Abstract

Guilt and persecution

There is water everywhere, imparting a sense of panic within. It is not that I am scared of water; on the contrary, I have always liked the sight, sound and even the feel of water on my body. Swimming in my opinion is the most exhilarating thing one can do when alone and want to be alone, erasing everything else around. The presence of a water body enhances the beauty of any place, I can spend hours watching the ocean play with the winds, lakes undulating under the morning breeze, even the muddy pools, those leftovers from a recent bout of rain makes me long for paper boats, splashing it on an unsuspecting passerby and such insipid, innocent fun.

But the water that surrounds me now is different, it’s unbearably blue almost as if I am looking at a summer sky, or maybe it is the sky. There is only so much that delineates the ocean and the sky at the horizon, here though I feel like I am standing in the middle of the world on a rock projecting from the tranquil pristine water pervading all tangible dimensions as if I am finally able to see eternity. This vision though calming when juxtaposed with my presence makes me feel like a blemish and the asphalt rock my darkened soul that is holding me steady. I turn my head to find the unchanging waters stare back at me from every direction and with such serenity that it blinds my eyes. I squint and peer at it for some deviation, some distraction in this aquatic perfection, only to discover that it is shallow. The limpid water even lets me see the bed of sand so clearly that I can make out it’s not sand, the surface is polished and possesses the same color as the vitrified tiles in my room. This realization strikes me hard, I could just get off the rock and start walking, these are not dangerous waters and there is no reason why I must get this feeling of extreme unrest, why must I accept I am some deformation in the perfect creation and scheme of things. But try as I may my legs won’t budge. Any movement or change from the state I am seems fraught with an ineffable danger, a danger of crossing the thin line that separates uncertainty and futility.

Thus I am left with no choice but to ruminate, not just on this particular situation and the internal dilemma but about everything that my mind with its limited abilities would allow me to ponder about. As soon as you do that, giving your mind a free rein to analyze a disagreeable situation the first thing it brings up is guilt. If guilt had a face it won’t be able to wipe out the smirk, or at least mine wouldn’t be able to. Is this some kind of retribution, guilt suggests, the smirk getting a chuckle for company. I have never committed any crime in the purview of the laws that qualify crime and decide the fate of criminals. But my guilt feeds on the many moral and ethical transgressions, I have; for instance, been cruel to the point of harming people who loved and cared for me. There were and always will be reasons and justifications for my actions, not of the usual namesake or the superficial kind either. I truly believe in them. This is what my guilt smirks at maybe, but do I care or do I act snobbish with my educated reasoning for the most disconcerting actions. I say disconcerting because it affected others in a way I cannot really understand, behavior of people who get close to you invariably end up baffling you.

Once you handle guilt with such high-handed dismissal, the next thing your mind throws at you is the feeling of helplessness, an enquiry into what is fair and what is not. Why am I being persecuted I start thinking. Why should I be in this absurd place, who decides the course of my life, is there any logic that drives our existence, is there a free will. If I was selfish and in the process hurt people, or to be more specific two people and probably a few more, and a dog, then somewhere in the grand vision of this arbitrary arbiter they would be found equally responsible. I don’t so much remember the details of why I broke up with the girls but I vividly remember the dog and the incident in the dark of the night. It barked for no apparent reason, I did what it takes to get it silenced. Also, I am not even sure if it was much hurt because it ran back to his compatriots, who looked at me in synchronized vision making me take flight. As for the people, they were much better off without me as I was without them in my life, so in a way in the bigger picture I did the right thing and for everyone’s good. So why am I stuck here; why do I still feel guilt; why am I helpless; unable to move.

The answers dawned upon me with a shock; an alarming shock to be precise, originating from the inconsiderate phone lying hidden among the folds of the bed sheet, or probably lying on the floor next to the bed kicked out during one of my usual subconscious acts that dramatically end in my waking up with a bad hangover. Dramatic I say because more often than not, after the nights when I ingest more poison that I know I am capable of digesting, I find myself waking up diagonally opposite and in complete disarray that it takes a few seconds to register I was sleeping, and the world is still sane.

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55 thoughts on “Guilt and persecution

  1. Firstly, is this fiction or are you really feeling this? You see the problem with brilliant writers (such as yourself) is that one can never tell if they have woven an entire fabricated tale out of a minute strand of truth. I suppose we all are the quotes we love.
    This was, needless to say, a very fluidly written piece of prose which takes the attentive reader to the maze of your mind. The metaphor of water that you have used to talk about the heaviness that you seem to find yourself surrounded in, is a clever one nonetheless. Especially when one reads the beginning where you speak about your love for water. So I’m left wondering if you brought the persecution and guilt upon yourself.

