Skinned Knees, Broken Hearts

Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again!  Skinned knees are easier to fix than broken hearts!!!

It is still raining in Mumbai;  and on my daily morning walk, I managed to slip/slide/glide over a largish speed breaker and found myself descending to the road surface, with great speed! There was nothing I could do in the seconds that intervened, between my insight that I was falling, and my landing unceremoniously on the wet street, face down!! During the fall, I had bent forward, landing hard on my left knee, which slid down the bump. The first thought was that this will result in a bruised knee and shin: which will pain for days. Curiously the second thought was : this pain and hurt will be much better to bear than a broken heart!!


Being 62 years of age, one has had ones’ fair share of falls,  and broken hearts!!! Lives there a man who has had a charmed existence, happiness and success always, and nary a broken heart? I doubt it very much! Expectations and desires (despite the Learned Buddha’s exhortation to avoid them) are a part of our make-up and human story/history. And so breathes there a soul who has not experienced the pain of a broken heart?

This sharp pain of a broken heart begins early in our lives. As kids, it is the refusal by our parents to buy the new toy we have taken fancy to. Why, it may even be our Mother’s refusal to take us with her, when she is all decked up and leaving for a formal dinner. My heart also broke when my elder sister refused to take me in her playgroup as I was too small, and worse, I was a boy! The first unrequited crush on the English teacher. The fair girl in class whom I dared not speak to! My new cycle involved in an accident; with me tearfully looking at the mangled frame. My father’s job transfers which made me say Good-bye to friends made with great difficulty. Losing my first Chinese ink pen. A friend refusing to trade the WWF picture card, that he already had a duplicate of !!!! How many times has the heart broken? How many times one suffered the ignominy of “defeat”, of missing something that your heart desired and wanted so badly?? It was a sweet time of grieving- your heart was broken, but your life was changing. Many times you counselled yourself: “It is ok Vikas, life will be different when you grow up! You don’t have to depend on others. You can take decisions yourself. You can get (or take) what you want”!!!


Then you grew up. And then the heartbreaks continued. Unstoppable, the heartbreaks were now more severe. Took longer to get over. The young roly-poly Bengali History teacher whom everyone in class had a massive crush on. Not getting admission in the academic course you had set your heart on. And to make it worse, your friend securing admission and he and his family consoling you, “Surprising how Raghavan got in? You were always better in class and we always expected you will walk in with flying colors. So sad you did not get through” Adding insult to injury; breaking, nay crushing your heart even more. Not getting a job offer from your dream company on campus. Being turned down for promotion. First time you get an average performance rating when you believe you have excelled in all projects that year. Your BFF letting you down. Girl issues. Boys’ issues. Heartbreaks galore. Making the logical you, ask a fundamental question: What is stronger than the human heart, that shatters over and over again, and still lives?

Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, illustrious litterateurs,  had a most tumultuous marriage. Their very public confrontations were full of accusations, cheating, nervous breakdowns all fuelled by generous dollops of alcohol. Zelda observes ” No one has ever measured, not even poets, how much a heart can hold”. When F Scott died, they were estranged. Another brilliant author, Oscar Wilde was in love with Lord Alfred Douglas. In 1891, this was looked at in askance and Douglas’s father disapproved of his son’s liaison. Oscar was accused of acts of gross indecency and convicted for homosexuality. Wilde concludes in one sentence, “The heart was made to be broken”.

In Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk has a great insight to share:“The one you love and the one who loves you are never the same person”. But how many of us understand this fundamental truth? Rather we are enamoured, star-struck, infatuated; sometimes with the very concept of love. Edgar Allan Poe captures this well, “We loved with a love that was more than love”. In India we are all brought up on the Bollywood version of all sacrificing love, which stands tall when all around is crumbling, and is still able to belt out a heartfelt Laila Majnu or Heer Ranjha song. What we ignore is that the line after तेरा मेरा प्यार अमर is the earthy  फिर क्यों मुझको लगता है डर? The English poetess Emily Dickinson who never married or had children summed it up, “If I can stop one heart from bleeding, I shall not have lived in vain.” 


