Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

You died fifteen years ago in the blaze of a strange illness when it fell unceremoniously into our living room where you sat napping. There was a funeral, it was quite packed up, the death of a great woman, and they gave me your potrait. And I didn’t know what to do with it.

I just left it on top of the bookshelf, and wished your image goodmorning and wished your potrait goodnight, kidding myself that if I didn’t put it away nothing of this would have happened.

I gave out most of your clothes and slept next to the rest. Your smell has faded from them already. And I think soon enough I wont remember how you smelt like at all.

I performed the standard rituals, I fed the cows, I dreamt liberally, I watched the meteors fallout from the horizon at night. The war goes on. I’ve surrendered already.

Sonate.

Dear Sonate,

It is strange, and good, and strange to get your message, though on this side it was you who died fifteen years ago in the fire of that strange illness as it came streaking into not the living room, but the kitchen where you stood cooking. At my request you weren’t buried but cremated.

You can imagine what a thing it is today not to visit your grave and come home and find your message waiting for me. But, I’m glad you wrote. I told a friend about your message and she called it a seons. A seons is for the dead, and you are not dead.

It’s horrible to think of that fateful day. The war is distant on this side. I haven’t seen the falling meteors in weeks. And I am not in a potrait. Thank you for your message.

Mom.

Dear Mom,

I am trying not to cry at my keyboard. I wasn’t even sure you’d reply. Your love friends told me that the bridge between us should stay open for a few more years but they can’t guarantee anything.

When I got permission to use these skills, they warned me not to get my hopes up, that even if I found you, you probably won’t be from a world line I recognize. You won’t be a mom I recognize. But I do recognize you. Your words sound like mine Mom. I hope that’s were you are.

Whatever the strange messages you left, it’s your legacy now. On this side they talk about you like you were a great martyr but now I know you were the best kind of mom. You are missed. The dog doesn’t sleep in our living room anymore but waits for you at the door.

You still get letters sometimes too. I’ll scan and attach them with this message. It’s just very, very good to hear from you.

Sonate.

Dear Sonate,

I think maybe you are not clear how this works. You told me the war is still going on strong from your side. It’s over for us here. I don’t want to make you sad but that means our worlds are getting distant already.

I don’t mean to be cold, but please understand this gift for what it is. It’s not the beginning of the correspondence, it’s a chance to say goodbye. Your dad isn’t in that graveyard, your siblings are not in those potraits. Neither in those graves. Please don’t sent me your sister’s posts again, I am not near her.

Mom.

Dear Mom,

Well in this world line you did like scrambled eggs, so how’s that for more evidence you are who I think you were? As things are different from this side. I am sitting in our garden writing this staring at our roses and our worldline where maybe you are sitting here too right next to me this very moment.

When you built this thing, whatever hell the  technique is, what did you want to use it for? What better application would it be? A second chance. We are just a universe distant. Don’t throw this away please. It was til death do us apart and you are alive and I am alive, and don’t throw this away.

Yours devotedly

Sonate.

Dear Sonate,

There aren’t any roses in our garden, not here. You are still not getting it, are you? Even if the only difference between our worldline is the wind that gushed above our house fifteen years ago. That difference has changed to everything.

We have many bridges to many worldliness on this side. We’ve heard from some and never heard from many more. I’ve spoken with them, with some of the survivors, I’ve offered my condolences and then I have turned off the magnetic field so that our ties collapse and that I can never talk to them again. Because I have nothing to say that will help them, because they are not us. I am not from that worldline where the skies burst open where the ties fallout. I am not from the worldline where you lost me.

I found Marie’s body, we’ve never lost her to cancer. She’s eleven now. I found her now, she has your stupid sentimental streak, she has my pragmatism. I spoke to her for an evening, just like you and I are doing now. I told her that I missed her, and what did she say? She said ok, because what can’t she say. In her worldline she still has her parents she still has her life. I let her go and you need to let me go now.

I believe one day when this technology will bear to fruition that human beings will develop a new sense and an evolutionary adaptation for seeing ourselves as one among billions of branches of our possible selves. Intuiting that we are not individuals but simultaneous traveller’s across the atlas of if.

You and I don’t have that adaptation and we are seeing oursleves as periscopes into parallel worlds. But they are not, they are mirrors, cracked distorted fare ground mirrors. You are the first of a million of you to contact me and you are the first one I will inform that I miss him because I am severing the bridge now. I can’t stop you from contacting the other widowed moms near me.

Maybe there’s a softer kinder me out there who would keep up this game with you. Who would sent letters to a ghost. I wish you luck finding her.

I wish you luck with the war. I wish you luck moving on. Take comfort knowing that beyond our greying half lives, a worldline away, you and I are still swimming together.

Yours probabistically
Mom,

Dear Mom,

That’s very metaphorical, but I think you are just hurting like I am. Grieving is horrible but don’t do anything rush with the connection. I will be sitting right by my inbox through out the day. Just write back as soon as you can.

Sonate.

Dear Mom….

It’s been a week of nothing from you now. I know you are upset. Things are getting horrible here. I wish you’d write. You always did!

Dear Mom……

They’ve started everything now and I don’t think it’s long before it reaches us now. Please tell me how you are. Please tell me you are ok. Tell me something! For the sake of an iota of decency please write back! Hell, you built all of this, you can’t just take a year, a month!

