Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sweety

Sweety was one of the first juniors I hung out with in college. Somehow, our gang acquired him and his two best friends soon after they all joined JU, and he was christened Sweety and that's what he always was to me.


Over the years we both grew and changed. We were both outsiders to the city, living in rented spaces, and we had homes we loved and missed. We didn't have much in common but he was one of the fixtures of my 'family' then, as much a part of my world as any of others in the lobby. We eventually reached a point of comfort where we'd tease each other and hang out with each other if other, preferred, friends were not around. Have tea together in the morning if we were the first to show up for the winter sun. I've always had a soft spot for younger boys, finding in them the little brother I always wanted, and Sweety fitted right in there. When I fell out with that group of friends, Sweety was one of the few people who continued to treat me much as he did before, with his usual offhanded, detached kindness. We were not close, but he was one of my people. In those years, this was my family and he was a part of it.

I left JU, got married, had Rahul, fell deep into the world of homemaking and motherhood. I didn't keep in touch with the boys and only occasionally heard news of Sweety. Never anything very good. He'd gone back home, I heard. No, he went somewhere else, somebody else told me.

Then one day, all these years later, I heard he killed himself.

It still fucking hurts.

I'm not good at talking about suicide. I lived alone, with depression (and reasons to be terribly sad) for five years. I've written here about coping mechanisms, learning to recognise triggers. For many years now I've had a businesslike approach to my depressive phases. Certain indicators set off my alarm and I go, ah, this must be depression, so I must not take to heart what people say or do right now since my judgement is likely off. One of my starkest indicators is when I start planning to kill myself. When I catch myself planning how best to die or otherwise hurt myself I know I'm in trouble and I get help. At this stage, while I'm still halfway rational, I remind myself that these two idiots of mine need a mother and I have stuff to finish before I die. I tell friends I'm depressed so I have to hear/read myself say it and cannot stay in denial. And so that I'm forced to get help. It happens a lot less than it used to, but it happens and I imagine it'll never fully go away.

Personally, I believe that we should get to decide when to get off. As a person who has to consider that other people may feel the same way though, I know I'm never going to be ready to let anybody go. I'm definitely struggling to accept that Sweety's gone.

Why am I even bringing all of this up? Because Sweety is gone and I hurt.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Comfort

I've been really happy this week, grinning to myself with sheer joy in the middle of the day for no apparent reason. Inevitably, I started crashing yesterday. I pulled my socks up this morning, took Beni swimming, did 8 laps myself, managed lunch, but the evening was hard. Eventually I lost it and stormed off to my room with my dinner on a plate. Stayed there till I calmed down.

Then I went to wish them goodnight in bed and wanted to cry over how I wasted an hour (I was crashing, I am crashing, it's not rational) so, instead, I crept up next to Beni and laid my head against his pillow. I didn't realise he'd laid out an arm for me as I did so. And for the next few minutes I lay there quietly as my four year-old comforted me the way I do him, through silent holding and gentle pats. Rahul crept up from his side of the bed and then the three of us cuddled a little longer. I apologised for my temper, they told me they liked the dinner I made (mac'n'cheese with ham and sweetcorn); I told them I'd teach them how to make it themselves so they could have it whenever they wished. Mostly, I clung on to them for my own sake. Tonight, I needed all the love they could give.

He's such a little boy, really, but his hugs sort out the universe.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sunny days

For a brief while this week, I was Sunny again.

The Riminis were participating in the 30-year celebrations of HAU on 13 September, and asked if I could Skype in to sing a song in the memory of Call Cutta. Of course I said I would! I did a couple of rehearsals with Stefan (and Simon) and then there I was, singing Papa Kehte Hain out loud to an audience in Berlin at 1 am IST and crossing my fingers that 1. I didn't wake the kids and 2. the neighbours didn't complain!

This is what the folks in the audience saw at HAU lol. It's not the clearest photo but you can see me on a giant screen surrounded by balloons, right?


Earlier in the month I hosted a panel for the Women Writers Fest curated by She The People. I did their Bangalore Rani panels for a few months and really enjoyed those but realised I couldn't commit that kind of time with regularity. This one, being a one-off, was less stress and I actually had a lot of fun. The video's available on their page.

Of late I've finally been admitting to myself that I am, in fact, quite isolated. Even my loneliest days in Calcutta were not this... alone? I like being in the centre of people and happenings, and the events of this year are hard on me. Nothing will change by this admission, but I needed to hear myself say this, I think. That I've changed, I'm no longer making friends like I used to.

I do want to be with people. I want to have conversations, and feel passionate about events and things. This afternoon I felt crushed by disapproval and I don't even know how much of it was simple self-projection. I don't really have anybody I want to take this feeling to, there's nobody I quite trust to not hurt me even more just now. That feeling is very lonely. And it's all on me, it says everything about me and nothing about the people who love me.

All in all, it was nice being Sunny for a wee while. It was nice talking to people who remember a more fiery me, a more capable, achieving me. I hope that part of me comes back one day. This person I am right now feels only half complete.