In The Wizard of Oz, young Dorothy gives great advice to Tin Woodman, “I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart.” Is it hard to let go? Would you rather hold on to something that was not real anyway? No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world does not stop for your grief – it moves on, and expects you to move and play your part down the road. In the hoary Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet B Stowe puts it so well,” Of course, in a novel, people’s hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies to us.” Look back on your own life, all the heartbreaks you experienced over the years, only made you wiser, taught you life, showed you how to live. Remember Nicholas Spark, “The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it…”

So let us sing alongwith Jaidan Taylor:

Cause, baby, I could build a castle/Out of all the bricks they threw at me/And every day is like a battle/But every night with us is like a dream

Baby, we’re the new romantics/Come on, come along with me/Heart break is the national anthem/We sing it proudly

Concluding with Violeta Parra: “Don’t cry when the sun is gone, because the tears won’t let you see the stars.” : vikas





17 Replies to “Skinned Knees, Broken Hearts”

  1. a very touching article! (i read it today only as i was ‘out of circuit’ for a week. for a visit to Abu)

    I hope this intervening week has done something good to the bruised knee . Wish you a speedy recovery!! Let me also tell you that it was good that the injury was limited to what you have described could be worse..for some one at our kind of age.

    When i read in the 2nd para: “ has had ones’ fair share of falls, and broken hearts!!!” i was wondering how come so many instances of broken i was thinking of only one kind of broken heart ..that we all have talked about most after the adulthood. When i went through the several ‘heart breaking instances’ that you have described from your childhood, my own injuries started appearing on the screen of the mind!

    The heart is indeed very strong

    i also believe that in parallel to several such instances causing damage to the heart, all of us also have our share of events which have helped repair the heart. If you start counting them from the childhood, I am sure they will be much more in number than the heart breaking instances.

    i think that is what has kept us going!


    1. Thanks Jagdishbhai
      Now the knee is all well
      In fact I kept walking from the second day onwards
      so the hust was more to the ego than to the body
      the shame of falling down was worse
      of course I agree it could have been much worse
      so I am thankful for the small mercies

      also it taught me this great comparative lesson of “it could have been much worse”
      and sparked off the blog which you and many others have liked
      so it is all worth it

      in the long run we are survivors
      the abysmal conditions in which humans survived the Hitler camps or even some of the worst natural disasters prove the resilience of mankind
      the recent example of footballer children stuck so long in the cave and surviving speaks to the same

      so all in all Life is Good, we survive and we can carry on
      so no complaints at all


  2. Truly amazing! enjoyed reading this and it took me back to my bruises and skinned knees. Have a long way to go so ‘har phikr ko dhuee main uddata chalta jaunga”


    1. Amu
      zindagi jab bhi teri bazm me lati hai hume
      ye jami chand se behtar nazar aati hai hume

      I have never understood the holding on to past joys, or sorrows
      take the pain, take the pleasure, take the learning, and move on is intdeed the best philosiophy

      when I become too serious I remind myself of the famous meme
      Life is a curious game….you never get out of it alive anyways…. to kis baat ka roona hai?
      enjoy the sun, while it lasts

      Keep remembering JwM…”aur muzhe to ladki bhi nahi mil rahi hai….”


    1. Preeti
      High praise coming from you
      Danke Schon

      I enjoyed writing it
      and I am enjoying reading the comments too

      Life is a full circle
      You give…You get….so that you can give as you get


  3. Superb Boss. Well said many things relates to our routine or may have happened with all of us. I literally gone back to my childhood.


  4. I’m proud of my heart.
    It’s been played,stabbed,
    cheated, bllurned and broken but somehow still
    How is your heart after morning walk fall?


    1. Kanubhai
      Ego got bruised more than the knee….kisine dekha to nahin….how could I fall….etc.
      But am all ok
      went for walk yesterday evening and also today morn. some stiffness but no other issues
      Life goes on


    1. Pradeep
      thanka lot for your positive appreciation
      Paulo Coelho in the Alchemist had said ” One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving”
      I a similar fashion, life unfolds in amazing ways
      My fall gave me a big learning
      My sharing gave me joy
      and your comment shows I am on right track
      Thanks friend for loving me
      I love you too


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