Sadness is rather an alien feeling to me. I think my brain is so habituated to rainbows and giddiness that it doesn’t quite know what to do when the rainbows give way to occasional dark clouds. I think of it as a tug.
Sadness is that inexplicable tug at your heartstrings when you know everything’s not hunky-dory.
That tug when you look at the wet, bedraggled sparrow on your windowsill and realize just how sad his eyes are.
That tug when you listen to the most heart-wrenching songs you can dig out and convince yourself that you’re an 80’s tragedy star.
That tug when you think of how utterly carefree your life was mere weeks ago.
That tug when the book you’re reading pokes and prods at your soul and then abruptly finishes without even a decent goodbye.
That tug when your parents smile at you even after you have royally screwed up and you want to smile back but your stupid lips refuse to listen and spout some poison instead.
That tug when you see a wrinkled old man tickling a giggling baby girl at the bus stop and hide your tears behind your oversized sunglasses all the way to college, imagining your dadu nudging your side and telling you to “Chin up, Bordibhai, I know you’ll make it.”
That tug when you’re laughing so hard you think you may have burst a lung or two and your best friend randomly asks you what the meaning of life is and you falter—blink slowly, and then you both come to the conclusion that neither of you really have the foggiest.
That tug when you’re lying on your back on a trampoline on a white sand beach next to a river, trying to decipher the constellations above—and you just cannot handle how beautiful life can be, sometimes.
That tug when you look up the lyrics of a painfully accurate song you’ve been playing on repeat for the last hour and a half and decide that the artist had been spying on you when he wrote it.
That tug when you realize that there are at least five and a half people in this world who would do absolutely anything for you and you wonder what you ever did so right.
That tug when you remember the boy with the crooked smile and golden heart and just know that it was never meant to be.
That tug when you come to terms with the fact that life as you know it is going to change very soon yet you desperately want to cling on to the slowly disintegrating strands but you know you can’t and so you curse yourself for being such an insufferable drama queen and hang on tighter.
That tug when you’re yearning for something but you don’t know what it is so you yearn for it anyway, hoping it’ll find its way to you someday.
That tug when you hug someone goodbye and suddenly grasp that it may be the last time you ever see them and so you grasp them tighter and breathe them in and tuck their scent into a corner of your heart.
That tug when you look at a lonely cloud shaped like a bent marshmallow and your friend remarks that marshmallows are the saddest things ever because they end up in an awkward broken state in people’s stomachs and you agree, but you don’t want to because, goddammit, the world is too much already without marshmallows being sad too.
That tug when you fully comprehend just how many people in this world go to bed with empty, broken stomachs and look at your bowlful of Maggi and wish there could be a free Maggi dispensing machine in every echoing alleyway of this hungry planet.
That tug when you look at the photo of a little kid surrendering to a camera she thinks is a gun and all you want to do is pull her close and cry and tell her that everything’s gonna be alright but you know it won’t so you just hit the share button, wipe that pointless tear away and scroll down.
That tug when you visit a home for the mentally retarded on your birthday and go around distributing samosas but all they want to do is shake your hand, beaming, and wish you a Happy Birthday and all you can do is think of the last time you called someone a retard.
That tug when you’re all prepped for a shopping spree and a little boy selling balloons comes up to you and tugs your sleeve and you finger the notes in your pocket and give him the one with the least denomination but look at him—he looks like you just gave him a million dollars!
That tug when you realize the world is brimming with broken things and try as you might, you cannot fix all of them because you’re probably a bit broken yourself.
That tug when you’re writing about sadness and your fingers have grimly decided that the list should never end and there’s a lump the size of Pluto in your throat and your nose burns and your heart won’t stop throbbing and the words are becoming blurrier by the word and you just…can’t…breathe.
And that’s when you feel the Weltschmerz.
Weltschmerz: (n) sadness or melancholy at the evils of the world; world-weariness; (literally) world pain;
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