Hope in the future

Two patients who were admitted to the Institute of Mental health in Chennai- Deepa and and P Mahendran, will be getting married this Friday.

Mahendra had a tussle over property issues with his relatives and Deepa after the loss of her father, had to endure rejection from her mother and sister. Somehow, they both ended up at the Institute and after a few months of their treatment were sent to a ‘halfway home’.

Since, they both had nowhere else to go, they found love and employment at the Institute. If you go through Jordan Paterson’s videos, though he is considered enemy number 1 by the Western feminists, a lot of what he says about mental health issues, is spot on. According to him, before you declare that a person is unwell, make sure that everything around them is fine. If they’ve lost a job, are grieving, have no hopes for love, they’re not necessarily unwell but under stresses caused by their environment that they’re unable to manage. Many a times, the removal of the triggers will make their life much more pleasant and productive. Stress management and managing trigger points is the key to a better life for everyone including someone who does have a disorder.

Love, they say makes the world a better place. God knows but hope definitely, does. Umeed pe duniya kayam he, aur kissi ki umeed banjao, to kyaa baat he! Here’s hoping they have a fabulous life, one might not be able to find love but we at a 100 pieces of me…love…love and live for a good love story. Cheers.

World Mental Health Day 2022

The End Of Mental Illnesses- Daniel G Amen

One recently saw a play- Strictly Unconventional , about marriage which touched upon various topics like polyandry, closeted queer and complicated straight relationships, a sexless relationship, the ignorance and targeting transgender couples deal with and a lesbian couple dealing with mental health issues. Of course, as is done in films, like the recent Chup and Dhoka ( imagine, in one week, I saw all three with a friend. Thankfully, Hritik toned down the seriousness for us, in Vikram Vedha) the dramatisation of the patient’s behaviour was a bit much, as the symptoms of a couple of disorders were muddled together, to make the whole thing look more interesting. To be fair, if you were to read bits and pieces of my report you wouldn’t know if I have PTSD, BPD or am just too depressive by nature. Although, I started to weep, while watching that particular part, which made my companion very uncomfortable and the girl sitting behind me, angry. ‘How can they be so insensitive?’ she remarked. It’s so charming how easily youth is enraged. 20 year olds are my favourite people for this reason.

Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see mental health issues being discussed in the arts and becoming a part of everyday conversations. I don’t know if it helps with the stigma or if it changes the ground reality as of now but one has hopes the younger lot will be more clued in! As mental health issues rise in the US and around the world, steadfastly, this is going to be something everyone needs to take cognisance of, as soon as possible. A very interesting book, one’s reading at the moment- The End Of Mental Illness, is about combatting mental health problems with other alternatives to anti depressants.

Let me share a few insights, that seem doable. Daniel G Amen, suggests taking vitamins and fish oil, regularly. Eating healthy- limiting the intake of low fibre, processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Exercising and following a spiritual practice. Detoxifying your body, drinking enough water. Correcting low thyroid function. Consuming probiotics and developing a brain warrior way ( you are in a war for the health of your brain). Getting your hormone levels checked. Checking the triggers in the environment, that perpetuate your problems. Avoiding – stress, lack of sleep, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, missing meals and excessive screen time. Sleep does make a huge difference. One oscillates between too much or too little, when one is disturbed. Gymming helped regulate my sleep, quite a bit. Socialising apparently helps, well, I’m mostly uncomfortable around most humans. I’m most peaceful by myself. But apparently it does wonders for a lot of people, is good for their mental well being, even increases their life span. Anyhow, see if it helps.

Live Love Laugh

The end of mental illness by Daniel G Amen

I love weekends. They give me a legitimate reason to stay away from a place I find little joy, returning to. As the workers, go about running the machines, one gets to finish pending orders, plan, introspect, read and sleep. After they leave today, by five the lights will be switched off and one will gaze out at nothing, drift in and out of sleep and wake up slightly chirpier in the morning. Although, I seem to be forgetting what that really sounds like these days. Note to self- dance as frequently as possible.

Anyhow, one digresses. There was an interesting article about Deepika Padukone and her foundation that helps people with mental health issues- Live Love Laugh. The article states that the role of the caregiver is very important and in her case, it was her mother who figured out that she was depressed. Well, if you are lucky to have sensitive people around you, that’s good. But even if you aren’t and you feel like a mess, much can be done. In my case, since I’m masochistic and have suicidal thoughts, the minute I started ideating about death, I sought help. I even dragged my ass to a clinic, to get my psychological profiling done. One’s had the privilege of witnessing one’s mother’s life and one would rather not have a rescuer ( although, to be honest, one does have someone who will show up when one sounds too terrible and SC, loves it. I guess despite my anti social ways, one’s human). For now, one would rather be in control of one’s own mental, physical and emotional well being.

It’s a tricky thing, though. One day, you feel you’re better and suddenly out of the blue, after a decade of no masochistic acts, you’re slashing your arm, after being being triggered. It’s freaking frightening, to be honest. But once you figure out what or who triggers you, you can counter it. A friend spent ten days with me, countering the criticism one deals with on a regular basis. It helped, the way, my teacher would, countering the criticism with appreciation and the hate with tenderness and understanding. My teacher saved my life, otherwise I would have been dead by eighteen! This one doesn’t get my gratitude, though, just, ‘ I don’t need, nobody! Don’t try to be my father!’

Unfortunately, he doesn’t take my silence, and withdrawals seriously. In fact, my silence is met with lots of questions about my well being, my withdrawal with incessant calls and the latter with laughter and ‘you behave just like my two year old niece!’ So, I guess, I do have a caregiver- not technically, not someone who takes me for my sessions or insists I take my meds ; someone who is neither a family member nor a spouse. But someone who believes I can manage everything on my own yet watches me like a hawk and shows up when he thinks, I’m spiralling out of control and need some food, sunlight, laughter and dancing. I guess, we all need a caregiver, someone who cares about our well being. Not just when we are sick but on a regular basis. Caregivers come in different forms, I’m glad I have one.

Side by side

A week’s gone by…in an attempt to escape reality for a few hours a day, one’s overdosed on entertainment- four movies and two plays later, with the one—my mum insisted was the only person who can ‘ handle me’, most think I’m eloping with and my pops wishes I would just marry. But can you ever escape your own reality? Naaa, one invariably ended up watching stories of people with mental illnesses. Sent a shiver down my spine. ‘Snap out of it! Snap out it before you go absolutely cuckoo!’ I tell myself. I look in the mirror and someone I don’t recognise stares back at me…a sadder, hopeless version of me, just going through the motions. Get up, go for work, drive, eat, sleep and repeat!

‘ Get out of your den’ ‘ Do your hair!’ ‘Smile! Please smile just a little bit!’ he says as we pose for a picture. A photograph is worth a thousand words? Ahh, don’t we wish! Anyway, it’s not so bad, being around someone for large chunks of time, just going about the business of living. May be addictive. It’s starting to dawn on me, why people require company in life, it’s nice to have someone in your corner. One’s too used to one’s aloneness and too much of coward, to get too comfortable, though. Last, few days, I should try harder. Mask on…baby doll.


Lights off please began with an opening monologue by Rochan Mathur, who played the part of a person grieving the loss of a friend by suicide.
Ravi P Sharma’s monologue was about a caregiver and his frustrations-‘the caregiver burnout’ was expressed beautifully. Those of us, who have seen it up, close and personal, could identify with the dialogues and the tone of this enactment, the most.
Preeti Agarwal Mehta’s monologue, was about the psychiatrist who has lost a patient to suicide. The director, Shruti Bijnoria, sew the three monologues, effectively but unfortunately no one played the part of the person, whose died by suicide.

