Fifth Morning

Day 5/100

I’d always loved terraces, roofs, the top of water tanks. Every time we moved to a new house, I’d go in search of the highest spot. And that would be designated my getaway.

I remember the time we were having guests at home. Before their arrival, I packed a few books, a bottle of water, some chips- the summer vacation essentials basically- and escaped to the roof. It was hot, summer after all, and there wasn’t much shade. But, while my parents gave up on my being a presentable daughter, I enjoyed my day immensely.

I went home when the mosquitoes succeeded in forcing me out late in the evening. My mother said I should fight it out with them because she wasn’t feeling very inclined to let me in.

But, that’s how those places were for me- full of nooks and corners where nobody would find me, where I can set up and forget the world and be forgotten by the world. They were places of magic, of endless possibilities. The inside of an empty closet didn’t excite me as much as an expansive terrace did. It gave me space to run and run away.

I guess I’m always running, always ensuring my escape route from my own life; always one foot on the outside, restless, tapping, waiting for that excuse to pull the other one out and run. Maybe that’s why I could never commit to a single hobby. Maybe that’s why I can never turn off my music even though it doesn’t help with studying (or writing right now). Maybe that’s why I’m scared of getting married.

And I suppose that’s the reason I’m also surprised that I’ve managed to reach my fifth post in this project.

If I complete this 100 day thing, does that mean I’m a little more grown up?

Is being a little more grown up a good thing, or does it mean bidding goodbye to that little girl who ran away from home?

**

Happier morning to you!

Fourth Morning

Day 4/100

A couple of months back, I clicked a picture from the same spot. Then, it was a landscape of brown, barren land. Still beautiful, but this- was today morning.

As I stood there and refreshed my eyes with that overwhelming green, as the proof of life filled my lungs with joy, I understood that time passes.

Whether I do something, or nothing at all, time doesn’t care. It moves at its pace. A minute will contain 60 seconds and 60 of such minutes will make an hour irrespective of whether you’re watching Netflix or the paint dry. Those things that we call “time-pass”/ “pastimes”- bullshit. It’s just a warping of our perceptions.

I remember this one time I reached the railway station more than an hour early for a train that’s always an hour late. I had too much luggage to keep walking around like I usually do. So, I found a spot, tucked my bags around me, and pretended to be a stone for the next 2 hours. It was 45°C, I was sweating buckets, but the station was busy and somehow, looking around, focusing on everything and nothing- it was the most relaxing thing I’d done that whole month.

Time passed at the same rate as any other day and I was in my train after 2 hours of doing absolutely nothing. In that instance, nothing was beautiful, nothing was relaxing.

I do the same thing in my room though, for weeks together sometimes. I put aside all my work, all the deadlines I’ve to meet and spend my time doing stuff of zero consequence. I try to convince myself I’m relaxing. But, the moment you have to convince yourself of that, you know it’s false. I’m avoiding, ineffectually trying to escape and all it does, at the end of the day, is add a dollop of guilt to the bowl of nicely whipped panic in my head.

Slowly, that guilt, dollops added everyday, overtakes the flavour of panic. Soon, it leaves me incapable of even getting out of bed; because- it tells me- what’s the point? Nothing’s gonna work anyway. Especially, if it’s you- you can’t make anything work. So, I stop working all together.

That isn’t the solution now, is it?

The solution is to Do Something. It could be as small of pulling a foot off the bed. But, something, anything has to be better than nothing on top of a whole lot of nothing.

That’s what my mum has been telling me since the beginning; but, surrounded by the brightness of green today, in that faint chill that makes every morning worth getting out of bed for, it hit home. Finally, my (knuckle)head figured out that irrespective of my involvement in the world, in my own life, time will pass and keep passing. I can fill that time with nothing or with something. That’s the choice I get to make.

The only choice.

So, what will it be for you?

**

Third Morning

Day 3/100

My hostel isn’t beautiful. In fact, it’s downright shabby (answer for 15D, Guardian Quick Crossword #15345). The rooms aren’t any better than the outer facade. They take the unpainted walls and dingy corridor and open into stuffy rooms which give off the air of being perpetually under construction.

Also, it’s the 3rd floor, the stairs are uneven and wonky and my newly-sharpened suspicious brain wonders if the entire point of their construction is to generate revenue for the orthopedics department.

Suffice it to say when I moved in here 2 years back, I wasn’t too happy. I hadn’t been expecting much, but this was even lower than lowered expectations! So that day, my parents dropped me off, I settled in on the narrow bed with its moth-eaten mattress, and slowly came to the realisation that I’d need something more than water to wash down that unyielding lump in my throat.

I remembered seeing a grocery store by the hostel, and any grocery worth its weight, in a college campus, would be stocking Maggi. In the quest of that thirst-quenching Maggi I set out. And was immediately assailed by a swathe of green, the view from my exalted 3rd floor of the campus flora, so fresh, so verdant, so cheerful!

That’s the saving grace here. The trees and the greenery that surround my shabby abode, that peek in through my windows, that cheer me up when I’m leaving and that welcome me like friendly guardians whenever I return. As I walk back from the hospital, a number of times, I’ve looked up, searched out my lofty floor and bemoaned the absence of an elevator. But, in that same gaze, I end up taking in the view of the guardian greens and I feel better; if they can make oxygen for me all day, I shouldn’t be stingy about putting it to the best use, yes?

So, that’s the sight that caught my eye today as plodded back with pricking lungs and pumping muscles. They waved at me, I smiled at them, shoved a camera up their faces and said cheers!

PS: Missed one day already. But, a URTI has invaded the privacy of my respiratory system and yesterday, the indignation of such impropriety didn’t leave much breath for anything else. Hopefully, the next week will be better.

