A short while ago I was reading a fellow blogger’s reasons for why she has posted nothing for almost three weeks. Of the ten reasons she cited, one of them was the climate of hopelessness and dejection she imbibes from the world around her- news, social media, Facebook updates and posts from other bloggers. It made absolute sense to me because I too get affected by the bad news turning worse out there.

You can call me an escapist, but I consciously insulate myself from depressing facts and reports. The Nirbhaya incident hit me between the eyes before I had a chance to duck. Consequently, I was listless and dejected for days on end. I literally had to pick myself up by my boot laces and make me stand up again.

When things of these kind come within my range of awareness, I must be nimble on my feet and scoot before damage begins. Otherwise the thing will just get inside my head and take root. Then it will stay forever clogging my inner space and take me months and months of effort to get to a state where it no longer overruns all the nooks and crannies of my consciousness forcing all the good things out.

I don’t process negativity as other people do. Perhaps the soil of my consciousness is more responsive to weeds than it is to flowers. But then, who is to say what are weeds and what aren’t? There are people, I read somewhere, who consider daffodils to be weeds.

Be that as it may, I must guard my inner being from negative influences. For if they get hold of me, it spirals into a tornado. The mouth of the funnel becomes the loss of my will to live. There doesn’t seem any point.

An incident like Nirbhaya (yes, it is still squatting in my mental space) isn’t ‘contained’ in my mind. I don’t think- Women are not safe in Delhi (or a particular city). I think- Women are not safe. As proof, my rather efficient memory dregs up my own past experiences, incidents I have heard of first hand, stories/ instances I have come across from others.

Unbidden, I see faces of women who have related gruesome stories of marital rape, rape by a brother while the parents sat in the next room fully aware of what was going on, systematic rape of a daughter by her father for many years. I am reminded of the boys who were ‘initiated’ by older women much before they should have been, their childhood robbed from them, their innocence defiled, invisible wounds inflicted on their tender psyches- crippling them for life. My soul screams. And screams. And screams.

Where is one to find safety then? Is there nowhere to run to? Nowhere to hide? Why would one want to live in a world that’s so wanton and cruel? To whom do I show my achievements? To the closet rapist who doesn’t go all out but who feels up the little girls in his family and neighborhood? The unfulfilled woman who eyes up handsome boys and secretly lusts for them? I don’t want to win the respect of such people. And since I don’t, why would I even want to live?

That question is as jarring as the thud of hitting rock bottom. But I welcome the jar for I know there is no place to go but up, now.

I tell myself that the evil of this world is not a reflection on the goodness. I then write a story like this, this, or this. I lose myself in the world I create.

There is a lot more good news than bad news in this world. Unfortunately, only the bad news get highlighted. The world is perishing in a an attempt to scare itself to death. Why should only the horrible be real? Good news is far more real than the worst news humanity can produce, and a lot more common.

We’ve just stopped looking for good news because we are too riveted by the macabre spectacle of the gruesome. I am fed up of the pronouncements of doom and disaster. If mankind chooses to hide its good news from itself, I will create some for myself in the stories I write.

Who is to say that the world I create is not real?

Countering Hopelessness