Why Do We Live?

As I write, I cruise at an altitude of 22,767 ft above the topaz sea, walking amongst the polar caps of the skies. The clouds roll out farther than the eye can see, caressing one another as though long lost lovers, hearkening to the beauty of the sea with rippling clouds that form the mat I glide over. It is the night of the super moon, the night where the moon will find itself closest to our little orb of life, and so the clouds meet the horizon in a brilliant inferno, cutting a stark line through the fabric of the heavens, setting ablaze the sky. There is a poetry in this moment, an indescribable beauty where one feels at peace with the universe. A smile plays itself across my lips. Right here, right now, I am happy.
I am happy.
This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of spending my time in Chicago with my family and friends to attend a wedding. A big, fat Indian wedding, complete with a white horse parading the groom though the streets of downtown Chicago at noon, accompanied by 100 brightly dressed, dancing fools behind him. I watched two people commit to seven lifetimes together under the cavernous roof of a cathedral that sported biblical imagery as a priest invoked the presence of a god with an elephant’s head.

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The venue
It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
But perhaps I left out one vital detail: the groom who rode through downtown Chicago on a white horse, clad in traditional Indian clothes, could not speak Hindi. In fact, he had never even been to India prior to the wedding. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that his entire family had for generations, (including his own), grown up amongst the vineyards of Alba, Italy. His parents could not converse with us without a translator, and I myself had to pay close attention to make sure I could understand his English through his olive oil accent. And yet, it was here, at this wedding of an Indo-Canadian girl that I had not seen for five years and a pure Italian man that I rediscovered what it means to be happy.
After 3 or 4 hours of dancing the night away, at 1:00 in the morning, the DJ told us that he would play the last song of the night. At this point, this group of mismatching cultures and people had become as though a family. The groomsmen, whose name I still do not know, treated me like an old friend and the love I felt for them was comparable. The sweat we had all shared on the dance floor, the acceptance of each other’s crazy cultures and the overall calibre of this party had forged a beautiful bond. Therefore, when the DJ called the last song everybody linked up in a circle with the bride and groom in the centre. At this point only those closest to the family were left. As the beat drifted into the air, the circle would close in on the newly wedded couple and then recede again. Bum, bum, bum, bum. Dum,
dum, dum, Dum! As the beat reached its crescendo, everyone closed around the couple and started jumping together, yelling words of adoration over the beat. We were celebrating life itself now! It was not about a wedding, or a culture, or anything else. It was life itself!
And it was in this moment of catharsis that I closed my eyes and was swept away by the current of the universe.
Why do we smile? Why do we live? Until this weekend, these questions baffled me. Questions surrounding the purpose of life wrought havoc on my mind and soul. Why? Why damnit! Why?
Questions surrounding the purpose of life wrought havoc on my mind and soul.
The purpose of life:
We live to smile at a complete stranger and share the funniest inside joke ever told for the briefest moment.
We live to watch our friends forget to wear dress shoes with their dress pants and look ridiculous as they parade around wearing sneakers.
We live to laugh with that same friend for hours over how bad that day was for them.
We live to share a momentary glance with an attractive stranger that acknowledges that God created wonders within them and didn’t do too bad with yourself either.
We live to hold our friends close as we share in moments of great triumph and crippling defeat- all the while, never letting go.
We live to dance the night away until our feet swell and our bodies ache, but we can’t help but beg for one last song.
We live to look deep into the eyes of our lover and be forever lost in the universe you two create for a split second.
We live to awaken to the endless possibilities of the new day, cheered on by the universes brightest and most supportive cheerleader.
We live to smell those smells that remind us of who we once were, and to encounter smells that will one day remind us of who we are.
We live to smile.
We live to be happy.
But too often we forget that when the long race is over and cards have been flipped one by one, we will not be remembered for which university we went to, nor the marks we received, nor the awards we collected, but for the smiles we had and the smiles we gifted.
So don’t forget, for I promise I won’t…
Smile! Laugh! Dance! Sing! Enjoy! And smile some more!
You’re on the camera of the life. 😉
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4 thoughts on “Why Do We Live?

  1. Dearest Siddharth,

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this. So often we get lost in the chaos of life – the sadness, the pain, the sheer madness of things – that we forget what life is really all about. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of smiling, laughing, dancing and singing in the midst of suffering and for reminding me that it’s not the sadness but the joy that matters.

    The use of parallelism, anaphora, repitition and imagery throughout this piece was simply beautiful, to say the least. It illuminated the idea that there is so much to life for – all we have to do to find those things worth living for is soak in the beauty which constantly surrounds us. The beauty which can be found in the simplest of things.

    The only thing I would say that you can work on is capitalizing the words in your title. This piece truly flowed together in such a way that it created a beautiful image of this thing we call life. Thank you for inspiring me, as you always do.

    Yours very truly,

    Vanessa

  2. Hi! I’m a student for an English Honours class in grade 10 and I’d simply like to say that your use of figurative writing well, figuratively speaking, blew my mind. It’s not many that are able to write something of the sort without coming across as cheesy, and I’d say you did just the contrary, I loved the way you made me think things through again. How exactly did this sense of curiosity take place though, how long did it take you to envision this kind of poetic writing?
    Thanks.

    1. Hey Isabel!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am humbled by the honour of having someone find my work thought-provoking. Thank you.

      As for your question, I would say while the concept did not come to me for a few days, the style of writing itself has been a work in progress for years. Having been fortunate enough to be surrounded by such fantastic teachers and peers, I found this style of writing through studying their writing. I truly believe there is great beauty in the synthesis of other peoples work. Therefore, to envision and execute my humble attempt at poetic writing has taken me about 3 years. I myself am more naturally a critical, factual writer, so I had to really work to develop any sense of capable figurative writing.

      Thank you again!

  3. Dear Siddarth,

    I can practically feel your charm radiating through this screen of mine. Your mastery, of not only the English language, but the complex emotions that make us up as individuals, leaves me in awe every single time I read your pieces.

    As I read this, I was reminded of a certain moment through one particular line –

    “We live to hold our friends close as we share in moments of great triumph and crippling defeat- all the while, never letting go.”

    During the One Act program last year, there was a process in which five outstanding plays were whittled down to three. People were afraid, naturally, of the outcome and for the longest time I doubted myself and the play I had the privilege of being in

    At the announcement meeting, the first name called belonged to the play you were in. Your cast celebrated, and I celebrated, for the piece was a work of absolute art in my eyes.

    And then we were called. I was shocked, and overjoyed, and trembling with raw emotions – and while my castmates jumped up to celebrate I stood slowly as the weight of a thousand worries drifted off of my shoulders. I began to sob, if I recall correctly – times pass by so quickly when your eyes are blurred with overflowing joy.

    And then you were there. You celebrated as loud as, possibly louder than, my cast and you were there, and you must have seen me, as you immediately entered my little bubble of tears and happiness.

    You held my head, and pressed your forehead against mine, and you were there. You shared in the triumph I was feeling, and you recognized the vulnerability I was displaying, and you grounded my shaking emotions, and you were there.

    This moment has remained with me for months and it will remain with me for years. I don’t know if you remember this, but even if you do not, that is alright. It is alright because we have both immersed one another in our happiness, in our triumphs, in these moments where we simply are there.

    Thank you infinitely for that moment and for this work of brilliancy.

    With love,
    Claire

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