(2/6) The Best Friend

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Shrti.

Oh my God, Shrti.

If it were true that people are a reflection of their best friends…

I remember when she said she was coming to visit. She’d just graduated from the dream I’d lost and my mother asked me, “Are you sure this won’t affect you?” The answer was a reflex – She won’t let it affect me. Just wait till you two meet.

The first time I ever saw her – white shirt, black slacks, high heels and a no-nonsense smile – I thought to myself, Yeah, we’re never going to be friends. But then she said, “Hi” and I couldn’t imagine anything else.

We were as different as two people can be. I was that girl you see in class but don’t really want to be seen with. And she was… She is that person who makes heads turn when she walks into a room. But she sat next to me everyday. I’d fight like a child and she’d take it in stride. She ignored my silent judgements and my open bitching made her laugh. I never understood why.

Then came that fight. The one that showed my ugly side. It brought our friendship to a screeching halt. This is it. This is how it ends. On my way to present, she came running to say, “You’re going to do just fine.” That’s who she was. She fixed things with one line.

She taught me how to socialise, how to ask for things I want, how it’s not your body that pulls of a dress – it’s your mind. She taught me to find comfort with myself and if I couldn’t, she would be there, ready with a hug.

When I moved away, I thought the distance would create a lot of space. But she didn’t let it. Irrelevant of when, didn’t matter what – All I had to do was pick up the phone and call. You see why, when she said she’s coming to visit, I couldn’t stop grinning?!

She found herself an internship and we became roommates. The last time we’d done this, it hadn’t been so bad. But I knew this time would be different. My room was my safe haven. Yet, it was okay. And not because of me.

She would insist we went out. I wasn’t allowed to whine. She’d force me out of bed for those walks that made me better. I could only complain about one thing at a time. Every time I thought I was giving up, she would all but kick my butt until I didn’t know what I was thinking about.

I’m not joking. I’m not exaggerating. I’m not being extra nice. The honest truth is – She saved me from myself.

Three months. That’s how long it took her to pick me up from my state of depression and have me signing up for internships and smiling. She’d get a cab all the way from across town to get lunch with me before we headed back to work.  She didn’t have to. She could have been that person that shrugged her shoulders and muttered, “Get over it.” Nobody
ever insisted she take that effort. But she did. Day after day until she knew I was okay.

And then she moved away. To a different house and then to her home city.

Looking back, I often wonder – maybe she came to live with me at that point just so I wouldn’t drown completely. Maybe she was meant to be my lifeguard and when she was done with it, she had to leave. Like destiny.

I never formally said ‘thank you‘ to her. We never talked about it as something significant. She didn’t do it for gratitude. But that’s what I feel when I think of it all. For the love she continues to give. For her non-judgemental listening. For her motivation. For her care. For her.

If it were true that people are a reflection of their best friends, I’d be the best damned human there ever was and Shrti, you are one of the reasons for it.

Thank you for being you. For loving me the way you do.

And always remember, I love you, too. <3

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(1/6) The Graduate

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You remember that moment? That one moment when you’re laughing, you look around and think to yourself  I’m so happy. I hope this doesn’t go away. Imagine living everyday like that. That was university to me.

I had a ligament tear. The doctor begged me to stay in bed and rest my leg for two days. I was back in class the next morning. I couldn’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be. I was going to be a Creative Director and have Saatchi & Saatchi never let go of me.

I remember my Dad say, “Things might get a little bit bad.” I didn’t listen. I didn’t think anything was going to mess up this life. Fate wouldn’t do that to me.

If only.

It came crashing down on me. That moment when I knew it was over. I’ve been through bad things, I’ve had to handle my emotions more times than one. But nothing prepared me for this. For the moment when you watch everything you planned, every dream you dreamt be taken away from you for no fault of yours.

I… I sank into depression. I’d sit by that window on my side of the bed, watching people park their cars. I’d think to myself, Maybe if I stand there, they’d run me over. Imagine that. And to think, I’m not even suicidal. But at that moment, anything to stop the ache was a welcome present.

