Friday, November 16, 2007

We all are Escapists

It’s an amusing observation. It makes me highly curious. I have noticed that I just don't get any comments on posts which talk about sorrow or death or are of a serious nature.

I supplement a simple reason- We all are escapists of A grade.

We, the A grade escapists, don’t want to express anything that is gross or sad or deals with death.

We, the A grade escapists can’t imagine our friend or mother or cousin getting crushed on the footpath by a drunken sod and we can’t just picture the dead body of a beloved lying in the drawing room, just brought fresh from the hospital.

We, the A grade escapists don’t want to rack our brains on issues that we are insulated from.

And so, we, the A grade escapists simply don’t talk about things like the Carter road carnage, eye-donation, or cancer or any such philosophical shit which has any distant link with sorrow.

Why don't we just get our ass fixed on the chair and prob why we are incapable of reacting to sorrow.

The problem is, thanks to tomes of literature and high-drama serials and all the sodden things which are thrust in our mentality left, right and centre, we keep sorrow on a pedestal.

We have personified sorrow. We have come to associate sorrow with a higher emotional connect, something that is elegant and obviously in fashion. (I hate Sarat Chandra in this, that he made an icon out of a drunken spurn lover in Devdas)

At the risk of sounding cold, I repeat: We have idolized sorrow.

And so, the mother who keeps grieving the loss of her son in a freak accident for over three decades is an idol of motherly love. And so, the professor who remarries after his family- two children and wife die in the Ahmedabad earthquake, is the subject of city gossip.

Why do we shy away from death and sorrow? Why can't we deal with it in a more productive manner?

Personally, I take death to be the most rewarding and most learning experience of my life. I firmly believe it was good for me as an individual that I suffered a loss.

Death teaches. And that is going to be my next post.

As for now, I repeat- We all are Escapists.

-Gauri Gharpure



We are escapists for the time being. But we can't escape death.

Some of us do not talk about it because we know that nothing can change the ultimate. Moreover, we do not know for sure what waits (if anything at all) after death.

C R D said...

yea i completely agree that we are escapists.

and i also agree that we've put sorrow on a pedestal.

what ought to be put on a pedestal is not sorrow, but the ability to overpower sorrow

now saawariya isnt really doing well...escapism? [:P]

keep writing.

Phaniprasad M said...

I would not have been the person I am today, had I not seen death in first person. It may sound cold, again, but I firmly believe it was good for me as an individual that I suffered a loss.

I think that goes for every incident that takes place in our lives. Not talking about it or wishing to delay it is natural. Escapists aren't the above kind.

Joseph said...

Hi Gauri,

Rather than take you up on your vague inference about people being excapists when it comes to death and sorrow, let me describe my own encounter with death.

I suffered a heart attack on 2 September 2006.

If it was not for the fact that my wife was at home when death came calling and the 1050 ambulance service in Pune took me to Deenanath Hospital it time, I would not be posting this comment.

I have learnt from my near-brush with death.

One, diet. I have cut down my weight from 87 kg to 67 kg.

Two, exercise every day. Half an hour of walking in the park.

Three, manage stress. Do yoga and deep breathing.

The finest writing on death is by Ms. Anu Aga, chairperson of Thermax.

Also the Indian Express, Pune edition carried a story about two couples who lost theri children in road accidents, distributing leaflets at Nal Stop to educate vehicle drivers about driving safely and carefully.

Let us describe and share our own experiences with death rather than philosophise and make vague judgments.

Warmest regards,

Joseph M Pinto

Gauri Gharpure said...

Dear Sir,

Thanks a lot for your comment.

I appreciate the constructive steps u ve listed out and hope readers will use these for their good.

Anonymous said...

top class blog :)

Kalyan said...

Don't agree with your gross labeling of everyone as 'escapist'. If you have ever taken the task of informing someone that one of his family member died, or of consoling that dear cousin on the loss of her mother you would remember that words fail to come out during such incidents.

Something similar happened to me a few weeks earlier. Many of my dear friends didn't even call me up or came to my place. This doesn't mean they are 'escapists'. This simply means that they were too appalled and at a loss of words/thought/actions to console me. Thats it.

Awaiting your promised death-post. I am thinking of posting something on these lines as well. Thanks for giving me food for thought.

Gauri Gharpure said...

@ Kalyan- U r perfect in your views. I agree with u, rather respect u for the sense of balance u have maintained in the comment.

Let me chalk out my reasons for the gross 'Escapist' labeling

1)It hurts. Wht hurts ur ego, u r compelled to respond to. (like u or someone else may do) Such words are a very powerful tool for communication.

2) I refer the term largely for social issues which need to be talked about, be it eye-donations, cancer awareness, HIV, accidents by drunks, rapes- the list cud go on. How many of us care to write wht we think abt these things? (case in point- the three articles I have given as link- all ve posted replies to this article, but perhaps none went to those links, or cared to post a comment there)3)

No personal finger-pointing to anyone intended. That's why the usage of 'We': Me and you included. Comeon, even I will be at a loss of words on a consoling call...

The post on death will be up in 2-3 days.. read on..

Elda Alias The Smoking Mackerel said...

that;s not true in other countries. look at the amount of music out there dealing with sorrow and unhappy things

Swati said...

came here for the first time.. i agree with you.. we are escapist by nature.. one way or the other

Sameera said...

Great thought that is.I however do not think of death and sorrow like many others,having learnt many a lessons from them.They are both part and parcel of life and the sooner we accept that fact,the better.Keep up the good writing.

As for the help you asked with your Urdu posts,I am sorry cause I only know to speak the language!

Na.Su.Krishnan said...

I'm an escapist and I don't think about my death.

because there are lots in life that needs to be done.NOW!

G said...

I think I did not understand your point here. Why would someone want to escape something that is inevitable. Like death.
With the examples you have provided it is true that we are in a state of constant denial. If a city is bombed, you check with you friends and relatives if they are safe and then go on as if nothing has happened. But the thing is that life is never the same again for those who die/get injured.
That way we are escapists, yes. Moreover we are blind. We dont treat the victim as a person, he/she is just someone who had some bad luck.
Am I going offtrack? Maybe yes. I should stop. :)

G said...

And hey I also did not understand "but I firmly believe it was good for me as an individual that I suffered a loss."
I have suffered a loss too but never think that I deserved it or it was good for me. Prolly I am not able to get your point of view. Will read this post sometime later when I am thinking clearly. Maybe I will know what you are talking about then.

Gauri Gharpure said...

Hi G.

I am touched that you are actually reading up the old articles here...

this post was quite a rant, written very impulsively in a language i don't approve of or use often. so, i know things are a bit fuzzed up.

Let me explain

a) what i mean by escapists: exactly what you said. if a tragedy doesn't occur in first person — immediate family / friends, we treat death very coolly, distance ourselves from it.

the point i wanted to highlight, however, is that a bereaved person / family is not seen in a good light if he/she insists on jumping back with gusto. like, if a widow remarries soon after the death of her husband, she is frowned upon. It is 'ideal' to mourn for long periods and such people are often idolized even..

this idea, i cudn't bring across as succinctly.

b) how my loss was good for me — extremely personal. let me just put it this way — my loss has conditioned me to be what i am today, better than what I would have been otherwise.

i never ever deserved it and still wonder why.. saying that it was good would be too cold. but in some strange way, wrt my personal growth, yes.