Alone In A Crowd
Alone In A Crowd5 mins 259 5 mins 259
To feel lonely, one need not be alone! Many times in our lives, we have realized this. The first time I really felt very lonely was immediately after my marriage.
My marriage was arranged by my parents and it was a 4-day event, with all my relatives whole-heartedly participating in it. I got engaged in December 1980 and married in May 1981. Though there was such a gap, my fiance made no attempts to meet me or talk to me. Of course, like any 25-year-old girl, I was happy that I had got engaged to a person, who was well-qualified, well-employed, simple, humble and down-to-earth. But, I had my dreams and yearned to talk to him. He is the eldest of eight children and my mother was very happy that I was getting into a large family, little realizing the flip side of that.
As the date of my marriage neared, my happiness was giving way to a sort of anxiety and nervousness. I tried to focus only on the arrangements being made, as that was a very happy time for everybody in the family. I did not want to lose that fun and the enjoyment that got with my parents and siblings. But every time I thought of the big change that was going to happen in my life and realized that I would never get back those happy times ever in my life, my heart ached. I could not sleep during the nights worrying about my future in a totally strange family. I still remember my colleague’s astonishment that I agreed to marry a total stranger, “how could you do this? Seeing you read so many books, I thought you would definitely choose your life partner.” Had I taken a wrong step? Would I be able to adjust? My fear increased by the day.
The event arrived. Even as a child, when I saw the brides being sent off with tears, I would cry. So, imagine what I would have gone through in my own wedding! The time came for my departure. I was weeping hoarsely. I was shocked to see my father and brother crying, which intensified my sorrow. My uncle, who is also my dear friend accompanied me along with my cousin, to drop me in my marital home. The moment I arrived there, I felt totally lost and dazed. There were more than twenty people there and the house was congested, with all the baggage that had arrived after the marriage. I felt like I had arrived at some small, unknown railway station, where I was all alone surrounded by a crowd of total strangers. My uncle bid good-bye and broke into tears as he saw me crying. At that moment I just wished all that was a bad dream and I could go back to my secure home and live with my parents and siblings forever.
Of course, eventually, I started getting used to my new family, thanks to my husband’s love and sincere concern for me. I faced many challenges and difficulties because their lifestyle and habits were totally different from what I was used to for twenty-five years. Nobody else except my husband would understand my difficulty and poor guy would get sandwiched between me and his family, because he would be mocked at, for supporting me. He had to go on official tours quite often and I would feel very lonely at those times, though there were twelve other members in the family. It took years for me to get over that feeling of loneliness. Maybe, I have still not succeeded fully!
Then came another occasion in my life, when loneliness hurt me more than the first time. At least the first time, I had the hope of a happier life. I was fond of children and dreamt of a life with them. The children entered my life and gave me a lot of happiness and fulfillment. I got busy enjoying every stage of their growth, of course, facing many challenges on the way. It was a very interesting, engaging and happy journey with them. There were many happy moments that we, as parents enjoyed. The memories of those moments give us the strength to face today’s lonely lives. But that journey ended too soon. Both my children flew out of the nest for good reasons - studies/career/marriage. But the empty nest is just too impossible to live in. I cried for days and months and sometimes even now I cry when I think of all those golden years that we spent together in this house, I cry because those years are gone forever. I can never get back at the same time.
I feel lonely, though I have my husband by my side all the twenty four hours and have so many other loving relatives - my dearest mother, my loving brother, my dear sisters, my brothers-in-law, my sister-in-law, my cousins, uncles, aunts and above all my dear friends, who keep in touch with me regularly over the phone and my children of course call me every day. Nothing is like before! As I am aging, this feeling of loneliness and fear haunts me more, because I know life only gets tougher as we age and I don’t even know what is in store for me. I try to immerse myself in other activities and spend hours talking to people, just to push back those hurting thoughts of loneliness.
Time never goes backward. I try to live in the moment and enjoy it thoroughly, even if it is as petty as eating a tasty meal or watching a good movie. My son advises me to enjoy my own company, which is really hard to practice.
Loneliness is thus not about ‘being’ alone but ‘feeling’ alone! Finally, each of us is a lonely being and this tamasha around us will vanish very soon!