March 09, 2018
I want… I desperately want to live a life worth writing about!
I look at my tab and subconsciously shift my attention towards the numerous incomplete Word documents it holds. Numerous times, I take up tasks that I never finish. Most of the time, it’s the mundane nature of the tasks that makes me abandon them in the middle. However, writing is not one such task. In fact, writing is not even a task. It comes naturally to me. My mind automatically weaves words into statements, and I can even imagine situations, both beautiful and destructive. In common words, people term this thought process “overthinking”. Writing is magical; it’s pure bliss, the highest level of contentment I’ve ever experienced in these twenty-two years. Just like the sun is symbolic of light and life, my tab, for me, is symbolic of the magic of the written world. I subconsciously go down memory lane and look back to the time when during my college days, I used to sketch the script for our class skits. I can easily visualise myself reciting poetry on the stage during the English department’s fest just like I did nearly three years ago. In a single flash, I can see my mind immediately drift away from my Sales target for this month. Another part of me comes to life in this very moment, the one that believes in those half-written paragraphs and half-sketched short plays. I begin to lose myself in the incompleteness of the stories my tab holds. It’s a week off for me, I remind myself and try to shut out those thoughts. Jumping out of bed, moving out of the room, I move to that one place where I can gaze at my real self. For over a week, it has been my daily routine to stand in front of the ‘‘ages old’’ dressing table, trying to figure out if the bacterial infection on my face has gone away or decreased by even one notch. Today, the agenda is different. Today, my super active self is on a journey inwards. I try to look carefully at those eyes and measure through them how much my soul has aged in these twenty-two years. I know my efforts would be futile, but perhaps the mirror can measure the shine and liveliness in one’s eyes. With this, I shut those big, dark brown eyes of mine, lined with thick eyelashes, eyes every girl can only dream of and I am blessed with. I try to remember the shine I see in the eyes of Pastor Joel Osteen when I watch his YouTube videos. His eyes speak of hope, of love, of happiness, of positivity; my eyes mostly seem lost. The mirror appears spotless. However, even a spotless mirror can, by no means, reflect the scars of the soul. The only things it can capture are fake smiles and external appearances. What it cannot capture is the darkness that dwells behind the external calm, positive facade. It cannot capture emotions or states of mind like despair, unhappiness, anxiety and panic. I’ve visited the Notion Press website numerous times and checked their self-publishing packages. The highest package reads Rs. 1.5 lakhs plus 18% GST. This is, unfortunately, just a few thousand rupees short of my annual CTC. Plus, finishing those unfinished stories that I build in my mind isn’t an easy task either. I neither have a storyline good enough to intrigue any reader nor do I have the time to waste trying to pen one. Writing scripts for skits and content writing and editing at Evelyn was an easier task, and perhaps I don’t hold the potential of writing a book, as I falsely believe at times. Dedicating all your time to writing a book—rather, just a collection of diary entries that I have in my blue diary— just because that’s what you call your dream may appear to be a nonsensical idea, yet that’s what my heart yearns for the most. The forbidden fruit has always appeared sweet. When I read all those books I’ve piled up in my mini library and marvel at the talent of the young writers behind them, subconsciously, I know I have the same, if not more. “I’m an idiot, ” I immediately tell myself. I should spend my time trying to focus on my career, not on what I term “my dream”. My MBA books that lie around in a mess in the living room deserve more attention than I give them. The only thing I nowadays give attention is to the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that stir in my mind, even without external stimuli, every now and then. Today, for a change, I’ve decided to pay attention to my eyes that no longer shine the way I want them to. I wonder why my face lacks any trace of happiness, even when I’ve no particular reason to be low. Sometimes, I feel low for no possible reason. My entire existence has in fact been “Not so happy”. The swiftness with which my mind switches from one thought to another, wasting away all my precious time and draining all my mental energy, contradicts the laziness my body exhibits in even day-to-day chores. I must have physical strength in order to drain it. That’s something I believe I lack. As a result, the living room is often full of piles of clothes, all shades of blue, my favorite color, stacked haphazardly, leaving little space for anyone to sit on the sofa. No matter how poorly I think of my life right now, I know it is not so. I have a life which is easily comparable to that of people my age. However, no matter how much time I spend finding excuses to keep both my mind and career messed up, just like my surroundings, I know how some things won’t change. Some situations just won’t change no matter how long I spend in my analysis, gazing at myself in the mirror. Some things are just out of our control. Perhaps there really exists something called fate, rigid and per-written, unlike my unfinished stories. It’s time to focus on my job beginning tomorrow. The phone beeps. I see the blue light. A blue light signifies a WhatsApp text. I’m, by now, quite well known to maintain a huge social circle with a never-ending contact list. My WhatsApp usually floods with text messages that I don’t find ample time to reply to. However, in the past few months, my interactions have decreased drastically for reasons I can’t exactly figure out. There’s something, perhaps a switch that goes off social for long periods alternated by abstinence. It is a text from Mom. One text message, followed by a few images. Ten images. For the very first time, I wish to open those images ASAP. I feel excited. On ordinary days, I’ve seen Mom send those ‘‘Good Morning’’ and other random images that annoy me to the extreme. Today, I know what she would have sent. Family photographs. Happy photographs.
