Monday, December 27, 2010

The journey is everything

On this day, a year ago my Dad passed away from a single, and his first, cardiac arrest. From the time we broke down his door to the time I immersed his ashes, I tweeted just about everything. Since the past three years, almost my entire life is on Twitter. From my son’s birth to my dad’s death, I’ve tweeted everything. Why? Why do I share intimate details about my life with strangers? I don’t know. I wish there was a single sentence answer to that. There isn’t.

I’d like to believe my real life is boring. And that Twitter, with all its noise and chaos, is my real life. But it’s all the same. I don’t know if there is such a big difference between your real life and your online life. Time is a constant. You choose the places and the people you like. And sometimes they choose you. I got so much warmth and support from Twitter, through that period last year, that it overwhelmed me. Even today, my Dad’s first death anniversary, I got a beautiful, sensitive and supportive email from someone I’ve come to know through Twitter. It has also overwhelmed me with its warmth.

When I was going through hell last year, I got support. Absolute strangers helping me to deal with my loss. In my anger, in my grief, in my rage against things I couldn’t understand, they were there. Even at the prayer ceremony to remember my Dad, they were there. Strangers who didn’t know me beyond my daily, aimless 140-character blurts were there to be with me and give me a hug. It moved me then, it moves me now. Makes me wonder about that saying “smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone”. I cried and it seemed like the world cried with me.

I don’t know why sharing with strangers worked for me. Maybe because I’m not good at being alone, at being quiet, at being pensive. I like talking. About myself, about my very boring and ordinary life that I love and enjoy. About my mediocrity. I can also go on and on. Thankfully, I remember someone even hauling me up on Twitter last year when I became too depressive. I’m glad he did. I did slip into a depression that I’m still not sure I’ve come out of. My grief was still my own. The warmth and love and support help, but the loss is mine and I have to carry it. (Aside: This NewYorker article helped in a very big way because it questions our traditional idea of grieving).

So no, I don’t know what it is about Twitter that works. I’d be daft if I started to talk with strangers in the local train. Or roll down my windows in a traffic jam and tell people that I’m sad and depressed. They won’t care. They don’t need to. But I guess Twitter is different in how it gets us together. All of us together in a journey. Friendships and relationships can get made in journeys. We laugh and cry in journeys. We unite and fight in journeys. We love and lose in journeys. You can choose to be alone in the journey. And you can see the train go by on its journey. All that’s left in the end is the journey. I think, and as the tag line of that very famous movie goes, the journey is everything.

25 comments:

kaveri g said...

You have put what I felt into words. Twitter has been my rock through cancer, through my only siblings tragic demise, through the worst times & some good times..

The knife said...

First of all condolences on your father's death anniversary. And thanks for sharing this.

I guess a lot of us dip into social newtorks - twitter, facebook, blogger - takes us beyond our Peter Parker & Clark Kent lives

Keep tweeting especially about the state of Mehboob Studie traffic in the evenings :)

Anonymous said...

My respects to your father. I started following you last year when i read your tweets after the prayer ceremony. Those were poignant tweets and I admire you for admitting that you found solace in sharing the pain. Not many know it, let alone say it.
Smita

ani_aset said...

met you for the first time at 5 spice tweet up. Condolences on father's death anniversary. Like Kaveri said, twitter has been a great support...made some real good friends here, some who have stood by me whenever i needed them the most. Kaveri is one of them :)

Preeti Shenoy said...

Loved this post.
Could entirely connect as I had started blogging to get over the deep grief of losing my dad.
Well said and well expressed.
Cheers
Preeti

Natasha said...

Lovely post.
And you have expressed it so well for so many of us.
Thanks!

Patrix said...

And we are glad to have you around. Thanks for sharing.

Bombay Addict said...

Kaveri - Thank you. I cannot imagine what you went through and I am so sorry for your loss.

The Knife - Thank you. And there's much more traffic out there for me!

Smita - Thank you for your kind words.

Ani_asset - Thank you. Next tweet-up, I hope we have a drink too.

Preeti - Sorry for your loss, my condolences. It is difficult.

Natasha - Thank you very much.

Kalpana Behra said...

I guess Natasha and Patrix summed it up very well "you have expressed it so well for so many of us" and "we are glad to have you around". Can't say it better than that. My condolences.

Atul Karmarkar said...

Condolences on your Dad's anniversary. I remember reading your tweets at this time last year with a lump in my throat, as you described each painful moment.

It also takes guts to share so much and allow virtually known but personally unknown people a peek into your personal life to such an extent, including both painful as well as joyous moments.

Thank you also for putting the "wit" into my Twitter timeline, which never fails to bring a smile to my face each time I read your updates. :)

Above all, thanks for this post - again, written from the heart as always.

Lakshminarayan Viju Ravichandran said...