A MONTH of nothing! You were right maybe there are differences in the worldlines! My mom was never this stubborn or myopic! Who’d never have toiled so hard for those around her in, her heart.

In any case please write back. I have made a request in meeting you in person.

Sonate…..



Dear Apathy,

I really don’t know where I should start. I never was good at writing letters especially the important ones. You are the one with all the words and you always knew just the right combination of them to make me feel better. That’s something I’ll never forget. But I can’t keep quiet about this any longer. And as though I can’t write this letter as well as you could, well perhaps that’s the point.

I’m sorry, Apathy, but I have to leave you. I know that must have come as a shock and believe me, I never imagined I’d have to write those words, least of all to you. But it’s true, I can’t be in this relationship with you anymore. I suppose that requires some sort of explanation when I haven’t totally convinced myself that this is the right decision. The least I can do is to tell you how I arrived here.

Over the past few months, I have been doing some searching inside myself. I knew something in my life wasn’t right and haven’t been for quite a while. And I want you to know what that was. There was this deep unhappiness an emptiness inside me that I knew I could have been right. I felt like a seed. So much potential inside me for something greater. And yet something was preventing me from breaking out of the hard casing. I couldn’t stand this any longer, so I went for a search of what it was.

Each time I did this, there was some truth bubbled up from my subconscious and each time I didn’t want to listen because I didn’t want it to be true. But we have to listen to our subconscious as it knows far more than we care to admit. And once I did listen, I couldn’t deny that truth any longer. It was you Apathy. That was preventing me from flourishing into a tree. Sorry, I am talking in metaphors. I did say I wasn’t good at writing letters. But you understand what I am trying to say, you always did.

Please don’t take it too personally, if it wasn’t for you, then I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. You taught me so much about the world, and protected me from all sorts of things that could have otherwise killed me. You helped me navigate the tangled web of the outside world without being caught into them. It is really a jungle out there and I can’t thank you enough for all you did for me so far.

But for over these few months, I have come to realise something else. Maybe it’s just me, but, I feel better without you. Like my life has meaning again. When you go out to smell the roses, it is normal about worrying pricking your fingers on the thorns. That is something I have come to realize on my own. It’s a scary place without you, no question about that. And there are thorns around every corner but I can’t remain with you forever. And everyone leaves the world with a scar or two.

So that’s why I am writing this letter. There is a cigarette on my left hand and more than tears on the pages of this paper. And I am leaving you, I truly am sorry, and I will miss your warm embrace more than anything else in this world. But this is something I have to do for myself. If I want to survive, I know I have to be strong enough to take the steps necessary for my own survival. And if those steps involve leaving you, then I know deep down that that is what I have to do.

There could be something else out there for you, some people remain seeds their whole lives but not me. I am a tree. And one day I am going to look at my brilliant foliage and strong roots and I’ll know that I made the right decision. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me, but I’ll live my own life from here. All the best.

Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.

Ps.

Apathy meaning :- lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern, an emotional detachment. It can affect your ability to keep a job maintain relationships and enjoy life. Everybody experiences apathy from time to time.

Meaning makers

You are going to die! Sorry, about that starting line, I am sure no one wants to be reminded that but read on. Most of us know that death is the worst thing that can happen to humans. Indeed across all cultures and societies the fact remains the same. Death is the thing that we humans fear the most. We might not think about it most of the time but somewhere pushed far back into the subconscious, that fear lurks in the depths. We might fear the death process itself. That we might be inflicted in pain and loneliness in our final hours. And when the actual death occurs, we return back to dust from whence we came. And that’s that. A human life forced into one final moment of suffering and then snuffed out forever. This fate or something similar awaits all humans at somepoint or other. No matter what happens to us in our lives, we live in the event horizon of a blackhole and at somepoint that barrier is crossed and we fall into nothingness.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered as the oldest surviving work of literature and was written in 1800 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. Over 12 stone tablets, the story tells us about Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. Both are two thirds gods and one third humans and so both are mortal. Gilgamesh is an oppressive and harsh ruler. And never really thinks about death until the gods sentence Enkidu to die. When this happens, Gilgamesh is distressed and he’s quickly consumed in fear about his mortality. He wanders about the forest rumbling about how at some point he will ultimately die as well. Infact the idea of death frightens him so much, he embarks upon the quest for eternal life and an immortal man. He undertakes a long and dangerous journey and finally he founds this immortal man, Utnapishtim, and asks him for the secret to eternal life. Utnapishtim was granted his immortality because he survived a great flood that was supposed to destroy all humans. To test Gilgamesh’s worthiness, Utnapishtim commands him to stay awake for six days and seven nights. However, as soon as he finished speaking, Gilgamesh had fallen asleep. Gilgamesh, who had come here to conquer death himself, found that he couldn’t even conquer sleep. He accepts that he’s failed in his quest for eternal life and went back home. It seems that even him could not escape the jaws of death.

