HAPPY NEW TEARS PART 1 (MOTHER TERESA HOUSE DIARIES)
Thursdays were the only day of the week we couldn’t volunteer and that meant I had New Year’s Eve off. Fuck. If I could of worked, I would of. I sat in my room trying to work out what the hell to do while sending a token banal new years eve facebook message to an unresponsive Russian philogist tabla player that I’d fantasized holding hands with that night in an effort to block the tsunami of loneliness that no one ever talked about that accompanied so many people’s new years eve experiences. As I composed a message, I accidentally mistyped ‘Happy new tears’ instead of ‘Happy new years’. It seemed strangely fitting and briefly contemplated on sending it as is.
There is an undue pressure when it comes to New Years. One feels as though they have to have an amazing time, an ecstatic apogee of ultimate life celebration as the clock strikes midnight, as if something momentous had just happened and everything was going to suddenly change. As if conflict in the Middle East would spontaneously resolve itself, Jews and Arabs calling a permanent truce over Korean fried chicken, MDMA and an all-night Karaoke session. As if ISIS would suddenly stop beheading people and decide to focus their efforts on their middle eastern/Death metal/ tiki lounge fusion band instead. As if the human race would suddenly quit playing dress ups and become actual adults instead of just squabbling sibling children wearing their parent’s fedoras, overcoats, and high heels. As if the polluted, dying environment would suddenly and miraculously heal itself, wrenching the steering wheel of spaceship planet Earth away from the approaching meteor of death and towards holier space pastures beyond the Crab Nebula. As if the human collective consciousness, without warning would expand to the size of the infinite cosmos and all forms of prejudice and discrimination would be eclipsed by the exploding solar light of mass awakening.
Instead, every new years eve was predictably the same as every other new years eve: just a bunch of dumb apes getting drunk, drug fucked and having mostly regrettable one-night stands with whoever happened to be standing near them in the darkness of whatever social event they had gone to, as the arbitrary date based on an arbitrary fixed calendar system shifted with mechanical finality to the next succeeding number.
Okay, maybe I was lonely. Seeing as the only women I knew in Kolkata were my four aunties, my two great aunts and a bevy of elderly nuns, my chances of having a one night stand were zero, mostly due to the chances of experiencing regret in the wake of such a horrific event were 100% guaranteed. Thus, I was spending New Year’s eve alone.
It was by choice. My choice. There is too much pressure on New Year’s eve to hide from your loneliness in the company of whatever other people are trying to do the same. You end up trying to chase a good time, but the fact you’re chasing something as ephemeral as that, coupled with the impossible expectations of New Years eve, almost always dooms your quest from the outset. You end up being that drunk guy wandering the streets with no pants, stopping traffic by leaning into car windows as they slow down to avoid hitting you and yelling ‘WOOOO HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! WHERES THE FUCKEN PARTY AT???’ into their cowed faces, knowing that deep down the ‘fucken party’ was really just a metaphorical symbol for that special something that would pull all the needles out of your deluded heart and bring you into the light.
Okay maybe I was bitter. Sure, I could entertain this notion. But where indeed was my ‘fucken party’? I wondered as I practiced my happy face in front of a cracked, dirty mirror in complete darkness. After the extended bout of hyperventilation finally eased off, I realized it was not in some dreadful nightclub or some music festival or some backyard party where I didn’t know anyone except for the one friend I’d cling to like a leaking liferaft. It wasn’t in any place outside of myself. No, my ‘fucken party’ was within, and I didn’t have to go anywhere to find it, except inside the spare room of my Aunt’s apartment. My previous New Year’s eve had been a depraved, drugged out affair spent dancing with faces I don’t remember, to music I don’t recall at some festival in the Australian bush that I was told afterwards I had been at. This year signified a change. I was a fucking man of God now and my ‘fucken party’ was in my fucking ever loving heart, toasting marshmallows over the fire of compassion with Jesus and Bambi.
I decided to boycott the traditional new year’s eve celebrations by instead spending the night practising tonglen- a Tibetan meditation technique where you inhaled the suffering of all sentient beings and exhaled pure love - and then going to bed early, secretly enjoying the act in a perverse demonstration of egotistical self-denial. To think the previous New Year’s eve I had spent dancing to the trance music of the Sufi brotherhood of Fez, wearing a green mumu, with a head full of MDMA, and a pair of pupils playing a hi-speed game of pong with each other.
Yup, I was getting old and shit.
