Of Solitude, Loneliness And Departures

“What can you say about a 34-year-old man who departed at his own appointed hour, of his own volition, of his own means to reach his own ends? That he was handsome and charming. That he was talented and successful. That he was brilliant, an actor adored with a large fan-following, a promising future. That he in his ‘bucket list’ had 50 dreams lined-up which included dabbling with Quantum Physics, visiting the Moon, learning to fly a plane, train for Iron Man Triathlon, play tennis with a champion, space training at NASA, discuss policies with the PM of India and more. And that he was in love and a celebrity!”

Sushant Singh Rajput, reportedly took his own life on June 14, 2020, forenoon, alone in his rented flat on the elitist Carter Road of Bandra, Mumbai; having written the poignant epitaphic last lines of his a few days earlier, as quoted in the poster above, dedicated to his mother whom he lost as an impressionable teenager of 16; consumed by the self-destructive passion of a kamikaze… but, Why…?

The news that arrived like a hammer blow to the brain left me in a sequence of being stunned, remorseful, crestfallen and contemplative beyond reason. As I gathered myself to bring measure to my thoughts, a myriad images confounded in silence rose like genies from an Aladdin’s lamp of bewilderment and disorientation. The question recurred…Why?

Solitude and Loneliness….where does it all begin! And where does it all end!

While in school, I was lost in my world when I was rehearsing for the Declamation Contest with the recitation of William Wordsworth’s ‘Solitary Reaper’:

“Behold her, single in the field,

Yon solitary Highland Lass!

Reaping and singing by herself;

Stop here, or gently pass!”

As the words and their meaning sunk in, in their repetition, ably aided by my British English language teacher (on deputation from the British Overseas Education Service) from Scotland, the scene of the song, who implored me to “feel the pangs of the words in their rhyme and rhythm comparing it favourably with the cuckoo singing in spring or a nightingale delighting weary travelers in Arabia”; it indeed aroused the early emotions associated with solitude and loneliness in an adolescent mind of 16 years: the same age at which Sushant lost his dear mother. He was the only son amongst five siblings.

Albert Einstein said, “Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.” Perhaps, Sushant realized it too and allowed himself to wait for the morrow, as he built the bricks of his life one by one. But solitude and loneliness is made of sterner stuff that reminds us of its presence like the shadows that trail us. It did so with Shakespeare:

“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my fate,…” (Shakespeare, Sonnet 29)

Precociously, Alexander Pope at age 12, soliloquized solitude and loneliness too:

“Happy the man, whose wish and care

A few paternal acres bound,

Content to breathe his native air,

In his own ground…

…Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;

Thus unlamented let me die;

Steal from the world, and not a stone

Tell where I lie.” (Alexander Pope, Ode on Solitude)

Youth has an uncanny identity to solitude and loneliness. Perhaps the tide of sensitivities, emotions and deep feelings turn to the highest-high-tide when youthful monologues of the mind quietly come to terms with one’s being and gets absorbed in symbols of expressions. The poet John Keats, wrote when just 19 years old, by talking, almost paradoxically, of dwelling with solitude:

“O solitude! If I must with thee dwell,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap

Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep, __

 Nature’s observatory__whence the dell,

Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell…” (Keats, To Solitude)

As I write this, many a words and lines have been spoken and written on Sushant in the last 24 hours of his departure; devastating as it is for most: some in solidarity, some in soliloquy, and many in the repetition of the oft-quoted numbers that identify of the others mired with the same malady, whether here or in the nether world. But let me step aside the statistics with the wand of a Benjamin Disraeli, “There are three types of lies __ lies, damn lies and statistics”. Or better still side with Mark Twain’s passing thought, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable”; perhaps as pliable as the vagaries of solitude and loneliness. The only thing that matters to me is the dominating question, Why?

How I wish I could question Sushant, perhaps confront him, with my own set of predicaments on solitude and loneliness; ask and seek advice to my own listings on my ‘bucket list’ and solicit answer if it were too late or in a cavalieran belief hold hope for it all to mature with time; like he too believed; or did he not! For, I believe that the best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil. Surely, Sushant too identified with it; if not why the charm, the success, the adulation, the fan-following, the ‘bucket list’, the dreamy wishes of dabbling with Quantum Physics, visiting the Moon, learning to fly a plane, train for Iron Man Triathlon, play tennis with a champion, space training at NASA, discuss policies with the PM of India and more!

Sushant had his vision cut out: like a map that is only to be traced, followed and its coordinates fixed for a definite course to charter in your ordained journey. He had his mind fixed to the star that never changes its position. And yet it did, he did and none had an inkling nor did he share those thoughts and plans, if any, with anyone! But, Why Not?

Our desires and cravings only define us to the limitations of understanding of our own boundaries. The mind’s limitlessness as our scriptures and wisdom provides for, whether we like it or not, are tethered to our stars that gaze down upon us with strings of time in their pliable hands.

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts

His acts being seven ages…” (Shakespeare, As You Like It)

Sushant in his inimitable way, played his part with honour, dignity, poise and share; endearing to all, enticing all to count on him, be cajoled in doing so, rivalled at the scenery around him like a ‘monarch of all I survey’. Until, at the appointed hour of his own choosing, of his own volition, of his own means, he slipped away into his closet of defined quietude… to sail away beyond the horizon, carrying his Ark with him, in one solemn move that defied time and space, that defied human logic, that transcended the bondings of Man, which momentarily stopped the circle of life and let the moving hands of Providence add one more to eternity’s list, albeit the dirty game of statistical reductions and deductions.

What is left are a few memories, some memorabilia, some companions of past, some deserted stages, a ‘bucket list’ of reminiscences, a devastated family and public at large and a trace of time that harks back to a question that will linger in my mind to fade away like the distant horizon smeared into the lapse of a fading dusk.


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  1. Pradipta Patnaik says

    A well written article on solitude and lonlyness relating to Sushant who took his own life on 14th June.

    These passionate lines on solitude and lonlyness reminds readers of such periodic phases experienced in one’s own life during the past.

    Beautiful quotes from world famous writers like William Wordsworth, Shakespear and Jon Keats added great value to the write-up.Inclusion of the great quote from Albert Einstein “Solitude is painful when one is young but delightful when one is more mature” was a class in itself.

    As regards Sushant who took his own life on 14th June, I feel, although he was brilliant and successful yet he nurtured too many ambitions for himself thus unable to focus on his real goal.

    Secondly, he perhaps had too much of trust in himself and did not have much trust in God. Trust in God would have certainly convinced him that failure and succes go hand in hand and every failure or disappointment gives an experience that brings more lasting success . No-one ever imagined this highly upcoming star would take such a drastic step to leave his family and well-wishers in great sorrow.
    God Bless His Soul.

  2. SKMISHRA says

    Its an excellent sensitive powerful intellectual piece of high order on an event, which stirred the conscience of all sensible minds groping in dark who fail to fathom the intent behind, the cause or reason, this budding and emerging young star on the scene, who preferred to end his most precious life in most horrendous manner. the piece by Mr. Padhy is very heart rending one reflecting his deep feelings and sense of frustration as if he failed to get an opportunity to lend his soothing hands and mind in recovering the drowning boy out of despair and so called failures in life. These powerful words hopefully bring into focus a very vital aspect of parenting the current generation of ambitious talented youngsters and aspirants who want to scale heights thru hard work but fail to get the support of the society where they would like to operate and result is of immense unbearable proportions. Kudos to the author, it is always a pleasure to read the treatises on current contemporary issues brought out into focus to ponder over and engage all of us.

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