*7.30 pm* Had a stressful day today with too many things to do and very little time.
So I picked up a pen and began writing in my diary about everything on my mind. That’s when I thought of going back and reading about some Septembers from the past. I wondered what I was doing 1 year, 2-years or 3-years ago. Turns out, there’s nothing. Even on my blog site, barring last year’s sad update I haven’t written anything in September. I was intrigued. So I searched my Google photos to look at any pictures I might’ve taken in September, or any event I might’ve attended. Nada! I have literally no memories of September. Probably because nothing ever really happens in September. The weather isn’t hot enough to go to the beaches, nor is it cold enough to go to the hills for a trip. I think the only way to describe September is the leftover showers it brings from July and August. It is an uneventful, dull month and if it isn’t obvious already, I don’t like it very much. But here I am, breaking the no-writing spree of September and putting out something today.
I am like any average person. I complain and stress myself out for having too many things to do but I also thrive in such situations. The rush before deadlines, or the sigh of satisfaction while marking a task complete gives me a crazy high. That’s the sort of a day I’ve just had. The weekend, however, was extra-ordinarily amazing.
I went for a long drive with my friends, Sam & Apmg (or as Alexa says Apmm) in the outskirts of Pune. We walked around farms and grazing pastures trying to shoot a cool video. This is the first time the three of us created something together and the process was extremely exciting. I couldn’t believe how smoothly we all played our parts and brought our little vision of a video to life.
Despite the receding monsoon season that brings sudden rains, we were lucky to have a pleasant weather & good lighting throughout the day. The sun wasn’t too harsh and it hardly rained. It was a beautiful day to walk through Sugarcane fields and Chrysanthemums beds. We also found a random off-road secret spot. A huge rock under a tree that cast its massive branches like the tentacles of an octopus hovering above, overlooking a pond.
Enjoy a little glimpse of my weekend.
Heading out to meet those two goofs again for a little tea party. See ya next week. Ting!
*3.29 pm* a dull Wednesday afternoon, runny nose and six tasks with today’s deadline
Monsoon is my least favorite season (but also the most favorite one because nature is at its best). Every year, as soon as the wet monsoon breeze flows in, all my allergies wake up from their hibernation and enjoy full 3 months of vacation, blossoming in my nose and throat. The continuous sneezing sucks out all my energy and makes me feel tired and restless. My day is divided on the number of steams I have to take, medicines that are needed every 3 hours and of course, lots and lots of wet handkerchiefs from all the snot. Between all of this, I find little time to get some work done. In fact, I might be writing this in a dizzy state too, after a long sneeze session.
Before the onset of my sardi, I had been feeling anxious, bored and frustrated with the lockdown. It was like life had become stagnant and the constant pressure to do something creative or productive all the time was maddening.
I vented about this to my dear friend Sam and she introduced me to Kensho Factor. A kind little initiative by two lovely girls Shivangi and Dinima who, surprisingly, have never met. They started a week-long online workshop where you just join a Zoom call or a Google meet for one hour every evening to talk about your feelings or not, no pressure. You get to listen and learn some easy and effective tools to process your thoughts. Some of the things you might already know, but these fine people do a great job of reminding you what you’ve been forgetting.
Both Shivangi and Dinima walk you through simple techniques of how you can convert your negatives “I don’t want to be sad; I don’t want to be scared; I don’t want to feel like shit” into positives “I want to feel happy; I want to be fearless; I want to feel amazing about myself” & eventually into “I am happy; I am fearless; I am amazing”. You see how the narrative changed? How you think and what you put out in the universe is what you get back. One of my favorite quotes “You reap what you sow” thus, stands true. If you can train your mind to think and react with positive words and positive emotions, a lot can change, speaking from experience. This was one of the many things I learnt during the workshop. There was also an insightful session on Self Love and how it is far from self obsession or selfishness. I think it is an important difference each of us needs to understand.
I made some new friends, started writing a gratitude journal, learnt that forgiveness is more about me than about the person I’m forgiving and reconnected with my 5-year self, all within a week. Every evening was an emotional roller-coaster but I ended up feeling lighter and happier with each passing day.
Apart from the workshop, I invested a bit in art therapy. I used to love drawing, coloring and painting when I was in school but had lost touch. I decided to rework on my skills so I bought a coloring book and some color pens from Amazon. The joy and satisfaction of filling the design blocks in this book with bright colors has been the most calming exercise for me. It has become my fortnitely ritual – on nights when I am too bored to read or watch Netflix, I grab my new color pens by Faber Castle and start coloring.
Since I am writing about my week of healing, how can I forget my good old friends – books!
After a whole week of healing, I won’t say that I am 100% alright. Healing is a process. It requires you to realise a negative thought and correct it. Best way to do that is to use some mood-shifters like coloring or playing with your pet, talking to a friend or any other small activity that helps you feel better. It is a process that takes continuous, conscious work. I’m glad I have started it. Hopefully, you will too.
The lockdown was a much-needed relief when it first began but its unprecedented extension has been nerve-wracking. Anxiety, frustration and hopelessness have come as a package!
I took the last 6-7 weeks to argue, sob and sulk in order to cope up with the helplessness I was feeling. While my parents resumed their work from office, I felt like a lonely, left-behind, good for nothing loser, trying to work from home. I didn’t want to agree when my Dad said “we have to live with Corona”. I wasn’t ready to accept “this is the new Normal”. The situation is out of our hands, and with an increasing number of cases, it still doesn’t feel hopeful. So what changed? What made me get back and write this blog?
