The Bipolar Saga

I was at home today, working on my photography while hours of SSR’s videos played in the background. My obsession with him is not voyeuristic, it’s very personal. As I mentioned before, my mum suffered from Bipolar Disorder. She was diagnosed after her first suicide attempt, when I was around nine. In those days people were given electric shocks, kept in psychiatrist’s make shift rehabs and given lots and lots of pills.

In her case, akin to what we hear about SSR’s she also had an addiction, to cough syrups. So we rarely saw her awake growing up. When we did, like it is the case with patients of BPD, there were extreme highs and extreme lows, with multiple suicide attempts over the years. Her husband and sister played Rhea’s part in my mum’s story and took her to the doctors and gave the pills. My aunt mostly sent the servants too and kept a tab on mum by calling them up, to find out what she was upto. The analogy is true, only if this lady is telling the truth.

But like all relationships, the one’s you have with people with mental illnesses, still work on barters. My Amma, played the ‘bad guy’ as beautifully as I do and my aunt, played her rescuer, while my father was free to do as he pleased, since he was such a ‘good guy’ for providing for this wasteful woman. For the longest time, i thought, my dad’s alcoholism was triggered by my mum’s illness, to only realise later, that my uncle too, was one, so who knows how that would have played out, under different circumstances?

Anyhow, I grew up to be like my mum, passionate, crazy and unsurprisingly suicidal. In forty one years, there have been four attempts, which lead to three hospitalisations, where my stomach was pumped for the pills I had popped; all three between the ages of 15-18. And the last one one at the age of 31 or was it 32? I’ll have to ask the person who saved me. That one would be have been worth, recording, for how filmy it was! So, I had been under tremendous pressure, since the brother’s death to get married and bring my father, a male heir, by marrying one! One has always been very stubborn, so no one could actually ‘ make me’ do anything. But there was this thing hanging over my head all the time. The relationship which I was in or not, no one can say, was on or off at any given time other than the first two years, was not going anywhere and was never going to lead to anything.

There were no promises, no commitments, not even a ‘this is my girl friend’, kind of an introduction to any of his friends. There were never any public displays of affection and he’s probably the only person, who I ever seriously dated, I have no ‘couple type’ pics with. Someone said to me the other day ‘but you know that’s the way he is’. Yet there are enough images on fb, that prove otherwise. Anyway, we would speak to each other everyday, hang out once a week and make out a few times in a year at that point ( he wasn’t particularly attracted towards me). Now I realise, it was a replica of my parent’s marriage! But we had the same friend circle and we were great friends. We both also had other people in our life at that moment in time ( mine was more public and something I had told him about, his was a big secret, which was denied till the end but like I say, you can vilify a woman but there’s no fooling karma) but for neither of us, at that moment, it seemed those were serious, either.

When I look back, I know, it would have fizzled out much sooner, had I not clung to it for dear life. He was my closest friend and probably the only man I never tried to guard myself against. He was generous to a fault, stable, raw, so kind, absolutely hilarious, he was everything I wasn’t and hoped to be but he looked at me like my dad does, with the same kind of indifference, like it wouldn’t matter if I existed or not. The masochist in me was hooked and how! There was this constant pressure at home, to marry him. He was perfect- a nice, younger, good looking Sikh boy. ‘ How had this crazy girl found such a boy?’ my relatives would wonder. ‘It’s because of the family, due to us, where she comes from, that he’s with her!’ they would say. I can’t count the number of times, I would hear my dad telling, someone or the other, ‘the boy is not agreeing to marry her!’ and then these conversations would be repeated to me, over and over again. Till I snapped! I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I sent my assistant, who was working in our company, back to Kashmir and I cracked. At some hour like now, I was restless, like today and I started planning how to kill myself. I wasn’t going to od on my mum’s pills again, since all my previous attempts had failed, so I took a plastic bag and tied it around my neck. I’d read, it would do the deed in my sleep. Unfortunately, God has put someone in my life, who has taken it upon himself to save me from, myself! So, my assistant who was on his way to Kashmir, thought there was something odd about the way I was speaking, when he had called. Since, he was the only one, who had witnessed how, I was coming apart at the seems and he had a hunch. The pressure was driving me crazy. I knew, what I knew and it turns out so did God. So my assistant came back that night and sat outside my house, till sunrise and then rang the bell. Long story short, he saved me. He says till today, that sight when he found me, scares him.

If you see my pictures from that time, no one will be able to guess that, I was going through anything. I was exhibiting, traveling, working, going out, meeting friends and loosing my shit completely, all at the same time. Other, than my assistant and this boy, I could fake being fine in front of everyone. It’s only if you ever read my messages, which never got answered, that you will realise, the level of desperation and hopelessness, I felt at that time. When people show SSR’s pics where he’s smiling and ask how a person who looks happy, would want to kill themselves, I wonder how dumb they are!