The panelist- Dr Alok Bajpai is a consultant at IIT, Kanpur. I’m rarely intrigued by mental health professionals. But Dr Bajpai, had something that not many professionals have- a sensitivity, which can’t be taught or feigned. Of course, the way he used mythology and literature to elucidate his point of view, was very interesting. The ‘cry for help’, ‘the window’, that a person will give you to save them, when he/she is slipping, will always be there, when they grow too emotional or withdraw too much, that’s what you need to keep an eye on, was what he mentioned. If he was in Delhi, that’s the professional whose clinic I would be camped out in front of.
Dr Sujata Minhas, spoke about how she spearheaded a movement to make changes to the law, that punished a person who attempted to commit suicide. Thanks to her and other change makers, attempting suicide is no longer a punishable offence but abetment to suicide is.
Mr Rajinder Pal, spoke about the questions that arise in an analyst’s mind about their own mortality and their own existential angst, while listening to a patient. Honestly, it made me a bit uncomfortable, hearing an analyst give voice to the same questions that pop up in my head like ‘do you actually know what to do about this or are you as confused as I am?’ But having mulled over it, one realised only a brave man, says, on a public platform- this thing I’m supposed to be an expert on, I don’t know enough about.
Shubha Menon, who is currently writing her autobiography about living with Bipolar was part of the panel. Now, the sensitivity quotient in the room, which was filled with psychology students was a little low in any case, for my liking, with audience members giggling and talking ( you know how difficult it is to get young adults to pipe it down). But this took the entire bakery, for me. A round was opened up for questions to the esteemed panel. If you know me, you know I shy away from public speaking like it’s the plague. But one was moved by the play and the panel. So, inarticulate something- gibberish, spilt out of one’s mouth. After the event, a man approached me. We were in the middle of a sensitive conversation when Ms Menon, approached us and just kept standing there, waiting for us to end this serious conversation. Anyhow, long story…longer…this is the Vishesh tipani she gave me, ‘ You know my mother was bipolar, more than anyone in the world can be bipolar!’ I didn’t know where to look. ‘ Look at me, I am just fine! You are not your mother, okay!’ I shit you not, it took, everything inside me to restrain myself but in the end I just felt terribly sad for her child, who must be dealing with this regularly.
The event was organised by Saahita, a group, that advocates for mental health. Blessin Varkey and Chitra Kalyani are some of the members of the group.


They say ‘suicide is an act of cowardice!’. I say, ‘ try it once and you’ll figure out what it takes!’ Having said that, I do think it’s not just a failing of the emotional system. A person tries to commit suicide, when their imagination fails them! When they look at all the permutation- combinations and nothing seems to work out, the future seems too bleak…when their problems seem unsolvable and they have no real support system. No one they can talk to, about what weighs on their heart. Also, it’s not an act or a thought your average Joe indulges in. Though, people always think it’s the destitute, outcasts and losers who take their own lives…I think it’s the odd balls with enormous egos, who aren’t willing to live with what life hands out to them, who aren’t willing to submit to the rules or roles, they’re asked to play. They’d rather be dead, than be someone else! But it is some sort of systematic failure, nevertheless, that requires a rebooting, either internally or externally ( death is a fab- reboot but there are other ways). Anyway, if I talk about raising awareness about it…..let’s leave that for another day….I would feel like a mighty hypocrite.

On a lighter note, like they say, ‘there are only two ways to sort out———problems. Through marriage or death!’ If you ask me, ewww, same, same! But that’s another way to go, by that logic one should give marriage a real think! (Each time one does, though, the thought of waking up to the same face, everyday, for the rest of one’s life…how much would one have to like a person for that?) If the shit hits the ceiling and it gets worse, rather than better, well, this option is always open! Sorry, don’t take me seriously, just randomness runs through my brain at the speed of light, the entire day. Ignore! Oh, you probably can’t, that’s why you feel like this! So, my humble, hypocritical solution- Work like your life depends on it (probably does), sleep, pray, create, smoke, drink , fuck, do whatever…you might feel better tomorrow…or not! Repeat after me, ‘ I ain’t going to be a freaking foregone conclusion! I ain’t going out like this!’. Works… some days. Anyhow, everybody, should do what they want but put your problem solving hat on…you need a solution, not a final exit! I leave you with this dialogue, you might want to dwell on it-‘to live in the tyranny of the current situation, be brave enough to ask , ‘ what next?’

P.S- Don’t misconstrued my sarcasm as abatement to suicide. I ain’t challenging you to jump off but rather telling you that first it ain’t easy to jump and two if you do, you ought not die, which will be a bigger problem. So breathe in, relax!

Inside Out

Demi Moore’s Inside Out, is one of the most interesting books one’s read, in the recent years. Deeply personal, it not only takes us through her journey as an attractive woman navigating through the entertainment industry, it not only explores the relationship between a woman and her various lovers and the play of power amongst partners but essentially to me it’s just an ode to motherhood, how things come full circle, how healing is our foremost duty to ourselves and the future generations and how self awareness and determination can change your life around, irrespective of your past!

Without giving too much away, let’s just say, it’s not for the faint hearted or the one’s who look at the world through rose tinted glasses. After all, how believable would it sound to people who believe all mothers are martyrs that a famous woman’s mother tried to sell her off for a few hundred dollars and trashed her infront of the press? How will anyone who has never had to deal with a Bipolar parent know what happens to you mentally, how you are the parent not them and how all of it skews your own view of the world? How can anyone who hasn’t been in that situation understand the bond between the siblings? How can anyone know, how it all comes back to haunt you when you least expect it and the addictions are part of the upbringing? But even if you haven’t had any of the experiences that made me weep, while reading this book, if you’re a woman whose had an unusual existence- read it, it will be your light at the end of the tunnel. If you are a woman, who has never had such experiences, read it so that you can stop being so judgmental about other women. If you are a man who knows an unusual woman, read it so you can get a glimmer of an understanding about how her head functions! But most should read it so that they can get a shred of understanding about mental health issues!

A strange phenomena has occurred since one has started addressing one’s own problems . Every time I step out in public, people peer at me and are kind of waiting for me to do something rather dramatic ( that’s what I feel). It’s like they’re trying to figure out where the horns on my head are at! Makes me think, it would have been nice to have normal genes or maybe mental issues that fit into other peoples idea of what a ‘depressive person’ should look like. SB, who is always up for pulling people’s legs, keeps nudging the other one to do some antics, to please the crowd. The other one just nods her head in utter dismay. Nothing hurts her more than insensitivity and nothing triggers the other one more than hypocrisy!

I was telling a friend of mine the other day that at my masochistic best, one once took a paper cutter (my favourite) and put a hundred and some slashes on my body in one go and then went to school the next day, while everything inside and outside me, hurt! This was when I wasn’t even an adult and my view of the world was far less skewed and I still thought that ‘someday everything will be alright’ and that ‘somehow I will find someone who will make everything seem worthwhile.’ Even then, the out of control behaviour was not so much weeping infront of others but withdrawing and running away. Now, the tears have mostly been replaced with sly comments, withdrawl or even better pure rage!

Makes me wonder how less defiant people go about getting help for their issues, considering the absolute ignorance that still surrounds mental health. This is a very interesting anecdote- My mother who made I can’t even count how many suicide attempts in her life, who was addicted to Corex for the longest time, seemed so normal to people that I have a childhood friend who claims she was absolutely alright because whenever she met her, she seemed fine! Unlike me, she wasn’t an introvert but was gregarious and gleeful on her good days, running around the house and singing songs for us. On her bad days, well, overturning cars, getting violent and waking us up in the middle of the night paranoid about everything! Thankfully, my aunt noticed her change in behaviour and took her to her first shrink- Dr Kothari. I marvel at how observant she was thirty years, ago and how ignorant people are still!

The last time I slipped before this, was in my thirties and I kept telling people that I didn’t feel like myself! I wish I’d seriously asked someone for help, surrounded myself with wiser, gentler humans but even when the plastic bag went over my head and even when I lay in bed weeping for days on end, I never dragged myself to get any real help. Withdraw, find some new people, avoid, travel and become normal. Then every decade have a meltdown! How mature! They say, you live and you learn! The biggest learning, hero up, save yourself, ask for help, there are some really nice people out there. In my case, there were a few male friends, professional help, my own ego (at its best, it’s my greatest strength) and faith. The trouble is that by the time you realize or the world realizes, it’s usually a little late, like in Demi’s case, where all the trauma caused health problems!

Now, inspite of all the judgements I no longer hide. I no longer hide my scars and no longer make a conscious effort to wear full sleeves clothes or wear a watch, so that people don’t get uncomfortable. They’re my battle wounds, I survived them, I survived my life and now it’s time to heal.