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist. In the early 1930s, while he was still a medical student, he organized free counseling sessions to address the high numbers of student suicides. And in the year following his sessions not a single student committed suicide. Later in his career, he worked in a psychiatric hospital and in the four years following his work, he treated over three thousand suicidal women per year. When the second World War came about, Frankl worked in the only hospital in Vienna that was still admitting Jews and helped mentally disabled people avoid the Nazi euthanasia program. This was until Frankl was eventually deported to a concentration camp himself. You know what a concentration camp was, right? yeah? While he was at the camp, he noticed three distinct reactions that were experienced by all Jewish inmates. First there was the initial shock upon arriving at the camp and experiencing its conditions for the first time. Then came in the acceptance and adjustments in their lives. Finally most or some of the inmates experienced detachments from themselves. Sex and morality became twisted and deformed and even those that survived the camps became disillusioned about their freedom. It’s difficult to imagine the suffering that Frankl must have endured while at the camp existing right on the edge of the event horizon. And where one wrong move could push him over the brink and into the dark. In 1945, Frankl was liberated from the concentration camp and learnt of the deaths of all his immediate family members except his sister. Frankl had experienced first hand the disillusionment that he had described and hope that sustained him had threatened to dissappear forever. That same year, he started work on his book, Man’s search for meaning, which details his experiences from the camps and the Nazi Germany and also his ideas on how one can find meaning in their life. This became the local therapy that humans are motivated by the search of meaning. Viktor Frankl having literally lived through hell on earth concludes that ‘meaning is found within every moment of our lives, even through suffering and death.

He writes,’ If we were immortal then we could legitimately postpone every action forever. It would be of no consequence whether or not we did a thing now. But in the face of death as an absolute finis to our future, and boundary to our possibilities, we are under the imperative of utilizing our lifetimes to the utmost, not letting the singular opportunities pass by unused. ‘

So after failing to pass the test of life, what happened to Gilgamesh? Well, when he arrived back to his kingdom, he looked at the massive walls that sorrounded it and had a sudden realization. The walls that were built under his leadership will endure for centuries to come. Even after his death, the walls will still stand to remind people that he was there once upon a time.

Even though as humans we are mortal, we can transcend our mortal limits through our actions and what people would remember us for when we are gone. However useless that sounds. It was only after his quest for immortality that Gilgamesh realised that the meaning of our lives comes precisely from the fact that our lives are finite in the first place. That our lives are only meaningful because there is an ending.

Some deadlines can be missed without any actual consequences. That thesis that’s half finished or that book that is your mind that you’ve been putting off. But for the most important things in our lives that’s our dreams and ambitions. If we fail to complete them while we are alive then we will have wasted a one off opportunity to do so.

Death is terrifying! But if Viktor Frankl who lived under Nazi Germany for chrisake can still hold hope that we can find hope in the meaning of our lives even in the face of death, then, what’s your bloody excuse? And yet we still manage to convince ourselves that death was stuck with us from the beginning. Like rolling a trillion sided dice and landing on the same number like two and a half million other people. That’s roughly the probability of you being here and now.

We are the meaning makers. Our existence gives us purpose. If we were immortal then it won’t really be the case that nothing really matters but we are not. You have one lifetime, what are you going to do with it?

A guide to worrying

So, you are worried about a thing? Are you? Maybe a bill you can’t pay, maybe a job interview, might be your career falling apart, whatever. But the best thing you can do in that situation is just to think about it as much as possible. Don’t do anything about it, just make sure that you keep worrying, because that always makes problems go away.

Look at people in a bus, in a market, in a church, in a club. Whatever you are worried about must be a million times worse than anything they can imagine. They definitely had never faced something like a personal crisis. I am sure they have never felt lonely, been sued, lost family members, spouses, children. They probably never been fired or been in love with someone who didn’t love them back. Or panicked about their career or anything most humans go through in a lifetime because whatever you are worried about is definitely the biggest thing that has ever happened to anyone ever. 14 billion years ago.

No one has ever been to war, so they won’t understand what you are going through, never been approached from the top, never been trapped in a spacecraft thousands of feet above the earth and running out of oxygen, no one has had to face constant bombing from the air that turned up without warning. But you. Only you.

Somehow, whatever it is recently you’ve got in your mind, that justifies you losing your sleep and being a total idiot to yourself. Just keep worrying. Well, luckily humans live forever and never age, so dont worry, you’ve got infinite time to hold yourself back with doubts. And actually it’s worse than that, you know.

If a bad thing does happen, or you don’t get the job, or you embarrass yourself somehow, we are all gonna be laughing at you, all the 7 billion of us. We don’t have our own lives, or relationships, or children or career, we are just waiting for you to fuck up! The entire planet is will turn up into your house and write LOL on your door. And even after you are dead because of worrying, we will erect a shrine on your grave that says, this person here never made a mistake, worried so much and he is still worried about us down there, up here, we will then place flowers and not even the nice ones but the ones we found on a bin by the road side.

And don’t even think about taking any creative risk, that project you are working on, that book you are waiting to write, that movie you are planning to shoot, or video, or whatever, if you screw any of them, we gonna laugh at you because we are busy not worrying about our lives but yours. Beethoven, Tolstoy, Kafka, Da Vinci, Michelangelo none of them ever worried over their careers but you.

Just keep sabotaging yourself because you feel that you are not doing something original. That’s the safe path. Same with doing what you love. Actually no one has ever taken a risk before. You are the first one to do it ever. And I am sure the universe cares if you screw up, or take a risk, it definitely isn’t busy regulating the speed of light or keeping the galaxies safe from colliding. In fact the entirety of creation was designed to watch you fail personally. That’s what we are all doing here. That’s what gets us up in the morning, to watch you fail.

