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Tears and I have a strange relationship. They play really hard to get. They abstain from making an appearance when you normally would expect them to flow along smoothly. Nope. They don’t come easily like it does to others. Not when I watch the most moving movies or read books which I practically live in while reading them. The same movies, and especially the books, affect me enough to feel lost in the ‘real’ world I am living in. They fill me with varied emotions that I have to practically fight to stay focused in the here and now. But even the best of them fail to turn on the taps.

Rarely ever (or never) is crying an option I have considered when anyone falls sick or even when I hear of death. A curious detachment comes over me at the time, as if I am merely a watcher, a recorder of the event. I have mused on it. It is as if whatever has happened or is happening does not reach me, not deep enough, at least not at the level it moves one enough to shed tears. I have asked myself many times if I would ever cry if I were to lose the really close ones and the answer always comes back in the negative. No. Tears, it seems to me, is not my way of mourning a loss.   

Did I hear someone use the word unfeeling?

Perhaps I am. I won’t dispute you of you do. I certainly won’t give such a nature as mine the much ‘glorified’ name of ‘strength’. My belief is it certainly is NOT. Strength is the ability to show emotions, not hide them securely under a neutral face. That concealing according to me is a form of cowardice. It requires a really strong heart to look within, accept what is visible there and also express it fearless of the possible reactions or repurcussions. So then am I a coward who is unwilling to look at some dark corner that holds the reason to my inability to cry? I know not, not yet anyway. For now, I just know that SOME things don’t reach the core of my being (having been stopped somewhere at the outskirts of the city gates so to speak), not enough to disturb me to flush out my tear ducts.

In spite, I feel ‘unfeeling’ would be a wrong word to describe me.

Some things, and some of them the most unexpected or unusual, do make me cry. Show me someone who sings exceptionally well, especially children, and I fight hard to stop myself from bawling my heart out. This does not happen when I listen to songs on the radio or an iPod etc. The saddest of them won’t move me to tears. I simply lose myself in those very songs and enjoy listening to them. But give me a live show, where someone is singing to an audience and then watch me struggling to hold back those tears.

There is another thing that moves me to tears: Nature in all its glory. Rugged, brown mountains, or the endless blue rising and falling in waves, the green spreads and the canopies over me, water meandering along in crystal clarity, dodging the impediments in its way and chattering all the while, dark clouds winning the battle with the sun, or the sun coming out after incessant rain,  vast open spaces, the birds flying free in the sky or pretty flower growing among the rocks…. These and like things constrict my heart and make me want to cry even as I feel so indescribably happy. Of course I never do that, naturally so, the presence of others deters me. I smile and talk instead, saying a hundred inane things to cover up the fact that Nature’s beauty has just turned me to a puddle of mush.

Crazy? I have never doubted that I am.

Who else would want to burst into tears when praised? I knew a girl once, who in fifth grade burst out crying when the teacher appreciated her for being the topper. It was not as if it had been a special achievement. She was always at it and the teacher was merely appreciating the fact. Well, I am sort of her clone, except that to prevent myself from doing what she did, I have acquired a few weapons in my arsenal: nonchalance, cheeky rejoinders, indifference et al. Of course smiles and gracious acceptance (and joy) I picked up along the way. But, beneath it all the brine waits for a weak spot to burst forth. It is hell of a job to be constantly alert and reinforce those spots with the cement of iron determination.

Iron determination takes a solid beating when one has been ill, is physically weak and in pain. All it takes is for someone to come along and be solicitous for the dam to develop leaks. I have cried in front of total outsiders just because they asked me how I was feeling. The mortification of it all still makes me cringe after all these years. The most awkward times are when you cry for no reason while talking to someone you love and are conveying something or other that happened to you, which you probably have under control too.

I love the internet. I can keep my moods (and tears) my own over it. And yet here I am making a confession of it. Why? Today I wanted to tell someone that I had trouble holding back those tears even as I sent those cheery emoticons and thank yous. Once again the question arises, Why? You remembered, and you did this and this. For me. The tears were  in thanks. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for the support, help and affection, but most of all for the unstinting encouragement.