While reading Moore’s book, one felt so grateful for the wisdom that comes from reading. I read something about forgiving your parents a long time ago. In May 2016, I wrote on a paper which is pasted in my basement- Things to do-‘Forgive your parents, if you can’t do it…still do it. If it seems impossible…still do it!’ I would get up and read that, everyday. I still do, when I’m home. Thanks to that and my mum’s enormous efforts, my relationship with her changed drastically in the last few years of her life. Demi’s book reminds me- they are fallible humans and when it’s your turn, hopefully your children will forgive you too! Until then, heal, if not for yourself for them!

Happy Friendship Day

I love how memories pop up on FB. That’s why, these days, one writes lovely notes to oneself ( privacy setting to only me, of course) and posts them on FB, for a later date. Someday soon, when things look up and one feels all gung-ho, it would be nice to be reminded of how far one has come from those nights of desperation, when surviving even one more day, seemed like too much.

This popped up today. Ironically, just a couple of weeks ago, while I was driving around the North of India, with a friend, we were discussing how crazy one was at this time. I was telling him how I wish, I would have listened to my gut and not ignored, the red flags. What I mistook for just heartbreak and desperation, was so much more deep rooted. Other than, he and I, no one knows, the extent of my nuttiness. Why hasn’t he jumped off the sinking ship, like the rest of the world? ‘Murder or institutionalisation?’ I pull his leg. He just nods his head and laughs. I’m glad I amuse, someone, most people are exasperated by my sense of humour/cynicism. Too negative, too different, too aggressive, too crazy…always, too much. Both SB and SC, are bewildered by the world’s reactions to us but the answer lies in these lines by Kipling-

‘If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much!’

Or my favourites, ‘ Gam or khushi mein farq na mehsoos ho jahaan. Mein dil ko uss makaam pe lata chala gayaa.’

Even this makes loads of sense-

‘ You don’t outgrow others. Your new vibration outgrows the vibration of your old self. Your energy field configuration is different from before. You no longer resonate with those who only resonate with with your old self. You naturally move into another timeline.’

Maybe one’s vibrations have been lower than before or they might be changing, all together. One’s closest companions remain solitude, death and God- who ensures that when all the doors shut in your face, you have the one that stays. Anxious, much? Old habits die hard, if they ever do, so one’s on tender hooks, when someone is being nice, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. For how long, will this niceness last? Well, who knows? ‘Till it’s convenient I guess, the day it ain’t, all relationships are like revolving doors’ thinks the self protective/ cynical SB. Her motto in life remains, ‘tu nahi to koi aur sahi…koi aur nahi to koi sahee’ Misanthropic, much? Always. The other one is nicer, doe eyed and totally setimotional…like her mum, pity she doesn’t get to come out. But to you, believers in all thing lovely, who believe friendship/love make life’s journey sweeter and who look at the world with rose tinted glasses- Happy friendship Day!

To the one who stays, from SC to you-‘ Yaroon ne mere waaste kyaa kuch nahi kiya, sau bar shukriya, sau bar shukriya! Till, you’re around, I’m glad. When you go, well, you’ll remain in my thoughts and prayers, like the rest of them.’ From SB to you, my reproach to your niceness remains the same, ‘I don’t need nobody, ok! To zyaada baap banne ki zarurat nahi he, samjh aa rahee he?’

P.S- I sent this to a friend from New York. The month that I spent there was probably the scariest for me. Though, I was living in a beautiful apartment in the heart of the city, I was hysterical. I was so depressed that I missed a day of the Jane Evelyn Atwood workshop because I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. So don’t take the red flags lightly and never let anyone convince you are fine when you don’t feel it.

Rashmi’s Contemplations on Mental Health

Rashmi Divyam

How did you remain centered during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through the trying times?

The pandemic has been truly challenging for the entire world and it became absolutely essential for us to keep ourselves anchored and balanced in all aspects. Spiritual practices help us in a huge way to stay grounded, centered and deeply connected to what matters the most. I feel that our spiritual practice reminds us and keeps us bringing back to what gives meaning to our life. Certainly my spiritual practice supported me immensely to stay calm, grounded, aligned, connected, focused in countless ways and through that I have been able to cope up with the challenges that kept coming my way during difficult situations. It serves as a constant reminder to me that there’s something bigger than us, and that keeps me deeply anchored and helps me greatly in coming back to my center whenever needed. 

How were you introduced to Osho’s teachings? Any particular thought of his that resonates with you more than others?

I remember watching an evening show on Doordarshan channel during my school days, that was somewhere in early 1990s. They were showing ‘Whirling Meditation’ in an Osho Commune and everybody was dressed in long flowing maroon robes. In that moment I felt a strong connection and desire to be there. Later during my college days, whenever I would come across Osho’s quotes and articles, I felt a deep resonance with his writings and my inclination towards Osho gradually became stronger in a very subtle way. It was only in 2012, when I was in an extremely difficult situation in my life, and I felt a strong disconnect from everything and everyone I knew of at that point of time, somehow I landed in Osho Commune, Pune. And I felt such a strong sense of belonging there; it totally felt like being home to me and so much more than that I would say. I felt such deep love and acceptance of my being, for who I am and that was immensely huge for me, I never felt this way before. For the first time in my life, I felt I belonged, somewhere. 

I have always been a rebel. I could never accept false conditioning, the damaging patriarchy and the old belief systems of the society that no longer serves us. As I got to experience Osho meditations in the commune and I explored further through his writings and teachings, it all served as a healing balm soothing my heart and soul. Whether we agree to it or not on the surface, but I feel Osho’s  teachings somewhere deeply resonate with each of us.  

“Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.”  ~ Osho 

How can Reiki help with mental health issues?

Research shows that Reiki primarily helps in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression as well as relief from chronic pain. Reiki leads to a decrease in symptoms related to hypertension, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, mood disorders and stress. Reiki is deeply healing and helps clear mental blocks, bringing clarity and focus by balancing the energy centers, known as ‘Chakras’. Reiki works on all aspects – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The human body has electrical and magnetic energies that flow through it and around living tissues, creating a magnetic field around the body. Pulsing magnetic fields from the hands of Reiki therapists are in the same frequency ranges that are optimal for stimulating tissue repair. Reiki brings to us what we need at the time, at any given moment. 

Have you had any particular point of desperation in your past that you look back at and realize it turned out for the best? In that moment what helped you the most?

 There have been many difficult situations or points of desperation in my past, and today when I look back I feel so thankful to all of that. There was a constant knowing that was telling me all along, nothing is permanent – “this too shall pass”. All that came my way only made me stronger and more determined to be my authentic self, live my soul purpose, and it all constantly nudged me to make the rest of my life the best of my life. Having given a chance, I wouldn’t want to alter or change any of that. All the learnings that have happened over the years and how everything has been taken care of by the Universe, it all makes me feel so very grateful from the bottom of my heart and opens me up further to trust the process and live in surrender to the universe. I have learned that our Creator is so generous and kind that He knows better than us what we can endure, what we deserve and what is good for us on the whole, rather than what we want for ourselves at any given moment. Of course we do need to make necessary efforts, and we are constantly supported and guided by a higher force all the way, I have no doubts about that. When we look at the bigger picture, we understand how everything falls back into place and how much we are loved and taken care of. It all makes me feel so grateful, thankful and blessed.  

“I am so grateful for the many times God has shown me the mercy of not giving me what I want. As I look back on my life I realize – every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” 

Since you are a mother of young adults and are also spiritually inclined, what suggestions can you give to parents about children’s mental well being? What sort of emotional tool kit do parents have to equip their kids with to go out in the world?

Unconditional love is the biggest gift that we, as parents, can truly give to our children. I am a mother of two young adults – I have a daughter who is 20 years of age and a son who is 16 years old and from my experience of raising two beautiful beings as a single mother, I would like to convey to all parents to provide their children with a nurturing and supportive ambience through unconditional love and a deep understanding of their emotional needs, respecting their space, trusting them fully and encouraging them to follow their passions, knowing and believing that there is a genius in every child. And in so doing, we discover that in the process children not only feel empowered to trust their own self and open up to their true potential, they also truly blossom as compassionate and confident individuals who know their worth and how they deserve to be treated. I read this beautiful quote somewhere- “Our greatest contribution may not be something we do but someone we raise.”