Maybe just spent the rest of your life fixated and worrying instead of ever doing anything. Instead of maybe becoming the best possible version of yourself and being kind, emphatic and compassionate to people and taking wild and bold risks that scare you and will probably pay off some other time leaving a lasting legacy to your great grandchildren, so that they can say one of their ancestors was undeniably unbelievablly, unequivocally, a quintessential great person. He stroke she did something brilliant. Or maybe he was a half decent human being who decided that the point of being alive was to worry as much as possible before the lights go out. And just to be nice to other humans. And better just to keep his head down and not rock the boat because he couldn’t risk embarrassing himself.

But none of these really matters, but your worrying, just keep worrying, because what you are worrying about is really important and no one has ever been in a bad situation like you before. And I am sure whatever it is, it is very important and won’t never go away, just like all the other things you used to worry about before and now you can’t even remember.

Go on with worrisome life!

Instructions to a (happy) life.

  1. Take a long walk now and then.
  2. Eat several servings of fruit a day.
  3. Don’t drink caffeine before bed.
  4. Attempt to sleep at least 7 hours a night.
  5. Accept he/she is never coming back.
  6. Accept that the past is irreparable and dwelling on it will change nothing. Dwell on it anyway and then move on.
  7. Travel, alone if you can, avoid traps, learn 1 to 10, please and thank you, in the local language and you’ve already surpassed 90 % of all tourists who have ever been there before you.
  8. Acquire new talent for the sake of acquiring them, if you are young learn an instrument if possible, you will never have this much free time ever again.
  9. Exercise atleast 3 times a week vigorously.
  10. Buy clothes that fit properly, you will notice the difference in your dating life.
  11. Accept there will be whole weeks when you will understand nothing and everything hurts.
  12. Accept that stupid people get lucky and that smart people never make it.
  13. Accept that girl in class likely isn’t going to strike up a conversation first but if you do, it would probably go alright.
  14. Accept that just because it’s weird, doesn’t mean it’s clever.
  15. Accept that there is a set point in the future, after your death, when you’ll be thought about for the final time by a friend or family member and then forgotten from history forever.
  16. Spend more time with your parents if they are alive even if they are no bends, there will come a time they will be gone and there will be no one to phone home to, no more hugs, no more bickering no more memories from your childhood.
  17. Argue about politics, if you must…but accept the other person won’t change their view if you stop being a dick! Besides being nice is likely to persuade someone anyway.
  18. Accept that expensive whisky is almost always worth the money.
  19. Accept that running shoes are not always worth the money.
  20. Accept online personalities are often people who couldn’t get into the field they wanted to. Do not take their word as gospel especially pretentious advice like this one here, from disembodied smart ass bloggers whose life is probably, considerably duller than yours.
  21. Attempt to tolerate meta humor.
  22. Come to terms that there’s probably no absolute truth that you will grasp in your lifetime. However, if someone at the party tries to tell you everything is relative, invite them to exit the building from the fifth floor and see if gravity is also a social construct.
  23. Do not be intimidated by people who use long words, they are likely more insecure about their own intelligence than you are. Instead afford them your most effervescent magnanimous approbation.
  24. Before tiding up, make the bed, and certainly everything else will seem easier.
  25. Visit the dentist on regular intervals.
  26. Do not purchase cheap stuff.
  27. Embrace your own eccentricities, if you were a freak as a kid it will likely make you an interesting adult.
  28. Try to eat less salt, try to eat more vegetables.
  29. Try to accept that happiness isn’t a constant state nor does it come for free. It is a chemical reward for hardwork and if you need more of it, one has to do more hardwork. This applies to careers, relationships, friendships and so on.
  30. Diet if you want to, but acknowledge that all diets however elaborate are all variations of eat less, move more.
  31. Keep a journal if you have time, it will serve as a snapshot of how silly your life decisions are right now. And you can read it in ten years and chuckle and write some more and then you can read that in another ten years and have another chuckle.
  32. Attempt to locate your passions, when you do, see if they can be monetized, if they can, congratulations, you’ve just discovered your career.
  33. Prepare for crippling failure, it is the ultimate character building and no one successful has ever avoided it happening multiple times.
  34. If something terrible befalls you, and you think nothing as bad has ever happened to anyone ever before, remember… has, was, happened repeatedly and to almost everyone has to go through it. Some of them are probably going through it right now, they just have not told you. You will almost certainly be fine.
  35. Resist the appeal of depressing nihilism, if everything is pointless, you may just be in a good mood anyway.
  36. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books don’t fuck them.

P.s. Ignore all these instructions. This was just me having fun.

Extras for those who will read up to the end.

  • this post will acquire the least viewership than your death.
    -if this post had, was accompanied by a beautiful pic of a lady it will attract more views, less than your death.
    -being born in the first place is ridiculous, we are born without our consent and it’s an insult to injury to work out what you are doing here in the first place.
    -for those in art, you will face a lot of critiques but they will be forgotten as quickly as your failures.
    -it took 14.5billion years to create the first human and it will take you, me, just less than a a hundred years to waste it.
    -you, me, are another version of your sibling, offspring distant relative.
    -it took a pandemic for human to learn basic Hygiene stuff like washing hands. You can imagine how else disgusting the world is out there.
  • you will never do anything remarkable.

The Future we will all miss out on

Let’s say, you are parent to two children and the human generation cycle is 30 years, by 2080 we are 2 generations down the line. You are now a grandparent and six humans have inherited your DNA.

