A rich uncle of mine died recently, having lost his wife to cancer a decade ago, abandoned by his daughter and son-in-law since a year, living out his days in an old-age home, utterly alone, despite the existence of brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces and a bevy of grandchildren. No one was called for his funeral and when his daughter came back home after cremating him, there was no proof of his existence remaining on earth, nothing he left behind which was being missed, by no one. His wealth is enough to last a couple of generations, but is embroiled in legal and family fights, a grave disrespect to his own father, a dynamic man amongst men, someone whose presence filled the room like a large self-aware, trumpeting elephant, a veritable forest of a person, leaving behind roots and leaves and trees from nothing at all.
The man who died did nothing for the last 30 years of his life. While I believe working till the end of life is stupid unless you are born to do that work, somehow it fills me with regret to find people do nothing. Work could be anything, making something for someone, doing charity, seeing the world, any damn thing at all. But this chap did nothing. He woke up, took a bath, watched the stock market, gave a couple of stock orders, watched tv, had food cooked by a cook, went for a walk, watched tv and slept. That’s it. He could have been one of those ideal persons where the cable companies fit TRP machines to determine viewership, because he did nothing else at all. If he would have died 20 years ago, it would have made zero difference to the world at all, or to himself.
Just how many people are reduced at old age to this? This thought crosses my head at a time when I realise that I have finally surrendered. Surrendered would probably not a proper fit, embraced would be a better word. I don’t know when, but I have embraced the monotony that inevitably encompasses a modern cloistered monogamous life. I still have less harnesses than most people I know, and a lot of opportunity for gigantic terrifying crushing failures, but other than that, I think I have finally embraced what is. It could be a monotonous immensely happy and fulfilling life, but by definition, if freed of its negative connotations, monotony means most things occuring over and over again.
One sexual position. One partner. One source of money. One skill. One house. One holiday on schedule. One primary role. One secondary role. One label. One emotion. One source of disappointment. One harness. One anchor. One definition of success. One inexplicable source of joy. One adventure. One look. One image.
Many victories. Many defeats. One way of looking at them.
One, just one, hope.