How do you remain spiritual and fierce at the same time? You come across as a person who is happy in their skin but who also speaks her mind. How do you balance the opposing traits within your being?

Well thank you for sharing this is how you see me as, and I am glad to know that this how I am perceived, today. But let me tell you, it has been a very long journey for me from then to now and in all these years a lot has happened. Yes, it took me a lot of inner work, self enquiry, contemplation and self reflection to open up my true authentic expression, my true authentic voice that was suppressed so much because of false conditioning, old belief systems that no longer serve us and all kinds of wrong ideas about how a woman “should be” and “shouldn’t be”. Now I feel, after all these years of hard work it all gets integrated into one’s personality and it all becomes so effortless because this is who we are today after all the learning and experiences get absorbed into one’s skin and bones. Today, everything has changed, I feel like a completely different version of myself, and yet I am more me than I have ever been. They say, fearlessness is not the absence of fear, it’s the mastery of fear and I feel I am still on my way, slowly and steadily getting there.  I feel so very deeply grateful to my parents, to my children, to all my Masters, to all my Teachers and my wonderful guides who have always been holding me energetically, supporting me with all their love, light and blessings. Heartfelt gratitude to all that is.

To contact Rashmi get in touch with her on FB/ Instagram.

Mandira Srivastava talks about mental health

Mandira Srivastava is a transactional analyst and mediator at Awaken The Dance Within.

How did you remain centered during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through these trying times?

Saadiya, I view the Pandemic as a reset in the world.

I have been living off the grid and in my rhythm for many years now. Yes my spiritual practices, which I also teach, helped me stay centered and energised, as they always do. In fact, because I could not move out much  I ended up working with lots more people and furthering my own educational qualifications. I also learned Spanish. The idea is to make the best of everything.

I celebrated through these times. The traffic stopped. The skies cleared up. More birds sang. People caught in the automaticity of life, were forced to rest and reconsider their existence.

Stops/ Resets are good to return to Consciousness.

I think dance is your main practice-whether it’s the sufi whirl, the Gurdfieff movements or Belly dancing. How do you think it helps in releasing angst?

Movement helps to shift and release energy. Done consciously, dance, or any other movement can support catharsis, including breathing exercises. I also practice Reiki, and counsel with Transactional Analysis. I am also a trained Trauma Release Therapist. All these methods allow for release of trauma.

I remember meeting you two decades ago and then having the privilege of meeting your spiritual guide. I find a lot of people being skeptical about not just religion these days but all kinds of spiritual healers. What are your thoughts on the importance of appropriate guidance?

I think when the Teacher is ready, the Learners will appear.  We each attract the experiences we have chosen for ourselves. Accordingly, we experience who and what we do. I am blessed to have found wise guidance at a time I needed it, and privileged to offer it to others in my turn.

People often want quick fixes. To transform requires perseverance, effort and most importantly the wish to change. It means self discipline and the ability to leave the known behind. It takes courage.

Sometimes the Teacher is not ready  sometimes the Learner!

As a single woman how do you navigate through Indian society, so cheerfully? What advice would you give people who get bogged down by expectations?

That would require a book! I think being self sufficient is crucial to navigating through any society. Self sufficiency, for me includes, having the courage to live my life on my terms, and in my rhythm and not letting others opinion of me matter, as much as my own opinion of myself.

‘ What others think of me is none of my business. ‘ My life is mine to co – create and celebrate. And as long as I am not disturbing others, I think I can do as I wish!

Favourite quotes or a song, you read or listen to on a hard day?

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

If I am not for others, then what am I?

If not now, WHEN?

Rabbi Hillel

Passing Through….. Leonard Cohen

‘We are spiritual beings, having the occasional physical experience

Not the other way around’

( Not sure who all have said that)

To connect-Check out her Page on Fb- Awaken The Dance Within

Antaheen Komal’s thoughts on mental well being

Antaheen Komal is a spiritual healer: a family constellation practitioner, based out of Mumbai.

How did you remain centred during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through these trying times?

Since, I am a spiritual healer, my work and spiritual practise is one. During the pandemic, the energies were really high for me. It was a deep transformation time. I was guided by energies to host several workshops to contribute towards the creation of a New Earth. Work took new dimensions as it went online. The pandemic was a really busy time for me, it was highly enriching for the soul.

How do familial relations influence the individual psyche?

I work in the area of family constellation and ancestral lineage healing. In every therapy we have seen karma or emotional and psychological patterns of the family or childhood traumas affecting the individual. A child sometimes also expresses and compensates for something which has remained unexpressed in the family lineage.

How do you propose coming to terms with past hurts via the family constellation workshops?

When you see, acknowledge and name the entanglement as it is…the soul makes a movement. This is the basis family constellation work. We make the client see what is the root cause of an issue, acknowledge that yes! it is an issue, name it and then make a choice to move from the old space into a new space.

Is group work necessary or can the work be done individually?

The workshops can be conducted as a group workshop, as a private, individual session with other people as representatives or private individual session with puppets or paper representation. These can be done in person or online.

Contact- agarwalkomal@gmail.com

Eitu Vij Chopra Reflects On Mental Health

Mental health awareness month

Eitu Vij Chopra is a spiritual entrepreneur, Life and Mental Wellness Coach, Educationist, Writer, Poet and Just Another Volunteer.

How did you remain centred during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through these trying times?

Fear and uncertainty can play havoc with psychological as well as physiological goodness of the body and both of these emerged as big issues during the pandemic. The one sure short way that helped me was being purpose driven, grounded and joyous in creating something bigger than myself for the world and finding Joy in Giving.

So on the one hand a lot of volunteering went on, by way of being an aid and support to front line workers as mental wellness and holistic coach coupled with starting our #miLLLss ThemoJOsh Life Leadership Learning2Learn Success Summit; an online program for youth to help them bring to the forefront their passion and purpose and become passiopreneurs to create better world for self and others. To be able to accomplish the season 1 of it, we reached out to 100 plus self-driven passiopreneurs from across the globe and curated and recorded their learnings and insights for youth who had been left high and dry during the pandemic with no internships, no jobs or no colleges. (* passopreneurs are entrepreneurs who are led by their inner passion and fire not a job, money or title).

Yes, my spiritual practice of meditation and mindful conscious awareness helped me a lot to feel and feel that this too shall pass and let’s make some meaningful memories and learning out of it. Did a lot of Writing and Journaling as holistic health practice for anchoring the mind played a big role too and both of these therapeutic modalities have been proven through research to help anchor the mind in calmness and in here and now.

We all know the benefits of yoga for the body but can you tell us a little about how it helps to calm the mind?

Yoga is a game and play of breath as it uses our own energy source that is the breath know as Prana: breath recharge and energise our body and mind. Yoga for me is a way of everyday life to centre myself and also recharge all my energy centres. Full body cardio exercise like Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a full body cardio exercise and manages to massage each inner vital organ and stretches every muscle of the body.

Yoga as I said above draws its energy from our breath so when practised with focus and right breath work of inhalation and exhalation brings the mind to NOW and helps to relax and stay mindfully distracted in a way that is long benefit.

Sometimes just sitting in simple Lotus posture or the Padmasana and focussing on your breath is a sure shot happy calming pill as it’s again proven that deep breath while in this pose the brain is calm and aids sleep and relaxes muscles.

Can you tell us a little about chakra balancing? What should a person do if they feel unusually distressed?

 Chakras are nothing but energy grids or power grids of the body that are around major organs and also around major glands in the body. They work in unison with neurotransmitters to carry energy and signals to the brain. So when our mind is heavy, stressed and depleted like in fear or anger our chakras get depleted and awry hence we feel depressed or less energetic and find our minds and bodies heavy.

This in comparison to easy, light, charged energy helps to keep us in now as well as  happy and moving like when we are joyous or in gratitude or practising empathy and compassion.

I practice 10 non-invasive and organic ways to help charge the chakras just as nature has designed it to be, through- sound therapy( natural sounds of the universe), yoga, colour therapy, nutrition or food ( raw), reflexology, crystals, visualisation, affirmations ( thoughts its part of Neuro linguistic Programming, aromas and mudras ( hand postures and pressure points).

Simple remedy I would tell people is to eat raw many coloured food and walk bare feet on grass to get natural antioxidants to calm your mind and bring the heart rate down. It has sure shot instant health benefit.

