Have you ever tried the Myers-Briggs Personality test? Though I am not someone who would want to fit into a box of stereotypes, but by God, that test describes me to the t. I am an INFP, and as much as I hate being this pathetic mess, I can’t help it. Although an introvert, I tend to overshare with people I find trustworthy, even strangers. There have been so many people I met while travelling who know my entire life story. I don’t have a test to determine who to trust, just pure intuition. Of course, I don’t share my bank account details or passwords but personal stuff, like the things I write here. Once you have entered my inner circle, I am a pretty open book. You would know about my weirdest fantasies to my make-out stories. You would know all about my failures to my secret ambitions. I can never be unauthentic. I wasn’t like this when I was young, but I developed this coping mechanism when I turned 22-23. If I can just be honest about all the shitty things in my life, why would anyone else talk about it behind my back?
In one of my last conversations with Ak, he asked me to be a little skeptical of people and not trust anyone blindly. He was someone who didn’t open up to people quickly while I was an open book. I don’t use a filter when I talk about my life, so people find it normal to open up to me. Some of them might not even be in my life anymore, but I am pretty sure they’ll remember my stories. I have a terrible memory, so don’t even expect me to remember theirs except for some scandalous ones.
I don’t know where I am going with this, so let’s just stop here. I know this post had nothing substantial, but it helps me to relax. Years later, it would be nice to come back here and read my midnight thoughts. I don’t know what the future entails, but I would like to know what it was like to be me. I wish I had a blog when I was a kid; It would have been amazing to revisit the best times of my life.
Since I have decided to write regularly, I have been looking for a bit of inspiration from the internet. Don’t you think coming up with a title is the hardest part, or is it just me? I am eventually going to write about myself, but I need a topic first!
I remembered that WordPress used to have these daily prompts once upon a time. I googled and got this list of daily prompts from 2020, and I am looking at this day 1 prompt from two days exactly. JOKE. Like, you really want me to write about something funny. I don’t remember the last time something was funny, except for my life, I guess. There is no bigger joke than my life. I really believe that every time I fuck up something, God or whatever supernatural entity you believe in laughs at me from above.
So I’ve been taking care of these two cats for quite some time. I feed them, play with them. I even maintain a minimum distance because you can never really be sure about strays. But what do I get in return? The black one, who has been living with me for almost two years, bit me out of nowhere. I had to get 6 shots last month, in addition to the Covid one. I don’t think a human is nothing more than a joke to the cat species. They are so selfish, evil, and bossy. They literally act as if they own you.
And that is why I fucking love them.
You must have heard that societal jibber-jabber that unmarried women often become cat ladies… well, it seems like I am on the way to being one. And to be honest, cats are for sure better than most men I’ve met in my life.
There was a time when I would open WordPress, write a post in fifteen minutes, not think about how it made me look, and enjoy the process. Writing feels like a job now. I’ve already edited these two sentences seven times. When did everything become so strenuous?
Maybe it has to do with the fact that this blog chronicled my life, and after a lot of rants, I became too conscious of sharing my miserable life here. Who would want to read about the girl who always complains? But I realized that I didn’t start this blog for others to judge but for me to let it all out, to navigate through tough times. I wrote because it was too difficult not to. Although, when I think about the times, nine or seven or five years ago, life was much better. I didn’t know it then, but those were the good times. I never imagined such a downward trajectory in life. Who does?
The past seven months have been harsh. Who hasn’t suffered in this raging pandemic? I mean, families have been destroyed, kids orphaned, economies destroyed. 2020 was rough, and after that, I was waiting for 2021 to be better. I turned thirty this year, and seriously I was looking for my twenties to get over. I was sick of that decade. I so wanted to be thirty and start a life, and I was waiting for a miracle. Instead, I only got more challenges.
Mum has been in and out of hospitals many times in the past few months. Every time I took her to the emergency ward, I was almost sure that she wouldn’t survive. Two heart failures and a head injury plus the constant fear that we would get covid, so many days spent at hospitals fearing the worst, it was the most challenging time of my life.
All Alone. Terrified.
Saving my mum has become the sole aim of my life. And the circumstances of the past few months have made my life miserable.
I am the sole caregiver of my old parents, and it is in no way an easy task. I don’t remember the last time I interacted with a person my age face to face. Thanks to covid, we can’t go anywhere. The only time I’ve spent away from my parents was this two-day trip I took to Jaipur for some exam. My anxiety shoots through the roof every evening because my mum had both her attacks at night. You can’t forget those desperate times when your loved one starts saying what she believes are her last words to you.
