Sunday, May 31, 2015

The walls that saw me grow

I'm a great admirer of life and its ways. If there is one thing that has continued to surprise me, it has to be life. It's malleable, ductile, strong yet fragile. In fact, it's only times and situations which bestow upon us its strengths and weaknesses.

Staying in a hostel for two years of my life was a blessing in disguise. It was extremely hard to continue, sometimes, as there were days when I felt that ending my life in those four walls would lead to people's life continuing the same way; perhaps nobody would know that I was no more, unless they would find me dead, only at the pretext of having some work to do with me.

There are times when nobody, no body can help and the walls of your little room stand there, strengthened by all the tears you drained, the shouts you never screamed and the worst fears you ever imagined. The walls become your container and start reflecting the very things you would have run away from, in the presence of your beloved family.  The nights begin to re define themselves as a day survived and the days call forth for a new beginning and a new struggle.

Have you ever been in a situation where for months together you carried on, not for your pitiful self, but for the dear ones who continued to have faith in you, even as you had given up on yourself?
The struggle of collapsing into pieces and collecting those pieces repeatedly isn't easy. Perhaps it's nothing less than a test of your capacities. A diamond doesn't shine till it has withered itself in all the darkness, a tunnel only defines itself to the end which people seek towards the light, a night, my dear friends, becomes graceful because of the stars.

Having stayed in a place where people were too busy to spare time for themselves, the walls taught me to be on my own. They told me not to fear eating alone; more so, they taught me to love my own company and dine with it, whenever I had the luxury of time, so I did. I remember an occasion very vividly, I was looking pretty with my tee tucked inside the pallazos I wore and was off for lunch until a friend met on the way and asked if I was going to a date? Well, yes I was, with my self!

There were days when I felt the need of a company but brushed that feeling aside and went ahead by myself. Today when I look back, those moments have taught me to rely on nobody, not because they are not reliable but because they lack time, but myself. It's true when people say that those who stood beside you in times of adversity are your real friends.

Relationships have never been just about the softness, for its the sharp edges, the coarseness, the brittle parts that are chiselled to form something beautiful. The tears question the doubts just as a little child questions the adult life.  The body aches with illness as there's no time to get sick. The distance sighs at its length, as it's too far to come closer. The friendship takes a new meaning as the circle begins to shrink. The home becomes an abode of everything blissful we denied when we had it. The self becomes a soul, so rich with emotions and experiences, it's like a life within a life.

As I left my hostel room, a friend urged me to have a last look of the room and the hostel. I replied I didn't want to as I had stayed there long enough to not know about it. Truth was: the walls had made an impression on me which was etched in my memory. That room of mine cemented my life in a way that leads me to write about my experience today. It saw me dance, sing, cook, draw, write poetry, all in my self’s company. That room was life experiencing itself, at the end of a tiring day!
One of my drawings among the many. Drawing, a love I found in those times:) 

Friday, May 29, 2015

That one scene which disturbed me in Tanu weds Manu Returns as a Clinical Psychologist

Time and again we have seen the portrayal of ‘mentally disturbed characters’ in our Indian film industry. Every time, without fail (barring a few exceptions) the directors fail to recognise the mental disorder incorrectly ( making nothing or everything a depression or a Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia). Furthermore, what disgusts me is that for every disorder the only cure ( more often than not) they find is electro convulsive therapy  (ECT; what lay people call as “shock therapy”). It is scenes like these that create the fear of approaching mental health professionals among the public.

I ask “How can a guy ( Manu) who is normally expressing his opinions and emotions against his wife receive ECT just like that? How? ” Some people may argue that the movie was a comic one and this too might be a part of making the script funny. I, however, refute to this suggestion. Showing comedy and stating facts are two different things. It is scenes like these, which are lightly showcased and are passed around as “facts” for the public which continues to be unaware about mental disorders and more so the treatment for the same. ECT is a treatment, often used as a last resort when pharmacotherapy (i.e. medicines) or psychotherapy (i.e. counselling meant for mental disorders) fails to help the distressed patient. As a treatment, it is never ever given without consent. This is much contrary to how the movies show the person being dragged to a room and given shock, not as a treatment but as a punishment. Secondly, ECT is a mild shock, not something brutal and inhumane as shown by our esteemed directors!

In a country like ours, where there are innumerable myths which continue to prevail with respect to mental illness, it is our media which aggrandizes the myths by multiple proportions, thus further adding to the stigma and taboo of seeking help from a mental health professional.