Not much is known about the mind, let alone about mental/mood disorders. Even now I see psychologists struggling to give a particular tag in a jiffy, since observation is so hard, unless a person is institutionalised. That is quite evident even in the Amber Heard trial; where she has been ‘accused’ of suffering from a ’border line personality disorder’ and a ‘histrionics personality disorder’. Do you think this vilification will make it more difficult for people to come forth with their problems? What are your thoughts on this labelling of mental conditions?

When there is a complex, complicated and sophisticated machinery like brain why can’t it act up like any other part of our body is the question to ask?

As a Mental health coach and therapist one major shift in mind set and narrative has to be to detaboo mental health issues and/or by giving it these big fancy names and then make people dependent on chemical suppressants that are never a cure or sustainable.

Time to accept mental health issues as regular human health issues and in need of intervention and mainstreaming as heart ailments or cancer, diabetes or let’s say skin issues and finding dialogue that is not self-defeating but empowering.

Vilification or taboo as I said earlier has to be completely omitted and we have to treat them as any normal health issues not even mental health issues to help them get acceptance as part of human life and journey. More talking and accepting at every level of family and society together will usher in this change. It’s OK not to be OK.  Seek help and no brandishing at all is the way forward for all genders and age groups and people across countries.

Does it help to label in order to heal, a person? Is it easier for you as a counsellor and a spiritual practitioner, to define or is the spiritual practice more fluid about such matters?

Labelling for research and medical cataloguing is fine as sometimes genetic or family history plays a role but the truth is 99.9% of human population suffers from some or the other mind issues which could be because of circumstances, hormones and food so labelling is a NO but at the same time awareness to seek help and get perspective and find within one’s own thinking to adapt to adept to find tools to cope with, is what I believe in. I help my clients to become aware and educated with the functioning of their own body and mind and to think and find answers and help them with tools that will aid them in their hour of need, The story is always inside out and I believe in empowering not taking away the power which modern medicine does.

Spiritual or non-invasive tools that I mentioned above help get clarity and our thoughts have potency to change our personal reality and tonality. So I lay a lot of emphasis on something that I developed called Talk Therapy which is fluid yet structured conversation that helps to find triggers and once we are deft at identifying them we know them and handle them better and help ourselves. It’s an art learnt slowly but surely that has benefited each client. Secondly, whatever goes in our gut brain that is food or mind brain has to be in our control only then we can manage good, mind health. So awareness is paramount.

It’s easier to pin down disorders when people are melancholic but there are many symptoms. Is there anything in particular that you would want people to watch out for, especially in teens?

The major symptom for teens is when they stop being teens and stop doing the fun, stupid, normal things and are more brooding and pensive then that’s the time to watch out.

Secondly, everyone in the society or support system or family or parents should be laying importance on talking of taboo / bothersome things to teens as it should be fine to talk anything without being judgemental about teens. This is a collective call to all of us.

Thirdly a lot of issues in teens are due to cocktail of hormonal surges happening and coupled with wrong kind of food that could be processed or junk food that leads to mind issues and go utterly undiagnosed.

To get in touch

Email at- eitu.vijchopra@gmail.com



Depression in teens

This month we’ll be sharing the opinions of people who help others to deal with their angst. Since, one went through a period of masochism as a teenager-when one would just leave the house in the middle of the night, cut oneself and be totally erratic, one feels parents should be aware of children who act out and get them the necessary help, before it gets out of hand. Melancholy, is not the only symptom. What may come across as puberty or rebellion, may be something far more serious, which left unresolved can create lasting issues for any individual.

This is from an article which was published in Manorma-

‘If a child is sad, it doesn’t mean he has depression. It’s when that sadness stays with him day after day, when depression may be an issue. Other than this if the child has disruptive behaviour that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork or family life. These can also be signs of a problem.’

Please pay attention to these warning signs-

1) Sadness that lasts an extended period of time.

2) Aggressive behaviour and impulsiveness.

3) Thoughts or talk of self harm.

4) Thought or talk of harming another.

5) Thoughts or talk of death or suicide.

6) Thoughts or talk of perpetual guilt or worthlessness, almost everyday.

7) Lack of sleep or excessive sleep.

8) Restlessness or a slowing down of bodily movement.

9) Overeating or a loss of appetite.

10) Aches and pains, fatigue, headaches or digestive problems.

11) No pleasure in activities that were enjoyed, otherwise.

12) Social withdrawal- limited interactions with others or turning excessively argumentative.

There are various kinds of depression and not everyone has the same symptoms. Please pay attention to unusual behaviour, that can only be figured out by someone extremely close and get the teen, the help they require.

Mental Health Awareness Month

India Art Fair- 2020-2022- Barely Surviving
Art Walk at the India Art Fair

Since, my mum’s birthday and the mental health awareness month, coincided with the Art Fair, this time one decided to show a series of work which reflects the past two years of our lives.

This is the concept note of the exhibit-

We all hide parts of ourselves that we afraid of or ashamed of due to the fear of rejection and ridicule. The first day, I couldn’t stand being at the fair but by the second day, I was more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been, today one is joyful, happier than I’ve been in a long time! This year and this fair will remain etched in my memory.

This month at a 100 pieces of me, we will be discussing mental health. Stay tuned.

MCM 1-111

My latest body of works, is a record of the last two years of my existence. Titled, 2020-2022- barely surviving, they are going to be up at stall no D-5 at the India Art Fair. It’s an ode to my Mum, who passed away in 2020 and to the series of events that one faced after that. If you are one of the few people, who actually likes me, don’t worry, I’m in a much better place- emotionally and psychologically.

One had apprehensions about sharing it but one’s works right from the word go, have been a record of one’s journey. Since, history is written by the rich and powerful ( by the winner) just making sure, ‘her story is written by her!’, flawed as it it may be. Motto in life- ‘You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud!’

One hopes that one day, that shouting will be something akin to Harry Styles’ and Louis Tomlinson’s videos, hiding deep love or like Mann’s work about her children but as of now, the photographs are what seem like a ‘perpetual self indulgence’, as I call it under the garb of ‘ making it okay for masochistic little girls, everywhere!’ Self deprecating, much? Just a little. But it is what it is! This is who I am, right now, take it or leave it! Angry, depressed, anti social …right now…tomorrow I will be something else. But this will lurk from, the shadows always…like it always has. One could, do what the mind says and project something else- nicer, pleasanter, more positive like all humans beings love but SC, needs her outlets, otherwise she will come apart at the seams.

Here is a description of what the MCM1-III, test entails. Like I keep saying, this should never be shared with anyone so please be very discreet about your mental condition. In my case, I’ve been sticking it up to the world since I was very young, plus, I have nothing or no one to loose and much to gain from this. Closure for one, cleaning house for another and just for hope. One wishes to just close this and someday find someone I think I can be with, not having to worry about the sword dangling above my neck or about what anyone will tell him. I’m just going to be like, ‘read this…see this and then lets take it from there!’ Love does have a way of saving us, for now, I make do with the moon.

Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale

Each of us comes into the world with our own worldview and that worldview is actually shaped from the crib. You get from the world what you project into the world and you project into the world what you were raised with and what you were raised around. So the question to ask isn’t what is wrong with you? The question to ask someone who seems different is what happened to you?’- Dr Perry

One has been rather quiet about one’s journey towards calmness for various reasons. Well wishers, advice me, that a person in my position, with no backing other than her own, shouldn’t show her vulnerability to all and sundry, it could lead to hassles, later. But one throws caution to the wind, like one always has because well, if I don’t, then how does a regular Joe do it? I grew up around mental illness and thankfully, I am a single woman the society can’t yank around because there ain’t going to be no freaking legal guardian and there’s already a ‘incase I go totally bonkers’ plan in place! So, no, no one can lock me away or give me electric shocks! Ya, the plus sides of being a little nuts, always prepared for the worst case scenario.

Anyhow, we all wish to leave a legacy. Mine, is going to be always upsetting the apple cart. When I die, my desire, is that people should say ‘ She always did exactly what she wanted…she never listened to anyone, other than herself!’ My soul is going to pao bhangara, at that moment. If even one person, says I was nice, my dead body is going to barf on the poor unsuspecting creature! So, since I have such noble aspirations, you can figure out in what direction my moral compass points. Oh, honey, come on, chill, we all got to make fun of ourselves!

