Categories
mental health

The struggle is real!

It’s been three months of staying indoors. Apart from working from home, I engaged myself in cooking, blogging, photography, gardening, baking and most recently in painting. Initially I thoroughly enjoyed staying at home, getting up peacefully every morning, connecting with nature, relishing every second of my day and admiring the dusk with gratitude. Even this tribulation had one bright side or so I thought.

A few weeks back, I was telling my husband about how the need for psychiatrists will soar post Covid – I was thinking mostly about the medical practitioners at that time and the amount of psychological burden they have on themselves when in the world we have an overflow of patients, a shortage of hospitals and incessantly working healthcare professionals.

As days have passed, I have come to realise that not just doctors or essential service providers will need help around their mental health, but common people staying at home, working from home, young kids who are studying online with no friends to meet or play with and old people who are scared and won’t go out because of the fear of catching Covid – will all need help.

Off late, I noticed that if a sad thought passes through my mind, it bounces between the walls of my house and doesn’t leave. This energy doesn’t dissipate, it just transfers from my living room to kitchen or to my bedroom. Why is it happenings ? Is it my need to be social ? Or is my mind too tired to live in the box? Am I craving a change of scenery? I am happy home, but for how long?

I have started feeling it within – some blues, a little bit of voidness and have suddenly been drawn to my mental health. I am sure, there are others as well who may be feeling like me – unnecessarily stressed and low.

You are not alone – these are difficult times which will pass. I tell myself the same thing everyday. Breathe to take in all the positivity and hug your loved ones so tightly that negative is crushed. In these unprecedented times, let’s kick the hell out of negativity.

No matter how dark it may seem, a new dawn would break soon.

Categories
Lockdown stories

Hobby or Not?

We’ve been married for over 3 years now and I’ve always taken pride in how well I’ve known my husband. I always know what he’s gonna say next. His responses come out of his mouth later, they are first muttered in my head.

In the last two months of lockdown, we’ve been together all the time, mostly. Be it working from the same living room, cooking in the kitchen together, cleaning together, sleeping and many other things that I need not mention here, it’s all been done together. 

Lockdown has affected both of us differently. While financially it has hit both of us, mentally it has affected him more than me. We both have been working from home, so we are definitely strained between household chores and office work. And, we dearly and immensely miss our house help.

I have kept myself engaged with various hobbies like  gardening, photography, blogging and bird watching. And like a super excited kid, I would go around telling him the titchest of my achievements like – spotting a new bird or getting a comment on my blog. I have kept myself excited and him involved in my eensy – weensy doses of happinesses.

Yesterday during a conversation, I asked him about his hobby (I anticipated the answer) and he instantly said “cricket”. He hasn’t played cricket in over a decade but that was his passion. He loved playing cricket as an adolescent boy but had to quit it unwillingly for higher education. He never took up another hobby after that.

The conversation was bizarre to me, somewhat indigestible. We’ve spent a substantial amount of time together, we’ve travelled together, we’ve partied hard, we’ve talked for hours together, we’ve been crazy together but in this togetherness I think he has been living with my hobbies. This irks!

So today I asked him to choose a hobby for the next few days and he couldn’t choose one. I was livid thinking that I was going to this person every other day with a new hobby and he couldn’t think of one for himself. I chose a few for him and he still did not show any interest. 
I bought some plants today and have asked him to take care of those. I know he will, while not whole heartedly but he will. During these difficult times, it’s so important to have a hobby which holds your interest in life other than your work and relations. It’s important for your mind and heart.

Helping him choose a hobby for himself has become a mission for me. At times, adults are too busy being adults – taking care of their lives, the lives of their loved ones and following their goals that hobbies ebb en route.

Happiness is unquestionably not equal to hobbies, but if happiness is distant, will a hobby help, is the question? May be. Or May be not. But with certitude I can tell you, it would be far less stressful.

