When people leave…

Today, my roommate of last two years left the flat.

Two years ago, in Oct. 2015, when I had come to see the room and set up things, one of the first questions I asked her was: So what do you like?

It was my attempt at striking a friendship, to understanding the person who I was going to live with in a city where I had never been to, and knew no one. Many days have passed since then, and as with any other relationship, we have had our fair share of agreements and disagreements.

The beautiful thing about people is, they adapt (or at least they try to/in some cases, pretend to). You put two grown people, from completely different backgrounds and upbringings together, and you see the magic happen. At first, we try to exert ourselves, be the people who we are, without paying too much attention to what the other person brings to the table. There come the disagreements, the fights. But then, when you know the situation is not going to change by itself, you learn to see the other’s point of view. It’s a diffusion process.

Over time, I grew used to her methods and processes. I slowly learnt to appreciate the amount of strength she showed by putting down her papers, finding a new job and a flat, all by herself. That’s what life is all about – people inspire you, and then you do impossible things. Subconsciously, I have taken some decisions which were, in many ways, a result of that diffusion process, and I feel proud that I have been able to take those decisions.

I will miss her, more importantly miss the in-depth conversations we used to have about other people. I like how I tried to understand people and the motivations behind their behavior.

Bangalore has made me immune to a lot of things. It has made me used to people leaving and being able to accept it no matter how hard it is. It has also taught me that the people we live with leave something of themselves in us, and that’s what I will cherish forever.

Here’s to a great future for her. And here’s hoping that I can keep the spirit of her alive in me that was the result of the diffusion process.

 

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The rains that wash away

The night was dark and grey. The city lights illuminated it, but the luminosity could not reach the depth of the darkness that lay in her heart. She was walking in the rain, the pitter-patter rain that smelled of late monsoon and a ton of irritation.

She was not angry about getting wet. Even though she hated that her feet was soiled with the water from drainage system.

Her heart throbbed faster because she was lost.

She had just gotten out of her office, a steel-grey structure that was impartial to all emotions. Her umbrella was in her hand. Like her, hundreds of other people left the building at the same time, with their deodorant soaked sweaty bodies, each destined to their own destinations.

Her hostel was two kilometres away. She crossed the billboard of a smiling television actor, with a skin so smooth that she ended up feeling her own skin for the acne. She expected the familiarity of the paan shop right after the billboard. Only, today it wasn’t there.

The road was still filled with mindless traffic, whistles blowing and curses being yelled. The dirty water came rushing at her feet, her trousers.

Her eyes widened and blurred as she saw the unfamiliar buildings around her: a grey-yellow two-story house, a small tin-roofed hut. Where were the tall apartment buildings that lined the road to her flat?

The sound of the rain increased as she crossed a dank pond filled with water hyacinth. She had never known any pond in this direction.

Her hands trembled as she looked at her phone. It read the date correctly. She had not teleported into another century, another city. She searched her contacts for a number. A face popped up on her screen. Quickly, she rubbed out the face from her screen and dialed her mother’s number. The phone rang two times before her mother picked.

“You reached home?” her mother said, amid the buzz of some curry cooking on the oven.

“Yes, I’m walking back.” Her voice was heavy with emotion. Her eyelids were drooping with the heaviness of tears.

“I’ll call you when I reach,” she said, quickly, before her mother could ask more questions. She could not do this anymore.

She had walked into a park. There was a lone cement bench, glistening with rain water, illuminated by a yellow lamp overhead. There was a darkness above it that came from the trees. She walked up to the bench and sat over there. Her umbrella fell from her hand. The bottom of her dress got wet. The tears came pounding from her chest and knocked the breath out of her.

Lost, so lost.

Some years ago, there was a bench like this, in another city, in another park. A man and a woman ate roasted peanuts from a single paper bag. Her head was on his shoulder. It was all water under the bridge now.

She clutched her stomach to stop the pain. The liquid in her belly swarmed up, up, up and came gushing from her mouth. It tasted like rotten worms and failure.

She was too tired to think. So she lied down on the bench. The rain kept falling. The vomit washed away. She waited for the heaviness on her heart to abate.

In a different corner of the park, life went on, as a snake gobbled a frog and passers-by crossed them, without knowing that one less life breathed in this universe.

(c) 2017 Arpita Pramanick

 

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The grey clouds

A stupid fight on text. An endless wait to see if they respond. Why do you always have to be the one who has to budge first? Decisions. Quick. Quick. I am not going to be the first one.

Quick check of the date. Quick check of the train reservation status. Bam! The tickets are not confirmed yet.

