Today is July 1. I can hear the referee's whistle. It's half time. Six months from now, another knock-out match will be over. The scorekeepers will add one more year to the life lived, or subtract a year from your lifetime -- whichever way you choose to look at it. The score is either 1-0, or 0-1. You are the one who wins, you are the one who loses.
The question is how often do you win and how often do you lose?
Whether you want to enter the new year on a losing or a winning note, today is the day to strategise. Six months have gone past, so what? -- another six months are left to make up and maybe even score the winning goal. But when the opponent team is Life, which always has a trick up its sleeve to mindfuck you, even the best of strategies may not work. The idea, I guess, is to lie low and defend your goalpost till the last minute, and just when Life is caught napping, score a big one.
Last year I won, 2-1. In the first half, I achieved something I had always dreamt of: finishing a manuscript of 64,000 words and sending it off to the publisher. Till then, I hadn't written pieces longer than 2,500 words. But as soon as the second half began, my mother died. Minutes before the final whistle went off, however, the book scored a goal on my behalf by going into second reprint. So 2-1.
This year, the game began under the shadow of the terrible goal that Life had scored against me in 2009. My team, even though playing well enough all this while to defend its goalpost, is still licking the wounds from that nasty goal. Even when I recently went to Coonoor, breathing and sleeping in the fresh mountain air amid pin-drop silence, I dreamt about my mother on most nights that I was there.
The dreams were hardly pleasant ones. We, mother and I, were constantly fighting in them -- arguing with each other, shouting at each other. This is what happened in real life too while she was alive: we were always fighting -- the fight that happens when you love and care too much for each other. You sulk and wait for the other person to call, and then you make up only to fight all over again over something really silly.
So the wound that devastating goal from Life had inflicted on me is yet to heal entirely. It is not easy to get over her death when we had been a close-knit family of four for the past four decades. The empty seat in the audience, whose occupant would have otherwise cheered me, is distracting me time and again.
Today, during half time, as I get a breather, I resolve not to look at that chair in the second half and focus of scoring a few winning goals. Maybe after I win, I would go and prostrate before the chair. Let's see how it goes. The second half has just begun.
Today was not the day to have written a post. I am running high temperature and coughing like crazy. I can feel flames erupting out of my skin. Ideally, I should have been in bed by now, after swallowing a Dolo 650 and a spoonful of cough syrup. But I am also my own coach, and how can the coach disappear during half time? So I poured myself a drink instead, and decided to give myself a peptalk.