As human beings we experience various emotions in various degrees throughout our life. Some of our emotions are positive like happiness, and some are negative emotions like anger,sadness. And as humans we are built to experience all the emotions . It is my understanding that we should not try to suppress our emotions.
There are many a times sadness and depression are used synonymously, which I think is not right. There are people who suffer from depression but are happy, then there are some who are sad, and some who are angry. Sadness or happiness is an emotion or a mood, where as depression is clinically defined as a mood disorder. It’s an disorder like any other physical disorder like a fever, or flu or cold. Based on my recollection of my father and from many of my memories of him; he was genuinely a happy go lucky person, who would laugh and smile at the most trivial of joys of life, yet he was depressed. I refuse to believe he suddenly one day woke up and decided to take his life. There was something bubbling and seething inside him for a very long time which he was unable to recognise and acknowledge , and we as a family failed to notice.
Since my earliest memory, I was aware that my father’s favourite character from Shakespeare’s plays was Hamlet and his favourite dialogue which he could narrate verbatim with all emotions even in his sleep was :
“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause. There’s the respect
that makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
the Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely, …”
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, whose father is killed by his uncle, jilted by his lover Ophelia, erroneously kills Ophelia s father , yet valiantly duels his lover’s brother and ends up being killed treacherously. As a child I remember watching Hamlet with my father and thought of Hamlet to be a righteous, energetic and valiant fighter. There was something about Hamlet, that drew my father to it. I observed his fascination as a fact yet I did not understand the depth behind it until I was an adult. Now as an adult I view Hamlet as an enigmatic and righteous prince, who curses his ill fate, is erratic and depressed, he has no friends and is very good with play of words and is very philosophical. In the play, Hamlet is contemplating suicide at the time when he is speaking the dialogue ‘ To be or not to be’. Much like Hamlet, my father lost his father when he was in his early twenties. My father , along with his two elder brothers, was left with the responsibility of a family of thirteen, out of which at least six were very young children. My father did not have time to grieve the loss of his father , had to grapple with the reality of death, deal with raising and providing for a large family. I am not sure whether I understand Hamlet s dilemma with life, but I sure do understand my fathers. And in many years of my adulthood, I have been awake in the night, wondering how on earth did I miss this connection. Over the passing years I have understood and accepted the fact that the knowledge that you discover and possess as an adult, cannot be applied to the events that happened in your past. Yet it is of paramount importance as to what you do with thus acquired knowledge and how you apply it forward.
My father had another much loved book called Nicholas Nickelby, by Charles Dickens. There are many more books written by Charles Dickens , which are more well known and admired than Nicholas Nickelby, yet this was the book which my father talked about the most and he always was moved by the character Smike, the ill fated, cruely treated and dim witted boy, who is considered good for nothing.
My dear Appa, I never told you that one of my favourite book too is Nicholas Nickelby. I always saw you as the righteous and idealistic Nicholas. Nicholas who thinks differently from his miserly and rich uncle, Nicholas who is kind and compassionate,helps Smike escape from cruelty and shows empathy to a dying Smike. Wish you had shown a bit of compassion and kindness that you showed others to yourself too.
with lots of Love and hugs.