Now, as I type this, I worry, what if someday, someone throws me from the terrace or strangulates me and then uses the preexisting marks on my body or this post as evidence to call it a suicide? Why would such an absurd thought enter my mind, you ask? Well, till I was twenty seven it seems I was me- Saadiya. The men I met saw some version of me. Then my brother died and I suddenly became, my parents ‘only child’ and suddenly there was a shift in the way men looked at me. I can’t really put a finger on it but something was different, that maybe why I wanted to cling to someone who knew me from before. You will call it my paranoia ( which is the only thing that I don’t suffer from) but something’s changed more drastically, since mum’s passing. Maybe it’s my dad’s voice which plays in my head, all the time or if you hear, ‘anyone who will be with you, will be with you because of all this and men are really bad, they can do anything’ , enough times, you start to believe that or maybe you actually start to realise that money does make the mare to go and actually people can do anything for it. ‘ By the way, we don’t have that much money in the first place’, is what I would tell my dad, until SSR and mum. To only realise, it ain’t about how much you have, it’s about being a little frail and coming with an exceptional amount of baggage.

P.S- This fearfully, the chances of finding someone look rather bleak. Blast from the past, someone from my teenage years messaged, today. When I tried to turn down the proposition politely, by saying ‘sorry, you’re married!’ I was asked, ‘are you that righteous?’.’ No just too lazy! Married men require too much work!’ I replied. ‘ I guess they all also assume different versions of me.

Lessons

Now that I have vented, to the best (worst) of my capabilities, one feels a little better. One’s forced ones self to think in the direction one has been avoiding , no, not marriage but photography.

Since one is a bit under the weather, one’s not been walking and has just been horsing around on the keyboard. The brain games, one keeps playing to distract one’s self from everything, are failing to do just that. Suddenly, while practising some chords amateurishly, I felt as if I was observing myself, from a distance. Like one was the performer and the audience, at the same time. Though, it’s not the first time it happened, this detachment, was needed, right now. Wouldn’t it be nice, if we could just observe ourselves like that most of the times rather than get caught up in the moment and feel traumatised, scared even ecstatic?

So, one looked like a whinny, little privileged brat from that vantage point, honestly. I thought I would have to go to Kashmir, to slap some sense into myself but voila! when it needs to dawn on you, I guess it does. Not to mitigate or trivialise my own suffering but really in the middle of a pandemic, if you’re going to whine about how unfair life is, someone needs to shake you up. Unfortunately, I don’t listen to anyone. Let me just figure the takeaways, the lessons that I have learned.

Being alive is a privilege- There are too many people, who die young. My brother couldn’t make it to forty and my Amma, had set her self on fire before she was my age. So I, more than anyone else, should be most grateful for my life. Up until this moment, I never thought that I should try to protect myself a little, not put myself purposely in harm’s way, I should stop the subtle mocking. One should stop this crazy flirtation with death because one needs to live a long, happy life for the one’s who have departed. Be everything that they would have wanted me to be, dance, sing and be merry for them, go everywhere they would have wanted me to go! If they are watching over me, I’m sure, neither of them is enjoying this Meena Kumari act. Plus, at my mother’s funeral, someone repeatedly, asked me if I was going to commit suicide! I thought to myself, which I just remembered, ‘ wow, how thoughtful people are! Coming and asking a person who is depressive and has a history, if they are going to commit suicide, at their weakest moment? What compassion!’ Fact check, if I was to die today, it would benefit plenty of people I know, financially and otherwise. Would I want to make so many people happy? Hell no!

Suffering is growth- It doesn’t feel like that but if my cynicism and my bitterness, don’t kill me and I somehow miraculously channel my angst, it will help me grow as a person. It could make me many lovely things, if I just get past it.

Even if people want to, they can’t always be with you and there’s a reason behind that. God wants to make you, your own hero.

Praying doesn’t help the departed, it helps you deal with your loss.

Faith can relieve many a burdens but it can never put your heart, back the way it was.

You can never stop loving, the one’s who have left. But you can make space in your heart and your life for other people.

Loss changes us inexplicably. But it’s upto us, whether we want it to be for the better or for the worse.

Heaven, hell, beginning, ending; everything is a matter of perception. No one knows about the meaning of life and no one knows what will happen, when you die. Just roll with whatever suits you, whatever makes loss and living, tolerable even joyous. The mind is powerful yet it can be completely delusional. Learn to manipulate it, positively.

Money, unfortunately, makes the mare to go and people can truly do anything for it. Be cautious, it can truly be a matter of life and death– Honestly, this is a lesson, I think everyone should learn well. After Mum and SSR’s death I’ve become super duper practical. Marriage is no longer about romance, it’s a contract and that contract definitely requires a prenuptial agreement.

