To End or Not to End

How should I start this story? For to tell it, there has to be an ending. And that is the most vexing part. All stories have one. To tie all plots, answer all questions, tell us who ends up with whom. People are lost without them. They consult fortune cookies, i-ching, the stars to jump to the end of the day, their life, just so they know that it all ends well. People were not meant to cope with the great mystery that life is. To most, it is as cruel as the friend who thinks wrapping gifts like a Russian nested doll is the funniest thing ever. To such friends one should say, you’re no Hitchcock. And besides, his “thrill’s in the anticipation” principle only holds true till the coin flips your way.

When faced with adversity, even the most commonplace of decisions and mundane of tasks seem significant, cause crippling indecision, anxiety, heartburn, and sleepless nights, and everyone wants a palm leaf with quick, satisfying mini endings (resolutions) and surefire ways to get to them, carefully evading the stress of what ifs and disastrous consequences. Death, the end to the final act of our lives, the biggest downer of all, goes unacknowledged as the proverbial pink elephant in the room. No one wants to confess that they see it, but everyone seems mesmerized by how pink it is.

When an ending eludes you or is denied, you feel cheated, trapped. Forever condemned to return to the moment, analyze each action, each decision leading up to it, in hopes of a closure. Not the false kind either. You may fool yourself with noble words, his heart belongs to another, he has to do this you see, it is for both our good, and such, but you cannot deceive the reader in you who knows a true good ending. This is not how it ends. Or should end.

The detractors, of course, may point out that life is unfair and not everything goes your way. The philosophers may urge you to see the bigger picture, and the false ending as a passing event. And the psychologists may wholly avoid the subject and discuss the proverbial pink elephant instead. To them you should say, up yours.

You know something, and that is it. You don’t go over-thinking it too much, or else you end up confusing yourself. And that is not an ending at all.

And if you do happen to dabble in doubt, stop and think. Think of all the times you’ve been right against all odds. Think of all the prophecies that have come to a naught, which you knew were nonsense anyway. Think: If Harry, from your favorite film, were to have stayed home, thinking all was lost, and that moving on and starting afresh was the only way, all the while ignoring how he really felt, this urge to run down the cold New York streets on New Year’s Eve and declare his feelings to Sally, how awful an ending would that have been?

So, for the time being, be an observer. A scientist. Like Stephen Hawking. Newton. Albert Einstein. And what you know is then a theory. This is not how it ends. To be retested for the benefit of others, and secretly for the benefit of self.

Now, observe life, people around you, people on the Internet, people anywhere – how they come together, fall apart, come together again … or not. Study the daily outcomes of your actions, thoughts, inactions: Were you right then? If yes, that’s a little victory for your theory right there. Make memory palaces of such personal wins. To validate your belief system. And if something happens to be in the negative, take a step back and rework, readjust the theory, like Copernicus unraveling the mystery of the solar system. But till something happens, wait.

And since this story doesn’t have a definitive ending as yet, only a sense of it, let’s start with another theory: Life is a romantic comedy. And no matter what hardships, heartaches, and hard times come our way, we all will have our happy endings.

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