Day #23

A letter to the psych-ward

Came across a draft I had created in my inbox during a moment of weaknesses, not too far back. Reading through it, I didn’t feel the pain and self-pity that it would have garnered then, but a sense that I need to share, word-for-word, this ultra-personal disclosure. Something has surely changed somewhere..!


Hey!

I had a panic attack recently. And it got me thinking. Actually, I think the above transpired in reverse.

I feel there is a dichotomy in what and who I am and what I want to be. And I mean it not in the sense of status, money, job des, etc. but rather as a person. I want to be more hard-working, I want to be more straightforward, I want to love risk (I only like it at the moment), I want to be more spontaneous, I want to be more alive and mostly, I want to dive off an airplane, I want to learn exactly what I want, I want to be fearless in the face of failure, and mostly – I just want to be less afraid. Coz it is this last thing that, despite knowing and having the appetite for the associated risks, stops me from reaching for the next moment. And that loop which starts with me not being able to take the next step starts off a mental spiral where I am the star of the show, the audience is empty, and I curse myself and I laugh at myself and I feel, for a moment, comfortable with that sadness. It feels familiar, it feels… right. Happiness feels like an allergy; it comes, it affects, it passes away.

While I am not a total dreamer chasing happiness, I do feel rudderless. My lows bring out thoughts in me which perceive my great life as a privilege, undeserved. Rationally, I know that life is a poker game, and the hand you are played is hardly something you choose or get to decide; what you make of it, is what sets you apart. But how do I convince my irrational human conscience of this truism? What’s to stop it from hurling insults my way?

I stopped listening to it sometime back, and I realized it was a toxic part of my conscience, not the whole being. That simple. (In hindsight, too simple. But then again, human fallacy dictates that a maze solved, was hardly a maze, wasn’t it? So being proud about solving a non-maze isn’t exactly smart!)

Regards,


This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

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Day #22

“This too shall pass” – those wise men

Too much sunshine
Makes you blind
Too much spent in darkness
And you fear the light

Be prepared
To shield your eyes
When the sun
Shines too bold
It knows not its zenith

Steer clear
Of the wasps that descend
The ones who seek to peddle
The forever and ever

And be prepared
For fear’s stranglehold
When the sun drowns
Into darkness
Slowly, but surely

When the breeze
becomes a gale
When the ripple
becomes a wave

Steer clear
Of the urge
To grab control
Peer into your eyelids

Remind yourself
That in darkness
Lies no stranger!
 

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Day #6

My last night sleeping in my room today. While I have been in this situation a few times before, like a lot of other experiences, I hadn’t really thought about it. I can almost feel the emptiness that would envelop my house, and me, for some time. Don’t get me wrong, I do _not_ think that the world revolves around me. But as I helped my mother pack, I knew hers did.

And it has been so since a long time, longer than I can recall; probably because my brain wasn’t even developed when it first started. I dread the teary farewell, I always do. Something about it, for some crooked reasons in my head, would always bring up feelings of disgust, another part of would tell me its weakness; even if the tears were mine. But, now I am wiser (at least I like to think so), and now I know that it is simply a front. I still dread it.

It is strange; Laughable almost, these feelings I have now. They show you how fickle we can be. How contradictory. For, far as I recall, once or twice every month for the past 3 years, I would want to keep some distance from home; I would get it in my head that I need to move on and move out. I would tell it to myself, I would tell it to the people close to me. It was always some reason or the other; but the truth is, on average, I have enjoyed my time. Sure, it has had its detriments, but I’ll be damned if I can’t admit the flipside. I have enjoyed sharing this space with two people who mean the world to me, even though I think I might have outgrown it a few years back. I have bonded with my parents at a time that I think was ripe for all of us, with both parties thinking about their paths ahead.

With their support, I have seen myself through personal and professional conundrums. I have had a chance to interact with them as something other than just parents. I have talked to them as my friends, I have shared with them things I wouldn’t have earlier – before this, I was either a child or a clueless rebel. And they have given me the liberties of being an adult (every now and then, obviously), explicitly or otherwise. We have laughed, cried, fought, celebrated, travelled, shared, learnt, grown. Together.