Trying to think of a happy memory. The energy in the room seems to be going down, down, down. The clouds outside have entered the room. There is a damp, grey feeling in the heart that won’t go away.

The yoghurt tastes like itself, but doesn’t feel tasty enough. Fruits. Meditation. Yoga. Who cares if you don’t have a happy memory?

What are the possibilities that could emerge with a bright neon light, showing way in the darkness? Would something new happen? Would it?

Perhaps yes, perhaps not. Meanwhile, the minutes tick. And the grey clouds persevere.

 

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Interview with Yashluv Virwani

Finally, an author who loves Jhumpa Lahiri 😀

Trina Looks Back

Today is the Day 6 of Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. Today’s prompt: Feature a guest – a guest post / an interview. Today’s post is my personal favourite, that I wrote for this Blogging Festival. It gives me immense pleasure to interview one of the finest young authors of India Yashluv Virwani. His debut book Window Seat created ripples and is getting appreciation from readers and critics alike. It is undoubtedly one of the best books I read in recent times. Reading Window Seatwas such a liberating experience that I almost got immersed in it. After interviewing the author, I feel there are still so many questions that I need to ask him, maybe, some other time ‘fursat se’. So, here’s presenting the young, handsome and charming author of Window Seat, Yashluv Virwani.

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  • Window Seat is getting rave reviews from both reviewers…

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Getting back on track – Part 2

In the last post, I talked about depression and how I have been recently trying to make some changes in my life to deal with it. I shared the post on Facebook. A lot of people have reached out to me after reading it. Most of them had no clue of what I have been going through and have been very supportive since. Even simple things, like a friend appreciating me for waking up early from seeing my Whatsapp last online status, felt good. I truly appreciate these positive reinforcements .

That said, I have also been actively trying to keep myself busy during the weekends.So far it has worked out great.

Last night, my colleague cum good friend told me about this nice breakfast place they had been to during a team outing, and if I would like to join her this morning. I said yes without thinking too much.

I woke up around 8 AM today, freshened up, did some hasty meditation (still trying to bring in some sort of discipline in it), ate couple of biscuits and a kiwi and got ready to go.

The place is near Hope Farm, which is only a few minutes drive from here. Pooja, my friend was waiting near A2B, Hope Farm junction and we walked together to the cafe.

The place is called The Ant’s Cafe. It’s an oldish house with a big front yard full of trees.  I don’t know so much about architecture, but I liked how the house was built. The place is a little unkempt (lots of fallen leaves), which probably adds to its aura. Besides, there are lot of ants crawling around.

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I ordered French toast, peach and caramel smoothie while Pooja ordered omelette, waffle and watermelon juice.

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The smoothie was a little too sweet for me, but definitely tasty! Yet, at Rs. 318 for the two things I ordered, I found the cafe a little too expensive for breakfast. But then I hardly eat out and wouldn’t know the running rates for breakfasts at different places.

I was supposed to meet another friend from college in the evening at the mall near my house, but he lives near Ant’s Cafe, so I ended up visiting him in his flat directly. Chatted for about 2 hours and then took a bus back.

I also bought some groceries while coming back, so my refrigerator is full right now with fresh food.

Going out is a experience in itself. Today, especially, I found the roads, the mall and the bus very crowded. Not sure what the occasion was. I travel very less in Bangalore, which is why I almost forgot the toils of travelling in a crowded local bus. But all in all, today was a good day.

Life is changing, and it is changing fast. For the first time, I am making an conscious effort to take care of myself, imbibe good habits. It did take an effort to zone out of the state that I found myself in, but slowly, I am recovering. I am feeling much calm about my life right now.

Will  be back with more updates. Until then, thanks for being part of my journey! A special shout out to all of you who reached out through comments/calls and are cheering me on. Blessed to have you all in my life.

 

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Getting back on track – Part 1

For close to 8 months now, I have been struggling with mild depression. I had been going through a rough relationship patch, work life was hectic and there was little that I had been doing besides worrying about how stale my life was.

I have tried to pull back from that state: in January, I went to Pondicherry with some friends, in February bought my parents a new washing machine, in April I was taking part in NaNoWriMo and won it. Some of these things made me happy. But only marginally.

My work is usually hectic. Until the timings change happened (1-10 PM IST), I used to rush to office at around 9.30 AM and come back around 10.30 PM. All my day seemed to be consumed in that. After I returned from work, I refused to go to sleep right away – because I wanted to think about something other than my work. So I watched something or the other on my phone. This resulted in a vicious cycle wherein I slept late and woke up tired and rushed to kitchen to make lunch and then rushed to office to take an on-site call. I was angry at myself, then I was angry at my teammates for not being on time at work. I was throwing tantrums. Basically, it was all going downhill.