2110, another generation later and assuming that the average human has two children, your children have grandchildren now and you have 14 descendants. It’s quite possible they attended your funeral. Don’t worry everyone got smashed at the pub afterwards and said nice things about you. The world’s population is about 11billion having jumped by 4 billion in just a century.

The 2140s, 4 generations later, all things being equal, 30 humans now carry your genes.

2200s, and we are in the 5th generation, Halleys Comet has just reached its perihelion, you have 62 descendants.

The mid 2200 hundreds, 6 generations later you have about 126 descendants.

At by end of the century, still at 2 children per human, you now have 2050 descendants, we can longer even speculate  how culture and technology will look like.

So, year 12000 AD, 240 generations later, if sex is still a fashion, you have several millions descendants. The star Antares has just gone super nova and is now visible from the earth even in day light.

Year 52000AD, 1500 generations later of your progeny and the earth has slowed down a bit courtesy of the moon and we have to add a leap second so as to preserve time keeping.

Year 100,000AD, 3000 generations later, you might still recognize the constellations but they maybe a bit altered, the handle of the big dipper or the plough getting a little relaxed at the back, for example.

Year, 250,000AD, 7500 generations later, Loihi, currently the only submarine volcano in 2019, has exploded and now it is a volcanic island in the pacific.

2,000,000AD, the great riftvalley has sunk and split Africa into continents and thousands of islands in between. The Congo River has become the African Ocean if there’s still a Congo river left.

50,000,000AD, Eurasia and Africa collide, forming an entirely new mountain range.

5-600,000,000AD, it’s possible the earth’s continents have fused back into a single super continent. A day on earth has atleast gained an hour, the moon is now so distance, solar eclipse no longer occur.

1,000,000,000,000AD (1bn AD), The sun is now 10% more luminous meaning the oceans have began to evaporate, plant life is unlikely. We can’t even speculate how many of your descendants there are.

4bn AD, the milky way, our galaxy and our neighboring galaxy 2.5m light years from earth, Andromeda collide forming a Milkomeda.

10bn AD, the sun is now 256 times its current size and has most probably swallowed mercury, venus and earth.

1trillion AD, it’s possible the Big Crunch has now began, the remains of the universe falling back on herself, galactic clusters will begin to converge, stars will collide resulting into an explosion, illuminating the heavens nearby, eventually, the blackholes of the universe will collide by themselves ammersing into a single super massive black hole, consuming itself.

1 quadrillion AD ( 1,000,000,000,000,000), it’s also possible no Big Crunch will occur, and the universe will continue to expand indefinitely. And if it happens the current universe will have achieved its final resting energy, uninhabitable, uninhabited, barren, perpetual limitless dark with no recourse to the fecundity that once beamed within the boundaries of creation.

P.S. The world is just as fantastic as it is horrific, and it is so arbitrary to lose hope as to find it. If everything was forever without anything changing be it 80 years or a trillion, beer would still taste the same, wasps will still be pricks, and maybe tomorrow we will have to kill time and stay the same. But because we have no such power or science yet, God fearing or not, we have to find something to make peace with. For you it may be religion or spirituality, that’s fare enough.

For me, what works, is when I am asleep and can’t find sleep and the abyss starts whispering how I’m gonna go in the dark one day, I keep in mind that whether I like or or not, I am part of something bigger; an experiment conducted across the entire planet, across all history called us.

Just to have been anything, it is a weird honor. We won’t last forever but what a silly decision it would be to waste our day out in the cosmos; that brief period of time when matter woke up in a world as interesting as this one, with all the other talking carbon units (humans) around us, that we can hang out with, and be fond of and talk shit to, to keep the abyss at bay. 😉😉😊

If tomorrow starts without me

If Tomorrow Starts Without Me…

If tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see,
If the sun should rise you find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you
And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand.

He said my place was ready, in heaven far above
And that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned and walked away a tear fell from my eye.
For all my life I’d always thought, I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for, so much left yet to do.
It seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays the good ones and the bad.
I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized that this could never be,
For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.

When I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow
I thought of you and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow.
When I walked through heavens gates I felt so much at home.
God looked down and smiled at me from his great golden throne

He said, “This is eternity and all I’ve promised you”
Today your life on earth has passed but here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last
And since each day is the same there’s no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful so trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn’t do.
You have been forgiven and now at last you’re free.
So won’t you come and take my hand and share my life with me?

So when tomorrow starts without me don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.

-David Romano

BORN INTO THIS

Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Castrated
Debauched
Disinherited
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter. – Charles Bukowski 1993.

Reflections 2019

images

There were million light years away before now, there were decades and then there was the two thousand tens decade and then there was 2019– a year that will be remembered but not for all the right reasons.

A year that got me devastated by loss and grief. Unending sorrow. Cursing and banging the steering wheel, endless clicking, sleeplessness especially when the image of him comes alive when I lay facing the roof making me feel like I am rehearsing how to die. Slapping the pool waters at Mtwapa Garden braving the heat of summer. An exaggerated case of  PTSD-post traumatic stress disorder. Because it is the year I lost him. I lost my brother. This time for good. I had lost him to his demons which I hoped and knew at some point he will overcome them but this time he was gone. And to imagine that I’ll never hear from him again, his charming humor, poignant jokes, his ensuing optimism awash with self-delusion, is wildly sad. And as I reflect my take on 2019, I thought posting it here might be an apt sendoff for 2019 – and the decade behind. 

