Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Pursuit of Eternal Happiness..


Google Images
The wind played a soulful symphony as it tousled his hair.  Black, wavy, it glistened furiously under the moonlight.  Suvo was surprised at how stunningly beautiful the city looked from the terrace of his building, where he had spent some of the most eventful years of his life.  The street lights that looked like gems strewn on an inky carpet, were winking mischievously at him.  The roads looked like a crazy zigzag… the sounds of lives in motion – a distant echo… the worn out mountains in the horizon – mute spectators to life and death, happiness and sorrow – it all seemed so surreal.  All he could hear was the sound of his laboured breathing, sweat trickling lazily down his forehead despite the chill.  He had to use all his will-power to curb the urge to wipe it off, but didn’t.  Tonight of all nights he should be above such frivolities. 

The last six months had been the happiest in Suvo’s life.  Not that he had been unhappy before.  At 38, he had everything a man could ever ask for – successful, rich, devilishly attractive, happily single and never short of women ready to mingle.  After a wild night of partying to celebrate his promotion as Vice President of his company, he stumbled upon a realization that took him by surprise.  Suvo Sarkar had finally achieved all that he had ever wanted and oddly that did not fill him with elation but a strange sense of emptiness.  Why? Is it because I have nothing left to pursue anymore?  

When he presented the Board of Directors his letter of resignation, they were shocked.  When he told them that he wanted to live a life as if he’s never going to die – they were convinced that he had gone bonkers.  Are you okay? I think you need counseling; do you want me to fix up an appointment for you?


Suvo had read somewhere that eternity is a succession of moments in time. He wanted to dedicate the next few months in quest of those special moments.  Suvo Sarkar wanted to get drunk on life.  And he did and how – sailed for weeks on the coasts of Greece, skied down the Alps, spent a month in a remote monastery in Leh, trekked to Mansarovar Lake.   And in his grand pursuit of the extraordinary, he discovered the ordinary – the joy of finding a tea stall in the middle of nowhere, sighing as the hot sweet beverage warmed his insides, the feel of icy cold rain on his face, chants that filled him with unbearable melancholy, ripples in a crystal clear lake that made his heart sing with joy, making friends with a complete stranger, sitting all night just talking to her…..    All these years of climbing the ladder of success, consumed with an overwhelming desire to succeed, Suvo had missed out on all these little moments that make life big.  

How uplifting it was to live without the burden of a future. For the first time in his life, Suvo felt alive.  

And now he was back home to fulfill a promise that he had made to himself six months back.  It was late evening, Suvo was smoking his favourite cigar when he was jolted out of his reverie by the shrill sound of the door bell.  With his eyebrows crinkled with annoyance he opened the door only to face his best friend Smita.  “Funny! You get back home and don’t even bother to give me a call?  Or is it that his highness has decided to drag and drop our relationship to the recycle bin just like the rest of his life!”  

Suvo chuckled.  “Sweetheart…do you always have to sound dramatic?“    
  
“You expect me to sound breathy and husky when I tell you that you have been behaving like a selfish asshole lately? One fine day you decide that you have achieved it all and go gallivanting around the world without even a thought to your loved ones! Who gave you the right to give up on a future that has so much to offer!  What about your social responsibilities, your spiritual fulfillment – you have not even gone down the road.  Isn’t it ironic that a man sets out to discover the world and refuses to explore his own life?  You Mr Sarkar are such a loser.”

“Don’t you give me all this hogwash about my responsibilities!  I have always depended on myself to keep me happy and fulfilled.  Your loved ones die, relationships come with an expiry date…When it is only me who I can completely depend on, why should I be answerable to anyone but myself!  And just because I want to lead and end my life the way I want to, I qualify to be a loser?  Aren’t you funny Smita?”

“Ha! With no job and a bank balance that is heading southwards, of course you should brace yourself for The End…”

“No Smita..I am not bracing myself for the The End...I am embracing it…” 

“What exactly do you mean by that?”  Smita was looking really alarmed now.

“Bye, Smita it’s getting really late now and I need to rest.”

Suvo could feel the bile rising up his throat, singeing his insides, his legs shaking in anxiety.  This is not how he had envisioned it – his death was supposed to be a celebration of a destiny he had carved for himself.  The dying sun in a sudden burst of creativity had covered the sky with stunning hues of molten orange.  Flocks of birds were flying back to their nests.  Did they ever stop to admire this beautiful sight?  Had these birds become immune to this breathtakingly beautiful spectacle of the setting sun!  What is life – a madness? What is life – an illusion, a shadow, a story?  Was I dead long before I decide to live?  No! Smita was wrong…I did explore my life these last few months and unearthed the truths that had to be discovered.  

