Having lived just over a quarter of a century, I know not much about life. Most of which I do know came in the form of this letter that Sumiti Saharan, a good friend of mine wrote when I was leaving India to pursue a master’s degree elsewhere. I’ve read and reread it multiple times for all kinds of reasons. And it has always left me with a smile and a tear (fine, two). But most of all, it has given me hope. Here’s a wishing that you find something in it too.
The world has many edges and it’s easy to fall. What holds us safe? People say love, but it’s a simpler thing than that. Affection, I think, is the glue.
They say, a part of life. You have known of this long before, seen it approach even. The inevitability of it. Logic, mathematics, history, life itself… you have surely lived long enough to know to accept it. Perhaps not long enough, then.
The memories materialise slowly. They hide in forgotten coffee cups and paints that have begun to crack. They live, woven to the very fabric of grey sweatshirt, their essence distilled in the last remaining drops of olive oil. We feel them sneaking up on us. We dodge. We fail. The ones that we will recount to ears that simply don’t get their magic. The ones that will remain captive in photographs, waiting to once again be seen, recollected, relived. And then, the ones that will find no currency of expression. They will slip through the jagged structure of languages; they will escape the pixels of photographs; some will not even be contained within trillions of synapses in our brains. The ones that will find no currency of expression and simply go on to live in an undefined feeling. A feeling that will remind us of hot tea on a cold tired night.
Oh! the places you’ll go!
We’d point the paths that have the most spectacular of views and the ones where earth is loose and uncertain. We’d tell you that they are almost always the same path. We’d tell you to wear shoes with a good grip. We’d tell you to walk barefoot. We’d tell you that the world has many edges and it’s easy to fall. We’d tell you to leave no path untaken. We’d tell you of paths that lead to a place where wind howls a sorrow so heavy that people live under the earth. We’d tell you of paths that lead to a place where wind sounds like laughter and draws smile-line on people’s faces. We’d tell you of this world and all it holds.
we’ll tell you nothing of it.
After all, your world has not come to exist yet. It’s waiting for you to make it. Make a world you love. And keep some place for us in it.
With much affection