May was the worst month of all time. I remember this one week where we lost one relative every single day of the week to covid. Every time the phone rang, we were scared to hear of another death in the family. Sure, I wasn’t close to these people, but my parents were. They lost their cousins, aunts, childhood friends. Grief had somehow become a constant in our lives. While I waited outside hospital benches, I saw people in emergency wards gasping for breath, being declined beds; I prayed for my mum. I just wasn’t ready to grieve again. I couldn’t let her go.
All this has occupied so much space in my mind that I’ve almost forgotten my other miseries. Unemployment, failures, grief, anxiety is now a regular part of my life. I can’t think of a time where I was happy or where I would be. All these years of ranting here, of being lost, oh god, take me back to those times.
Is this how adulthood is for everybody? There must be some happy moments, right! Sure, I didn’t opt for the usual ones such as marriage or children or building a family, but there must be some joys allotted to single women. I am even skeptical to say it can’t get worse because every time, it does.
At this point, I am just grateful that my family is safe. I spend my days in anxiety, but it is okay, my mum is here with me. I don’t know for how long, and tears have welled up in my eyes, but it’ll be okay.
Tell me that it’ll be okay.
P.S. To finish this post has been one of my major achievements this year. I think the most important. I was really sad several years ago and started writing here and it opened this whole new world for me. This has really helped me, more than anything I’ve done in recent times.
Zainab, if you are reading this…thank you for sending that email, it really pushed me to write . I don’t know who you are but I read your mail today and decided to come back here. Thank you.
Let’s just say that 2020 was not a year to take a major decision in life. But your girl here did exactly that and the rest is as marvellous as this year has been. While the world went into a lockdown around march, the loser writing this shit isolated herself in January. What can I say, I’ve a knack for screwing up things in an already screwed up world.
Today is not a good day. I’ve spent it in bouts of severe anxiety, hopelessness and panic. I can’t seem to imagine a scenario where things work out for me. Not today, not tomorrow, next month, year or any other measure of time. If you have been reading this blog since a long time, you would say that this has been my life for ever. Like when was I happy about anything. I have always been a cry baby. Well you see, blogging for me has been an anti social media platform. While social media facilitates you to share all the good moments of your life: the trip to a Scandanavian country, your wedding pictures, the first video of your child walking, blah blah, this blog here is the graveyard of my broken dreams. It doesnt help that none of the above mentioned things have happened in my life. I’ve not even been to Jhumritallaiya, forget north Germany.
For years now, I’ve been waiting for my happy ending. Not that I want to die, but you know some kind of a junction, a station from where I could move ahead. But for some reason beyond my understanding, nothing good is actually happening. And while this has been a good way for God/ destiny to keep me on my toes, I am just tired of this shit. Like, I don’t even want to pass these societal goalposts. I’ve no dreams of getting married and having babies. (Yuck) I’ve literally zero material aspirations. I am this close to becoming a monk, like really very very close. But something, something should happen in my life. I should find a way right. Why am I just going round and round. And this rant is not to say that I am sad. Surprisingly, I am not. Except for these bouts of anxiety that creep up sometims. And this fucking hopelessness.
I think, I am just too comfortable in my misery. Like, I am romanticising failure. I am not sad, but I am frustrated. And I hate this. I hate it that I’ve failed so many times that failure is the only scenario I look forward to. Whenever I am planning something, I don’t plan to succeed, I plan for backups, I visualise failure. All I think about is, what if even this doesn’t work out. I am so used to failure that no amount of effort feels enough and then I just stop trying and I am tired of this shit, you know. I am tired of me. I am tired of being a sob story.
They say everything happens for a reason. I can’t find the reason for everything that has been happening to me for almost more than a decade now. I might have been incompetent, unstable, crazy but I should have got a way right. I, of all people, know that however bad things might be, they can always get worse. But, till when? I am not ungrateful or dismissive of my privilege but I really want to end this misery. I know life can’t be without problems, but at least give me new problems bro. Change the syllabus, please!!!