I did not wait for death to choose me… I am proud that it will be me who will decide…

When Suvo eased off the ledge, looking heavenwards with his arms outstretched, his entire life played like a film in a hurry to finish, in front of his eyes.  Sitting on the kitchen slab watching his Mom bake cookies,  his first sighting of the sea,  when his dad pushed him at the deep end of the swimming pool to make him learn to swim,  his first kiss, how he had cried when his girlfriend ditched him for the basket ball star, the grim promise he had made to himself to be second to none...His Mom’s death,  how angry he was when his Dad chose to settle with his wife’s best friend…Tonight, on his last day of his life, Suvo was ready to forgive and forget.

He had now clenched his fists, bracing himself for the blinding pain.  But wait!  Instead of his body crashing into the pavement, he felt weightless like a floating feather.   Suvo opened his eyes only to look into the kindest pair of eyes, the giant wings flapping in slow motion.  He let out a whoop of delight.  Strangely no one heard it – not Mrs Mehra who was busy watching her favourite soap on TV, nor Mr Khan who was hunched over his laptop… nor Smita who had secretly loved him for years.  It was a young couple on their way back from work who discovered the dead body.  They couldn’t take their eyes off that face, so calm and serene. Tucked in his pocket was his suicide note 
“ I have lived a very eventful and happy life. I've travelled the world, lived in different countries, made more money than ever thought possible, and enjoyed spending as much of it as I could on things that gave me joy and satisfaction. I believe in the philosophy that my life belongs to me and only me, and I have the right to choose to die as much as I have the right to live." 

A man lives as if he’s never going to die and then dies having never really lived – The Dalai Lama

In remembrance of the couple in Goa who chose death happily....


62 comments:

  1. A really strange but very intriguing story. Loved it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice! Now its really time to write a book. :)

    I didn't expect an ending like that..

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow...something different...
    it's your life...live and die the way you like :))

    ReplyDelete
  4. An unusual post of a different genre!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. Completely in love with it. And what an attitude. I choose when to die. Amazing. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, I read about that couple, who chose death, when most in their stage are gloating over their achievements and craving for even more success. Thanks for penning it so wonderfully, truely a tribute to them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is a lovely story, with a beautiful end-both to the life and the story. Ordinary men can never overcome the fear of death- instead they live in constant turmoil. But when you feel content with what you have achieved, then well, it is i who chooses the when and where to die!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You fond of reading magic realism? Brilliant story and very arty character sketching. Suvo Sarkar seems to be a mix of Ulysses in Tennyson's eponymous poem, Thomas Wilson in Maugham's short story The Lotus Eater, Pilate in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and many such immortal characters. Nice read :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, such a meaningful story.. live your life..do whatever you want to do..:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Now this is something different that you have written :)
    but what a story .. is it real or fiction I dont know about it ..


    Content can we ever find anyone who is content .. Man is a animal it can never be content

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
  11. beautiful story Purba,
    it leaves me speechless and with goose bumps!
    you made us join him in his flight down and the eventual rising from it all:-)

    reminded me of a story we read in school about a man who chose fourteen years of solitary confinement for a million dollars but read and explored the world of so many books during this time that by the end of it all-nothing mattered and he just walked out without any money!

    this story should go into the school syllabus too!
    outstandingly brilliant:-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. That was such a pleasant surprise -- your versatility is breathtaking, as much as the story is. However, if everyone began choosing their own death and went about it, it would be a disaster, wouldn't it? How many people can truly say that they have had a contended life, after all?

    ReplyDelete
  13. piink delight...:)

    Rahul...Hahah...strange it is.

    Pzes...Thought I left enough pointers through out the story

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sub...Not exactly propagating this theory.

    Rahul...Had wanted to write this for a long time.

    Ashwini...But what about your grieving friends and relatives? I think it was a selfish decision.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Gautam...It was very touching but a part of me was angry at them for being so selfish.

    Cloud Nine...Sounds brave but most of us exist for others :)

    Snow...:(

    ReplyDelete
  16. Destiny...I like reading books that make me think :)

    Bhavana...But not many can do that.

    Bikram...But it is our restlessness that takes us to greater heights.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Suruchi...You have no idea how scared I was to publish this post..It is my first attempt at fiction :)