Happy morning to you!

18:49 hrs, In a Bar by Myself

First things first, I think all books should come equipped with a few blank pages. As it is, when you’re hit with inspiration when you’re reading and you need to get it out- what do you do? Not like you can leave your book and go in search of paper!

Anyway, my point is, vanity is a funny thing. For all you know, you think you look perfectly ordinary, one human next to the other and suddenly, someone’s calling you pretty. Then the second one agrees with him and before you know it, you’re all about looking at yourself in the mirror, counting the spots on your face and applying gunk that costs a kidney. You might say it’s ’cause of those words which stuck in your craw, but, why’d you take them seriously in the first place?

Then, there are times when you become so conscious about your “prettiness” that every photo you’re in, you can see the clenched muscles and awkward smile. Once you see it, you can’t unsee and that’s how you end up with a gorilla as your Facebook profile picture and they have to look at it at least three times before they can recognise your face and punch one of those pity thumbs up.

Seriously though, just chill (is what I tell myself frequently). Your face is what it is. Your body is the lump it anyway is. So, make peace with it.

And chill.

*End*

Second Morning

Day 2/100

My hospital is on the highway. The nearest town is 4 Km away and the only way to get there is by one of those white cabs (tin meets sardines) or the bus (which always seems to be going in the direction opposite to mine).

On my first day, I was mildly homesick, yes, but, the majority of my thoughts were occupied in trying to convince me that we weren’t stranded on a island. Because it felt that way. Because I could see nothing but the hospital and the road and cars driving away from the hospital on to the road; and none of those cars were mine- because I didn’t own a car.

Stranded! I was stranded! My brain failed miserably in trying to convince me otherwise.

But, it didn’t give up.

The next day I went for a walk in a quest for more than a hospital on a road. Well, I found a drugstore (duh!), and… a dairy.

Now this was new to me. In the city, all my dairy needs were met by the supermarket. But, a store especially catering to milk and all of its delectable derivatives- mind, meet blown!

But, even in its blown state, my brain did remind me that the reason my jeans were feeling particularly snug was because of those 15 Kgs I’d gained over the last 2 years at home. A home with especial love for dairy products. So, I walked out with an aching heart; and a cup of yogurt.

In that one year it took me to give up my city girl yearnings and find my bearings, I can honestly say that single cup of yogurt was instrumental. Because, if that first experience of milky creaminess with just a hint of sweetness hadn’t assured me that, if nothing else, I could at least, always, find comfort in a spoonful of dairy fluff, I would have cried myself to sleep that night. And as we all know, nothing good ever came of a wet pillow.

What I’m trying to say in this milky way is maybe we can try to be a little more optimistic, a little more open minded, and try out a few more things which might, yes, appear small, but might also end up making a huge difference.

Happy morning to you!

First Morning

Morning 1/100

That’s my livelihood. The entrance to the hospital. The sight of it turns my brisk walk into a hurried run. Am I running away? the yet to be deoxygenated part of my brain wonders.

I think you are, the fear of impending death by suffocation bolsters a surreal honesty in the remaining neurons. That gives me pause. Slows my run down, and as oxygen rushes into its righteous place in my lungs again, I shake my head in stupefaction.

Technically, I’m living my dream. I’ve imagined this life over and over again since I was 14. I imagined it a little busier yes, but, I’m not exactly twiddling my thumbs either. There’s so much to do, like I knew there would be. There’s so much to learn, like I knew there would be- and looked forward to. There’s everything I knew there would be. I entered this profession with my eyes wide open and un-rosy.

Yet.

Yet, what is it that I’m missing? Why do I feel left out of some secret that all those other happy people living out their dreams know?

Every morning, I cajole myself out of bed; threaten myself to go to work; and from the moment I get back, I give up any attempt to differentiate myself from a lump of clay in my bed. Remember when I said there’s a lot to do? It’s piling up while I lump my days away and anyway, when did energy become such an endangered commodity?

So really, is there a secret I’m missing out on? Because a lot of people seem to be having quite the fulfillment in their routine life. And all I can muster up is a facade of interest in the neuroanatomy of the oculomotor nerve- which fades into oblivion the moment I step out of those doors. Everyday, the ward rounds are a recipe for humiliation, because nor have I studied yesterday’s stuff and neither will I study for tomorrow. A part of me has already stopped thinking that I should have all the answers. So what if I come off dumb? Dumb I be and dumb I’ll be.

Sigh! So much negative thinking while my heart pumps blood away from my brain and into my calf muscles. No, I think the truth, again emerging from those suffocating neurons, is that I want more. So much more. So much else.

So I run in the mornings, dress up everyday, join readathons, update my Instagram, Facebook, even Twitter, start growing succulents in my room, organize and reorganize my closet, come up with new study plans and draw up to-do lists and timetables and when none of them seem to motivate me further than the foot of my bed, I crash.

What’s the secret? How do you not be bored?

**

27 June 2019 : 12:51 PM, Feeling Like a Canned Sardine

In a cab meant for 6, we squeeze in at least 8. If it overturns while cutting in front of a truck from behind an SUV, I die. No plan B.

Confronting my own mortality isn’t new, but today, it reminds me…

Kidney failure and 4 days in the ICU made my grandfather mortal.

A second open abdomen surgery within an year of the first made my mother mortal.

And in the light of their mortality, my father’s shadow seems to slowly wake up to its own reality.

Not for him- for me.

They were the pillars of invincibility in my life. But now, exposed by the naked truth of human frailty, they’re crumbling.

And I’m growing stronger. Because finally, I’m growing up. Of course, I’ll always be their baby; but, I can’t be a baby anymore.

So here’s to growing up. Here’s to mortality.

Cheers!