I’ve imagined myself working on this piece several times in the last few years. Each of these times I’ve debated between different kinds of ‘impactful’ opening statements, addressed to family and friends (who judge me for my views on the matter) as my primary audience.

[ I will admit, though, that some of these imaginary scenarios also involve me on a stage addressing a large, extremely engaged audience constantly nodding and smiling up at me.]

Undoubtedly, though, oration tops the list of skills I don’t have. In fact, the few times I have spoken on a stage, I’ve been asked…


My desk, September 2020

In a few weeks, we’re finally going to be able to say we’ve survived ( or not ) the year since the coronavirus was first discovered in 2019.

I am — much to my surprise — looking forward to writings/art/ poetry etc., from people across the world, reflecting over their year. This is mainly because I’ve been waiting — no, actually dying — to talk about the pandemic in hindsight, as something that has passed and is almost over.

To clarify, I do not, at all, think that talking about the year in hindsight means I/we’ve survived it. The urge…


On days when despite all the medication, sleep would tease me from a distance for several days in a row, I would feel like an extremely unsatisfied customer of the Indian mental health industry.

— -

The thing about taking anti-depressants, sleep medication and therapy is that it’s all very expensive business.

And before any sociologists / social sectorists pull out (s)words, I mean relatively expensive.

Now, I consider myself ‘middle-class’ with respect to how I think and how the term has been popularly used as a way of communicating miserliness in someone’s purchasing habits. The way I use it…


Rumi was awake. He remembered knowing, in that moment, that that day on, he was never going to have to worry about choosing between food and a warm spot under a ragged piece of cloth.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Rumi had known Arya now for nearly as long as he’d been around in the world. They met ten years back when Rumi, barely awake, was wriggling under a ragged piece of cloth trying to find a soft corner, to keep himself warm. He was hungry too, of course. As far back as his memory went, he’d been hungry all the time, each day of his life.

But that one day, from ten years ago, he remembered…


A few words, of anger and frustration, in response to everyday advise on coping with the uncertainty of the times we’re living in.

Whatever happens is meant to be

(doesn’t help when you don’t believe in man made ideas of God)

You worry too much, try and be positive,

(is difficult when your worst fears have come true more times than you can count now)

Everything will be okay, just calm down

(but where’s that ‘calm button’ that I am beginning to think I am born without?)

Advise, words of wisdom and reassurance

….because my anxiety is a ‘disorder’ to…


This is my ‘coming out’

But not entirely yet.

Because the closet feels nice,

Safe, on most days.

And who do I come out to?

I don’t know yet.

My desire is fluid,

But my identity, not.

‘Find yourself’ say the therapists,

But do I want to be found, we don’t know.

This closet is quiet and mine

Made of desires, thoughts I want to hold on to.

Coming out, means letting go,

When there’s no one to let go to.

And so I’ll keep the closet,

it’s quiet and mine

Lost and unfound, I’ll remain

Till I figure how to be found

again?


“Adjust for a few days”

“Why can’t you adjust for a few days?”

Your voice is important, but

How do we questions ways and people,

That rest on your acceptance of tradition?

Empathize, empathize, empathize, we’re told,

But when does empathy turn into submission

To hierarchy, the patriarchal ways of life,

Acceptance of everything I otherwise fight?

But I empathize,

Till I forget my voice,

And you, empathy

And it all becomes a shrill angry noise.


Therapy is conversation. And conversation is work. And that needs sufficient caffeination.

As someone who was recently diagnosed with clinical depression that had followed an earlier diagnosis of a rare/ unusual degenerative orthopedic condition, I have taught myself to look forward to Saturday mornings with my therapist. The nightly sedatives and sleep medication, make the Friday night convention of dinner and drinks with strangers and friends (that most people of my age and type look forward to) difficult to follow. Add to this, forced explanations of why I have to eat early, sleep early (so that the drowsiness doesn’t carry…

Ak

Researcher, writer — always wondering why and what if.

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