored and pristine, would’ve at least kept him happy. But unfortunately, he didn’t realize that he would then only be using a new pretense to shroud the old one.

He headed back to his home, shaking his head and cursing along the way. He was frustrated that the city hadn’t at all changed. And he was right. Everything was the same, only, he wasn’t.

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Why Gossip is so Hip?

I think gossip is shallow. I think it’s pointless. It wouldn’t harm anyone if missed, but is missed by no one. It seems like there’s no escape from it. No respite from the constant nagging. Insignificant aspects blanket us, but I wonder why people choose to acknowledge them. One might argue: You’d have to know what’s insignificant to know what isn’t. It might be true, but that doesn’t imply that we make it a habit to blab about the superficial aspects and side-step the truth.

Gossip is rooted into our voguish lifestyle. Sometimes we may not even initiate it, but not being able to refuse it, is also a crime in itself. What I hate the most about gossip, is that it affects my opinions about people. I like my opinions (of people) untouched, unaffected by the views of others. But negative gossip comes in the way. Nothing good comes out of it. It spoils my perspective and the way I think. Personal stuff about people, of which I can guarantee no authenticity, requires me to challenge what I think of them, questioning my self-formed opinion of them. I don’t like that.

I fear what people talk about me behind my back. Truth is, I don’t think I want to know. Cause I’d have this constant nagging in my head which would prevent me from being me. It breaks trust and widens the rift. It isn’t fair to the people who confide in us.

Nobody likes a know-it-all. Nobody can trust someone who talks out of turn. People tend to gossip because they surrender to the temporary pleasure it provides. We feel tempted to quench the thirst of our inquisitive minds. Curiosity can lead us on a wrong path sometimes. And as the saying goes, ‘Curiosity killed the cat’.

Although, I have been presented with a different perspective too. Gossip can in some ways help. For example:- Suppose your colleague in office recently lost her husband leading to depression and indifferent behavior in the office since the past few days. If you were to know this fact through gossip, you’d have a chance to understand the situation and show sympathy towards her.

But if you think about it, you didn’t necessarily need to know that through gossip. It was a fact that didn’t really require discretion. It could’ve been politely put forward to her colleagues. Maybe they could ask her to take a break while they cover for her or they could find other ways to cheer her up. Although gossip did help, it didn’t have to be in the picture.

Gossip may not seem all bad, it never does. But it isn’t exactly a healthy habit for a stable society. I feel it robs us of the chance to frame independent perspectives on people and the world around us. The mere fact that it is an act that requires secrecy suggests that it might be wrong. The fear of being overheard only proves it. I personally feel that it is important to curb it and bring it to a bare minimum. I think people do realize this but I still wonder why gossip is so hip.

Cause Everybody Can’t be Me.

Some people talk only when it seems fit,

Maybe they’re too busy;

I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I don’t get it the way I want,

Maybe I should be flexible and free;

But that sick feeling always pokes around,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I can only act like I belong,

Maybe I’m not what they see;

It’s a constant reminder while moving along,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I hate to goof around and give  fake smiles,

It’s not my cup of tea;

I quit when it dawns after a while,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I wonder if people think the same,

Maybe they have their own plea;

Sometimes I sigh, “Oh what a shame!

That everybody can’t be me”.

 

We want birds of the same feather. We can probably never be in a place where getting along with others will take nothing but being oneself. So what do we do then?

 

Well if it were up to us, we’d have the whole world dancing on it’s toes. We like people for what we think of them and what we’d like them to be rather than for who they are. We create a mental version of them which is strewn by our experiences with, and opinions of them. We engage in constant conflict to match this version to reality and feel frustrated otherwise.

 

Everybody has their own approach, their own perspectives, making them unique. But we often forget to acknowledge that,  because we cozily cuddle in our comfort zones, smugly believing we’re right.

 

We try to change them to our liking in order to feel comfortable. We thus miss out on a brand new personality that may open our eyes to a different perspective.

 

Change makes us uncomfortable. First opinions stick. Someone is termed ‘Different’ , quicker than ‘Unique’. People take time to identify potential, slower than they call names.

 

But one should have faith in one’s own ideals. They are to be preserved and cherished. Only the worthy deserve to hear them. In fact, they’re the only ones who can value them.

 

Change is important. It’s quite necessary. When we’re not around birds of the same feather, it’s okay to adopt another persona, but it’s foolish to mask our personality.