It’s difficult to talk about this. It’s easier to talk about my childhood than this particular year. A part of me crashed and I didn’t know how to put it back together. I needed someone to blame because that’s what you do during a heartbreak, right? You pin it on someone. Either on you or the person who was involved in the story that broke you. So I blamed it on my father. I spent hours imagining how I’d run away from it all, my life would get better and then I’d come back. I’ll show them how I had the ability to do incredible things and they almost wrecked it. It would be the perfect revenge.

And as I lived an imaginary life, my sister began university locally. She asked me to go with to pay her fees. It’s my sister, how would I say, “No?” How would I tell her that watching her take those steps into a life that was no longer mine was emotionally destroying me? How would I explain that if I go with her I would spend the rest of my night crying into my blanket, praying to be taken away from this mess? It wasn’t jealousy. It was longing for what she had.

It cost me the three steps I’d forced myself to take forward. I took six steps back. I didn’t hate her for it. I just hated myself. For not moving on. For not finding peace. For not being supportive and positive of her life and the big steps she was taking towards getting where she wanted to be.

I began to lose control over my emotions. Anger and tears were put on hold to come rushing at any moment, in the middle of any conversation. I didn’t notice. I didn’t observe long enough to know that my sanity had been replaced with hurt, with depression, with failure. I didn’t stop long enough to think that I was no longer thinking. Because thinking meant remembering. Remembering meant hurting. Hurting meant anger. And my anger was self harming. So I numbed myself to a part of my life that I wanted to pretend wasn’t real. So much that I stood there stunned when it happened.

I didn’t realise how bad it had gotten. How I no longer controlled the things I said or did. Not until my sister stood there, crying and I couldn’t explain myself because I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t understand what came over me. Her tears made me realise that my pain had taken over my life. It was clouding every inch of my existence and I no longer existed.

I volunteered to see a therapist. I knew I needed it. It was the best decision I’d ever made for myself. He prescribed medicines and walking. I put that pill in my wallet and told myself, “I’ll walk first.” Nature calmed me down. The silence of 5p.m. helped me breathe. Life began to seep itself into me and my best friend said words I needed to hear – “Get off your ass. Go find an internship.” So I did. I began a blog. I published articles in a newspaper. I was suddenly not dying in a hellhole.

I got a job offer I didn’t want to take. But I took it. I met people that would make life liveable again. I found comfort and for the first time in two years, I found a future. I would do this. I would live here. In this country that I was born in. This city that will always be my home. I will remain here, forever. And it’ll be okay. I was finally.. okay.

My father walked into my room – “I’m going to send you back again. It’s happening.” I didn’t believe it. Because.. What if it happens? Even worse, what if it doesn’t? I refused to let myself buy into that dream again.

But he was right. It happened. I made that call that would let me continue a dream I’d once lost. I enrolled back into university. I might not have my best friends beside me. It might not be the exact same life I lost. But I’m studying again! Or at least, I was.

You see, I graduated.

Six years after it all began, it finally ended. After our ceremony, back in my room, I picked up my wallet. Buried deep within the last pocket was the pill I was prescribed when I thought I’d lost it all. I never took it. But I kept it with me. As a reminder of where I’ve been. Of how far I’ve come. Of my grandfather’s words – This too shall pass. It made me cry. Because if it were upto me, I wouldn’t have survived.

And so you’ll see in the posts over the next few weeks. The people who kept me alive. The reason I have my dream. Because they deserve more than just a part of this story. They deserve a spotlight of their own.

Until then..

 

Let’s Talk About This

I’ve been there. So close to the end. So ready to fall. But something always pulled me back. It’s not because I was brave enough to face life. It was because I was terrified of ending it. And nobody really talks about this. But I want to.

And I’ll do what nobody else does. I’ll talk in favor of the ones who take the plunge. The ones who fall. I’ll justify it. But know that I don’t support their choices. I don’t support their courage. I don’t believe the end is truly the answer. But let’s just imagine this. Imagine being in their shoes. Imagine those moments.