All these pictures were clicked by me in the last two months since the lockdown began. These are all scenes near my home. I didn’t even have to venture more than 500m for these photos. This is how the lockdown looks like when you live in a small Indian village. 😊
Death has been my constant companion since September last year. No, I didn’t lose anyone close to me except Ak last year but every death, close or distant takes me to that familiar, heart crushing state of grief. The same thing happened today with the passing of the marvelous actor Irrfan Khan. Although it is the most certain thing known to all natural beings, death is really incomprehensible. Even with the knowledge that cancer, particularly the one Irrfan was suffering from was most certainly fatal, none of us were expecting to hear such terrible news. Or does it feel worse, because 2020 has already treated us with so much mess? This does feel like a personal loss to me. So did many things that happened in the past few months, be it the death of a neighbour I hardly spoke with, or that of a plant I looked upon as a symbol of hope. Ever since last year I’ve cried for every person/animal I see dying on screen. I have always been touchy on the subject of death and have shed a tear or two in movies but this sense of familiarity with grief is such a new thing for me. I can’t believe I spent twenty eight years without knowing grief, how incredibly lucky of me!
The world is going through a dark time right now. Every day is filled with news of numerous deaths, uncertainty and a feeling of impending doom. It has been really difficult for me to write anything after whatever happened. Even writing these few lines has been a real pain. I spent lots of time online looking for ways to deal with grief in the past few months (along with several queries on ghosts, afterlife, tarot cards, Ouija boards and whatnot). I found a quote by a user named Gsnow on a subreddit, and I go back to read it several times. I don’t know if it matters to anyone, but I would like to write this down somewhere, more for me than for anyone else.
“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.
I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”
I don’t know how many shipwrecks I am yet to face in life but love will see me through.
You would have turned twenty seven today. We would have celebrated your birthday at work,clicked pictures with you, laughed with you. We don’t have a single picture together. Almost a year working together but not one photograph with just you and me. In the last few months I spent liking you I never even thought of taking a photo together. Who knew we would never get a chance again!
You are gone. I am here, mourning you, coping with the loss of a person who was never mine. One day we were laughing together, studying the difference between meteors and meteorites, India’s moon mission, the origin of marriage, the father of history, and the next day you were history yourself. Your cut up body was kept in ice, your insides removed, you were hollow, nothing but hollow. The guy I saw smiling every single day, the guy who laughed on my dirty jokes, who I thought was too nice to understand that I am flirting with him, nothing but hollow. I still can’t imagine that you are dead. Your eyes were half open and I waited for all this to be a long, bad dream. I hadn’t seen death before, not a mortuary, not a hollow person kept on ice and you dear friend were my first. I am sorry for talking about the gory details. For reminding you of my grief, a grief I never thought I would experience. We were nothing and yet we were something. People talked about us while you were alive, while we spent all our days together and laughed over how they thought we were a couple. Some of them talk about it now, how they thought we liked each other, but what do I do about it now. I wish I had told you how I felt. And another moment I thank my stars that I didn’t. It would have been so much more difficult. Not that it is easy now. I miss you. I miss you so much. I wish you were still here. You were my friend, my secret keeper and even though we spent only a year together, we were happy. I don’t even have a single bad memory of us. I can’t believe that I’ll never see you looking stealthily at me again. Why did you leave? I didn’t even look up when you told me goodbye the last time. I thought of seeing you the next day, to ask you why you were so tensed that day. But there was no tomorrow. No next day. Nothing. I didn’t see you again. I didn’t have the strength to see you dead, to look at your face one last time but I had to. It was my only chance to say goodbye. It didn’t look like you were gone. Your eyes half open, your face still beautiful, your beard, the one you were so proud of still so intact. You were the most beautiful boy I liked. You were the reason I felt like a teenager again, the one I started writing poems for,the one who helped me to get over my biggest heartbreak. And now, you are gone, giving me a pain, I had never experienced before.
You always wrote your name on all your things. All your drawers, your chair, your books, pens, pencils are untouched since you left. I took one pencil from your drawer and kept it with me. It is one of the two things I have that once belonged to you. The other one, a stupid wrapper that I saved is now buried at my favorite place in this world. It is a stupid gesture, and you would have probably laughed at it, but somehow it was my way to mourn you.
Your name meant “sky” and now everytime I miss you, I look up and think about you. I don’t know what happens after death and trust me I am giving it a lot of thought these days but I just want you to be happy wherever you are. You were having trouble sleeping in the last days of your life, I hope you have had a good sleep. That was the last thing you wished for. If reincarnation is a real thing I hope you get to live a fulfilled life someday.
You were a good guy, however cold hearted you appeared to the world, for me you were my only support at work, my reason to face Mondays, my saviour,my crush.