Isolation before Isolation

Isolation before

Once upon a time, I used to do anything and
everything to isolate myself even if it is for a brief period. I had invented
and told many lies to remain isolated at my home or in a faraway place from
work. However, to stay isolated was most difficult and was often followed by a
sense of guilt because I may have tried to escape from everyday
responsibilities, people, and life. Nonetheless, the sense of guilt, or love
for family; nothing could stop me from detaching myself from everything else. I
was intrinsically motivated and committed myself to find answers. I needed
answers to my self-inflicted suffering, a profound sense of emptiness, burning
awareness of artistic desires, and a dreadful feeling of being separated from
my roots. Back then, I could afford self-isolation because I didn’t have to
worry about putting food on the table, as my wife naively trusted me and took
care of the family. I was comfortably cushioned from external factors and had
the luxury of staying disconnected. I felt compelled to severe myself from
myself to find myself.

Now that I could isolate myself, I had all the
time for myself and with myself. There was no escaping from my thoughts, so I
had no choice but to have conversations with my thoughts. Initially, I was
worried and afraid that these were the first stages of becoming insane, talking
to myself, that is. Then I realized that my fears and worries were interrupting
my conversations, so I had to unfriend them temporarily. Now, it was just me
and my thoughts. The discussions were deep but respectful, mostly. But some
conversations were not easy. You see, these were not negotiations, so I could
only continue a conversation or conclude it with some sort of closure. There
was no way to skip, manipulate, or forget something. After all, emotions and
feelings were my friends, so I befriended them again. Conversations turned
lively as there was crying, laughing, dancing, suffering, and of course,
sometimes it was a group discussion. It was also the time to embrace the
profound realization of insanity. Once I did that and made peace with myself, I
saw a crack, a tiny opening in my isolation. I didn’t know what the opening
would lead me into, but I knew that it was time to get back to the surface, and
it was time to sail.

 I knew it
was going to be tough to leave the ocean behind but had to be done. I was
compelled to leave it, just like I was obligated to drown. It took a while to
reach the land, and the moment my feet touched the sand, everything sort of
started to come back to me. All the memories from my childhood, the sounds, the
smells, and the sight of my wife and son. It was like being in between long
dreamless sleep and the state of being fully awake. I felt exhausted
physically, but I was floating in my mind. So, I slept again, and this time to
rest my body, oh boy, was it aching. When I woke up, I felt fresh, and
moreover, I felt clear, like never before. Like, I could see every pebble,
shell, and fragment in the lake. Physically, I was overwhelmingly hungry, so I
ate whatever I could find in my kitchen, both cooked and uncooked, and gobbled
as much as I could. I relaxed in a reclining chair, and all I could think of
was a vehicle that could help me sail, ride, and fly. In that silence, it
occurred; the vehicle I wanted is with me all along. The only difference is
that the vehicle was driving me before, but now, I seem to be in the driver’s
seat. No route, no map, no visibility, no direction, and no destination. There
was nothing but a conviction and ample support from my wife. Adrenaline was
pumping, and I drove fast, and I drove straight. The speed kept me excited, but
I realized that I was so busy driving that I did not notice anything around.
What did I pass through? What have I not seen? Trees, mountains, lakes, animals,
peoples, societies, languages, cultures, clouds, planets, and whatnot. I needed
to slow down, I had to slow down, I must slow down, and I did slow down; so
much so that I began walking with my vehicle instead of driving it. Only when I
started walking, I could see what’s around me. Fortunately, they saw me back. I
could feel it in my veins. It was a piece of paper stuck in barbed wire, and it
saw me back. Everything I saw, responded, reciprocated, and reflected.

Me and my vehicle, we became friends over time.
You know that feeling of being inseparable to your friend? As if you are not
different from each other? You don’t see each other for a decade, but you start
where you left off? Your friend knows more about you than you know yourself?
Your friend becomes your guru, your messiah, your purpose? You know the
feeling, don’t you? Yeah, it was like that. And it is still like that. The
vehicle called photography loaned a camera to me, and after a long time, I
returned the camera to photography. The biggest lesson my friend taught me, is
that I don’t need a vehicle to sail, I don’t need a camera to see, I don’t need
the need to be seen, I don’t need photography to make photographs anymore,
because I have become a photograph, I have become photography, I have become a
vehicle, I have become seeing, I have become my friend, and finally I have
become myself.

I am the waterdrop, and I am the ocean.

I am the speck of dust, and I am the endless sky.

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