It is also the year I lost  mama winnie. Auntie who called me one cold night in 2006 and told me that my mother had passed on. And the calls came upon her demise. They all came to me in an entire family of tens and tens of people. Because they thought I was better placed to handle and orchestrate her send off. Little did I know I was being prepared to orchestrate my childhood friend’s burial towards the close of the year. 

Then Onesmus Machira died! He died in a horrible car crash so horrible that, (in a shared video) one moment he is seen driving leading a convoy draped in a baseball cap, smiling big, Robi on the passenger seat and Lucy on the back left and in a split second he’s gone. They are gone. For good. Those three uneventful deaths hit me hard in that order. So when the clock turned 0001hrs in 2020, I whispered an inaudible f, followed by the word, it’s gone. And hoped that we should have skipped this year if at all that ever makes sense. 

Before the deaths life was effing fine, inane and insane. Chasing paper, work and school. I enrolled for my masters so reluctantly that later I wished I hadn’t only at the dire need of help to realise that this was the perfect time. The buddies in that class came through to me in a way family never. Man!

A few months later I saved a young man’s job by buying his former employers job and he has remained one of the most true employees of the year. It satisfies me to be able to feed an extra family by creating a job for one however little the business is making.

It is also the first year I drove atleast every so often that my brother couldn’t imagine I afforded to. How? He always wondered. I was thrilled to tell him it can happen, even for him. He only needs a bit of will-wille zur macht. Those words are inscribed atop the windscreen of the car. 

Talking of family. The girl grew out of the walker, to crawling to walking to one word phase. She also grew so beautiful and has been able to kiss me every time I ask her to. She has mastered the names of her immediate cousins so well, that when idle, you will hear her mention their names one by one and then ends with, ‘mimi‘, herself! Inasmuch as I feel like a loser, these kids are my wins. My small wins. 

The boy has kept growing and opening up, for the record, he has been a shy little man, who only speaketh to me. His competency skills have grown tremendously. He is ranked EE-exceeding expectation. He watches skill videos on YouTube. He makes stuff using YouTube instruction while alone and there’s nothing better I would wish for. He understands the music I listen to and the other day he asked me to play ‘My heart is Inditing’ by Handel. He likes the song so much that I got sympathetic one day when he told me he has a racing heart. I saw him hold his left side of the chest at the color run hosted by Plascon in August. It ate me up and I got afraid that I was born from a weak family and it was showing itself in my small family. And like other times where I have talked of these genetic conditions, it has alway been triumphant.

He suffered through his uncle’s death that one day while we drove to the house he asked me, Dad, ‘sasa wewe ukikufa nani atakuwa baba yetu?’ I interjected fast and told him I am not gonna die. We will grow old together. He told me when Baba Mutuku died he got so scared and shuddered when he saw his potrait atop the casket. He went on and asked me why Eric had died and I explained to him amid pauses. He is so sharp and cunning that he said if only the transport that was taking him to hospital had arrived sooner he would not have died and also if Eric had gone to hospital the day before when he had been helped to his feet along the path to his trading shop, he would still be alive. I would hear him click at the end of each statement and I couldn’t help but cringe in grief. He would go on and ask me what happens after death and whether Eric could have been saved when we took him to the morgue but I explained to him that at the morgue life is no more (Click). Then he ended with, Baba Mutuku alikuwa anatununulia kitu tukienda huko Syanthi’. (Click) God! I almost burst. 

At school, there’s no joy in visiting like hearing the soft tiny sounds of strange kids calling you Baba Jabez. And kids telling Jabez that his dad is talking to teacher. And thinking that I almost changed his school, and the guilt that came with it, is just horrible. And that his best friend is called Nathan by sheer coincidence is again profound. 

Then the family increased. I became a Father to seven. My brothers kids are four and good or bad I am their guardian. It’s a family I look upto and a family I am capable of taking care of. All factors considered. The seventh is Jose, my sister’s  kid who asked Jabez at Eric’s funeral where his dad was because he could see me and Mutuku’s dad albeit dead but not his. 

I also got to watch a few oldies – movies by Kevin Spacey in the titles, Usual Suspects and Se7en. Two very psychological movies that challenged my thought process. The FBI files TV series also gave me mind-boggling insights. That it is not what it seems and that with meticulous efforts no evil would ever go unresolved. On music, Memories by Maroon 5 and You are the reason by Calum Scott made my emotions rise terribly. 

It is wrong that a person who labels himself a writer has talked of movies before books. I didn’t read much in the last one year but the few that I read, When Breathe Becomes Air, ranks up there. It left me with a serious book hangover that I hated living and anything associated with it only for Eric to die and to realise how life is so precious. I read Nausea by Satre, The Art of War , The Three Mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy among a few others.

I also quit social media for a record seven months straight. I only used whataspp for obvious reasons. My life was so much in shape during that period, to the realization that there was little or no value these sites add to ones life. I sufferred fomo and found myself back, this time with little or no update at all. Just scrolling and pausing and scrolling. 

There were  disappointments in 2019, the online interviews, the unacknowledged applications, and being left out in the census jobs inspite of my university papers. There were work related disappointments and there were regrets. Regrets that make me feel like a loser. That I was born from a genetically weak lineage, lost so many of my nuclear folks and when I thought I had shot the devil in the back, Eric dies, so I had missed. At a time when I am chasing jobs and not getting them and my sister also losing her job of half a decade almost at the same time all these shit is happening. 