    Zephyr...Agreed - and we live for others. Imagine the pain and grief he left behind!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Engrossing fiction...and so true to life. The suicide by the young couple was playing on my mind too. You have penned a great tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well, while reading the first few lines(including the overused title) I felt why someone with such interesting and humorous posts previously has suddenly turned all philosophical and talking about something that has been discussed ever since mankind realized there is more to life than hunting and sex i.e. 'happiness'. But as I read on, I found that you have something different to say in a different way. The story-telling is superb. But it's the idea that's been endorsed in this post where I beg to differ.
    What I think is that the protagonist, Suvo is not being uniquely selfish (which is kind of acceptable in today's times) but rather he is being short-sighted and definitely narrow-minded in his perspective of life.
    His definition of -everything' was limited to reaching the topmost position in his company, living lavishly and exotic vacations. And then later on he tried spiritual recluse too. So that's all?? How can one be so sure that there is nothing more to achieve? Keep aside materialistic achievements. Talking of social or personal fulfillments ,did he attain 'everything'? Come on, this guy was all of 38 and didn't even have the chance to experience the joy of seeing his own child being born and grow ing up. He didn't bring about a revolutionary change nor was he any Steve Jobs, to cite a few examples.
    If 'I can choose the way I die' be made valid then suicide would no longer be a criminal offence. We are on this earth to serve a purpose and life is best kept a mystery... :):)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Phew! Glad it's just a story. Very well written indeed. Congrats. And now, need one of your humourous posts in a hurry.

    ReplyDelete
  21. There is a certain arrogance about being free-willed that comes across very well in this story. And it is my guess that a large number of us suffer from this arrogance, that I am the navigator of my life, and I am free to do as I choose.

    The fact that the protagonist is named Suvo, and that I quit my job almost a year back to do nothing for a while made it an especially more interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Alka...It was such a touching note..

    Prosenjeet...I did try to argue it out through Smita - there's more to life than material success.. But then it's Suvo's perspective...Happiness, contentment is relative...What makes me happy may not work for you at all :)

    And do try and read this article..http://www.telegraphindia.com/1111030/jsp/7days/story_14684498.jsp

    KeyEm...So sorry for this....

    Subho..Dear God! this is eerie...And my character was originally named Suvo Das.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I do not think there is anything to argue about how the character thinks or behaves or what he does with his life or why.He is a CHARACTER,this is a dark story and a very powerful one indeed!
    -"Tum shikhar par ho,kaisi hawa hai wahan?Kya nazaare hain?Wahan se aur aage, kab,kahan janaa hai?"
    -"Bahut akelapan hai dost. ..Yahan se ek hi raasta dikhai deta hai..sirf neeche ki taraf jaata hua.."

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautifully written!! The guy certainly needed help.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow! This is new..can we look forward to a novel? :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. That was a beautiful story. Mr. Sarkar shouldn't have committed suicide. We can never tell we lived enough because everyday brings something new along with it. There's always something new to see, hear and feel. We die one day for sure so instead of waiting for that death and worrying about it, we can live everyday like we won't die at all.

    Write more such stories. You are really good at it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for changing the font style :) Very beautifully written. It's time to beyond blogging. :)

    On the story, isn't it a crime to take one's own life? What right do we have to end something we didn't create? And I don't buy arguments like it's his life and he can choose to live it his way. No. The world is not like that. You can't always choose to live it your way.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Didn't expect the unhappy ending, I was quite expecting humor/sarcasm at the end of the story :) Well written!
    Alas, the burnout that "techies", "corporates" experience these days having achieved too much in too little time!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sharmila...I wish I could express myself in verse as well as you do.

    Giribala...Tch...Tch..too bad he didn't have Giribala to cheer him up :)

    Ana-treek...I wish I had a compelling story to tell :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nethra...Oh I was jittery and the story is far from cheerful. Can heave a sigh of relief.

    Ajay...You"ll be surprised to know how many believe in this school of thought. People who reach the pinnacle of success and are confronted with a strange sense of emptiness. Not everyone can cope with success.

    Experts refer to it as anomic suicide — self death because of alienation and the purposelessness experienced by a person.

    Ambika...I wish I could but this was too serious a topic :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Brilliant post.

    Was the young couple who found the body a reference to the actual couple who committed suicide?

    Didn't know the real news that prompted the story. So searched it on Google to read up. So sad! Not sure whether they were really happy or unhappy that they were not able to find happiness despite all the things they had.

    ReplyDelete
  32. The news of that Goa couple's death came as a mild shock. I don't get why they had to die...I feel as long as death is not coming to us of its own accord, we must have something left to do in this world. But I guess one could say, they embraced a death acceptable to themselves. What if they died horribly in some traffic accident or terrorist attack later? Different people think in different ways.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hmmm....I am glad you shared that interesting article. But its not that I haven’t heard about successful people choosing death over an uncertain future. But how different is it from anyone who commits suicide after losing everything. We have heard of entire families committing suicide not being able to bear their adversity. Quite often we hear of students hanging themselves after failing in a certain examination...

    So the reason for suicide remains the same...depression and fear of what lies ahead. Just 3 months ago, in my neighborhood itself, a boy just a year older than me and whom I have known since childhood, hanged himself. He was a sportsman and had played at both state and national level. But then things didn’t go too well for him making him take to drugs and all. Finally he decided to end his life.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I really don't know what to say...

    but maybe "you don't just live for yourself ,you live for others too, those others that make that 'special you' or even 'simply you', the others that make the 'you' that you are today..the others barring whom you were dead before even being born"

    But again, this can only be realized if you stop for a moment and think , feel and realize. That sadly is rare.

