I am in Pune. There are rains. Rains came to Delhi and passed it by. I too ran off to Pune. I do not know why. There is such a severe stench of mendacity in the air which settles around this time of the year. A pretense of significance of my life in other lives around me, a pretense of significance of my life, in its own solitude.
The city, which is always green and lush, is violently green today. The airfield, the roads, the buildings- are all clean and washed and shiny. I did catch some drizzle outside the airport. Just a slight drizzle, failing miserably to clean the cobwebs on my soul. A soul that has aged years in last year. I finished Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre on the flight.
The novel is a philosophical story wrapped around the search and eventual futility of existential meaning. I am always contemplative around the birthday (this I wrote last birthday - Why I Hate Birthdays?) . This birthday is even worse. While people claim that Forties is the new Twenties (some would even contend that Fifties is the new Thirties), I find even Forty-five an age where Birthdays are more dreadful and depressing than death. A sense of the Earth slipping away from under the earth, the sense of failure and futility sits heavy on the soul.
"I wanted the moments of my life to follow one another in an orderly fashion like those of a life remembered. You might as well try to catch time by the tail." wrote Sartre. By this age, I know there is no order, no rhyme and often, no reason. I write, but not as much as I would want to. Health has nose-dived, after a vertical spike with two Half-Marathons run two years back.
A novel sits half-written. It brushed too close to real life and I developed cold feet. What will I leave as legacy? What am I walking towards, stumbling from one night to another? Where is the resolution? Will it be a book? Struggling writer Antoine in Sartre's novel says-
'It would have to be a book: I don't know how to do anything else. ...I don't know of which kind but you would have to guess, behind the printed words, behind the pages, something which didn't exist, which was above existence. ...It would have to be beautiful and hard as steel and make people ashamed of their existence. .But a time would have to come when the book would be written, would be behind me, and I think that a little of its light would fall over my past."
Sartre's hero finds optimism in the end, wading through the depressing pessimism across the story. I do not know what it will take to wipe out the obdurate pessimism in my life. But till it is their, Birthdays will continue scare me, annoy me and even in a depressing way disgust me.