My high school classmates have been interacting over a whatsapp group, which I avoided joining initially... till I got nostalgic due to a IIIrd std group snap. As a group we looked cutely awkward, and I got tempted to join everybody.
Interestingly, these are a bunch of adults, with spouses and children, (and bosses too), busy chatting in the group almost 24X7, or as they say 24X6 (because sunday is the day when most of them are supposed to be in the service of their spouses). Like usual Indian high/ higher secondary classes (and friendships), these connections are generally non-complicated types. (There were only few romantic pairs, and break-ups were especially hard on boys ... but thats another story).
All of it is present here… affectionate chiding, friendly bickering, keeping a track of each other's lives and locations, discussions (at times heated) over current affairs (usually political) and flirting (amidst rising concerns & eyebrows) !
But within 2 days of being in this group, reading hundreds of messages exchanged per day, and contributing a few myself, I'm getting a nagging feeling about the epidemic scale of meaninglessness in modern life.
My classmates/friends are prototypically upwardly-mobile, educated middle class Indians, spread across the globe, mostly working outside, and a few homemakers. I don't know much about their lives personally, individually. Except those few who candidly shared with me their pain and emptiness. These friendly exchanges might be their primary distraction on a daily basis, bringing smile to their dreary lives. Who knows, probably all of them have it ... why engage in such online interactions when you can do something else. I know some of their spouses too are busy with their own whatsapp group, or TV. This much for intimacy!
Closer home, my work place also seems to be burdened by mundane issues and trivial conversations. Just for a little bit of intellectual stimulation I go online, and for some authentic conversations we try to reach out to our psychotherapist circle (suddenly acknowledging that we lived in an utopian world as trainees ... that level of conversation which we took for granted then, is actually rare).
Somewhere today I read about the importance of having a non-demanding adult in the life of a child, someone who doesn't even need demands to be made. Such a presence creates an inner space leading to exploration and creativity. How true it is... I have experienced it, not only we are burdened by other's demands, but also about their requirements for us to be demanding. So many times loved ones feel invisible, invalidated, rejected, unless we place demands over them.
My personal distress arises from the fact that I do not fit into these frames fully. I am far away from the other shore, but somewhere sometime I did leave this one... so now it is a daily struggle just to keep afloat. I wept as I tried to give words to this feeling ... I love my work and find it meaningful. But I'm acutely aware that no matter what I do actually, and how I conceptualize things mentally, it will all be an attempt to construct meaning in life. I doesn't dismiss its usefulness, but is it the full story ? No! doesn't seem to be so... for I yearn for another transcendental meaning.
Even to survive on a daily basis I need a constant series of miracles and its after glow... miracles need not happen just to me, but I want to see it around me, in this world, to make me feel it is worth living this life, on this planet, in this solar system, in this galaxy....
Otherwise the earth has been whirling-moving, seemingly senselessly, since ages... and we are just passing specks of dust on the windshield of this spaceship... it is audacious to say 'rahne do he dev yeh mera mar mitne ka adikar ...' but it gives back some agency, if not in birth, then at least in death!!!
(PS: I left the group... my ever present existential crisis was worsening)