Have you ever tried to picture the day you were born into this world? Have you been that infant who, on being dragged out of its mother’s womb and disconnected from its place of origin with the unifying cord being severed, was forced to squint at the bright dazzling world it was suddenly exposed to without any warning? Have you felt the fear experienced by a newborn when stared at by alien faces advancing towards you with outstretched arms? Have you been in the shoes of a baby who has spontaneously worked out that by wailing or crying you not only get the attention of adults instantaneously but also get what you want?
I tried to recapture the day I was born and imagine what my reactions would have been to the foreign world, but try as I might there, was no accurate way of ascertaining if I succeeded in my attempts or not. But it did initiate another process in me; the process of investigating the purpose of my life. Many have taken the road before and many have failed to decipher the master plan of the almighty and have learnt to accept the roles and responsibilities of positions, which they acquired of their own accord or were forced to acquire by circumstances that they were powerless to alter or resign from.
Since the reflective process began, it has been increasingly difficult to accept that my journey could turn out be as summed in William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’, Scene VII:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
One fine day, I know not when that day would be, I do not want to wake up and realise that I cruised through the different stages of my life only to be on the threshold of old age or second childhood not being able to enjoy the beverages I fancy or the spicy food that I eat with such relish and gusto. I have spent sleepless nights trying to figure out a way to alter this mediocrity that shrouds my life. Since I do not have the Elixir of Life or the philosopher’s stone, I am compelled to think of alternatives that most mortals would when confronted with such a crisis in life. Leaving wisdom for posterity, carving a place in the literary world so that ones name does not disappear into oblivion, capture ecstatic moments in life on camera or celluloid to prevent oneself from becoming a forgotten entity in the family etc., etc. You maybe wondering where this is all going but honestly I do not know where the inner journey is going to take me but I just hope I maintain my sanity just as Atwood has expressed her wish in the concluding lines of ‘Journey to the Interior’ –