When I came to Bangalore in the last half of 2015, I didn’t imagine that two years down the line I would be writing this post. Back in the day, my only worry was to find a place to stay at a reasonable price and start to pay off the student loan and do it consistently. Thankfully, I have been able to do that. I also helped out a lot with things at home (financially). These made me happy, but perhaps not enough.

The only root cause that made me so weak is my relationship, it consumed my entire being. I was heavily invested in this relationship – had planned out what the future could be. When you are far away from your loved ones, you often miss the void that distance creates between you. You fail to see the fissures and cracks that are created everyday. One day, suddenly, you wake up to see the deep chasm and wonder how did you ever get there.

This is what happened to me. The person in concern stopped communicating to me entirely. He was active on his social media and I am sure in every other aspect of his life, but I simply could not get him to talk to me.

We spoke on and off – ever enough to convince me that the cracks were getting repaired. I feigned an imaginary break up, hoping it would make him notice. It didn’t.

I think we are too broken.

Meanwhile, I was sleeping even late, waking up around 10 AM and then hurrying to get ready for office. You’d think that the timing change at office would promote some good things back at home. Instead, things were as worse as they could perhaps get.

As I write this today, I am still not out of the depressed phase. But I am perhaps at a point in time when things are starting to look better. I spoke about the issues in my life to plenty of people (even had a mild breakdown at office), spoke to a cousin who I had not interacted in years. Talking about it helped. I was trying to hold onto any new tactic that I could find from people, to mend my broken life.

Today, I am consciously trying to change some things in life:

  1. No matter what happens, get to bed by 12: Haven’t  been entirely successful every day in this, but my bed time has definitely improved
  2. Wake up early: around 8-8.30ish for the last few days
  3. Do half an hour of yoga and meditation
  4. Not skip breakfast – With the help of my cousin, I am trying out multiple changes to my breakfast (Earlier, because of waking up early, I was missing it entirely or making do with the 12 PM brunch)
  5. Meet with people on weekends – Keep busy

These are simple changes, but at first they were hard to implement. Now, I am easing into it. It helps that I had always been a disciplined kid – always waking up early in the morning. In fact, that I was not waking up early was what was frustrating me the most, as if I was dealing with my depression by staying in bed)

I have been doing this only for 3 days now, but there’s already a positive feedback that I can feel. I am looking forward to waking up every morning, to experience something new. I still need to decide how to fill my morning space.

If you have been reading this far, thank you! Depression is not an easy thing to deal with. It takes strong willpower to get anywhere. I will be posting more on this space, as I deal with everyday life and return to being the person I used to be. Until then, thanks for being part of my journey!

 

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What horror movies are all about?

Yesterday, my team at work made sudden plan of meeting up today, grabbing lunch and spending some time together.

We did meet up today at the nearby mall. There were the four of us and a last  minute plan to include my last team lead. Everyone ended up coming at different times. We ate, talked and joked for a while.

After lunch, my ex-team lead left. Me and two other teammates returned to my flat (after some grocery shopping), where another of my teammate was already waiting – he wasn’t able to make it to lunch due to other commitments.

After some discussion on what to do for the next few hours, we ended up watching The Babadook. I am not a huge fan of horror movies. They keep me up at night when I am alone, and I do not like the feeling. Anyway, because there were the four of us, I thought it was worth a try – this was probably my first horror movie after The Conjuring.

I have never gotten the point of horror stories. I always used to wonder why people would pay to be scared. Why was the point of your heart suddenly wanting to jump out of your chest? In my opinion, if I had control, I would have all horror movies destroyed and stopped from being made.

However, I ended up liking The Babadook. More than a horror story, it is about the story of woman losing her husband while on the way to deliver their baby. It is the story of how she is coping after six years have passed since the incident – the story of how she wishes it was the baby that she had lost that day and not her husband. For the first time, while watching a horror movie, I felt that these movies are supposed to mirror the deepest fears that we have. The ghosts and the scary make-ups and the music are but symbols. My worst nightmare probably does not look like a ghost that walks with its legs backwards. But it is about how difficult we find it to cope with our losses and end up going down the rabbit hole of depression. To the point where we start imagining things that are not there.

Some realization, that! However, that doesn’t really mean I am going to try out more horror stories.

I am getting the creeps as I write this.

Until later! ❤

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