We are defined by our gender, so what, live with it.-There are many women out there, who have gone through a lot more than I will ever know. From rape, to sexual abuse, domestic violence, so and so forth, unfortunately the list, is so long. It will take me a long time, to get over, how my female relatives, especially my sisters who I have always stood by, behaved. How some of my female friends behaved in the past five months! Most people I know were rather pleased, I was going through, what I was. I needed to be put in my place, after all. My Dad always says, ‘ women are each other’s worst enemies!’ But I have to wonder why? Maybe it’s because such few of us get a seat on the table, that the one’s who do, start to imitate the men and the one’s who don’t resent the one’s who have the seat. So, I don’t think this will change anytime soon. If I keep paying attention to it, I’ll just end up resenting my own gender and rejecting my femininity even further. So, I got to pay attention to the one’s who were there, the one’s who gave me really sound advice and helped me through this.

Drop it!

Amma,

Tomorrow, it’s going to be five months since you left. All the pain that one felt, has somehow, converted into a wrath, that one is unable to manage. If you thought I was cynical and misanthropic earlier, well, it’s rapidly increasing. Since one has always been psychosomatic, my body is unable to contain my emotions, at the moment and the Bp is continually fluctuating.

Ever since you’ve gone, the floodgates have opened. It’s like the baggage of the past that one was carrying, is sitting on my shoulders and pushing me downwards and I can’t breathe. Every time I asked a psychoanalyst or a spiritual healer, why my memory is so terrible and yet when I test it, turns out to be average or slightly above, they have always said, that I unconsciously block my memory, in order to not remember my childhood. Yet here we are, randomly things appear-your burnt body stares at me sometimes, all your husband’s escapades, the constant fighting, the cops appearing, sometimes it your dead body, at times , I see Dustu lying in the drawing room, naked and dead as a door knob.

The camera and God are of course my worst enemies right now. One is afraid to shoot, knowing that nothing makes one confront one’s feeling more that the act of creating an image and The Almighty and I are not on talking terms, since my birthday. For the lovely news that I got that day, I’m pissed with how much he thinks one is capable of taking. So, any chances of dealing with all this sanely, it seems, one has thrown out of the window.

But you know, after Dustu, I handled my grief, in the most immature manner and as usual, bled over everybody. I hurt the two people (after you) I loved the most at the time and I was so lost. It’s only when everything blew over, that I could deal with everything, my feelings, the transference, the insecurities…everything I couldn’t manage. However, here we are again. Thank the Lord, one is not in a relationship, it’s the one thing one is most grateful for, otherwise, knowing me I would have pushed with all my might and set it on fire. Though, it’s excruciating lonely, you know how badly I do without men. Having male friends, who like me enough to check on me, is the best thing for me, right now.

There are only two people, I will let in- the one who was there when Dusty went and the one who was with me when everyone left. Fortunately, the first one wouldn’t want to and the second one is too far away. So, that leaves moi to deal with all that, is going on intrinsically. Talk to someone? Well, people get my standard reply, these days. ‘How are you doing?’, they ask. ‘Great!’ or ‘Mujhe kyaa hoga?’ I reply. ‘I’m kind of losing it’ , is what I should say, but the lie rolls of much easier.

Though, I was speaking to V, the other day and he said, ‘ I heard from so and so what happened and it’s amazing how much you go through and yet you can laugh about it.’ and I did admit, to being very angry. Though, I don’t think I can put into words just how furious one really is. So, since I have no one I would want to talk to, about this, I am just going to tell you all my grudges and then drop them, now, otherwise they will turn to poison and consume me.

This is my anger list.

1) I’m angriest at God, who, I think overestimates, my ability, to deal with stuff. If he wanted to help, he should have not made SC and SB would have handled anything, he threw at her, like a pro. The other one hurts too easily.

2) Your son. God knows when I meet that asshole again, he’s getting his ass whooped. We had a deal and he conveniently bailed on me, when it was his time to deal with all the drama and my time to exit to some unknown place and live a life of oblivion.

3) You Amma! For your sickness, the beatings and for abandoning me when I was little, I forgave you. But you promised me, you wouldn’t do that again, that you would try to live as long as I did and yet like all your promises you broke this one, too.

Plus, you bought us up to look at our shit and call it just that. But you never taught us how to put some fresh cream on it, sprinkle it with chocolate flakes and call it a lovely dish. I wish you would have, we’ve gone through our lives, very confused about social behaviour, thanks to you being so straight.

4) Your Family- Well, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, was perfectly coined for women like me and have they pissed every cell in my body. Where should I begin. For not being there for you in the past few years of your life. Most of them didn’t even bother to call you, forget meeting you and I know how much that hurt you. You loved them so much, you did everything possible for them. Despite your illness, you stood by them in their good and bad times. When they needed financial assistance you provided it. In return, you never wanted power or obedience just love. Not only did they not turn up, when you were alive, they didn’t turn up when you died! But they had all the time, in the world to slander us, when you passed away.