Nothing deep. It was boredom. You see, I was bored of feeling sorry for myself. I was bored of crying to bed every night, bored of arguments with my loved ones and bored of self-pity. One random night, as I was watching Conspiracy on Netflix I had an epiphany. I realized that if I just change the way I look at things, I can be unbored. I decided not to wait for the situation to get better but to take control of it and do something meaningful in the present.
I took up reading again, starting with ‘The Undomestic Goddess’ by Sophie Kinsella – a simple, light-hearted fiction to indulge in, on a lazy Sunday. It was followed by some insightful reads like Rana Ayub’s Gujarat Files – Anatomy of a Cover Up & Shashi Tharoor’s Why I am A Hindu – the later one had been on my bucket list for a long time and it didn’t disappoint. It answered a ton of questions I had about my identity as a Hindu in the current political climate. It talked about Hinduism’s beliefs that are rooted in history, its various interpretations and how they have shaped our present. It provides details on the culture, the heritage and more importantly clears the bias of ‘Why am I a Hindu?’ and provides an affirmation on ‘Why I am a Hindu?’
Ayub’s book was a revelation. Her eight month long undercover operation during Gujarat riots brought too many hidden and hushed stories to light. I would recommend every Indian to read this one and with an unbiased mind to understand, possibly realign their political affiliations. A shocking, stunning read!
Currently, I’ve been reading ‘Jasmine Days’ by Benyamin – a fictional story about South East Asians settled in a Middle Eastern city and how their life changes after a revolution. I have been enjoying it so far, can’t say more until I finish.
Apart from reading, I have been spending my free time in upgrading my knowledge and skills on Linkedin Learning. I had first installed the app in December last year but never got the time to enroll for a course. Four weeks ago, I finally opened this dormant app on my phone and completed a quick course on writing. I am on my second one now and it has been fun so far as it hardly takes 3 to 5 minutes per video.
Back in May, I had attended an informative online session by Satyanshu Singh of the Cinemese Twins on how to write the Beginning, Middle and End of a story. It had helped me gain much-needed guidance on some critical aspects of story/script writing. In continuation of that, I signed up for a month-long course on Coursera – ‘The Craft of Plot’ by Brando Skyhorse. I’ve written three assignments that have garnered pretty good reviews from my peers and I’m looking forward to complete the fourth assignment this weekend, and eventually reaching to the Capstone!
I have become better at organizing my thoughts on paper. I have learnt about some basic dos and don’ts, learnt about the technical details of a script, got some handy tips and pointers on how to write a character, a scene and a setting. I am now in the process of working on a story that I had started last year, and I hope I don’t give up this time. I want to see this story written, it is a special one.
The lock down also gave me an opportunity to reconnect with my parents. We celebrated 28 years of their marriage last month. On some days we watched movies together, ordered in meals from our favorite restaurants, and saw many breathtaking sunsets from our balcony. But watching our little home garden bloom to life has been one of the most pleasureful experiences. I’ve got some amazing photos of the dramatic evening skies and the vibrant, colorful flowers.
I am as average as a person can be, so when I write about how productive I’ve been or how I changed my perspective, let me tell you, it didn’t come easy.
Despite being surrounded by loving parents, and being connected to cousins and friends over calls or messages, I’ve struggled with feelings of loneliness, restlessness, hopelessness and anger (so much anger!). Add to it the monthly turmoil of hormonal mood swings and you have a complete recipe of a mess. It has taken a lot of effort for me to get up and redirect my energy towards better things. Every day is a small step and I am working through it, hoping for a better tomorrow.
I have never been too keen on celebrating Special Days on Social Media. The out pour of love for families and friends seen on Instagram & Facebook often feels fake and misplaced. But so does writing a blog about it. So who am I to judge? Here it goes..
My purpose of writing this today is more personal. After having a heavy lunch that Mom and I prepared together, we were lying on the bed, about to doze off in our afternoon nap. She was scrolling on her phone and I was watching a movie. While going through social media posts flooded with Mother’s Day wishes, my Mom read out a small poem to me. I didn’t pay much attention, obviously I was more interested in the movie. Then she said “It is so nice to have a mother, no?” and in that moment, I didn’t see my mother who I needed to thank or express love for on Mother’s day, but I saw a little girl, a daughter just like me who missed her late mother.
So I decided to ditch the nap & go back to old photo albums to help her reminisce all the good times. We went over photos from Mom’s college days, her wedding, my birth and so on.. and I kept looking for aaji (grandmother) in all those events. We even laughed over some weird photographs captured and on everyone’s dressing sense in the olden days. It was a happy afternoon.
Unfortunately, I knew my grandmother only for 13 years, but I’ve heard praises about her from everyone who had known her. She was full of love they tell me. She would never let anyone leave her house empty stomach. I remember what a great cook she was, her ‘suralichi vadi’ & ‘chirothe’ are still missed by all my relatives.
Mother tells me that their relationship much like ours was a bittersweet one. They often quarreled over their difference of opinions but today, she would give anything to have her back in her life. Unfortunately, we only have her photos & memories to hold on to and I guess that is enough for us to have a Happy Mother’s Day.