Life, as I know it

Life, as I happen to chance upon, is highly overrated.

In my case, at least, it started off as usual with my birth and then, as usual, with my growing up and all the learning that usually went with that process. However, there is only so much one can learn from the society. At some point in the space time continuum, this learning fad had to stop.

And yes, it did.

Immediately, I realized one of the oldest lies told to every kid on the planet. “Life” isn’t much about your journey from birth to death. It actually ends roughly at 35–40 years for most people. After that, all that you experience is your existence in this world. You don’t live. You just exist. You do whatever you can to prolong that existence. You take care of your family. You laugh; you cry; you agonize; you go bonkers — but at the end of the day, you come back to your wide-awake-comatose condition — The cruise control mode that keeps your life chugging along the beaten path.

Well, there are folks who live life the way they want — till the day they drop dead. I envy them. That 0.01% of the eligible population. However, I am talking the overwhelming majority of folks who are just like me (So I like to think).

We don’t have a purpose in life. At least not anymore.

Actually, let me rephrase that for political correctness since most of our actions these days are driven mainly from a politically correct school of thought.

I don’t have a purpose in life. At least not anymore.

There! I said it. My life is effectively over. The interesting and learning part of it I mean. What follows now till I end up on the funeral pyre is an excruciatingly negative phase called “The Rest of My Life” or, in short, “TROMYL”. Shouldn’t it be TROML, you may ask. Of course! But having suffered through years of “How to pronounce XAML correctly”, I refuse to start another utterly wasteful discussion on how to pronounce TROML. Hence it has to be Tromyl.

Tromyl is full of missteps arising primarily due to a lack of general focus and interest. Tromyl is where you miscalculate everything from your official tasks on the job to your personal responsibilities — such as tucking the kids in at 11 in the night.

In case you haven’t noticed, they need to be in bed — preferably in REM sleep by 10pm! That’s the kind of miscalculation I am talking about.

Tromyl can get you in trouble. And that sense of rhyming in the previous sentence is entirely unplanned by the way. So is this verbal diarrhea on Medium today. Tromyl can hit you when you least expect it. Remember that status report you sent last week to your boss? You don’t? Dang it! That’s the problem. Where is that report now? It hasn’t manifested into the form of a report yet in all probability. So instead of ageing by a week in your boss’ email inbox, it is still lying conspicuously invisible inside your head.

Blame Tromyl. Not you.

You do recognize that I am using Tromyl and second person narrative together? And you do understand the fallacy in that? Shouldn’t it be TroYOUl? Perhaps. However, I christened this phenomenon Tromyl and its full form doesn’t matter anymore. It is IBM now — not International Business Machines.

Tromyl can make your chest feel heavy. It can pull you down from whatever heights you have achieved. It can kill you silently. Or it can make you kill yourself. It is a pretty dangerous phenomenon. Tromyl is as scary as AIDS is.

Convince yourself first. Tromyl is a scary proposition. It has no cure. Once you get it, you got to live with it for The Rest of Your Life.

The point is — whether you like it or not, at some point in your sorry existence on this planet, you are bound to be infected by Tromyl. Refer back to my 0.01% and 99.999% argument a few paragraphs ago. And try to apprise what happens to your analytical ability by comparing the numbers in the previous sentence. You get an idea of how destructive Tromyl can be. By the way, if you haven’t noticed the problem in those numbers till you read the previous sentence, you are already a victim of Tromyl.

At this point, I would like to take a small detour. Remember those good old days when you had the time to relish the finer aspects of life? Those dew drops on green grass? The autumn leaves? The Leo Tolstoy stories? The neighborhood cricket games? The stories you wrote as a teenager? The amazing times you had in school?

Never mind if you can’t remember them. Most of us can’t. But we do know we’ve been there, done that. Try to figure out why you are not reading Tolstoy anymore; why you can’t see the autumn leaves even when you are squarely looking at them every day in Autumn on your daily commute; why you can’t write for the life of yours a paragraph — let alone a complete short story… Why? Why indeed? By the way, that yellow leaf you just “saw”? That is just a dead leaf. This is summer for God’s sake. Not Autumn. Get a grip.

We all know the answer to those questions. The incredibly cliche phrase that we love to toss around — “because life happened”

It is not life you dumb squid (Trying to keep it PG13 here.), it is Tromyl.

What causes Tromyl? Let me try to come up with some insane generalizations. One, you probably said yes to a job offer not because of the nature of work but the size of the potato sack. You probably didn’t take a few steps in the right direction because you didn’t want to put your family in financial risk. You probably assumed that wealth is health instead of the other way round.

The cliche — Follow your dreams — is not just a cliche. It is an amazingly practical piece of advice that we ignore during the interesting phase of our life and then ruminate about it when we become Tromylled.

Don’t! Don’t ask me what Tromylled is. You are killing me. You haven’t learned a thing and you’ve read (So I’d like believe) over a thousand words. I don’t blame you. You are a victim of Tromyl.

There is no cure for Tromyl because by the time you realize you have it, you are already under the water and in all probability under the weather as well in your mind.

You sure can deal with it though. You can cope with it. A very small section of the Tromyl sufferers do get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves by completely rebooting their life. Unfortunately that is quite an esoteric thought that most of us can’t entertain — because we are chained to Tromyl. We have our families. We have our responsibilities. We have our demons under the bed and inside the closet. We have X number of reasons. What we don’t realize, however, is that a big chunk of those reasons are something we’ve created out of thin air — to justify our pathetic existence in this world. Once we realize it, we have a way out because we see how silly some of those reasons are. It makes sense to look at our life from thirty five thousand three hundred and thirty feet above and wonder why it should always be thirty five thousand feet and not a penny more, not a penny less.

Easier said than done I agree. I haven’t been able to get off Tromyl. Day by day I am getting sucked into it deeper and deeper. But I do have a ray of hope. It’s been a year since I typed anything and now I have a 1200 word blog post — full of grammatical mistakes and spelling devils; full of crazy simile and pathetic word and sentence constructs. Yet, I typed all this in one go — in less than an hour while waiting for a particularly bloody review meeting at work that is going to shred me alive to pieces.

I am not going to review this. That is not how this is supposed to be. It is pure, unadulterated and uncensored to a large extent (Except for that damp squid. Wait, dumb squid I guess. Where did that come from?) and I am proud of it. I am not going to make it palatable and shiny.

I am going to leave it as it is. It is a start reminder that Tromyl can do this to a person.

In case there is a Tromyl support group in Hyderabad, do let me know.