Loneliness is a bitch. Especially when you are surrounded with friends, acquaintances, couples, food, variety of people and even bigger variety of beers. It starts to creep somewhere at the back of your mind and before you know it; it engulfs all your senses. You are talking, but you cannot listen anything, you are looking at people, but not able to see anything, you are surrounded by deafening music but yet silence is all you feel, you are moving with the music but after sometime you realize you are moving with the train of your over powering thoughts instead.
For the first time in your life you find yourself at the Derby, a laid back enthusiasm hovers in the stands, where some are busy deciding their next bet, others hogging on to the delicacies being served during and in between the races. But all you can see is the way jockey pushes and pushes his horse to win, all you feel is a dull ache somewhere at the center of your being, realizing that something in you does not agree with what you are watching. Although the crowds’ deafening roar erupting to cheer their respective numbers, brings you back a bit from all your mulling, yet you fail to either participate or to understand the necessity of the entire act.
While you are trying to be acceptable with the fact that you are already stuck at the stand for next couple of hours so you might try to behave “not bothered or bored” and simultaneously trying to make an acquaintance understand that why you don’t buy animal prints or ride them, exactly in that moment one of the horses collapses just couple of yards before the finishing line, and you experience something which the people in general describes as “having your breathe caught in your throat”. With zillion experiences which can make your breathe caught in your throat, you would have never picked this one even if you have exhausted your chances of choosing all others. You stand there frozen, trying hard to make the sense of words spoken by the commentator, when he announces that the horse has just suffered a sudden heart attack. All the others who have betted on the number printed on the cover draped across that horse's back, are frustrated over the fact they lost their money, you look around to see if anyone, even one of them, is talking about that living thing that is now lieing on the ground still as a stone.
The moment is passed, the animal is taken away, and the races continue as if nothing happened. You too mingle with the expected, eating, drinking, chatting, dancing, trying your best to be social.
Although the race course is closed and the party has began you see then very clearly that they are all in derby in their own minds competing with self on endless dimensions.
Somewhere in middle of all these, you look around and find yourself disconnected with everything, asking yourself one question you end up asking every single day, “what the hell are you doing here”, “why are you even here”. Just like that the auto pilot mode is switched off, and the feeling creeps in somewhere at the back of your mind, gradually engulfing you, making you want to turn around and keep walking, yet your social manners shackles you to the spot.
Even with the day spent the way it was spent, the only truly enjoyable thing you remember doing is the walk you took at the end of the night in pouring down rain, getting soaked to your skin as you walk towards your car instead of running and somehow that ten minutes’ walk becomes the highlight of your day, with every step the rain washes off, the talks, the music, the pretense, the dense fog of escapism and the clutter of boxed emotions. The feeling that has engulfed you isn’t bothering you anymore; it has grounded you instead, making you whole.
Written By – Ritika Patel