I have a sanctuary. In our small apartment I feel specially attached to the small room that faces west and I enjoy through its large window my afternoon visual walks gradually melting into the sunset. Perhaps this is an appropriate penchant for me in my own sunset years, almost everyday I seek to travel along the mellowing golden rays of the setting sun. Every evening this experience leaves me amased and rejuvenated.
I call this room my sanctuary - sanctum sanctorium! I escape from the big world into the embracing confines of these four walls. And I try to face my demons - no, not in the form and sense of monsters, or panic buttons, my demons are my ever-increasing stream of queries, questions, search for answers.
I am a questionaholic, I like to rattle the cages of peoples’ thoughts, pull down the shibboleths they have propped up, prick the balloons they have blown up for some synthetic show of knowledge. These are the walking brain deads who beat down incessantly worn out ‘mantras’ day in and day out. These are the faceless masks who chant out hackneyed conversations, talk shows, lectures and so forth ad nauseum over the print and electronic media.
Some of them also are self-styled intellectuals (a very demeaning Bengali word ‘ buddhijeebi’ is used by them with pride) - they do indeed survive by selling their wits, in fact, mostly their souls and often for thirty silvers. They have the gall to call themselves the ‘civil society’ implying the rest are not.
And then you have an unconstitutional structure with half-wits, sycophants and abjectly comical con-men and - women constantly hijacking the legitimate role of decision - making under a democratic order and we all shout about our credentials come the election time. We have been duped too many times for too long and by all the predatory power conglomerates. I have sought for long to write and bring on the facts, bring down the fictions and bring in some sunshine of an enquiring mind.
I escape into this sanctuary. I read, seek and learn and I write. And more of all, I talk to myself. I am also a compulsive writer of the most ordinary kind. At this point in my life, I just feel like doing all that three famous forefathers a la’ Charles Darwin, are depicted as doing. I believe there lays the salvation of all the tormented souls of 120 million hapless people sans a few thousands perhaps. You do not see, hear or speak. And you live.
Sometimes some of my die-hard friends who have given up on me do read some of what I scribble and escape from my ’sanctuary’ and appear in print and on-line. Apparently they are too stunned to comment and I am sure would not like to be seen to even cross my shadow. And some, of course, have been more than generous in their appreciation and yes, way more than I deserve.
But that spurs me on along with my sons’ advice not to compromise with my thoughts on a better dispensation of things. My sanctuary gives me, in my view, my sanity and my resolve despite my age making the ‘real’ world so much more complicated.
Being ‘real’ it is so out of this world that I am spared the pains, and occasional pleasures, of touching on those experiences. Looking at the sunsets and sometimes the day breaks, I find these so extraordinarily similar. Of course, there are nuances, the shades of the colours, the visual differences in the mass of the rising and the setting sun and our instinctive consciousness of the truth, an inner compass is set in motion to let us know the difference.
They say an evil to prosper and spread takes only the good people to be silent. In our scenario, all the people are silent. But how does that matter and why in heavens we should bother? I do think as we all do in our heart of hearts that it matters and we all need to reflect on and rally around a possible answer.
I think in everyone’s life, perhaps every day comes as they say the defining moment, when one goes either up or under, with the angels or with the devil, right or wrong, kills his soul or rekindles it, hopes or despairs, dies or lives.
This is where my sanctuary accords me space and enables me to focus. Not with a huge lot of success though, I must hasten to admit. Nonetheless, I trust, like the journeys we undertake, it is in the effort, in the process and in the transition, that we reach our destination and God willing, achieve our destiny.
I wish to share some sentimental verses, if I may.
When I speak to you miles away,
It is sunshine there you say!
When you whisper I love you from miles away,
It is sunshine here I say!
I say I love you again and again,
Come sunshine come rain!
Every morn you see I breathe, you say goodbye
And leave me to darkness of the day,
And I say fare you well, with a sigh
And shall see you soon I pine and pray!