Not only did they not give you anything, when your father passed away but not a single piece of anything, that your mum possessed was given to you when she passed away, too. Zero, nada! If that wasn’t enough, the only thing they discussed was your stuff when you died! It physically repulses me. The icing on the cake, of course was your dear nephew, who came here and pretended to be God’s gift to mankind. Our saviour, our hero, how would an alcoholic and a single woman manage without a young man in the house? His qualification for saving us- three failed businesses, his ability to slander all and sundry, being a ‘bichara’ ( which I have realised is the best qualification in the world) , his ability to drink and of course his penis! Despite, the fact that you went out of your way, to provide his family with all the help,what does he do when you die? Drinks and makes merry, from day one. Filled my heart with joy!

But since Karma is my best friend and since I have both you and your son watching over me, he blew it, with your husband. When I left home, he started taking your husband for granted and that’s when Daddy dearest realised, he doesn’t need a man to mirror his bad qualities. Of course, then he asked him leave. Now, you will wonder why I am not pissed with your husband and why with your family? If you know someone is an alcoholic and try to take advantage of the situation shame on you! If I predicted exactly how it would go down because I know Pops, yet, you still continued to do it, you can’t feign ignorance. If you have five other close relatives living in Delhi, you can’t cry about how you were slighted and had to travel when you didn’t want to. If you were not gossiping all day long, drinking all night long, getting up and working with my dad, then you wouldn’t have had to!

After all the manipulations, miserably failed of course now, there’s emotional blackmail. Somebody called me the other day and said, ‘ oh you know they are in a bad state!’. It took all the strength in my body to keep mum. I wanted to say, ‘well, first, you have hundred times the money, that my dad has, you help him! Give him a flat, na, if you are so worried. Second, he offered my dad lakhs of rupees, so either he was lying then or he’s lying now! Instead of making me the vamp, ask your dad, why he took away this one’s first business and gave it to the other cousin?’ But I kept quiet.

Dad is free to do what he wants, with what he has and if you would have wanted to give anything to any of them, you know I would have. In fact, for all those who were good to you, I have kept your stuff, to give away as gifts. I want them to have a token from you. But if anyone is going to try to manipulate an alcoholic to give away, something that is legally mine, that is not in his name in the first place and they think I will allow them to, they have another thing coming! Your husband has a hundred flaws but he worked really hard, to build his brand. It matters more than anything else in the world to him, I will not allow anyone to come in, have a few drinks with him and squander it all off!

Amma, I am truly privileged, God and you have been exceptionally kind to me. Plus, I wouldn’t have gotten anything, if Dustu was there. I don’t forget that, this is an accident and I am only getting it so, I can do some good with it. But giving it to someone, who has already squandered crores of rupees, is completely foolhardy! Your husband said, ‘ I don’t speak to your mum’s family, you don’t speak to them, I worry if you die because of Covid, no one will come.’ ‘Bury me with our dogs’ I thought to myself. I’m not going to play nice because I need someone to come for my wedding or funeral. In any case no one is invited for either. I’ll get married alone and I have full intentions of dying alone on a highway, it will take days to identify my body! At your funeral people were discussing- our house, my love life, how many people have turned up, how much money we spent? Who the fuck cares when anyone dies? Plus, no one is happy when you’re happy, either.

Anyhow, so much for the fretting. It’s pouring outside. I’ve wept while writing this, I hope the rain and my tears wash away, all the bitterness I have accumulated in the past five months. God knows, I need to, for my own sanity!

Random thoughts

Though one’s not a fan of Sadhguru’s, as one totally disagrees with his political views but I found this in one of his books. So the said man asks, that our experiences make us bitter but shouldn’t they make us wiser? Makes sense, note to myself.

Has one thinking- Shouldn’t the fact that the hurt that someone else has caused us, make us more sensitive and we should avoid causing the same pain to another? If we have been abandoned it our times of need. shouldn’t we be there for people, more than ever? If someone gossips about us, should we not do the exact opposite of it, knowing how it feels? Trust me easier said than done.

SB is very reactive and these days totally out of control. You slap her, she whacks back so hard, the other person is left shell shocked. It’s her way of going, now you know how it feels? She never goes on the offence and if she ever says something against someone, it’s always and only because she has had it with the nonsense that the person has dished out. But all justifications aside, she has someone else who watches her, totally aghast, at the giving back as you good as you get!

Reminder- don’t go away from your basic nature, otherwise you will not be able to deal with what you will become. We become what we hate and it’s easier to pick up other people’s bad habits than to pick up their good ones. Increase your own vibrations, let people do what they want, you concentrate on becoming the best version of yourself.