Rain has been falling from time to time. Sometimes, lightning and thunder preceded the shower. A constant stream of cooling breeze blows throughout the day. This weather should be a great relief from the discomfort of the hot and humid conditions I have been experiencing for the past few weeks. The lethargy that had dogged me for a good part of those unpleasant weeks has been washed away, only to be replaced by bouts of melancholy.
Last week had not been a productive one. Nothing much was accomplished. When my mind is troubled, insomnia sets in. Many nights of sleep were lost to playing online games right into early mornings. When the surau opposite called the Muslims to their first prayer of the day, that signalled bedtime for me. When I do not get more than ten hours of sleep daily, I would get all prickly and withdrawn. And the cycle continues.
Sunlit hours were whiled away surfing, reading blogs and napping. To some, this may seem like having an easy and relaxed life. I tell you, this is absolute boredom. There are an assortment of chores that needs to be done but I am mentally too lazy to perform any of them. Melancholy is more destructive than it sounds. It saps the body of its physical energy and drains the mind of its optimistic outlook.
Like everyone else, I can be beleaguered by depression and mood swings. Luckily for me, these mood swings appear and leave just as fast. For this current melancholic episode, I spent long hours looking out the window. The view is still as fascinating as it was when I first saw it five years ago. What mesmerized me most were the cloud formations that drifted by. Large fluffy white masses that constantly changed shapes and direction.
Life as clouds must be carefree. They go where the wind takes them. They are yielding. They looked serene bobbing about in the blue sky. Somehow, spending those time observing these little droplets of water in their unsynchronised dance in the heavens lifted my spirits. Problems floated away and were soon forgotten. Daily struggles with my disabilities did not seem that gruelling anymore. Life did not appear that gloomy after all. Cloud watching is therapeutic indeed. I recommend it to anyone who is being encumbered by the drudgery of everyday living. It worked wonders for me. I am sure it will work for you, too.
Peter and me on my 19th birthday (1985)
The road is long
With a many a winding turns
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother never failed to tug at my heartstrings. Many times when the burdens of life weighed me down, I wished I had a brother who would carry me through those arduous patches. A recognizable voice, a firm pat on the back and a knowing concerned look would have been more than enough to soothe a troubled mind. Knowing that one has a sibling who will always be there come rain or shine is like living in a house with a foundation so strong that no storm can blow it down. That should be a concerting feeling indeed.
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
Beyond doubt, I was a burden to those who had to care for me. Without the goodness of all the people around us who had so kindly lent a helping whenever we needed one, Mum would have had a difficult time looking after me. How many of us would expect our mothers to nurse us when they are already into their sixties and seventies? Mum never complained. Still, there were some activities that were beyond Mum. And most of the time, Mum would call on her nephew Peter for assistance. Mum was the eldest and Peter’s father was the second in a family of five siblings. Every Saturday, for years, he would diligently ferry me to physiotherapy and helped me with the exercises. Peter never complained, too.
If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another
Before I was strong enough to transfer myself to and from the wheelchair, Peter would gingerly carry me into and out of the car. That is why whenever I hear this song there would be tenderness deep in my heart. Try carrying a 180cm and 65kg paralysed body with limbs flopping all over and you can begin to see the burden that he had partaken. That was despite having two bad knees that he suffered in an accident that involved his superbike crashing and then sliding under a speeding truck. It was a miracle that he came out of that alive. Now he still takes me everywhere whenever I asked him. Everyday I pray that he will be blessed for all the goodness that he had so selflessly showered on me. Thank you cousin. Truly, you are the brother I never had.
It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
Chinese New Year is just three days away. Somehow, the excitement I had as a kid anticipating this occasion has dwindled over the years. I guess I have become more complacent with age. Experience has numbed me to the thrill of heralding in another season. Each celebration is a stark reminder that I have added another ring to the trunk. Each new spring intimates that I have one year less to accomplish what I have yet to attain. Festivals do this to me. They make me melancholic. They bring out the worst of mid-life crisis in me.