Categories
Life stories

Pitter- patter of memories

I was about twelve years old when my father who was then serving in Indian Army was transferred to Assam, one of the eastern states in India. My family shifted from Lucknow base in UP to Assam. We travelled mostly by trains those days and it took us nearly two and a half days to reach Guwahati and then from there another couple of hours to reach our Army accomodation.

Train journeys had their own charm. As kids, we would see clouds, trees and fields drifting away as the train sped up. The view of flooded fields, bright green paddy being sown by farmers who had their calves soaked in mud was quite intriguing. Witnessing the enormous Brahmaputra river from the train traversing swiftly on the bridge was frightening and super exciting. I remember people making wishes and tossing coins in the river. Brahmaputra woke everyone with its formidability. I vividly remember the tiny fisherman boats floating with the current of the mighty river. These are just a few things that I remember from my train journey to Guwahati.

Army unit was about six hours from Guwahati and bus used to be our best option. I particularly remember the red soil of Assam which was strikingly different. Mind you, I was a kid, so even the simplest and common things for adults were awe-inspiring for me.

In the next few weeks, we were pretty settled there. It was beautiful always. There was pitter-patter of rain every other hour. This place was superabundantly green. Sun rose way before five in the morning and days always seemed short as the sun used to set around five in the evening. 

With so much of nature, came the snails which were harmless, however had covered the entire backwall of our house and were also hidden in the grass, in gravel and on pavements. I hated them and inadvertently crushed a lot of tiny ones and I could never see them amidst grass, I only heard them getting crushed which scared me and I would run and hear more crushings at a faster pace. While snails were harmless, snakes were not. I saw snakes every two days, they horrified me. By God’s grace, I never had to fight one or got bitten by one. I wouldn’t have ever won with a snake.

There are so many fond memories of Assam. On my way to school I used to just gaze out of my bus and witness the waterlogged fields blossoming with lotuses. This went on for miles and miles as my school was pretty far from my home.

Even today, when I close my eyes and I can still see the lotuses in the murkiest of muck, looking as fresh as the dew that sat on them every single morning.

Categories
poetry

Flavoursome outcry

A bemused mind on a summer morning, feet refuting every step;

With qualms and no zest, no brood and no rest;

Eyes wander through the shelves, hands approach yesterday’s rest;

Taste buds protest, not bowing to the wonted;

Heart screaming for a new, no servings of the same hue;

A loud growl jumped out, this is no residence of rats;

The dinosaur’s the king of here, and he must protest;

No sheen to the life, all gloomy, a growl again to sparkle the pain;


Think hard you slave, yelled heart. Desires have taken me afar;

Covid hit me hard, left me trapped with this barb;

Delight me with a lingering aroma, I’ll travel like a steam of whiff;

Whirling through the Tuscany or touching the down from cliff;

Will savour a souq through shawarma, and taste ocean with anchovies;

Give me enough to tantalize the heart, jostle aside the dull;

I’m ready to be awed, think through the shine;

Tired wrestling the heart and mind, I bow to appetence;

Curate for the soul, the body smiled devouring ennui.

Categories
photography

Reminiscence

Today was a tough day. It was pretty exhausting both physically and mentally. And emotionally tiring to keep yourself cheerful in lockdown, it’s been more than a month since it started.

As the poignance of lockdown was drowing me, I heard loud rustling of trees and howling wind. I stepped outside to behold the blue sky turn sepia. It was picturesque. I continued gazing at the sky as I sat down.

As I sat there, peace seemed to seep into my skin. I let my bones, flesh and soul soak it. This is exactly what I needed. With the wind, my thoughts began to flutter from my one moment to another. My mind was going to happy places.

