There can only be two reasons for looking at the sunset. And by looking, I mean actually sitting there, enjoying the breeze and appreciating the alluring, vibrant hues of yellow, red and vermillion. These reasons are: 1. When we’re really happy and 2. When we’re not. In rare cases there is a third (like, you’re out at the beach with your family so instead of building lousy old sand castles with your younger sibling you’re looking at the sunset), but the state of mind ultimately boils down to these two reasons.
The other day I found myself looking out at the sunset. A lot of thoughts drifted through my mind and I usually have a pretty long train of thought that doesn’t last beyond the moment so I can’t really recount those thoughts here. Surprisingly, I don’t remember whether I was particularly happy or not at that moment. It was definitely a mix of both. The circumstances in my life would make me think that it was more of not-happy than the opposite (my 10th Grade results are under a week away).
I’ve always had a positive approach to life to the point of being called an unabashed optimist. I’m certainly not ashamed of that despite my optimism not materialising in various situations.
I believe failure doesn’t deserve the amount of hate it receives. People are not supposed to fear failure. They are certainly not supposed to go hunting for it with axes and clubs but at the same time one must always reserve a margin for possible failure. It is in this aspect that I regret being the brazen idealist that I was.
I used to believe that even when I did not give my best effort, everything would turn out fine and that my effort was ‘just enough’. Obviously, it turned out to be far from enough and this would make me doubt myself. This self – doubt would deprive me of self – confidence and anxiety would creep in. I started setting unrealistic goals for myself and I always thought that whatever I did was not enough. It was a vicious cycle. It had to be broken sometime.
Like the hero in most movies, I fought my demons (and I’m still fighting them), but life’s been much better since that teensy – but – oh – so – ginormous epiphany about a year back.
Well, this ain’t therapy and I’m definitely not looking for a shoulder to cry on (like I would ever do that). Usually I just keep writing when I do, so one thing kinda led to another.
Anyway… thank you for bearing with me and here’s a little story (like a potato at the end of long memes :P):
I sifted along through the sand. Music played in my ears and for once, I didn’t mind the low volume. I relished the warmth of the sand on my feet and I loved the sound of the waves crashing upon the beach. The breeze blew periodically and my hair flew with it.
Mental note: Need a haircut.
The whole atmosphere of the moment helped immensely to calm my nerves.
The beach was unusually empty, but it was a weekday after all. I’d taken the cycle out for a bit and I was sitting by it on the beach. I was lucky to live so close to the sea. It was a shame my parents were thinking of moving.
A couple of joggers panted past me. One of them looked terribly out of shape and I could notice a hint of a limp in his right foot. I was myself not in really good shape, but then thanks to fast metabolism, I never have been. The only good thing on that front was that I was nearly as tall as my elder cousin. And things like that are immensely reassuring, at least in the moment.
A stray dog approached me, sniffing me all over. He walked away once he realised the futility of his actions. Mom had shoved a few biscuits down my shirt pocket, I remembered. I whistled at the dog and he looked behind. I waved the biscuits in the air and then held them out in my hand. He came close and sniffed the biscuits.
I assumed he’d taken a liking to me because he sat down beside me after eating the biscuits. Either that or he was greedy for more biscuits. We both sat there, watching the sea, and anybody who walked by would have seen the contemplative looks on our faces and would’ve smiled.
I patted Mr. Dog on the head and I saw he liked it because he moved closer to me and lay down on his stomach.
The sun was beginning to set now and the unique colours of the sky were beginning to show. They reminded me of my favourite fruits – peaches (actually, I hate them).
I stood up to begin cycling again. The dog, stood up too, and sensing my desire to depart he licked my shoe one last time and walked away. We all need some silent companionship now and then. And animals are no different.
The wind crashed against my face as I picked up speed. It ran down my t – shirt and a shiver ran down my spine.
I swerved to dodge a big stone that the retreating waves revealed. Instead I headed into another stone and my butt received a smacking.
I took a left to get back onto the streets and another left to head home. Twelve minutes later I was chaining my cycle in the building compound. A guy on the second floor had been assigned the parking space beside the spot where I parked my cycle and today, it appeared, he had parked the car at an odd angle, making it difficult for me to park my cycle properly. The cycle’s pedals grazed the car’s back bumper when I rode it in but luckily there were no marks visible.
I always leave my lock and chain wound around an electricity rod when I go cycling as it’s quite a load to carry around. I take it along if I’m going far or for a long time. What caught my attention this time was that it was unlocked and placed away from the chain. I would never leave it that way. I picked it up only to find something tucked away in the key slot. A small piece of paper, yellowed and crumpled. It was the kind that tears easily. It was rolled up. I opened it up and what I saw was completely unexpected. It was… just weird. And it was sort of lame too. On it, written were the words: ‘ I know how to open it now.’
And there begins another tale.