What is Tragedy? by Bushra Ishaq, First Year

Friday, April 15, 2016 KELS 0 Comments Category : ,

What is tragedy really?

So we were watching a famous Indian movie. And we made sure to make it very special. Popcorns and drawn curtains. And hushed occasional whispers. And even those were few and met with reprimand. Our eyes religiously followed all that was happening on the screen. Before soon I heard a sniff. Warily I turned around to see my friend dabbing at her eyes with a tissue in an attempt to stem the flow of tears that gushed out of her eyes. Sure enough it was nearing the end. The sad, tragic, tear jerking end that makes up Indian classics. The same old plot involving a terminally ill person who for reasons unfathomable to anyone but the sadistic writer keeps his illness hidden only to have it get revealed at the very end. Minutes before his death. The originality of the plot was definitely mind blowing. So as I thought about what tragedy is really this was the only thing that crossed my mind. 

Death. The ultimate tragedy we are all fated to meet.

So basically death is the saddest thing that can happen to any of us. And it is definitely tragic. 
Ceasing to exist, having your existence wiped out from the world until eventually you become a mere memory, and then you cease to be that too anymore. You fade into oblivion. And this oblivion is inevitable. You cannot refute fate.  But its universality is comforting. And it helps lessen the gravity of this affliction considerably.

So then what is tragedy really? If death isn’t.

And the answers start hitting me one by one.
The child walking barefoot on the road trying to sell a couple of coloring books. The child who has never been to school and never would either. Unless a miracle strikes but miracles are so hard to come by.

The woman whose face has been hardened by the circumstances she had to face, who had to endure so much suffering that she erected an impenetrable wall around her heart, preventing anyone from rousing her sympathy. Who goes around inflicting sorrow upon others because this was all life ever had to offer her.

The girl who aspired to be an artist, who loved bringing to life, mountains and blossoms and the night sky and sand dunes; by a mere stroke of her paint brush. But gave up on her dreams to fulfill her parent's. Who now wanders feeling lost and isolated. Who regrets not pursuing her goals. Who knows now that it is too late.

The man lying on the hospital bed staring at the dust mites and reminiscing about his past. Trying to relive memories of his children whom he raised so preciously. For whom he sacrificed his health, time, youth. Providing whom with all the luxuries of life had been his priority. Consequently he turned into a workaholic. And he let himself get immersed into the glories that came along with it. At the expense of witnessing his son’s first play, his children’s birthdays, their fears and fantasies and secret hiding places. And he realized too late that he should have strived for memories rather than possessions.

The brother and sister who had common ambitions, insecurities, desires. Their existences were entwined with each other’s. They fought but they could never bear to be apart. Where he went she followed. They made up stories and built fantasy worlds armed solely with their imaginations until eventually reality faded and their fantasy world became real. Together they were unconquerable. But then he left for boarding school. For once she didn’t follow him.

Years later she searched his eyes for a spark of recognition. The eyes that used to sparkle when hers did. The eyes that could read her mind, distinguish her emotions when no one else’s could. The eyes that now betrayed no signs of familiarity. Her brother had turned into a complete stranger.

And I realize death is not the biggest tragedy. It is when you forget to live while you are still alive. 

When you let moments, years and then your entire life slip like sand in an hourglass, doing something you despise, never truly living to your full potentials. When you are deprived of the chance to live the life everyone else takes for granted. When you spend your years without spreading love, kindness and cheer. When you believe you are living your life fully but every inch of your body shouts out in defiance. When you exude lifelessness without even being aware of it. When you look back and you don’t have fond memories to smile at.