In this blog, I sporadically wrote. Wrote when I felt threatened, scared and nostalgic. Not when it socially mattered. There were so many social stuff I thought of writing home about. I wrote to Sartuday Nation and like most of the articles, it was never cut chase. I wrote Betrayed, which only got a visit too late in the year. I wrote, Help somebody cross, only after Tyler talked about it. 

I wrote a two part blog on my 35 years of living which I struggled through that they were mostly biased on one part of my life. School life. I got carried away by the school life because it was more detailed and structured unlike life beyond school. 

With age comes wisdom no matter how little it is, with experience comes the ability to balance life. With interactions we get to appreciate the uniqueness and ubiquity of humans. With age we also realise that our time is thinning, limited with so much to do yet too little of living is left. We begin to realise the true meaning of living and start learning how to die. To die because we chase life and medical premiums, we get into panic buying of useless and senseless assets, getting into debt trying to beat the odds against us and being crippled by the same. Trusting haphazardly and losing our souls and money to dubious dealings all in the name of trying to be rich. But too little too late. It therefore calls for sobriety as you grow older. I think I am a little sober though I miss a double of fine aged whiskey. 

My philosophy to life still remains relevant that we owe nobody an explanation and the world owes us no explanation, it was here first. So in living, live cautiously because life is so precious, live with sobriety because emotions solved no human problem. Strive to solve human problem rather than create one or wealth for your insatiable hunger. Quit instant gratitification because it lasts as much, instantly. Be the person people will always say I want to be like him. He is a very good person.

Speaking of which, we checked into an Airbnb house on 30th Dec past 9pm only to be confronted by a group of Ugandans alleging that they had booked the house earlier than us. My guys were tired and inebriated, after the long distance. The Ugandans felt despised for being in a foreign country and so the heat rose and there was no light. Words were spat to near blows. There was only one sobre person, yours truly. I separated the two groups and we dealt with the problem  chronologically and a few minutes later both parties were shaking hands and hitting shoulders. The Ugandan group congratulated me for my humility and pure sense of control. They went away saying, that man is good man. I have never felt so validated once in my life. 

So basically what I am saying is, become the person to stand out of the crowd, not for validation but for the good of all humans. 

*****

Those were the bitter-precious moments that over the past twelve months helped me counter Bertrand Russell’s tendency to despair at ‘the unwillingness of the human race to acquiesce in its own survival’.

Gratitude to all of you, readers. Those that I know and those that I don’t. You are all awesome. 

Thank you very much. And may you experience life this year and the next decade. Happy New year 2020.

©Nathan 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then his breathe became air.

screenshot_20191213-124502.jpg

The morning he died I had woken up earlier than usual. And what I do when I wake up at the devil’s hours is grab a book or the phone and begin reading. I had read about 10 Charles Bukowski’s poetry by the time light found its way into the blinds. Then I went through my LinkedIn profile for any updates. I clicked on an update for over an hour going through a painful online interview before I got a reply of not suitable. I had gotten used to these replies and it didn’t twitch a nerve. Going back to Bukowski, I screenshot one of his tenfold comments and shared it on my Whatsapp status. It read, ‘THINGS GET BAD FOR ALL US ALMOST CONTINUALLY AND WHAT WE DO UNDER THE CONSTANT STRESS REVEALS WHO WE ARE’. Unaware things were really getting bad for me as the status was going live.

My only brother was in utter pain, his legs were wobbly, he was having a sharp pain in his diaphragm going down, and he was hardly breathing. But he wanted to live, that’s why he sent the boy he worked with at his barber and phone charging shop to my home to ask for help to be taken to hospital. Then the calls came, as I was entering the shower. I returned the calls, took a quick shower while I trembled telepathically feeling that this might be how it ends for him. And it was. The second call came as I drove through the gate and the guy on the other side said nothing only that my presence at home was important.

 Denis sat on the passenger seat and he had noticed how gloomy I had become all over a sudden. He asked why I told him Eric was seriously sick and I was afraid he might have just died and that we are heading straight home. He hardly believed it. I threw a hundred clicks and a million F. I trembled behind the wheel. I was devastated. I shuddered that I had lost another of our diminishing nuclear family. I was angry that Eric died. He shouldn’t have died. More so the way and manner in which he died, gradually. He felt it and had constantly spoken of his impending death long before he died. He had at some point jokingly told my farmhand that he didn’t think he will make it to Christmas. I had intervened and told him that if he felt that he was losing his soul and he knew it, the he still had a soul left to lose. He grinned. He knew we were a small family and couldn’t afford to be any smaller. I was bitter he died out of his ignorance but mine too. He had mentioned his resistance to drugs and I had given him a manly lecture on why he had become resistant to drugs. It was smoking and alcohol. It was his disappearing appetite. But I didn’t want him to die.

 I knew he would die, someday but not before noon on Thursday 28th November this year. But he did. Five days after he asked me if I wanted him to die and I told him no. I talked to him through and through reminding him of the importance of living and that he mattered only when alive. Cornered, he would smile wryly. Then, the present continuous tense became past perfect ‘he is’ became ‘he had been’.

