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As Easy as Breathing
|by Payal Kapur|
There is more to being able to breathe than just inhalation. The ability to freely express is one such additional necessity. It is only when we are able to fully be ourselves and say what’s on our hearts and minds that we can heave a free, spirited, soulful-l lungful. It happens to me all the time. I phase out in a conversation, to some other place altogether. Part memory and part creative subconscious reconstruction-where I feel a certain feeling that I cannot put in words. For a person who cannot stop talking, such a feeling of being at loss of expressible conjointment of alphabets is quite stifling. At such times I wish I could open up my mind so the other person can just take a peek and see what I see.
If every thought had a name, every feeling had a fragrance and every dream had a certain colour, I would be able to paint you a picture or write you a song. But presently, I find myself gasping for breath, just because I cannot make you feel what is going through my head at that exact point in time and space.
I used to be a girl of varied emotions but all on the same scale of intense. Lukewarm was a very far flung concept the question of which did not arise. Today I am more controlled and sparing with the concentration of feeling. If I could touch my intensity as a physical object back then, I could bottle it up and fill a basement full of casks. Today, I can barely squeeze a vial. The problem arises when I faze back into the old me. It is then that I have this urgent need to express myself or I feel like I might rupture at the seams and come undone. This feeling of screaming, unheard is quite unnerving and paralytic all at once.
It seems like a century has gone by and all I can muster up is the tiny, empty phrase of “I cannot explain”. It feels more like a touristy thing where you know what you want to say in your own language, but just cannot put it in the language that is comprehendible for the other. Lost In translation perhaps, is the most apt way to explain the situation.
I genuinely wish I could explain what I feel when the cool October breeze hits me or I get a whiff of Moringa from my linen drawer, but agonizingly, I cannot. I might write a whole series of novellas on the frenzy that the smell of espresso puts me in but you may never feel my exact specific feeling at the time of inhalation.
And worse things happen when I do put in all of my efforts and then some, to explain fully where I am in this massive world between subconscious and reality, and the one listening to the lament dismisses it without a thought. If while I’m on my exhausting journey of explanation, I am painfully cut off, dismissed or worse still treated as a background Debussy or Tchaikovsky, I feel like a marathon athlete disqualified on the last inch of a 500k race! It physically, hurts in unquantifiable ways and mimics the pain that a slap on the wrist or sting on the face might give rise to.
Lucky are those who have partners in feeling. Those who have those who can read their every expression, especially the ones that are left unsaid. And when you do find such a person, life is literally a breeze. To live with them, then gives new meaning to the word - ‘as easy as breathing’.
I would at this point sincerely like to thank the movies for their undying contribution to my life and its many moods. It is only recently that I heard the lyrics of a particular song and felt like it literally came from my own heart and not the writer’s quill. I kid you not, at that moment I honestly felt a deep breath escaping my lips. One of relief, for here are words, tailor made to express my mind’s situation, if I may call it that.
Again, though I feel calm and placid after having ranted on and put my thoughts where they cannot be dismissed or erased, where they are in solid black and white, I still feel at ill ease unless someone physically came to me, looked into my eyes and genuinely said - ‘I know what you mean’.
While I write this, the song rings though my mind. One that my present I sings to the old me:
“Saans mein teri, saans mili to, mujhe saans aayi. Mujhe saans aayi”
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