Anyhow, one digresses- one can’t live in this sort of closet. So, I’ll take my chances, roll the freaking dice, there are too many people out there who never say, what’s going on in their heads, out of fear of ridicule and judgement. Aur janeman humrae paas to kuch bhi nahi hai gavane ko, to hum kyun dare? Here we are, ready to catch the raging bull by it’s horn. One will be sharing, various aspects of one’s journey like what kind of tests were done and what were the results. I did share a post about the ink blot test, in the morning. That test was rather interesting. Books, recommendations from the spiritual kinds, quotes etc have helped. Most human beings, in my case aggravate the situation, other than my male friends, who entertain me with their antics, so one tends to stay away, but in my mum’s case, she felt calmer around other people. So, you choose your poison, one handles aloneness, better, It’s a good idea to go for psychometric testing, especially if like me you have issues conforming and you need conclusive evidence before believing anyone. The results may surprise you pleasantly or they may come as a rude shock but what’s the point of not knowing yourself , when that’s the only person whose going to be with you, all the time?

Some very important pointers. Most mood disorders/ mental illnesses stem up before a person hits 25. So, anyone with a mental/ mood disorder, would have had their first episode or episodes in the earlier phases of their life . This differs from what we call depression, which is a loosely used term these days. There are induced states of depression- drug/ alcohol induced, postpartum depression ( after a child is born), depression after loosing a job or on retirement, separation, grief induced etc. These are circumstantial and should in normal cases, last for a certain duration of time. These vary from a genetic disposition and that is why there is in depth enquiry about family history, when you go in for a regular psych interview.

Most of my test results were spot on, other than the alcohol dependency, where the score was high, purely due to genetic disposition from both sides of the family. So, since one barely drinks in any case, one has reduced it even, further. These are all screenshots of my actual reports, with the shrink’s description about the tests which were conducted. I know in a court of law, these results could be used against a person, during a divorce proceeding so I would suggest never sharing such things with anyone.

Rorschach Test

5 a.m. Neither the tree outside the office nor the walks on the factory floor nor the Larry Stylinson videos on loop, help to calm down the mind.

I read the test results again and again. This particular test and its results help. Since last year, one’s used all the findings, from my terribly detailed inspection by the shrink, like an astrological chart or tarot reading. Have the same, ‘wait I’ll show you’ defiance towards them, that one has towards everything. ‘Cope better idiot, normal people don’t get swayed by emotions!’ screams SB. I don’t know whether I should be more afraid of the one who hyperventilates in the middle of the night or the one who is capable of saying the most viscous things. One cares and the other saves her, I guess. SC, seems to be the child ego state and SB, the parent, the adult ego state I’m sure doesn’t exist, in my psyche.

Breathe in…breathe out. Think about home…about green grass and under open skies…the moon…we have nothing and no one left to loose….relax… shhh!

Myths Regarding Mental Health


Though we have someone like Deepika Padukone, trying to create awareness about mental health, the stigma around it is terrible. I saw an interview where she admitted, ‘ I was on set, working and no one knew what was going on!’ I’ve had people, try to convince a person (me) who has innumerable cut marks on the body, whose stomach has been pumped for overdosing on pills twice before she even hit eighteen and who goes days at a time, not getting out of bed and still struggles with masochistic tendencies that ‘psychologists’ are just trying to swindle my money and that’s how the ‘spiritually inclined take advantage of weak people such as myself’ and ‘other people have bigger problems but they don’t succumb’. Oh yeah, this is a classic, ‘ if you remain busy, you won’t have the time to think negative thoughts’ and ‘this is what happens when you’re an atheist!’. Please watch this. Don’t send it to the ignorant souls surrounding you because your well being is probably not on their mind. But do seek help.

After struggling for decades with my condition, mostly denying it in order to remain ‘sane’, it’s only now that I realize, accepting is the best way to deal with it. One’s benefitted a great deal from therapy over the past six months…the only reason I don’t write about it or share anything about it anymore is due to the terrible push back, scrutiny and criticism, my seeking help has gotten me from ( most of my) friends and family, who read about it on this platform. I hope you have support and even if you don’t there are loads of strangers out there who will help you…as long as you’re willing to help yourself. Godspeed.

How does it get better?

After a long time I caught up with the girls, today. The conversation drifted from this, that, to the other and somehow landed on depression. A friend was feeling a little low, so it steered to the taboo topic and I shared with them, that I’d been taking help for a while, now. ‘ Do these sessions help?’, they asked. That is a highly debatable topic.

So I’m thinking about this, sitting on my couch in the factory- Did all of it help? Nope. Was some of it a waste of money? Yes! Was it a waste of time? Not at all and time dearies, is what one considers most precious ( now you know why stingy me, spends such little of it with other people). One’s flirtatious by nature, so one doesn’t mind the quest. But if you’re looking for sure shot, quick fixes then don’t go down the path, that I did. The quickest and most effective way, they say is medication, which I hope to God, I don’t have to take in this lifetime. But considering how things are, menopause is going be the decider. The things that helped me to pull myself out of sheer helplessness and the worst kind of suicidal thoughts, I’d had in a long time was self analysis and the most rotten things I could say to myself.

1) Affirmations-Ironic as that may sound, my overthinking, self critical brain is supposed to be my biggest problem but SB needs to give SC an ass whopping, so that worked for me. When I was younger I would actually hurt myself (don’t try it). But as a grown up- ‘I’m so peaceful…so good, lad lad di dah!’ all those affirmations don’t work on me. Criticism….works like magic. But try them, affirmations work on most people most of the times. You’ll find enough- Day Meditations and Night Meditations on YouTube, Calm or any Music App for that matter. Louis Hay is the queen of it all!

2) Meditate- Breathing in, breathing out, when you’re agitated may work on some people but my brain gets damn pissed. So I’ll be sitting with my eyes closed and ‘ what is this?’ plays on my mind on a loop. Try meditating, it helps most people. Nature has a calming effect on me, especially water bodies, tend to suck out bucket loads of my angst. I think, the most profound effect, any kind of meditation other than the Sufi whirl has had on me, was a mediation session that was conducted in Rishikesh. I released more pain sitting on a rock, weeping, than in any counselling session.

3) Know your madness- Depression is the most loosely used word these days. There are various kinds of mood and mental disorders. So, if you don’t feel like yourself, talk to an expert because trust me most human beings are not only ignorant and ill informed, they’re also judgemental as hell. The classic signs, loosing weight, sadness etc are easy to diagnose but there are many different symptoms, so the opposite like gaining weight, severe agitation, disturbed sleep and fatigue, go undetected. Plus postpartum depression, bipolar, borderline, anxiety, trauma, schizophrenia can’t be diagnosed by a lay person. In my case, thankfully, my mum was correctly diagnosed after much trial and error. So, the doctors knew the history plus it’s easier for me to catch myself slipping, it’s manageable because I saw my mum. My diagnosis, too has been a rollercoaster from Trauma to Boderline Personality to Bipolar because it takes a while to narrow it down. Meds for most of these and even Epilepsy are the same.. so it varies between shrink to shrink. Trust me your neighbourhood aunty, doesn’t know you better than you know yourself. If you don’t watch yourself, one day they’ll say you’re feigning it…after a few years they’ll give you shocks and I’m terrified of that shit. You don’t want to end up like Kanye or like my mum, in a psychiatric ward for that matter.

4) Surround yourself with life affirming individuals- This is the key. There’s a very interesting quote, by Freud, to the effect- ‘before you diagnose yourself with depression, make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes!’ I agree. Most people, most of the times are afraid to live their lives according to their own rules. So they tend to follow everything that society, religion, and their parents have dumped on them. Most people are like Mary’s little lamb. If you’re one of those, surround yourself with like minded people they’ll do wonders for your self esteem. But if you’re not, find your crazies. A handful are good enough, to get you through the madness of this existence without loosing your shit. My male friends have held on to my sanity, for me the past two years by showing up, to cheer me up or just for a quick drive, even a quick pep talk. So, find your people. The wisest thing someone said to me recently about feeling torn between two things- ‘ Think that photography is your passion and the factory is your work and security. You’ll be able to do justice to both!’

