The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh.

“If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.”

―Vincent Van Gogh

Life: A Carousel of Old and New

While scrolling the picture carousel on my cell-phone, I re-lived each and every moment of my life so far. Desperately and passionately we tend to make memories because they say that memories never die. They don’t, I agree, but why didn’t anybody tell us that the memories sure do live, however, the people we make memories with, would all leave. Not all, I would like to add, some stays.

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I still remember how I struggled so hard to convince my dad for purchasing a vintage polaroid camera. “We liberate our life by capturing the moments in it,” I exclaimed enthrallingly to him. However, I was too innocent to understand the weird, mean smirk on his face at that time which low-key offended me and I confess calling my dad a boring sloth who doesn’t get excited that easily as me. Some lessons are learned throughout our lives, slowly and gradually, whereas, some lessons are hard-learned and they are the ones that tend to hurt the most. 

Scrolling down the pictures, as we say in sciences, I only found some constant variables as my Family and some friends, while the rest of the variables kept on changing with time, age, and distances. The pictures of our secondary school graduation were full of colors and uniform artistry that said very main-stream things like “Forget me not,” “You will always be my best friend” and the funniest expression in this world, “I would never be able to forget you.” Looking at the pictures of postcards and signed uniforms full of such humorous slogans made me feel awfully mesmerized as well as low-key wicked when I realized that none of those “best friends forever” are anywhere to be seen now. None of them contact me, and neither do I. There have been strange incidents where my best friend crossed me and didn’t even bother to say hello to me because she was with her new fam-jam and best friends forever, while I was with mine. 

They say that if one is out of sight, consider him out of the mind too. I would religiously preach this notion because distance tends to change everything; how we feel about each other, how much do we care, how much time we give to one another and the list is long. We even forget the faces of each other in no time and if someday, and that too by chance, we see each other in our dreams, for the rest of that day we can’t believe that we actually remembered the face of our best friend from grade 5 who ate, slept, studied for 7 hours daily, played, did homework, quarreled, went to the cafeteria, and even bathroom with us for whole 5 years. Insane, right?

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This is how we humans have been programmed. We might call it cruel but believe me it is the best feature available in the market so far. If our mind chips did not have this inbuilt feature of forgetfulness, trust me most of us would have been living in dire misery. We forget so that we could move on. We forget so that we could start fresh, bring the change that we couldn’t yesterday in our devastated lives. A day could be spell-boundingly ecstatic and you might never want to forget even a single moment spent in it, however, another day could be a real-life “living on the edge’ kind of experience and you don’t even like to remember a single second of it. Joy can be found even in the dirtiest corners of a broken house. However, misery is something that can leave ever-lasting imprints on your mind that can only be wiped off with the soothing touch of new, happy memories. So just liberate your mind, and let go of all the happy and the sad moments in your life because the moments that were actually happy can always be felt close to your heart, and the moments that deprived you of happiness, they are not worth remembering at all except the lessons that they taught you.

Life is a spinning carousel of the old and the new. Now I understand the smirk on my father’s face and are well-aware of why he didn’t get excited that easily upon meeting new people and exploring new things, it’s because he had more people out of his life than were in his life at that point. It’s because his carousel had spun longer than mine.

Vincent van Gogh: Country Road in Provence by Night.

“Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.

Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?

Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses, and railways are the terrestrial means.

To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”

― Vincent van Gogh

To Theo van Gogh: 21 July 1882

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”

― Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night Over the Rhone.

I’m always inclined to believe that the best way of knowing [the divine] is to love a great deal. Love that friend, that person, that thing, whatever you like, you’ll be on the right path to knowing more thoroughly, afterwards; that’s what I say to myself. But you must love with a high, serious intimate sympathy, with a will, with intelligence, and you must always seek to know more thoroughly, better, and more.

—Vincent Van Gogh

Lovers in the poet’s garden―Vincent van Gogh.

“Love is eternal — the aspect may change, but not the essence. There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too, and that is its real function. And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one’s work.”

― Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Sky.

“At present, I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that night is still more richly colored than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues, and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expatiating on this theme, it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky.”

― Vincent van Gogh

Goodness nurtures the evil.

Did you ever notice that we tend to observe ‘the good’ before we indulge in ‘the bad’? Does it mean that human nature, primarily, is innocent?

Perfection is always what we humans look for within others at first glance. Innately, we are more inclined towards noticing good things in people due to which, we tend to make friends first and enemies are always formed later, with time and experience. So the concept of good and bad could also be discussed in this perspective that good is always there, yet bad or evil is the human derivative. Hence, good and evil might stay side by side in our lives, but evil is always the outcome of goodness. Conflicts and doubts do arise in love, but for that presence of love is required in the first place. 

Good things are easy to notice but are found after a lot of struggle and a hard climb up the mountain. Bad things, doubt, and darkness, on the other hand, are like the deepest pits; once you slip off the edge, it won’t be easy to stop yourself from falling down.

Doubt could be good and productive but it depends upon what it reaps in the end. For instance, if you doubt that your beloved is not happy with you, you will try to figure out the reasons and try to avoid them in the future. Thus, this kind of doubt will aid you in finding the key to the perfect and better relationship, hence it would be a doubt well done. However, if you doubt the loyalty of your lover, this kind of doubt will push you to uncover and shovel out all the bad things that were there in the past, and even if your lover comes out clean, by that time you would have already revealed a lot of dark, bad things, that were not known to you before. (as we all have secrets, don’t we?) Such doubt will merely reap the tarnished charm, disbelief, and low-esteem of your lover than you initially had in your mind.

Bad nurtures in the womb of goodness and ultimately, day by day and month by month, good things turn into bad things where, in the end, either just a few fainting sparks of goodness, that reminds us of once-upon-a-time existence of goodness, are left or else the darkness completely dominates, ceasing the light once and for all, like the black hole where no soft-corner and no tolerance is left for the other person, whatsoever. Now you have to decide which kind of doubts are you allowing into your heart and mind and which kind to shoo-away before they contaminate the goodness that prevails inside your soul.