When I was 28 years old, I was working in a fairly straightforward 9-5 job in Mississauga (close to Toronto), Canada, leading a pretty boring life, where days and nights blended into each other.
I had moved from New York and missed it terribly. New York was a place that inspired me, while Toronto was nice, but it was not my city.
A year and a half later, I was watching a movie, based in New York. I felt a pang of something – I wasn’t sure what. This feeling of being completely in love with a city or a setting – something that fuelled my imagination and brought me great joy.I suddenly sat up and asked myself, “what the hell am I doing with my life?”
According to a recent article in the Economic Times, 5 million salaried people lost their jobs in July in India. This brings us to a total of 18.9 million jobs. Although the validity of this particular study has been questioned, we don’t need numbers to tell us that many people have been let go across industries, cities and career levels.
But what these numbers don’t show, is the true number of people who have suffered, which includes those that may still have a job, but who have been subject to pay cuts and increased pressure to perform.
The death of Sushant Singh Rajput has not hit me hard because I was a huge fan, or even followed his work at all. In truth, I barely followed him or his work.
Yet hit me it has, mainly because he was 34, five years younger than I am, who, it seems, felt like the only thing better than breathing another moment, was never to breathe again. That was how hopeless he felt.
When things like this happen to celebrities there is often a slew of opinions: preaching positivity, detachment and the benefits of meditation or yoga, of gratitude, and many other such things that are great in principle – but ineffective in reality.
Nobody who suffers from or struggles with depression can just cheer up. Nobody who struggles with anxiety can just calm down.
More positivity, more gratitude, changes in perspective, yoga, meditation and all those other wonderful things can benefit people who are already in relatively healthy mindsets. They may help some in people who are struggling, but in others it will just remind them of failure.
As a young woman I had all sorts of ambitions of where I would be at 30. Successful, surrounded by people I loved (including, perhaps, one special someone), and generally on an accelerated upward trajectory towards achieving all of my dreams. I was to be wildly successful, because, like all millennials, this was my destiny.
Almost every woman I know has had at least one relationship where she has willingly allowed herself to be treated poorly for months, or even years. This is not a judgement, rather an observation. Some are lucky enough to escape these relationships, others not so much.
We were speaking about Margaret Atwood, and what made her characters so powerful (I’d been watching The Handmaid’s Tale for the past few months and women’s bodies and the violence inflicted on them were top of mind).
It has been an interesting week. A mix of good and bad, of optimism and despair, anger and hope.
I know a lot of people who have struggled with depression and staying positive. They may be far from their families, they may be struggling with the emptiness of days, they may feel frustrated that they can’t do anything, they may be lonely or any number of things.
At the same time, I see a lot of “be positive” messages on social media, pointing out, rightly so, that we are privileged to have a roof over our heads, particularly as compared to the thousands of migrant workers, with no choice left but to walk home, and those of lesser circumstances.Continue reading “Thoughts on the Lockdown”
Though my early attempts were rather laughable, they make for great anecdotes! Get this, at one point, I hand wrote a newspaper about the goings-on of my home and was selling it to my family for 25 paise a story. I think I set a precedent right there.
I wrote poems, which rhymed but never actually said anything. There was even a soon-abandoned novel – about someone using scorpions as a murder weapon to kill people (I had just discovered what scorpions were and they both horrified and fascinated me). It was, of course, full of plot holes: the ten-year-old me was definitely no master novelist.
Some nine and a half years back, I had to say goodbye forever to my father. He was 90 years old, an intellectual, a scholar, ex-civil servant, ex-diplomat. It was then that I realized that watching a parent age, and eventually die in front of your eyes is one of the hardest things to go through. Having been a care-giver, and having gone through the stresses and strains of caring for someone, compelled me to seek professional counseling from a psychologist. I saw her for 2 years and ended the engagement well after he passed on.
Now, nine and a half years later, I am going through all this again with my 94 year old mother. Ninety four, you say? Well, that is a long life and a ripe old age to have lived, so why stress and why feel sad? Right?