It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Ever since I was a kid, I used to look out of that train’s window which I would be taking during my vacations every summer. I had my mind undertaking its usual navigation through the various things I would do in these vacations- how I would wake up late in the morning, have those scrumptious meals in breakfast, then go on whole day playing various games with my cousins and sleep late playing cards- all without a care in the world. It doesn’t really get any more trafficky then a child’s mind, only the vehicles there are always in motion. So, even with the trafficky mind contemplating the scenes outside the window, I could care about a great many things.
I could see how the electricity wires kept on rising and rising in height until they met a pole or a tree where they bent down. I used to wonder why it happened. I even cheered them to keep on rising, praying in my mind to not get a tree anytime soon, but their ascent was always broken and it looked tragic to me. I never formed any higher motifs of life from watching those things; I couldn’t. But what mattered was that I still looked out for them, in cheerful anticipation of a height I hadn’t seen reached before.
I would also look out to see the huts, mud-houses and thatched roofs on my way. I would see people going about their work not knowing or even trying to think about my passions, my mind and my story. I used to realize that just like me, they too would be having their own stories. Because they were real people and not like in films where they only come about for a few seconds and vanish. I used to wonder as to what their story would be- behind beating that blanket with a bat, behind mending that bicycle with a wrench and behind running along the train with a kite.
I used to form stories about those people, partly under the impact from those ever so useful textbooks that taught me stories about how a group of village boys would run at the sound of the train and partly through my own imagination of how I saw them. It was all done within the mind and to satisfy it. Having done, I would feel a lot better.
But things are very different now. There isn’t so much traffic in my mind but the vehicles seem to just block the way and stay there. They do not move. Yet, I still look out of the window and I still see all those people, exactly the way they were when I was a kid. But I no longer ask myself as good questions as I used to. I seem to have lost the zeal for it. I no longer form elaborate stories in my mind watching them, even though I can do it better now. At best, I try to pass rational judgements to what they do and my imagination goes a slow sleep.
“Am I turning old” , I wonder. “Why is it that I have lost that curiosity that used to drive me? And why I can’t I care more?”. But I don’t find the answers and go to bed.