Your parents yelled. Your loved one passed away. Life got too difficult. And you’re there. Sitting on a chair in a home you’ve loved. But you’re not home. You’re not seated in the middle of the room you decorated yourself. You’re in a corner. A dark one. An unfamiliar one. You’re struggling to breathe. Something hurts. You don’t know if it’s emotional. You don’t know if it’s physical. But the pain exists. You can’t identify it. You can’t fix it. And it’s getting worse. With every passing moment. You feel it more. You cringe. You wrap your arms around your knees and will it away. But it doesn’t vanish. You cry. You scream. You yell. But nothing changes. It’s there. Unavoidable. Indestructible.

You curl yourself into a ball. You shake with fear. With disappointment. With emotions you can’t control. With a pain that feels like a million knives stabbing you all at once. Your jaw clenches. And you tell yourself, I’ll do anything it takes to stop this pain. Anything it takes to feel normal again. 

Your body listens to the desperation in your heart. Your body gets up. And it walks. And your mind is suddenly clear because you believe deep in your soul that you’ve found the cure to the pain. That you now know how to end this suffering. It is to fall. So you fall.

Too far. Too deep. With no return. You’re no longer in pain. You’re no longer suffering. But the ones who love you are.

This is what suicide is. It is your body listening to your desperation and reacting without thinking. It is getting rid of your pain in the easiest way possible.

How often have you heard the phrase, “Suicide is for the cowardly” ? They’re wrong. Suicide isn’t for the weak hearted. Suicide isn’t for the cowards. The cowards wouldn’t get up from that corner in the fear of enduring more pain if they did. The cowards wouldn’t walk into nothingness. The cowards would never fall. The strong ones do. The selfish ones do. They find a way to fix their problem and go after it. They forget the ones who love them. They forget the ones who care. They forget the opportunities that life has to offer.

They focus on ending the moment’s pain. They walk. They fall.

I lost a friend when I was young. Her parents yelled at her about school and she hung herself. I’ve wondered what drove her there. I’ve been depressed. I’ve wanted to end it all. But I always imagine my parents and my sister after. I imagine my mother finding me dead in a corner. I imagine her face. I imagine her falling to the floor with shock and tears. The way their lives would change. How they’d never forgive themselves for not knowing my pain. How it would affect my sister’s life. How I will make things worse for the people I care about.

Surely people think about these things when they consider the end. But something pushes them still. Something drives them to take that last step. Why isn’t what’s stopping me, stopping them?

Why is the person strong enough to fall not strong enough to face the wrath and find a way through it?!

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Everyone noticed Robin Williams’ jokes. Nobody noticed Robin Williams. Do you ever wonder, if instead of asking him to tell them a joke, someone had just taken the time to talk to him, he would still be here?

No one person in this world is born with the will to end their life. No one person is raised believing the answer to a problem is suicide.

Something drives them there. Something makes them believe that nobody cares about them. That they’re alone in this. That they have to end their life to survive the pain. And if I told you you could help, would you?

Because you can. You can save a life. All it takes is just one sentence.

“Let’s talk about this.”

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If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out:

India – http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/india-suicide-hotlines.html

US – http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

International – http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

Daily Prompt : Five Items.. A HELP SIGN ?

Five items I would need with me if I’m stranded on a deserted island. I’m starting to really like Daily Prompt‘s writing topics.

Well, I’d like to say phone and computer and tv and social media.. but let me be realistic.. I’m sure I’d lose interest and possibly, battery charge. Besides, I highly doubt I’d get good network there..

So here’s what I’d want :

A sketchbook and some artist supplies

A writing pad and a pen

A few lighters – I have no interest in rubbing stones together hoping I can create fire..

A recipe book

And a few months’ supply of curry powders

Just to add one more,

A BIG NEON HELP SIGN TO PUT OUT HOPING SOMEONE WOULD GET ME OUT OF THERE !