I often find myself submerged in thoughts that take up too much space in my mind. I keep shuttling between memories of the recent past and nostalgia for a future that never happened. I sometimes find myself meditating or at least trying to. I see colours when I close my eyes. There’s blue and purple and red and yellow. And when I open my eyes, I see a cat lazing around on my bed. I look at him and smile. And I say to myself – I like cats. I like this cat.
But that cat couldn’t care less.
When Mom calls, she occasionally asks me about the virus. “How’s Delhi? How many cases? Everything okay?” I often say, “I don’t know.” Because I don’t.
Sometimes Dad tries to discuss the news with me.
I say, “I don’t know.”
He is often surprised.
“But you work in the news!”
I say, “I know.”
Somewhere deep down I marvel at my ability to disconnect. Maybe that’s what happens when you have a million thoughts running wild in your head. You can’t focus on one thought for too long. And that’s why you meditate and see those colours again. Five minutes. Then I stop.
That state of constant exhaustion has mellowed down a bit. I work and I disconnect. For hours. When I’m at work, perched on a chair, figuring out a script, editing a video, reading a story, asking some questions, taking notes in meetings – I think about the future of everything. I don’t need to but I do because of projects that push me to imagine how the future of work and education and love and travel will look like when we step out into the world again. Not just for walks and essential services. But for life.
Then I turn off my mind, no future, no news, nothing. Still a million thoughts. And a little bit of loneliness. A little bit of anger. Some gratitude.
I don’t sleep well most nights. I don’t think it’s because of the pandemic. It’s because I’ve always been a light sleeper. I wake up at least thrice every night and almost instantly go back to sleep. Weird dreams and flashes of the real and the unreal keep my mind at work even when I’m asleep. Having gone through phases when I struggled with insomnia, I only feel glad this phase isn’t that bad. Just another way to tell myself – I’m doing pretty okay.
I pack too much activity in one day. Let’s blame that on my restless mind. Let’s blame that on the fact that I get bored too easily. Let’s blame that on not being able to understand how I feel on most days about everything that has a bearing on me and on people around me. Let’s blame that on the will to be content even when there are a thousand reasons not to be.
Almost every night I sit with my journal for a few minutes and write about the day that was. Everyday seems so similar. It’s like you jump into a whirlwind of activities and you keep doing that till you fall asleep and you wake up the next day and do it all over again.
I work. I cook. I read. I watch an episode of something – anything.
I exercise – sometimes I go crazy and try Lilly Sabri’s intense HIIT at home workouts and sometimes I spend 30 minutes with Adriene and her yoga challenges to breathe and find my balance. I go for long walks in parks or for a game of badminton with my flatmates.
I listen to music – when I cook, when I take a shower, when I need a break from work, when I walk. I try to play the ukulele – every night before I sleep – and I talk to friends about not being able to strum correctly or about the faulty tuning on the instrument or about metronomes and about all these trivial things and terms that make me feel like I’m doing something, I’m trying.
I talk to my mom or my brother or my best friend and I waste a little bit of time scrolling mindlessly on the internet and get bored or annoyed too quickly. All of this in one day.
But it never seems enough. I never feel enough. Please let’s not mistake it for sadness. Not every negative feeling equates to misery. Not every positive emotion equates to happiness. How we feel and what we feel is so transient that it’s difficult to have one word for the hurricane that resides inside of us.
I often think about those times in life when I suffered through emotional abuse or when I didn’t have a job or when I was deeply sad on the inside and on the outside. I think about times when I was bound by people and ideologies and the society’s meandering expectations. It’s so freeing to be where I am today. It’s so liberating to let yourself be, to love yourself, to feel everything you’re feeling. Even if it means you don’t feel “enough” just yet.