In spur of the moment, I started scrolling through the photo gallery of my phone. Photographs have a way of transporting us to the feelings we had in the moments they were caprtured. With thousands of photographs in my phone, I chose a few that symbolize a happy moment for me. Here they are…

A reminder of one hell of a happy day
An evening well spent 3 years back and ate the tastiest fish curry and rice of my life.
The intensity of waves and my heart when it reaches the beach is the same.
When early morning walks on the hill were normal and I was always behind him..
About a year back, I woke up to this view.
I’d named her Tintin..and she keeps birthing every other quarter. My mom usually takes care of her family’s needs.
About 4 years back. When you know..
When really want to meet your love after work and you’re hungry too. I used to always find time to meet and surprise him.
About two years back in Delhi. It was a chilly evening and my cheeks were numbed by the cold breeze.

I’ll add some more to it..when I have some more time in hand.

Categories
Life stories

Ever-changing tempo!

Life’s been intricate ever since I left college, perhaps, it always was. Life’s pace has always been dramatic – sometimes so fast that I would live days without realising the time that passed by and then so, so slow that all I would do is rewind the lost time.

I choose to believe that I prefer the high tempo of life because it leaves no hole to peek into the past and lets you glide with it in the future. The other half of me craves for the low tempo of life, the one that heals the soul and illuminates it. This other part makes me delve into the darkness of the starry night. It lets me walk on the minuscule grains of ever unsettling sand where the gentle waves kiss the shore.

Apparently, I want it both. What’s your tempo? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
poetry

Happy Earth Day 2020

We did and didn’t think about her,

And now we see the inevitable;

How mean and rude were we,

Don’t bother to even look back;

See what we’ve done, we’ve done enough!

Let’s give her some time to rest and heal herself.

After all, we thrive when she prospers.

What are we without her!

So let this be and let’s know, if not now, then will we, and how?

Let’s care.

Happy Earth Day!

Categories
Life stories

For The Love Of Birds.

Here’s how it started.

Everyday in the morning, I nudge my husband to switch off the fan while I’m half asleep. There’s absolute silence and the only thing I hear is clock needle ticking. I get up from my bed and open the balcony door for the cool fresh breeze to gush in. I stand there for a few seconds with my closed eyes and then come back to my bed. In next few minutes, I am awakened by the birds outside, chirping hard at the break of the day. I go outside and lean on the railing and close my eyes again. This is not for me to sleep again but that’s me discerning the chirping of a kingfisher from a robin and a barbet. They’re all sound so diverse and beautiful.
I’ve been doing this for the past few weeks (since lockdown). It’s fulfilling. I feel my connect with nature has grown stronger than ever before. I had never observed the birds the way I observe them now. I spot them every morning, most of them were unknown to me until this lockdown.

First bird I spotted was a coppersmith barbet. It seemed unique with colours of yellow and orange around its head, beak and neck. I thought to myself – “must be rare”. I googled and got to know that it’s a resident of Indian subcontinent. I also had encounters with an oriental magpie robin which is a little black and white bird. An absolute stunner! A few times, I met a common kingfisher. Kingfishers are beautiful creatures who tweet daylong. I also spotted a male and a female koel. They are unlike each other. While male is all black with crimson eyes and the female has white spots all over its brown body. Albeit, she does have crimson eyes. They are always singing. I saw a blue Australian super fairy wren as well. These birds became my motivation to get up early in the morning, to witness the beauty of nature. Before I realised, this had already become a hobby of mine. I also spotted a red-vented bulbul and a greater coucal. A few times I was awed by flocks of different birds including one of sparrows which overwhelm me every single time.

My newly discovered hobby has intrigued me and it leaves me with a insatiable yearning to see more. I know what to do next when the lockdown is over!
Categories
Thoughts

Tuesday Tale: Just A State Of A Mind

This is how the world feels like right now.

And this I how I want to feel.

I want to dance in sun and soak myself in the warmth of light, I want to drink rain and just run away. I want to be part of a crowd and I promise not to cringe when it gets too crammed. I want to run around like a crazy person, smiling and hugging people. When all of this is over, I want to do it all.