This isn’t going to be easy…

Day #0

Today I start my mini blog series where I commit to writing, for the next 365 days. I have always noticed in me, yet less often have put into practice, a tendency to meet external expectations. What better motivation then than a public commitment.

The main reason I have started this is to bring some more discipline and focus into the personal aspect of my life. Like a child wavering between candies, I have wavered too long with my hobbies, granting each a cursory glance now and then – I am involved in a weekend band, I read non-work items occasionally, I write haikus every now and then, I scribble my thoughts down when I feel like it. While it is perfectly fun and fine to be that way and indulge all, I somehow feel like I want to be more serious about one of them at least and, for my own satisfaction, want to have some sort of finish line with a ribbon I can break through. 

Writing being the most convenient by far (not the ideal way to choose, but hey, there is none) I decided to say “You’re it”. I plan on writing almost anything – mostly it would be mundane thoughts, inane comparisons connecting random events, poems, and even articles I feel are worth sharing along with my views/notes, and who knows what else. 

Hope you enjoy the ride as much!

Good is Bad. Bad is Comfy

I had a panic attack recently. And it got me thinking. Though, I think the above was in reverse.

I feel there is a dichotomy in what I am and what I want to be. Not in the sense of status, money, job description, but rather as a person. I want to be more straightforward, I want to be more spontaneous, I want to be more alive, I want to dive off an airplane, I want to learn exactly what I want, I want to be able to take failure in my stride, I want to dare to feel the most I can, I want to dare to push myself and know where my boundaries lie, I want to be comfortable in my skin, I want to not be some phoney that doesn’t fit in, and mostly. Mostly. I just want to, nay, need to, not be afraid.

I am the star of my show standing behind the podium mike, I am my audience, and the audience derides and mocks me and I feel, for a moment, comfortable with that ridicule. It feels familiar, it feels… right. Happiness feels like an allergy; it comes every now and then, it affects, and it passes away.

While I am not a total dreamer chasing happiness, I feel rudderless. My lows bring out thoughts in me which perceive my life to be a privilege, undeserved. Rationally, I know that life is a poker game, and the hand you are played is hardly something you choose or get to decide, be it a bad one or a good one; what you make of it, is what sets you apart. But how do I convince my irrational human conscience of this truism? What’s to stop it from hurling insults my way?

I need to act out. Have others listen and step in. Realize what my current thoughts are. It’s too lonely and sad, like a monochromatic movie in sepia.

Part 2 :

Some of my characteristics I do not fancy. I think they are not very becoming of a smart and ‘good’ individual. But to be honest, if I could have lived with these flaws, I think I wouldn’t have been writing this. I’d have been out, living, being envious of others’ achievements, making overt efforts to make the world revolve around myself, lying and cheating my way into getting fleeting moments of twisted self-serving happiness, and probably a few other vices. Trying to get rid of the green shade of my eyes has proven especially difficult. I just can’t do it consistently. My envy often puts me down as my ignorance propels others upwards, at least in my mind. The battle I wage against it has been raging for a decade now.
If only I could be ok with these flaws and live remorselessly. But, alas. Something about being a human being that won’t harm, if he can’t help.

I have seen shrinks, I have sought help and it has worked to some extent. I wonder why it takes me so much time. So much time. To understand and accept and move on with things that the world around doesn’t seem to need to stop and consider, either because they think too quick or they think too less. Why do I feel I am not doing either?
There are these thoughts originating from a place of pain. It hurts to access its core, so these are just the scraps I find lying on the surface – for me to pick them up and to allow them to help me grapple with this and that.

It’s like I’m waiting for a disaster. Like there is something big that is going to come my way, and which will finally. Finally. Finally. Let me have an excuse for being a failure. So that I could project my shortcomings on to that. So that I don’t have responsibility. So that I don’t have control. So that I have pity flung upon me like cheap praise – “Its ok. Its ok. It happens. You’re so smart, you’ll get through it, I know!!” So that I no longer feel obligated to do anything that will make me succeed. That will make a failure out of me, complete in every sense. Only then will I be sad. Only then will my penance be complete. Only then will I feel a clean slate. Only then I will be happy. Only then would my wax wings be burnt, would my doubts be proven right – “No. But I’m not smart, right?” To rise up from these figurative ashes, now wouldn’t that be a spectacle? Wouldn’t that be a show to look at and gasp in awe? What a turnaround! What glory! What a whiz kid!!

