‘Falling is like flying; but it just has a more permanent destination.’ –Jim Moriarty/Sherlock. (BBC)
Height scares me. It always has. So when I had climbed a 100 feet ladder inside a dark cave at Araku
Valley (hill-station near Andhra) to see some sculptures of Shiva and Parvati, even the gods couldn’t
lessen my panic. A fit of vertigo is almost as bad as a panic attack; your hands and feet start to sweat
and shake, it becomes difficult to breathe and you wish you hadn’t climbed in the first place. Every
breath you take constricts your lungs further and further and eventually you start begging for mercy.
Or perhaps, it’s not that gruesome.
Literature is known for its ambiguity. The same darkness that brings solace to you might traumatise me.
Every word, every single word forms a different image in every person’s head, because perspectives vary
from one individual to another. Today’s word of introspection is fall; and I have tried to mentally weave
stories connecting all the meanings of this word.
A few years ago, my best friend shifted to Melbourne and that year she witnessed Fall twice. During her
22 ½ hour flight, she caught herself a sunrise which was a paradox because it was sunsets that she
named after people. She refused to fall asleep because she was ecstatic about finishing the whole
twenty-three hour Spotify playlist that I had given her as a parting gift. Being a schizophrenic is difficult,
and it becomes even more difficult when you are your only companion during emotionally
overwhelming situations. Ergo, when ‘Let Her Go’ (Passenger) came on shuffle on the playlist, she stifled
a sob and forced herself to fall asleep but she couldn’t. Instead, she had a daydream about falling from a
cliff and she nearly clutched the hand of the stranger beside her for the minimal warmth. Matters
worsened and she had to take a sleeping pill, but she remained adamant about removing her
earphones. “My best friend made it for me; I will complete this playlist before I land”, she kept repeating
to herself and the air-hostesses.
She was born in the Fall of 2000, perhaps that is why she is so hauntingly beautiful. She claims to always
fall for the wrong people because of it. Of course, she is equally sad and humorous about that. Since she
landed in Melbourne, it has been a week and she has not slept a wink yet. “I dream that I’m falling into
this endless abyss, and I cannot stop my motion in any way”, she told me over a video-call as I stared at
her tired face from a continent away. I couldn’t help her.
One sunny afternoon she called me and said that she slept for the first time, in 17 days.
“That is brilliant. You took pills?” I asked.
“No! I was rummaging through my bag when I found the CD that you had given me. That, and a poetry
anthology of Agha Shahid Ali helped me fall asleep almost immediately.”
“Which CD was it, again?”
“Poets of the Fall.”