When we are surrounded by dearest and devoted, more naturally their good will simply rub more or less fairly on us, and it further serves as an energizing cosmetic, giving us freshness to help sprinkle our days with liveliness and initiative. The presence of our nearest and dearest around are like spiritual gifts to make our lifetimes remarkable, worth preserving each occasion; finding ourselves encouraged with their voices, pleasant words and kindly eyes.

Normally a family is meant our daily sunshine and goalkeeper of our pains and pleasures. Mostly, the taste of it is never questioned so long as the shared goodness tinges our days – rendering us fit and comfort. But we are in for a rude jolt once their presence, a lovable guarantee, abandons us, perhaps, due to an unforeseen quirk of fate. Coming after; readying for the ensuing silence and the void that would damagingly haunt every living second is what I fear, that may later become, an inescapable mental injury: presently, what I have been toiling to live with.

For me, choosing to live through the days filled with millions of seconds of loneliness, and stay light-hearted is something like standing on treadmill – whole day! Sensitively exhausting! Not to be discouraged, I follow it up by comforting myself carrying an ounce of optimism. This allots me a tolerable hope to excite me every minute to do something rewarding and elevating pursuits.

How I employ these assorted academic activities and interests to cheer me up and prevent any unwanted notions enter my mind to worry me away from delicately structured routine is the silent struggle I listen to myself – every day.

Again and again how I laboriously make my façade of the tough exterior to conceal the choking emotions inside is a coping challenge I have to practice every breathing moment. And it starts like this.

It is one worrisome action that stares at me the moment I wake up; my eyes inert and half-open and I find two fingers poke at me and ask to select one. Alert, I’m quick to understand that one finger represents vigor, bounce, and a quick burst of energy and the other means the guilt, escapism, self-pity and followed by instant drying of any leftover energy levels. The fluttering fingers, meanwhile, wait before I lazily move to pick one! Here is a catch!

Once wide awake and alert I dimly become aware of the strife in the background: I don’t find the sublime presence of my wife or the enlivening laughter of my children, now settled with their families to care for, to stand to chorus heartily and cheerily pat to make a choice for the day.

If I have to make a choice guided by my emotional heartbeat then, surely, I’m fallen for the day and mowed down badly with ready to pounce negative moods that would start working relentlessly to drag me into the deep dark pit of self-pity. And throw me out wastefully floating around in nothingness. An awkward recipe for a horrible day ahead. Certainly, an unhealthy selection.

Instead, If I make a choice with my emotionally trained mind, in a jiffy, I get a vigorous thumbs up to start and set the day to dip into the pool of writing ideas, a mood to meditate, the freshness to read and alertness to think sanely. How I always wish I wake up to select the same choice with uplifting firmness.

This ‘choice’ ritual is played before me every day at sunrise in the time I get going for the day’s dispensing. The first instinct that pinches me to wakefulness is the sound of the stillness I’m residing with and the dead weight of privacy and absence of any loving soul to share morning smiles and prayers. To shake off the reoccurring upsetting mornings is a testing situation to summon all my good judgment to start my day with focus and clarity.

Most regularly, I’ll smile it over easily these punches but on certain dates, the gloominess claims it grips that turns out for me emotionally too powerful to shake off. This narration playing since last ten months is a reality that I have to live with, I’m afraid it may let linger its cruel curse for many days to come. Hopefully, I wish, it doesn’t work out that unluckily – for me.

Four out of five days I select a favorable mode to start and spend my day. It isn’t easy to climb into that mechanism, firstly I have to sweep away the rusted despair sticking out in each room, and when I open the wardrobes I find teasing quietness within the folds of piles of saris’ left unused, untouched since my wife’s untimely departure:  at once shoving an overwhelming demand on my moods. My everyday challenge is to fight them out, take control of my sentiments. Poise myself ready with a sunny frame of mind; tune in an emotional resolve to attack the day with the stamina of reading, teaching, and writing. To let my unsparing workouts push every minute to stand packed that no unwanted crooked views attempts seep to bother me in between.

Enclosed in an abundance of privacy, coming to terms with long spells of silence is what I’m exploiting today, to my advantage. Making myself cozy with time available. Undisturbed, I set myself in front of the keyboard and tap into my creative deposits and stay put for uninterrupted long schedules. To think, to sweat and hit the right buttons.

One straight payoff for me: a pint-size pleasure I would be relishing beating the fate-imposed quarantine. At the end of the day looking at the words I have poured out; sizzling recollections dancing on my computer screen. The sparkling ideas rolling out inspiringly. The reward – a blanket of restfulness to go to sleep for the day. The self-imposed writing installment completed – a diminutive win and calmness restored.

I’m aware that I’m not that good at writing, my memory is irritatingly unstable, and my patience easily breakable. Despite this discouraging self-portrait, I have picked up with fervor the line of writing. But I’m wishing the little efforts I bleed every day would allow me to scribble down my memories; recapture in words the thirty four years of togetherness with Mani my wife. The downside is that I have started appreciating staying on alone has its own helpfulness and in my case the unlimited silent hours to sit with my choicest books and park myself for long hours hitting the keyboard.

I didn’t take up writing with a view that someone would be glad about its gist or praise me for my expressions of homage to my wife. I’m doing it as matter self-discipline of my way of filling in the void created by the absence of my wife. I felt like the exertion motivating me not to reminisce or brood badly of anything related to past. And furthermore, sting me to sit down at the computer and group one expression after another until I accept the satisfaction that I’m restoring my memories in a readable fabric.

I’m glad I have selected the best decisions that keep me engaged and actualized. Discouraging noises are constantly there around; louder and waiting, and I know my strong mind wouldn’t grant them enough favor to dampen my spirits. I understand this phase of my life is bitter but I’m indeed grateful that my wits are impressive to take a good advantage of it. Trustingly, I chose a path; determinedly, I recognize it takes a tough mind and thick skin to hike along, alone, companionless for long-winding-days. I never forget that I have selected a prolific and stringent pathway to enrich my writing craft, and I’m very well aware that I can’t write when I don’t read; so including as many reading hours as my fifty-seven year’s old eyes would sustain. Hopefully, I aspire all my efforts would afford me two things. One, it doesn’t see me like a languishing offshoot of my live alone status; second, my morale and my meditation would give me enough support to realize my goal – to be a writer. Blessedly, my loneliness has provided an ink to my calling – the writing.

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