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OP-ED: March comes like a lion

  • Published at 10:50 am February 28th, 2021
time hourglass

The sweet embrace of the cold is fading, and it is time to get back to reality

March comes with an announcement of summer, just not the good kind. 

Gone are the days of strong summer rain, as you grapple with the maelstrom of dust that has plagued the city. A city that you once knew, but amidst all the tall skyscrapers and overhead roads that resemble Gotham more than Dhaka, a city that has been partially lost. The sweet embrace of the cold is fading, and you know it is time to get back to the real world. 

It is a world of anxiety and regret, a world of striving to hold true all your ideals, while simultaneously taking caution against the storm that is yet to come. And yet, there is solace to be found. Whether it be in catching up with old friends, or taking the weekend with your partner (as I do with my fiancé), a sort of solace can be found here. 

The thick summer air reigns heavy, but as you successfully tick off chores from a list that is far from over, the future looks a bit brighter, a bit cleaner. It is as if, if you stretch your hand hard enough, you can glimpse into the past, into parts of the past when you were really, truly happy. But if something goes wrong, you are transported back to the real world, and the future seems all that bleaker. 

A week ago, I was dealing with some issues, and it brought me to the same feeling of impending doom I felt in March of 2019.

Some things went awry for me, and as something similar transpired, I looked towards the future with despair, wondering if time really was a flat circle. But this quote by Nietzsche isn’t as simple as it seems. Really, it is a kind of litmus test. 

For the full quote goes like this: “What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh … must return to you -- all in the same succession and sequence -- even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again -- and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!’”

While it can certainly be interpreted in a pessimistic way, aka the way Rustin Cohle did in the first season of True Detective, really, there is more to it than that. Because as per the second part of this thesis, if you were happy with the life that you were leading, and if you were satisfied with it, you would not want anything more than to repeat what you already have. 

And that’s when the duality of this concept comes into play, and the duality of life comes into play in general. And what better time to inspect this duality of life than the month of March itself? When the chamber of guff is both open and closed, and when the beginning and the ending can come from anywhere? 

Because during March, the rest of the year comes into sharper focus. The gap between what we want and what we have becomes clear. And if we are on the right path, certainly only repeating what we are doing should lead us to what we want. And if we aren’t on the right path, a dizzying course correction should be done to live out life to the fullest. 

But this course correction can’t always be found. Sometimes, there is no way out. 

Sometimes, you just have to accept that you have played your last hand, and continue onwards to drawing a separate set of cards. And thus, where there is joy, there is pain; where there is sorrow, there is happiness; where there is freedom, there is servitude; and where there is a beginning, there is an ending. 

A week ago, I was in a bad place, and the coming of March is all the more suffocating. After a pick-me-up from my partner (this amazing woman can make my day just by sitting beside me. God bless her and everything she does. May she get everything that her heart desires), the walk back home didn’t seem so horrendous. 

In fact, as I stood on the sidewalks of 660 feet, I looked at these apartment buildings that were away from the road. They were facing away from the city, untouched by the light pollution that has made its nest in Dhaka. Illuminated only by the edges of moonlight, these apartments provided me with a glimpse of my past, and with that, it also provided me with a glimpse of my future. 

A future where there was no discrepancy between want and need. A future without worries, where I can just sit down with my partner and enjoy an evening of Animax. A future where everything was whole, a future where life had come full circle. 

But to attain that, there is much work to be done. To attain that, one has to make it through this heavy air of summer, until they can find the soft embrace of winter again. “When the storm is over, you won’t be the same person that walked in.” And this storm appears in its annual form every year during the beginning of March. In that respect, March really does come like a lion.

Nafis Shahriar is a student of business and a freelance writer.