    I may be way off, in which case i ask you to ignore this little analysis. Suffice to say, this made me think a lot. And that is a compliment to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’d just like to say this ESP, I haven’t enjoyed reading something so much in a very long time… Your piece begins like a light drizzle of rain, manifesting into a heavy shower and then a magnanimous thunderstorm that leaves behind an aftermath of the heaviness… Sometimes art should remain unexplained and untainted, unexposed and understood depending on the reader’s perspective and imagination… Therein lies it’s effect! Brilliant work… Especially liked the line : “If guilt had a face it won’t be able to wipe out the smirk, or at least mine wouldn’t be able to.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • ESP says:

      This comment though applauding my post reflects what a profound reader and a writer you yourself are, you have the qualities of writing prose with so much poetic sensibilities, I m reminded of your post titled princess and the dove.
      Also, as always I agree with your opinion on art, the artist relishes interpretations and criticism more than people finding out what he had in mind while creating the piece.
      Thanks a lot for reading so thoroughly πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Orange says:

    Wow! Just w-o-w!

    It’s going to take me some time to assimilate the beauty of this write up, though I’m already drowning!
    Honestly, this is one of the best prose write-ups I’ve come across on WordPress.
    I’m almost reading every line again, and thinking on it.

    M-I-N-D-B-L-O-W-I-NG!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Orange says:

    The reason why this piece is timeless is that there is a lot left to the reader to contemplate on. It’s not just a ‘read, appreciate and go’ piece, but it extends beyond this one post.
    The initial mention of love for water and water bodies is very elegant and is intelligently done. That led me to think that so often, isn’t it the same things that we love, cherish and adore that cause us distress? Going back to the first line, “There was water everywhere”, the word everywhere probably hinted at surfiet. Extending it, it’s when in excess that the most beautiful things that cause distress-both possessions and emotions, extra emphasis on the latter.
    “I am standing in the middle of the world on a rock projecting from the tranquil pristine water pervading all tangible dimensions as if I am finally able to see eternity.” Very beautiful! One thing I appreciate a lot is that you portray water as still, unchanging, undisturbed and calm throughout. Words like ‘blemish’, ‘asphalt rock’ hint at internal turmoil.
    As a reader, I kept thinking of water to be calm, yet in excess, to an extend that its hard to look beyond it. The mention of it being shallow is a wonderful twist. I mean it’s not so easy to just ‘walk out of the waters’. I love the portrayal of the uneasiness, the inability. It’s very eloquent.
    Then the guilt and helplessness, the internal turmoil. The guilt part, at times we know that nothing is justified but we still convince ourselves, for life has to go on, living has to remain. On the contrary, at times we feel guilty even though everything is justified. Deep down we blame ourselves despite knowing that things were for the larger good. And at times both these thoughts appear at once, paradoxically.
    All the thoughts appearing in the midst of the situation is yet another brilliant thing, legit, though its something known to us.
    The last part, which I’ll call the climax leaves the reader spell bound. Just reminded me of something I had read by Sylvia Plath-‘I think I made you up inside my head’, though my thoughts now had a complete different dimension here, as compared to the thoughts that appeared when i read the piece by Plath.
    “I ingest more poison that I know I am capable of digesting, I find myself waking up diagonally opposite and in complete disarray that it takes a few seconds to register I was sleeping, and the world is still sane” Damn!

    Liked by 2 people

    • ESP says:

      This write up is worthy of being a post itself, I am amazed at how you have read the piece, it’s beautiful and insightful at the same time. It’s a great feeling when readers like you post their views, I am overwhelmed and thankful at the same time.
      Read your “essay” more than once and love it, you must write more such essays πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Orange says:

        Lol!
        I never usually share my analysis on a write-up. I don’t do it even for my favorite writers here and I limit it to four or five adjectives.
        I am thankful that you value people who bother to read like I do πŸ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

      • ESP says:

        Which only makes me more than those favorite writers, you are really making this Sunday special πŸ™‚
        Confession: I never read Sylvia Plath, or for that matter any of the great poets.
        PS: 4-5 adjectives ..buss? You are lovely and hilarious 😘

        Liked by 1 person

      • Orange says:

        Hehe! I was really touched reading your comment for Nandita where you said “as soon as you read something, you become a part of it.” How wonderful! Plus you were okay with me typing out any sort of analysis here and you even granted me permission to post a long one. πŸ˜›So that’s why…

        I’m happy that I could make this day special. Happy Sunday!

        Lol! Thank you. πŸ™ƒ

        Liked by 1 person

  5. How do I even start to express my feelings about this. I think firstly, is the admiration of your writing and talent in expressing thoughts, I assume these are your thoughts rather than imaginary because they feel so real, like you know them so well… but, either way, they are deep and existential, and feel honest, like the water that you contemplate…. You describe guilt so well, and I relate because of how intimately I know this emotion. Introspection sometimes points us this way, do you think? Endless consideration and reflection on our actions, it’s so easy to see ourselves as the blemish on perfection. The metaphor you use with water is …. perfect. This is sublime writing ESP. I felt it deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are the thoughts of an alter ego who thinks he is a philosopher. I love how you read this piece and captured the essence of guilt, it is a poison by itself and never to be overdone. I also wanted to say how guilt is closely related to persecution, the shades of self-pity that accompany guilt. Maybe these two have a causal, implicative effect on each other, but they flourish together whenever we go on these addictive trips of introspective high.

      Like

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