    Agreed with what you said in one of your comments 'Not everyone can cope with success'...and they are not to be blamed.

    ReplyDelete
  35. you got me hooked from the very beginning. A sad end to the story, though he has lived a full life. Death is always sad event for me.

    very nicely written, Purba. There is a Smooth and silky flow to it. Brilliant as always.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sairam...When I first read the news I felt angry at them, grieved for the parents. It's not easy to relate to such an attitude, it comes across as self-centred.
    But later I felt this couple chose death to celebrate life.

    And no, it's not the same couple :)

    Prosenjeet...I am not you..you are not me...who are we to judge what is right and what is not?

    Samadrita...Death is not a pleasant topic to discuss, most of our lives we are preparing for it...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Stuti...The mind is a scary thing, it's better as your slave rather than the master.

    Joshi...I don't know whether I have done justice to it and I shall keep trying :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Wow!!! Talk about gripping fiction!!!
    I came across this post from indivine, thanks indiblogger :P :)

    I love it, absolutely love it, thank you for writing it :))

    Could you read my work of fiction, you'd be a worthy critic, and i'd be honoured :D
    http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=90039

    ReplyDelete
  39. Every end has a begining and a begining has an end. Suvo seems to have taken it literally. Aye Zindagi!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Ok. I thought I was sharing an opinion. I really don't have anything to do with anyone else's life or how they wish to end it :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. The Story Teller...Thank you for the effusive praise and I loved reading yours.

    Ranting Indian...Beautifully put.

    Prosenjeet...Of course you are allowed to feel angry if a dear friend gives up so easily! But let's not judge him.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Neither was he that close a friend nor am I angry. Just mentioned the incident in support of my argument and if you have been a little more sporty would have continued it foreve ;) :P
    (see the fan I am of your writing. Keep coming back to ur page to reply back !! :D )

    ReplyDelete
  43. **How uplifting it was to live without the burden of a future.
    It is indeed. :)

    I absolutely loved, and lived this post. :)
    My first visit to your blog, and I'm enamored by the beauty of your write ups. Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I might sound harsh here.. but I think it is better to wait for death .. the moment has to be decided by someone else and not ourselves. But I am aware that there are different situations and people have different choices - I respect these people and their choices as well.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Prosenjeet...Hahhah...I don't mind that at all.

    Crystal...I am so glad that you liked it.

    Aativas.. And I am no way supporting his decision. But all of us have different expectations, attitudes to life. I may not relate to it but I can certainly respect it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Misty eyes ...
    What a satisfaction it must be to live for oneself without being responsible or accountable to others ...
    Bliss ...

    ReplyDelete
  47. i stumbled upon this article today ..

    i must say very well written ... and very thought provoking indeed.

    regards
    rahul

    ReplyDelete
  48. Interesting read...
    look forward to read more such stories!:)

    Your writing style is as usual "Fantastic"!

    Cheers!
    Indigenou

    ReplyDelete
  49. Avoid these:

    soulful symphony as it tousled his hair, laboured breathing, jolted out of his reverie by the shrill sound of the door bell,climbing the ladder of success, consumed with an overwhelming desire to succeed, and several more in your story.

    otherwise, a good attempt to write...

    ReplyDelete
  50. Rajendra...:)

    Rituparna...We can but rather not.

    Piyush...Thanks a ton :)

    Desmond.Macedo...Thank you for your suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Purba-just stumbled onto your blog .You write really well.Would love to have you visit my blog-anjuscorner.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  52. Purba,

    Read 2 posts now. I agree one should not take things lying down to be goody goody. It is for own better to get even. Explained very well with wit. True, life is own for each of us and it is for us to decide how to use it. But that does not make someone free to ignore others who are part of life in some way or the other. Proper balance is what one should ensure. Well narrated which kept me glued till tragic end.

    Take care

    ReplyDelete
  53. Rahul...Article? I thought I'd written a story :)

    Rajendra...Stop spamming my blog please.

    Chitz...:)

    Jack...Two at a time is a better strategy, makes me feel less guilty :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am so spellbound after reading this.
    It has got to be the best piece of written work by you so far. I maybe a little biased about that because I hog on this genre like a hungry beast.
    And I must mention, the suicide note was exceptional.

    ReplyDelete
  55. apologies...what i meant was post :-)

    my bad!!!

    regards
    rahul

    ReplyDelete
  56. Ohh...Death never seemed so beautiful..Poor Smitha..I always think about people whom the dead leave behind and actually cry for them as well..

    Clap Clap...Loved it...

    ReplyDelete
  57. A bizarre story.. I mean the one of the Goan couple. Wonder why people do such things...

    ReplyDelete

Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...