My hopes sear high this time. Every part of my heart believes that this trip or family gathering will bring Mom and Dad closer. After a long time, they have finally agreed to go to a family gathering together. For the first time in a while, the house is empty, and I have it all to myself. I should feel happy, but honestly, I feel nothing but hurt. I want a big family. No. I want a happy family. No matter how much it hurts at this moment, I log into my Facebook profile. I wish to see more of what I lack in life. I wish to see how life is for people who have all the happiness that I don’t. I wish to see those happy faces and grateful hearts that feel loved, surrounded by their families, all captured in a few beautiful photographs. The first post on my news feed shows up. Romila Bannerjee added five new photographs – Feeling Happy. Hell, great. In the very first picture, I see two females. My attention shifts from my low mood to those smiling faces. I instantly recognize them as Romila Masi’s daughters. The love they share would easily be visible to anyone who sees this one picture. While Seba is dressed in a white gown, the much younger Soha looks like a porcelain doll in a pink frock suit. Both look pretty. In this very moment, I can imagine how lucky each one of them is to have found a companion in the other. From sharing chocolates to school memories, love to heartbreaks, emotional moments to fights, these girls have lived a life I barely know of. Nah, I’m not jealous. In the second picture, I can see Romila Masi (mother’s sister) with Soham Uncle, her husband and the love of her life. Age hasn’t changed or affected their bond. Seba, her elder daughter, is already getting engaged to Satyam, her boyfriend and love, next month, yet I can see that young blush on Masi’s face. Every time she stands close to uncle, I can see that girlish love in her eyes. Every time they are together feels like the first time. Those novel, pure, elating emotions just like she must have felt in her first year of courtship. To all those who believe in ‘‘forever’’, these people are the ideal couple. For a “forever anxious” girl like me, one who desperately yearns for love and genuine care, relationships have always been a month-long mess, nothing more. My heart is already getting heavy merely looking at these pictures. The third picture is different. I see a familiar face. Mom. Romina Masi (mother’s sister) and Mom are sisters, yet destiny played a striking role in their lives. While Masi married Soham uncle, a lawyer and a well-to-do man, destiny brought Mom to our middle-class family, one where I believe she’s never been happy. In contrast to Masi’s, I could see a familiar face. Mom. Romina Masi and Mom are sisters, yet destiny played a striking role smiling face, Mom appeared dull. Years of staying at the Suri family, taking care of Dad, Chachu (father’s younger brother) and me, all reflect on her face. Her skin has turned pale. For the first time in a long time, guilt sprawls all over me. After all those years that she dedicated to my upbringing, I’m partly responsible for the damage. What a thankless youngster I am! I don’t have the strength to look at the remaining pictures. Facebook is trash, I remind myself as I slowly shut my eyes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: PRIYANKA SAWHNEY
Priyanka Sawhney, 23, a Delhite, hails from a middle-class family. She’s a full-time corporate professional with prior part time experience as a biology content writer as well as an educator for children with learning disabilities. She has been a grammar Nazi throughout her school and college life and often penned down scripts for skits, short poems and even song lyrics at college events.
A young, intense woman who believes the pen is mightier than the sword, she believes that each one of us has a purpose and dream that we need to find. After having spent all her time in her mind that is often flooded with thoughts, doing years of soul searching, she finds solace in writing. Writing is something that comes naturally to her and she holds her Samsung tab close to her heart.
The lack of harmonious relationships in her life and her own turbulent emotions drew her to writing her debut book. She is interested in mental health, and related disorders, the impact of dysfunctional relationships on one’s emotional wellbeing and the need for love and affection and the willpower to fight through all of these. Her writings speak of determination and the attitude of never giving up in life. She believes in the power of love and acceptance and the magic created by following one’s dreams, no matter what. Her only aim in life is to inspire numerous people with her writings.