Which Sadness is Sadder

Is something I can never decide upon…

I am someone who gets all sentimental during movies and books. I cried while reading the ‘Kite Runner’, I cried for an hour when ‘Sirius died’, then Hedwig, Fred, Dobby & so many more. When I reached the point in ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’ where Sati was about to die, I actually had to shut the book because I was not in a place where I could shed a tear (inside the metro). Senti much! And don’t even get me started on movies. Three Idiots gives me a constricted throat even today. Who else can cry in that movie! It was comedy no? I cried when I was watching ‘The Bucket List’. That one too. By the way, do you know where can I watch the movie Elvis and Me?

But today, I saw ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ (written by Jodi Picoult, now a motion picture) & I had to pause the movie where Kate walks up to her father before leaving for prom. I had to. You would know why if you watch the movie. (Do watch. Amazing it is) … This movie reminded me of a friend of mine, Akankshya. She was my junior at school. And she is someone I look up to because she is one of those who braved Leukemia with a smile and a maturity that people thrice her age do not possess. After watching the movie, I wrote to her:

Saw My Sister’s Keeper. Beautiful! At one point had to pause. I was crying so much. It reminded me of you.
There is so much more in the world that is heart breaking, painful, sad yet beautiful. And we cry about stupid things and useless stuff.
Sometimes I find it difficult to categorize grief. It’s like – No one can ever decide what problem is big enough to cry about… For how long! Is someone’s death the pinnacle of grief? Or simply breaking up is enough to keep crying. It is like- I can’t decide which sadness is sadder.

Everyday a 1000 thoughts and more run a marathon in my mind. Some run a 400m race, some do a 100m sprint & some have made a permanent home. Not all of them are happy thoughts (that’s okay! You gotta have balance in life). And the newspapers don’t help the cause either. Everything adds to the sad thoughts. I have not yet reached a stage where I can deeply contemplate the not so happy happenings of the world & end up being sad with all the problems around me; the issues of women safety, world poverty, ruthlessness etc etc.

I see people crying over broken relationships, things not happening the way they want it to be, their careers not working out, their plans not working out, their love lives not working out. Some are in grief because they cannot be with the person they love, some are in grief because they do not have a job & their life has come to a dangerous standstill, at the edge of a cliff from where a free fall could happen anytime, some are in grief because a lot in their life depends on how they fair in an exam, some are lamenting the loss of a loved one, some are fearing the loss of a loved one, some are in grief because they are suffering from financial or health problems, there are whole countries which are in grief… from where I see, everyone has some or other kind of grief in life. I belong to these ‘some people’ too.

I am wondering whether we can categorize it, or measure it? I am befuddled – how much grief should attract how much sadness? Which kind of sadness is more sadder? Can we really compare the griefs of two people? Losing a loved one hurts the same as having a break up or is it different? The realization that you will never have the ‘forever together’ thing with the person you love is more sad or knowing that a you need to give up and move on is more sad? Looking at all the pain and hurt in the world – should you be depressed or should you look at the happy moments and smile and be happy about it? This is one question to which I have never had the answer. But for now, and for always, I am going to believe the following :

I read somewhere that a loss is a loss. It does not matter whether you lost it to life or death, it would hurt equally. Why, then, is it said that – if everyone keeps their problems on a plate, you would withdraw yours very fast because you would realize that others have had it much harder? Maybe because it is all about – the place from where we see it. Maybe it is the magnitude and the number of people who suffer along with us – that is different. Maybe we need to see the whole picture. I know I am not saying anything new. I am just re-affirming my own belief by putting it in writing. But you know … it always works. Looking at someone else’s suffering when you can’t bear your own, makes your own grief seem kinda small in value. And this helps you overcome it.

But most importantly because, maybe it is true. So, while every grief hurts equally, I think that believing that others have had worse, or are going through worse, somewhere gives us the power & courage to face our problems; because this realization makes our problems look smaller in our own eyes. It makes us feel small for having cried over stuff that was absolutely capable of having moved on from. It makes us realize that – in the end, we are not alone. That there are millions who have suffered this along with us. That someone must have written about it, found a solution even if it is not one that soothes our heart most. I think categorizing or comparing is unjust. But we may make an effort towards overcoming it – even if we have to believe that we are better off. Someone else had worse.

And above all, I do believe that it is not really difficult to find rainbows in life. We just need to allow sunlight through those drops of grief and sadness that we mostly lock away in the darkest chambers of our heart. Because, it always could have been much worse than it already is. But it is not.

This is Akankshya’s post after I wrote to her today (This & more about how she braved Leukemia, her thoughts and life post cancer can be found on her blog. Do read..) – “My Sister’s Keeper & I”

P.S – Getting senti on not so senti movies and books is okay right? Can’t help it though 😛