I sat crosslegged on my bed and tried to meditate. There were two factors against me. The first was the fact that during my preceding ritual deity worship I had lit way too many incense sticks and I couldn’t put them out as it would mess up the puja and possibly curse the new year. Thick, noxious clouds of incense smoke filled my lungs, inducing a constant, dry, hacking cough. The second factor was that because of this noxious incense smoke, I had to leave the windows open, thereby allowing loud noise from the New year’s eve event going on in the function room downstairs to enter my sacred space.
Off key Hindi singing wafted from a terrible speaker system that was as loud as the singer was bad. And he was terrible. His dying warbling sounded like a once highly respected patriarch begging for his life at gunpoint after simultaneously defecating himself and bursting into tears in front of his once respecting family. After every hideous song, his muffled, dissonant voice would say ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’
Meanwhile, I was trying to bring peace and love into the world by taking on it’s suffering like the classic martyr hero archetype popularized by so many delusional, egomaniacal whackjobs that ended up killing so many innocent people. But with all the noise outside, I couldn’t concentrate.
‘SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU STUPID, IGNORANT, PIECES OF SHIT I MEAN LOVELY LOVING POOR LOST LAMBS WANDERING THROUGH THE SUFFERING OF SAMSARIC ILLUSION THAT I LOVINGLY LOVE, MAY YOU ALL SHUT THE FUCK UP AND BE FREE FROM SUFFERING ONE DAY YOU FUCKEN ASSHOLES!’ I yelled out the window at the people downstairs having a great time.
The hundred of so party goers downstairs didn’t seem to care about my suffering at all.
Where was the respect?
I tried again to do more tonglen meditation but my mind kept wandering as the disco beats wafted into my room.
Maybe I should just go downstairs. Maybe they would let me in. I’m a cool guy. I mean I fucking help dying poor people for fuck’s sake. Christ, I’m such a cool guy.
I tried to concentrate but it was all in vain. After less than ten minutes of Tonglen I decided to call it a night.
Now. Before I go to bed an hour and half before New Years heh heh heh, time for prayer.
I tried to send out a prayer to each of my friends, family, enemies and all sentient beings but the infernal racket downstairs kept pulling my mind away from love and towards fantasies of mass homicide that resembled a one man Boka Harem terrorist act.
‘I’M TRYING TO PRAY FOR UTOPIA HERE ON EARTH YOU FUCKEN HEDONISTIC SCUMFUCKS I PRAY FOR YOUR WELLBEING MAY YOU FIND HAPPINESS IN THIS LIFE TIME THAT I HOPE ENDS SOON YOU PIECES OF WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL FUCKING SHIT!’ I yelled out the window.
The dying singing man continued to wail over the top of the pounding backing track.
It was enough prayer for now. Well shucks, I’d given it a good shot but it was time to turn in for the night.
Heh heh, I’m so much better than all those partying idiots. I thought with satisfaction, as I tucked myself into bed, wearing my favourite Winnie the Pooh pyjamas. I stuck a pair of dirty, disintegrating plugs into my ear canals, wrapped my head in my sleeping bag like a full facial turban and hugging my threadbare, faded childhood carebear tightly, attempted to fall asleep.
I lay in bed, trying as hard as I could to journey to the dream realm, but as everyone knows if there was anything that any kind of strenuous effort produced, it was a distinct lack of sleep. A kind of eyes-closed wakefulness that was both a form of denial and a source of endless, infuriating irritation descended over me. Far below, the music and fun times carried on.
‘SHUT THE FUCK UP! I’M TRYING TO GET SOME REST HERE. I HAVE TO GO POUR LOVE INTO HELL AT MOTHER TERESA’S HOUSE TOMMORROW, WHERE POOR DYING PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO ONE EXCEPT ME, THEIR LOVING SAVIOUR OF LOVE, ARE SUFFERING, YOU SELFISH, EMPTY, MATERIALISTIC PIECES OF GOD’S AMAZING MAGICAL RAINBOW OF CREATION JAH RASTAFARI CONQUERING LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH!!!’ I yelled.
They didn’t hear me and by the sounds of it, carried on having a good time. I don’t remember when exactly I fell asleep through their mindless noise, but I did, because I remember being woken up by the countdown of the offending party.
‘5! 4! 3! 2! 1! HHHHAAAPPPPYYYY NNNEEEEWWWWWW YYYEEEEARRRRR!’ Everyone screamed downstairs, as another deplorable cover version of another deporable Bollywood hit was sung by the deplorable man with a deplorable voice.
‘Happy new tears.’ I said to no one.