Letter to My Past Self

The idea of writing a cheerless letter to you does not much commend itself to me, but I know that, with regard to understanding others, you exceed many of your peers. You appear to have the keen percipience required to see through attempts by others to conceal their sadness, and more importantly, the willingness to lend a patient ear to the cathartic expression of their tumults. I hope, therefore, that you may well understand that I am not in a remotely blissful state of mind while writing this letter, for perhaps there yet dwells a part of me that seems unwilling to come to terms with the fact that the happy days of childhood are never to return.

For at the time of your reading this letter, you are in the best phase of your life. You could hardly be expected to conceive of your reality morphing from the daily vivacity of friends and family, and a lively residential society, into a saturnine spell that seems never to end. Regardless thereof, several years into your future, you may find yourself helplessly drudging through an era of broken promises of ‘friends forever’, all the mirth sucked out of life, a profound emptiness in the family, and the lively residential society but a ghost of its former celebration of life. Much of it shall be owed to a major world event, and you might feel disillusioned with hitherto hallowed institutions, both national and global, for they shall turn out to be utter disappointments.

Despite its seeming implausibility, you shall feel an intense nostalgia for cartoons you watched in childhood, of all things, especially such as revolve around Indian mythology, and you shall rue the loss of your childhood’s simplicity. As you grow up, you may well realize that it is not necessarily commendable to elevate yourself in the preachy and supercilious judgment of others — it ought not to be your goal to act beyond your years in every aspect of life. The child within must also be allowed to partake in pure beatitude. Be airily apathetic to the judgments of even your mother; savour every moment of watching those cartoons.

You were intensely devoted to the idea of God — Lord Vishnu in particular — back in third grade, when the movie Dashavatar had an indelible impact on your impressionable mind. Of his avatāras, you appeared to be profoundly interested in Krishna, especially his childhood, perhaps owing to the manner in which his otherwise simple life commended itself to you (but then, of course, you were attracted to cartoons that seek to make it interesting for children, and hardly to scriptures, which made you want a friend like him). Over the years, it would be natural for you to lose interest, but after yet a few more years, your thoughts of those days shall be nothing but wistful. There is perhaps an ineffable genius in those cartoons that overpowers your rational faculties — ‘your’ being the operative word. I am certain that your friends do not care in the slightest; you shall far exceed their facility with the English language, but they have long switched to English movies and television series themselves. The memories of no animated Disney movie or of Franklin’s turtle tales would engender within you a reaction as remotely nostalgic.

I am at present contemplating a return to religion, to the extent that I propose to devote some time everyday to meditation with silent invocations of the Supreme. I propose also to avoid the presently prideful labels of ‘atheist’, ‘agnostic’, ‘spiritual’, ‘religious’ and suchlike; people seem to present them as indicators either of reason or of morality. I am feistily and contemptuously going to avoid this fool’s errand and utter pointlessness of a debate. I am unlikely, as you are, to evince any interest in rituals, or to trust the hollow notions that gods are ‘offended’ unless those rituals are punctiliously followed. But the listlessness and dolour of life is vexatious. I recommend that you do not lose interest in religion altogether either.

Alas, I can recommend no more than perseverance. This might indeed sound rich coming from me; there have been too many occasions on which I have furiously wished my life away. But any serious contemplation to that effect is not recommendable.

I must conclude this sepulchral letter here. I have perhaps disoriented you utterly, and perhaps this is shock enough to last a year. But you have a tendency, as have I, to get vexed at the slightest inconvenience; a long spell of negativity will suffice to greatly unnerve you. You would do well to cultivate an equanimous mind from early on.

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Eternal as evolution is, I cannot purport to have grown in full measure, and I hope to augment my acuity in the company of beings far more erudite than me.

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Samved Iyer

Samved Iyer

Eternal as evolution is, I cannot purport to have grown in full measure, and I hope to augment my acuity in the company of beings far more erudite than me.

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