 What further disturbs me is how loosely the disorders are labelled onto a character portrayed by an actor. I opine that if a director does wishes to show a mental disorder in a movie, s/he researches well about it and then portray it in the best interest of the public. It’s sad that while our directors have an expertise in copying scripts blindly from the West, they lack on polishing their professional skills when it comes to depicting an individual with a mental illness.

Media is that one source which reaches the masses with the most impact. It is only when the scenes depicted in the movie show the “real facts” will people start accepting mental illness, the importance of mental health and role of mental health professionals in helping them.

Dear Directors, please stop meddling with clinical jargon and molding into anything that suits your interest. Think of the millions out there whom your dialogues and characters are making a lasting impact and choose a well researched path than your ‘lay’ knowledge, as nothing is more detrimental than that.


One of the concerned Mental Health Professionals of India

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why Harry Potter struck me then and now

 As I finish reading the Prisoner of Azkaban a second time, I reminisce those days when I was an 11 year old and the world of Harry Potter came into life with the words of J.K.Rowling. I had never been an avid reader, however with time, my academic reading helped me catch up on some fiction too. It’s still a haze if I read The Philosopher’s stone first or watched the movie. Nonetheless, what I clearly remember is watching the first part with my whole school batch. Ah! Those days when the whole batch jumped into the buses excitedly, only to enter a world of magic which would leave you enthralled, excited and not to miss, lovestruck by a boy who was of our age!

Any picture of Daniel Radcliffe in the newspaper and I would jump as if he was all that made a difference in my life. I fondly remember how my brother waited eagerly for the Half Blood Prince and the Deathly Hallows. He had read much beyond I had. Being a slow reader, I stopped reading the series somewhere in the middle of The Goblet of Fire (It was borrowed by my brother’s friend and could no longer stay with me beyond a few weeks).

Having read the three parts in a Firebolt speed, I cannot wait to finish the series. Looking back, I wonder how fortunate our epoch was to be brought to life with Harry, Ron and Hermoine and seeing them grow and mature into handsome and graceful adults.

Of course research has found its own share of facts such as :children who read The Harry Potter series were found to be more empathic than others; however there are certain conditions under which a research is undertaken. I have my own doubts pertaining to the findings. Yet, I have absolutely no reservations to state that J.K.Rowling is one of the most phenomenal authors I have come across. Of course, Tolkien has created another fascinating world, which I have not found too captivating till now. As a reader I imagine millions of children and adults getting thrilled by the words of Rowling, only to be frozen in an awestruck manner so as to read what lay ahead. Indeed, words have the power to create a world so real that every ordinary person would love to immerse themselves in it.

What Harry Potter has in it which others don’t? I wonder if I’m in a position to write elaborately on this question. Yet, my own experience tells me that ideas alone are nothing but a bundle of bricks. It’s the words, the exclamations; the dialogues weaved by Rowling that made the world of magic come alive in every reader’s mind. To add that, the first movie befittingly brought the Harry Potter of the book on to the screen in the most precise manner one can imagine. As I read the book I had the scenes swimming and fading right in front of my eyes.
Moreover, this world offers a hope to us all that goodness is what matters and shall show itself when the time comes. The emotions of Harry, Ron, Hermoine and Malfoy, a bully who perhaps every child can relate to makes the series identifiable. Then, there are those pearls of wisdom offered by Dumbledore which truly stand the test of time. They offer food for thought, a pause to ponder, as one reads and bring a smile filled with solace. Here again, I’m sure the readers can identify with that one kindred soul amongst the teachers on whom they could rely  and be assured that their secrets  would be safe.

Since I’m about to start my fourth book, there are elements I’m waiting to unfold, themes which shall add more meaning as the plot thickens. Whatever might be, I know one thing for sure. Harry Potter is a gift every Parent would love to offer to their kids and so shall I.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Of Sands and Smiles

The footprints are still damp and sticky
The smell of salt twirls the crispness of that salad
The hat flaunts along the rays of sun
The colours burst in their beachy attire
The shade of the café brings relief
Aroma of croissant melting with vanilla cream
The beer bubbles by that pasta of yours
The nonchalance of work left over
Coz they asked us to ‘give time a break’.

The morning shower drips through your hair
The coastline breeze takes it away
The sun looks like a dot
Until the rays boast their mighty ways
The blue waters lure the hearts
To take a bath in the waves
The heart dances with joyous smiles
The skin loves how the waters behave.

The moon kisses the night blanket
With stars that gleam their love
The potato fries are fondly remembered    
And the feet get tired of walking
The lips sip on masala tea
With sweet silences and lazy talking
The running around, our hallmark
For how long could we be walking?

You may also like:)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...