5) Be inspired- Books are more inspiring than people for me. But in reality, there are everyday heroes all around us. A few weeks ago, I went through my friend list on Fb and found more than a few hundred women, just from my own list whose stories are incredible. I sat and went through a few timeliness and was awe struck by their grit and awesomeness- artists, intellectuals, journalists, activists, models, mothers and businesswomen, just kicking ass. What struck a chord, was someone who lost both her parents, at an early age, is a director of more than ten private limited firms and successfully manages not only her father’s travel business but also her own beauty business. So, everything is doable. As the saying goes- If you want to travel, don’t take the advice of someone who hasn’t left their house.

6) Follow a religion- Coming from me, it sounds rather hypocritical but religion has some great benefits. Confession I think is good for the soul, meeting for a Sunday mass can give you a sense of community, doing wazoo five times a day can calm your mind, it’s also great for your skin. Then namaz of course is a great form of exercise akin to yoga. Seva is the easiest way to feel better about your self and your life by being useful to someone else. Sitting in a temple activates the chakras and ringing the bells can remove negative thoughts. I think one of the reasons so many of us struggle emotionally is because we don’t follow a path, that guides us in our times of trouble. I don’t follow a particular path but one tends to use many of these methods and tries to find answers from various sources. If you follow a particular religion and can dismiss anything that seems outdated from it and follow the things that are relevant, more can be found in those books than anywhere else.

7) Let Jordan Patterson give you an ass whopping- So, one of the most controversial figures on the Internet, hated by feminists or anyone who isn’t right wing, is someone who has ironically helped me, loads. I like tough love….it works on me. I don’t agree with his views on monogamy and he does come across as intolerant and conservative at times but a lot of what he writes and says, helps. My biggest takeaway, has been- ‘ always be the most useful person in the room!’ and ‘take on more responsibility’. I like anyone who doesn’t ask you to shirk you responsibilities towards others or towards yourself. It’s harder but doable.

8) Create- Make some music, create a piece of art or redo a house. I tried all, other than photography, which seems to be the most effected whenever I struggle, emotionally. The rest helped. Give it a shot. It may not turn out to be a Van Gogh but we ain’t ready to cut off anything just about yet. Find solace in the fact, that most people with mental illness, who refuse to take medication are in fact artists.

Living with Bipolar- Dilemma

Got dragged into the principle’s office today. I felt like a naughty kid, who was going to be punished! Kidding. The analyst asked me to meet the psychiatrist, who one had been to initially.

Shrink: After discussing your case we have come to the conclusion that you need medication.

Me : Really? What about my behaviour makes you think so? ( Eyebrows raised, voice deeper, SB’s went into fight mode)

Shrink: Your reports suggest that there is a borderline personality issue, you’re impulsive, antisocial and suffer major depression.

Me: I thought you said that I had PTSD?

Shrink: That is there but these are the main problems. If you don’t want to take the medication then you can take the RTMS ( where a machine mucks around with your brainwaves) . It will help accelerate the treatment.

Me: I’ll think about it!

Shrink: You have to trust the doctor. In such cases we don’t ask the patient, we tell the patient what to do!

Wrong thing to tell a rebellious person. Now, I was really pissed. Cold stare, teeth clenched, voice becomes softer and deeper.

Me- It seems to me that between you and the analyst and inspite of so many sessions no one’s been able to figure out what exactly do I have! You say PTSD and Borderline Personality issues, she says I’m Bipolar ( manic). So what am I going to be treated for? [‘The meds prescribed to me are for Bipolar Disorder’ I want to add but I keep mum]

She tries to deflate my anger, now.

Shrink: In this case we can’t give a definitive answer. Therapy will help but it’s a very slow and time consuming process. Medicines will make you feel better, you’ll see the changes in days.

Me: I am in no rush!

Now, you may wonder why I’m so aversive to them? Let me play the Devil’s Advocate. My mother was on those pills and I know what they do. She had to take them because she was violent and suicidal. Having said that, the dosage that was given to her, rendered her almost useless. From a woman who kept a lovely house and took really good care of her kids, she became someone who slept most of the times, continued to be suicidal inspite of the medication and was mostly unhappy. No one looked into the root cause of her problem, they just kept giving her things to suppress her symptoms and her body kept getting addicted to those. What she needed was self love, she needed to get rid of the angst of being rejected by her mother as a child, she needed a loving husband who was there- physically and emotionally and she needed to be surrounded by people who encouraged her to shine rather than be threatened by her awesomeness, not people who would call up friends and family to mock her and make her feel more alienated! She needed to confront her shadow and somehow, come out stronger after suffering terrible losses- a brother she loved ( and related to the most ) and a child ( she adored more than anyone else). She needed someone to convince she was fabulous and when you did, I saw her change. I saw her becoming such a loving mother, in her latter years, that she managed to change the heart and attitude of a child who had resented her, for her tumultuous childhood. In the end those extra pills caused her the most damage and her will and resolve to change, were the only things that made her life better!

So, if that’s not enough, to convince you that these pills are bad, go through the Sushant Singh Rajput Case. Here’s someone who consulted multiple shrinks and was on medication. Inspite of that he committed suicide! So, what is the efficacy of medication? Who the hell knows? I don’t think there’s a sort cut, for solving your problems. A pill isn’t going to stop me from looking at most people and thinking ‘I’d rather be alone, than play these petty games’. Need is going to. If and when I will need to get along with people, due to work, loneliness or procreation, I will have to figure out a way.

The need for a better version of me, Saadiya 4.0, if you will, is there, that’s why I am in therapy because my circumstances are demanding for me to learn how to tackle people without loosing my mind or slam dunking them. I will have to figure out how to work around my inherent trust issues with other humans, especially since my gut instinct is nine times out of ten right. Getting angry about people’s intentions is harmful for my heart and soul. I have to learn to love myself and my body more than giving into my wrath! I have to know, in my heart, have total and complete confidence in myself that I will be able to manage whatever, anyone else or life throws at me because I have repeatedly proven that to myself. I have to be totally and completely obsessed and committed to my own growth and let the naysayers, continue gossiping. They wrote me off at 16, when I had my first episode, since then I have reinvented myself twice, I can do that every freaking decade. But I got to believe that, my validation has to come from Saadiya Kochar, only. Not from a man and most certainly not from the family.

I wish Akash was alive, her sessions helped. This is going to be tougher. I’m reminded of Greg, my photography teacher, who was very insightful maybe because his mother was an analyst. I remember him telling me, ‘you have excessive mental energy that you need to use. Keep yourself very busy, otherwise you’ll drive yourself insane.’ I need a teacher, I know and I know the only thing that can save me from me is photography, not a 10 mg pill, that’s just too easy, for my egoistic self!

The Buck Stops Here

I got my psychometric test results and thought I should send a msg to the boys, I left- ‘ Thank me, darlings. You just got saved.’ And to the one’s who left me, ‘👍👍👍. Good choice!’ Ya, ya, I know it’s self deprecating. But come on man, if I can’t get a few laughs from my idiosyncrasies, what’s the point of having them? The humour would have been lost on them, so I didn’t.

They should have tested the ‘drama quotient’ too. So freaking dramatic, one is! Read the results and started singing-‘Pyaar mujhse jo kiya tumne to kyaa paaoge? Meri halaat ki aandhi mein bikhar jaoge!’ Rofl. Bhaskarji was all confused. ‘Kyaa hogaya didi?’ ‘Kuch nahin dimaag kharaab he thoda sa, ya to theek ho jayega, ya purra kharaab!’

Do I think mental health is a joke? No, but I don’t think taking pills will cure this patient’s disorders- Depressive, Antisocial, Avoidant, Manic, Masochistic, Borderline and Major Depression Symptoms, which the MCM1-111, Hamilton Anxiety Rating, Hamilton Rating Scale for depression, Draw a person test and the Rorschach tests, SSS-8 have indicated. These are on a disorder level…the traits are another story! I really don’t know, whether I should laugh, cry or tell someone.

