There is a beautiful poem from the sangam period in Tamil literature ( about 1 to 3rd century a.d) translated by A.K Ramanujam which goes like this:

"What she said:
dont they really have
in the land where he has gone
such things
as house sparrows

dense feathered, the colour of fading lilies,
pecking at grain drying on yards
playing with the scatter of the fine dust
of the street's manure
and living with their nestlings
in the angles of the penthouse

and miserable evenings,
and loneliness?"

The image is of a young girl perhaps in her late teens whose husband has left for distant shores to earn wealth looking at the house sparrows symbolising home and togetherness and yearning for companionship. "miserable evenings - and loneliness?"
Why is loneliness most miserable in the evenings?

Solitude is peacefulness.It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings -it is satisfying and rejuvenating as you can even draw sustenance from it. It replenishes you after having devoted so much of energy for looking after the needs of others. Now is the time to set aside the cooking, cleaning etc and put one's feet up with a nice book, or whatever other hobby.
But as the afternoon grows into evening, and you watch school children bursting out like butterfiles from the giant yellow cocoons, and a little later adults returning from work - dragging their weary feet but smiling at the thought or sight of home.Birds suddenly become active in their hitherto lazy perches on trees, quickly take in one last breastful of air, flap their wings as a warm up and then they rise together like school children aroused by a whistle and quickly hop into empty slots on their flight patterns for their journey home;Cows and sheep cast a final glance about for any crisp grass for a quick evening snack and then amble back home with a contented look. Even the Sun is ready to go home.
It is then that the solitude grows heavier into one of loneliness. Evening is a time when you want the house to be filled again with family members and friends - doors are left open so people may walk in,kitchen warms up with the heat of fire and the smell of fresh food. A time for incessant chatter about the happenings of the day, laughter and play, happy meals together.It is the time that fills one's heart with gratitude for yet another day of joy and togetherness, sharing and caring.

Loneliness is a cruel thing to endure in the evening of the day; and also in the evening of one's life.
8 Responses
  1. Hey, have loads to say on this: will come back and comment tomorrow morning. :)

  2. Pradeep Nair Says:

    "Loneliness is a cruel thing to endure in the evening of the day; and also in the evening of one's life."
    Yes, that's one thing people dread. Loneliness.

  3. Even the sun is ready to go home --that's a very touching phrase, so touching that I would not like to look at it that way. I would say the sun is very lonely up there, shining all alone. And when it goes home, it must be without company even there as well.

    But in reality, the sun isn't lonely. It has all the planets and stars for company. And it never sets or goes home: it goes off to warm up the other half of the earth. Loneliness is also like that: it is the way you look at it. For someone lonely in the heart, not just evenings, even mornings and afternoons can be very lonely. I just spent a lonely day myself: even the sun didn't show up. I could have chosen not to be lonely, but I was lazy: beating the loneliness would have required physical and mental effort.

    But one doesn't think of these things when your family is around and when noises of utensils and various aromas keep coming out of the kitchen. I really know what you mean: it is the evenings that are the most lonely, and especially in the evening of one's life. And the sunset is symbolic of such loneliness.

    But take heart: The sun always rises.

  4. Usha Says:

    Bishwanath, Thanks for that warm and beautiful comment.
    Pradeep, loneliness in oldage is increasingly becoming an inevitable reality. isn't it?

  5. Beautiful; the poem, and your post! Yes, evenings. They sure can kill.

  6. Krish Says:

    How about loneliness in young age?


  7. Dubukku Says:

    Nice one. Ahanaanooru songs are beautiful portraying all these feelings

  8. Usha Says:

    Asha, thanks. We discussed this before!
    Thennavan,I guess loneliness is terrible at all ages - but more so when you are old and when most of your contemporaries are gone or unreachable and the young are busy with their lives and your choice of other social activities gets limited by your circumstances.
    Dubukku, thanks. Must search out and read more.