What romantic ambitions the mind concocts. Now I wonder why I’m such a masochist. But I like others’ pain every now and then too. It feels perverse and grotesque and sickening. It feels so… delicious. A pain junkie. Like I finally have something to talk about with this person and that. Yes. Be sad. Tell me what ails you. Tell me what has brought you down. Let me relate to you, let me revel in a shared sadness, let me walk in your shoes, let me be the one who hurts, let me be the one who gets stoned for your sins. All I want is this pleasure, please. Please, won’t you grant me some more.

I want to help you get out of this hole you are in. I want to help you rise, so that I see that it can be done too, that I shouldn’t be afraid to follow you since it isn’t something unknown anymore. Even though I don’t dare to start down a new path, I can always hope to pave a way for you to go through, can’t I? And who knows. You might like the place, it might be the answer we both are looking for.

And who knows, you might even help me up.

A lesson

Something normal happened yesterday.

Was stepping away from a long day at work, coming home to delicious mom-cooked food. Crossing an over-bridge at the railway station, headphones plugged in, walking at a leisurely pace. I saw my train arriving at the platform, and my “Dadar”ly instincts kicked in; (sorry, can’t translate that pun) for a second the unhurried pace turned into a trot. My right step a tad larger than its predecessor, my body bent forward a bit, bracing to make a run for it; My pose, I daresay with blatant vanity, was of a track runner who has just heard the gun go off. Such excitement! On a weekday! But with a mental shrug, my buzzkill head went (in alphabetical order).. “Naah. Too far, too pointless, too slow, too tedious, too tired, … Next one.” and my jog lost its steam.

I wondered, ‘Was the shrug “Instinctive”? or “Acquired”?’ My gut was betting on the latter. I decided to test my theory and gave the wind a run for its money. I ran and I ran; pushed aside a couple of guys, knocked into an older dude, almost (Almost!) crashed into an older lady, all the while profusely apologizing to the people I was leaving behind in the wake of this blitzkrieg. Finally, rushing through peak crowd and amidst a lot of curses-muttered-under-breath, I was in! And lo, the train started to move. I thought myself the destiny child, the star atop The Christmas tree, the very embodiment of the antithesis to Murphy’s law! I was a gambler who has just hit the jackpot; mistaking the win as one affected by me and me alone. The last thought, of course, arrived at the gradual pace of hindsight, occupying a void left by the receding adrenaline. All said and done – damn, that felt good!

I hadn’t done this in a long time. By “this”, I mean following my natural instincts, getting them suppressed by my acquired ones, and then trumping them with “acquired 2.0″s. At least in a big fashion; not that this was a big event by any practical measure, but it somehow felt like one. Why did I do this? This act that pretty much everyone sensible living in Mumbai summarizes with a “doosri mil jaayegi” (We’ll catch the next one)? I did it because I could. That’s the simple one-liner. And why did I think so much about it? Not so one-liner.

Because, I think I have been actively trying to suppress and forget certain things, behaviours, habits and attitudes that I acquired during my ‘growth’ phase through the environs around me, particularly the ones I am not a big fan of. During this un-learning phase that is still a work-in-progress, I believe I have successfully eliminated a few bad traits, but there has been collateral damage. I need to learn back some things now. For instance, I need to re-learn that competition & rank aren’t merely buzzwords on a candidate’s CV. I need to re-learn that happiness isn’t bad because of its ephemeral nature; that it is good precisely because of that. I need to re-learn what it feels to want something & to strive for it, not despite but because, you could fail. I need to re-learn what it feels like to make tiny mistakes, so that I will know better when I am about to make a bigger one. I need to re-learn. I need to learn.. 

So, yes. That 100m dash was but a step for me. A race against my (as of now) older self.

Something normal had happened yesterday. Just that it wasn’t normal anymore.

Overpowering Voice, Love

Here’s to your voice, love

Overpowering every sense
Blinding,
But your presence;

Missing that voice, love

A voice, gentle
A voice, calm
A voice, melodious
Blinding,
But your charm;

Speak your voice, love
& Let it overcome

The Feelings despised
The Worries harboured
The Nightmares, dreaded
Blind me,
& Guide me
Through the dark