Condolences for your father's death anniversary.
You've put those statements in words, which I probably will not be able to convey. In most cases, Twitter followers are strangers, and it's a lot easier to converse with them about the difficulties, rather than with a friend.
A really nice post! :)
Best wishes for the new year!

Gautam Ghosh said...

I know where you've been - and I am a fellow traveller...

Strength to you...

prasadkulkarni said...

I feel bad for your loss. I got tears in my eyes reading your post. It reminded me of the time my father passed away. Sadly there was no social network 15 years before. Anyways I was too small to understand the consequences and forthcoming hardships. I am very thankful to my mother that she never let anything harm my progress and life. She stood firmly behind me in almost every aspect and promoted me to do things. Never let me feel the void of my father.

I don't know whether one should share such intimate feelings with world or not. But Twitter for sure has helped a great deal in these matters. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has really brought like-minded people together. Its only about sharing your rants, feelings and voice your opinions.

Life sure is a Journey. And yes, journey is everything.

Rakesh said...

My condolences on your father's death anniversary.

When I think of @b50, I think of the honest tweets and the tweets surrounding your father's death.

Few months after reading about your father's passing away, I lost a close family member. And I found immense support from your tweets and from 'friends' on Twitter. Not something I had anticipated.

I did tweet about what I was going through, what I felt, as a way of venting, not craving for empathy nor sympathy. At that time, I vividly remember being amazed at how 'strangers' so genuinely and generously throw a line helping you stay afloat. That is Twitteristan and its amazing population.

With your post today, you have 'expressed it so well' and in agreement with other comments, I'm glad that you're on my Twitter Timeline.

Hang in there. Use time to try and heal.

Thank you.

~ Rakesh

Bombay Addict said...

Patrix - Aw. Nice of you to say that. Thanks.

Kalpana - Thank you.

Atul - Thanks for your kind words.

Lakshminarayan - Thank you.

Gautam - Thanks, fellow traveler. I know. I remember.

Prasad - Admire your strength. Thanks for sharing it, thanks for your comment.

Rakesh - Thanks yaar. Always good to have you around on Twitter.

mayank said...

Hard for me to understand what you say here, i am not really a twitter person, just got an account and am not really active.

But that doesnt stop me from feeling your pain, I lost my dad - in his first & only cardiac arrest 10 years back (doesnt look that long really) and the pain was intense. Somehow at that time i felt no one in the world can understand what i am going through.. it was needed perhaps, my lonely homage to my dad.. but knowing that you are not alone in misery (through twitter or any other network) probably lessens the pain..

Not sure if you agree and @kaveri does, but really if there were none like us out there, would it still be the same.

My prayers are for you and for you and I can only say - you are not alone my friend, we are just like you - in our pains, in our misery, mediocrity and laughters alike. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

dear @b50, its rare to 'meet' someone who can articulate all those emotions tumbling around and in us so well. its a beautifully written thank you to Twitter (and much more I guess). Stay well and as nutty and enjoyable as ever. Hope 2011 is everything you would like it to be. warm wishes gauri

Bombay Addict said...

Mayank - Sorry for your loss. You know how tough it is. Thanks for your comments and your wishes.

Gauri - Thank you so much and best wishes for 2011 to you too.

~j~ said...

When I first got hooked to the internet, this line struck me: "Strangers are just friends waiting to happen". And even though I've become more guarded over the years, I'm very grateful for Twitter.

In my two years with the medium, I've seen it all; judged and misjudged people, their actions; found friends who became my sounding board and support; got help for work and travel; and learnt something new everyday.

So yes, the journey has been quite eventful. And while I haven't experienced your kind of grief yet, I completely understand and agree with you.

Finally, about your dad... Don't be sad. It's important to celebrate him, his life and his legacy - part of which is you and your son.

Rock on,
@vodkaholic

irbswat said...

27 dec a day i will never forget in my life.I had reached a point few years ago where my downfall began.It was hard for a boy who had topped the class till 12th to get failed in a college exam.and the way you started this post reminds me of my novel's proglouge

shaun said...

Very nice and clean experience you have shared here. Great post.

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Iengar Chick said...

:(

jamesreegan said...

My respects to your father. I started following you last year when i read your tweets after the prayer ceremony. Those were poignant tweets and I admire you for admitting that you found solace in sharing the pain. Not many know it, let alone say it.
http://www.priyaconstruction.net

totalliemeh said...

Can't believe this is a coincidence. I am having the exact thoughts about twitter, how I am more comfortable over there, and questioning my very well known introverted nature in real life when I am comparatively lively over my twitter timeline. Excellent post, and I know exactly what you mean.

Condolences on your father's death anniversary..

austere said...

I'm sorry.
And you're terrific.
You were like a rock when I lost my parent,and I've not found the words to say ty. Not yet.
So I shall keep nudging you on my sporadic visits to twitter and pestering,"Haan.What did you mean by that?"