 Eric died at the arms of his sister in law in transport to the hospital, he had a palm of breaths remaining. Shortly after – maybe – at the count of ten, his breathing became air!

 He died and left a trail of memories for me. Memories of my childhood and a brother so trusted there was no other. There would be no other for there would be no other childhood for me. Only memories to cherish, memories to share with my kids and his. Memories of the funniest man albeit stuttering twice as much when high. A man with an underutilized brain. A man who had given up long before it was his time. A man who died with so many secrets that would remain that. [F word]. He died with plans for his future, one evident was the pile of construction stones he had purchased to extend his house that lay at the far end. Now, that foundation against his house and those stones are a stack reminder of how vain life can be. We plan our lives but life has other plans for us.

I hardly imagined that he was no more, nobody does at the death knell. I couldn’t imagine I would never hear from him again. Ati, just like that he was gone, invariably for good. [Another F word!]

Beyond me lay a short project, that of seeing him off in the shortest time possible. Being almost a project manager, I made plans ahead of seeing his lifeless body. Summoned my uncle who processed the death permit by the time I arrived at Eric’s last known residence. I made two calls. One to my mother’s home and another to my father’s home. Those two calls were the most important for now.

At his residence, a distraught crowd mostly made up of his friends and neighbors milled in small crowds in soft pandemonium. The men sat under hedge shades and the women crossed their hands in evident grief. I hardly noticed a face I know, I was hell-bent to confirm Eric was breathless, motionless and lifeless. And there he was, his head facing to the right on the bed he spent last night alive. His lips closed in a manner that looked like he died happy. Finally the disease that had ravaged his body, his lungs, and his liver and eaten up his muscles leaving him skinny had nothing more to feast on. His Adam apple protruding as it was always evident. His stomach sunk. I watched it for movement, but nothing! [F word]. I touched his torso, rubbed his head as if saying, go well brother man, he was a bit warm. I carried the warmth of his forehead in my palm until I felt the cold of it as he lay smartly dressed on his casket. I had to confirm twice as much that he was really dead. And he was. [F word]

Then came the long distance to the morgue. I carried him at the back seat of my car, two men, his last known friends, we (four of us) had worked together during the planting season, holding him in their laps. Careful that he won’t fall, come to think of it, fall from what? Driving to the morgue felt like I was taking my brother to be attended in the hospital. Like he was unconscious. I felt so close to him yet between us was life.

The two men, placed him on the stretcher to the morgue as I watched closely. Then the mortician took over and pushed him away from us. From life. I watched as his lifeless hands fell on the side of the stretcher, his feet, shoe-less and white and motionless. [F].

Knowing that I would never see him again, I broke down inwardly, I called my friends and acquaintances, I sent pings to my closest friends and asked them to pass the information across. And that I shouldn’t be called, I didn’t want to break down. But Biko called immediately as I signed the morgue ‘admission’ register.

The mortician called from inside but I told him I had seen enough of my dead brother and that seeing him again would be the worst of a sighting. We left the morgue. Without my brother or his body.

What followed was a series of activities and I was able to meticulously plan for Eric’s final destination almost single-handedly. My classmates from the postgraduate class were very instrumental led by our class president and Wanja. My Alma mater college group, led by Steve, the Masterclass led by Moses, and the ball club led by Karen, all came in for me and our family in a way I hardly anticipated since it is always too difficult to be on the receiving end. Not to forget the outpouring presence of Dennis from the first day to the laying of my brother. To all of you who came through for me, I am greatly indebted by your generosity, kindness, presence, and words of encouragement during this hard time. Because death is difficult.

I am still reeling in grief, I am still throwing those hundredfold clicks. I may seem okay but deep inside I am full of guilt. I imagine that there’s something I would have done to prolong his life. I have thought this before, but it has always been too little too late. When my mother died in Kiambu General Hospital, I was away in college and I felt if she had been in a better hospital maybe she would have lived. When Winnie died a day after she had a bout of pneumonia attack at night, I felt guilty that we would not have waited for the dawn to take her to hospital. That had we taken her to the hospital that night she would have survived. The same guilt is eating me up about Eric, that had I been proactive enough about his illness, this blog post would not have seen the light of day.

Eric, my brother, that boy who always had the heads up in school. You who had the textbooks new and I second to them. You with whom we shared a bed, you who we fought to the ground when you sold the cart and oxen, you whose outfits I coveted, you who came to visit me on visiting day, you who took me back to school when I was suspended from school, you with whom we got lost at the ASK show in 2000, you who called me Kabro during your last days, you who couldn’t believe I bought car, you who always bragged you had a rich brother with a huge gas company – oblivious of my struggles and frustrations with the job-, you who asked the person who bailed you from police cell after being arrested for drinking at the wrong hours that you didn’t ask to be bailed out for you had a brother. You who taught me how to cook, you who cooked so well.

You had your faults, demons that were a constant reminder of who you were, – human too human-, well, you will never know it, but the world will know who we were. And your kids will be proud when they hear your name.

Rest well Kiki as dad called you. Rest well Mchora as your friends called you, Rest well Bigger as I called of you in this blog and saved you in my phonebook.

 It doesn’t make sense that we will meet again. I think it ends here. I know it ends here.

*************

To the reader, this blog is part of my healing process, pardon me where you find it hard. Drop a kind comment down there. It will help.

 

@Nathan 2019. 

Death is too hard for a living until we die.