Patient is ‘highly suspicious’ of people due to ‘negative interactions’ , henceforth, patient is very weary of giving this information out to the extended family, which has been trying to replace her with a man, ever since her mother’s death. Plus, their emotional quotient, is highly questionable. This will just add fuel to the fire. One more thing to get the rumour mills, churning. ‘The psychological functioning of the person is more complex than most people’, should that not automatically mean most people would not understand how this patient functions? Of course, one could tell the father but his response will be, ‘you need to go to Kashmir!’ ‘buy a dog’ ‘forget what’s happened and think only about work! but here’s a man who drinks all the time, to deal with his problems. His solutions are usually in cognisance with escapism. Or one could tell the boys who are my support system but they’ll just worry, from far away.

So for now the patient will try to deal with the ‘distress’, try to avoid, ‘focus on the features of herself that are negative’, continue to ‘process very well and in a rather complex’ manner and will become less uncomfortable in interpersonal situations. Above all, the patient, will work on ‘being less influenced by emotions’ bring it down to a regular person level ( God knows how!) will not try to avoid ‘emotional confrontations at all costs’ , will be less ‘self evaluative’ (eye roll) and will not try to ‘distance herself from others’ ( probably won’t succeed).

This report reminds me of my astrological chart that my brother got made, it’s almost as confusing and as correct. Too sensitive, feels too much, thinks too much, avoids people and is prone to severe depression are all on it. Who knew I would turn out to be a text book case? I must admit, the psychoanalyst was quite good. She barely asked me any questions about my childhood or my current worries…just how do I feel after my mum’s death? To which I replied, ‘I’m doing just fine!’ Sleep? ‘I’ve never slept well!’ So, to diagnose all this from a blot test, drawings, observation and from a multiple choice questionnaire is quite commendable. Having all this, so damn predictable.

But irrespective of how this pans out and how the people around me, react to all this, healing should be my top priority. Like I said to the shrink, ‘unlike my mother, who came from a large family and had a husband and kids…I don’t have the privilege to loose my mind. I’m all I got, no one’s going to save me, I got to save myself!’ So, time to hero up, doll….look at the shadow…you’re batman! We are the people we’ve been waiting for! We got to be for the kids that we’ll adopt someday, who will come from my heart and not my belly…I ain’t passing my trauma on to them. The buck stops, here!

ACE Trauma Test

For a while one has been struggling, without even realising. As long as I kept pretending to be Jhansi ki Rani, fighting the world ( eye roll) and being discriminated against for one’s gender, I was kind of alright. My buffer, I’m told, is great at absorbing the shock of loss and grief, one goes into fight mode. Hence, everything trickles down slowly, later, when one least expects it.

Anyhow, after many telephonic conversations with mental health professionals, one went to visit a psychiatrist, to figure out whether I had what people had been claiming- Bipolar Disorder. I don’t know, how many times, you’ve got yourself evaluated but trust me, it ain’t fun, trying to recall things your mind has tried to blank out. Plus, ‘what about your mother? Dead! What about your sibling? Dead!’ though answered with a deadpan expression, inspite of how cocky one may look doing it, isn’t what you enjoy saying. One’s been told, that other than the mood disorder ( which is still being assessed- tests after tests my dear) one also has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a.k.a, PTSD. I don’t think anything has made me angrier, than that diagnosis.

One came out of the shrink’s clinic, livid. ‘ What the fuck does she mean I suffer from trauma?’ I was yelling into the phone. ‘Has she met a rape victim, acid attack victim, someone who lost their parent when they were little? Has she met the mothers in Kashmir who loose their children? I…I…I look traumatised to her!!! So what, if my mum burnt herself when I was little and now she and my brother are both dead! Everyone has to die, someday. Do you think poor people have the privilege of suffering PTSD, BPD or any form of depression?’ My friend, who is the only person who can handle my rants, kept trying to calm me down. ‘They meet lots of people, they have the experience, listen to them!’ ‘They’ve been trying to get me on those meds ever since, I was sixteen. I will fucking fix myself, you wait and watch! It’s my mind, my body, I’ve been living in it for 42 years, I will sort myself out, even if I have to slap myself out of this nonsense!’

For a person, who has been told by many professionals ( I was dragged to a family counsellor when I was younger, then a shrink…I’ve done the advanced Landmark forum course and have surrounded myself with the spiritual ones since a young age) that one is quite self aware ( according to me that makes me stupider than the average person who is unaware because they actually don’t know what they’re upto and I knowingly continue doing harmful things) one was behaving like an ignorant nincompoop! But I guess, BPD, is something that I can take like people take High BP. That it’s a genetic disposition, that one needs to work around. This made me feel weaker, less in control ( which scared the living day light out of the control freak) and bloody angry! So, of course I threw a fit and went into complete denial, bought loads of books, started sporadically walking again, avoiding people who I felt were triggers and trying with all my might to ‘slap some sense into myself!’ Of course the medicines which were prescribed were never taken.

One of the books, I’d ordered arrived today, ‘How to do the Work’ by Dr Nicole Lepera and like people pick tarot cards one opened a page. ‘Let’s see what I need to figure out on this day!’ I thought, as I casually drank my morning tea. Voila! On Page number 41, was the heading- Trauma: A misunderstood concept. The author wrote about the Adverse Childhood Experience Test and how though she had scored a 1 on it, which most people do, she later realized that she had suffered ‘spiritual trauma’. Dr Lepera, went on to describe how like me, she doesn’t have childhood memories, how she forgets faces and people make fun of her memory, all the time because she doesn’t remember shared experiences. Like me, she has ‘feeling memories’ how she felt but not concrete memories of events and all of this has been a coping mechanism, a survival tactic.

Dr Besel Kolk, has described this phenomena as- disassociation. ‘Simultaneously knowing and not knowing,’ How traumatised people try to not be present, how their fight, freeze and flight responses work differently and just because they have trained their mind to not be present to the occurrences it doesn’t mean, their bodies don’t remember.

The memory thing, made sense to me. Akash had told me the same thing, after I asked her why my IQ is normal but I don’t recollect so many things. ‘You trained your mind as a child to not remember, what was happening around you!’ Akash was one person one listened to. How one wishes one would have spent more time with her when she was alive! This resonated with me, so I took yet another test, this time on the net, thinking one will get a low score.

The Adverse Childhood Experience Test Goes Like This ( taken from the NPR.org site)

1) Before your 18th birthday did a parent or an adult in the household, often or very often swear at you, put you down or humiliate you or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?

2) Before your 18th birthday, did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often-push, slap or throw something at you or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

3) Before your 18th birthday, did an adult or person at least five years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way or attempt or actually have oral, anal or vaginal intercourse with you?

4) Before your 18th b’day did you often or very often feel that no one on your family loved you or thought you were important or special or your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other or support each other?

5) Before your 18th b’day did you often or very often feel that you didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes and had no one to protect you or your parents were too drunk or too high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?

6) Before your 18th b’day, was a biological parent ever lost to you through divorce, abandonment or other reasons?

7) Before your 18th birthday, was your mother or stepmother often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped or had something thrown at her or sometimes kicked, bitten, hit with something or hit repeatedly, threatened with a gun or knife?

8) Before your 18th birthday, did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or who used street drugs?

9) Before your 18th birthday, was a household member depressed or mentally ill or did a household member attempt suicide?

10) Before your 18th birthday, did a household member go to prison?

I think everybody should take this test, especially people such as myself, who won’t believe the professionals, insisting that healing in such cases should be taken seriously. I don’t want to disclose my score but let’s just say, I should stop living in denial. Plus, it gave me an answer to a question that has always haunted me: when my brother and I had the same parents, why did I turn out like this and he could pass off as normal? Now I know.


For the past few months one has been very anxious. Due to which one has sought help from many professionals- spiritual healers, mental health professionals and of course from books (favourite teachers) and my own inner voice. I have major trust issues and the rumours surrounding one, have kind of aggravated those further, therefore, one was advised to not share anything, in order to not get more triggered.

Due to Covid, most of those chats have been telephonic, which wasn’t helping, as much, as my state required. One was told one could be suffering from various disorders, PTSD and BPD, based on genetics, my childhood and mood tests but a proper Bipolar assessment has been done and the results are yet to arrive. In the meanwhile, of course medicines have been prescribed but one is as adamant as one has always been; unwilling to go down the road-I’ve seem my mum & aunt, stumble upon. Having witnessed the consequences of medication, that will have to be the last resort. After SSR’s suicide, it has scared me further- I’m told I might take a drastic step if I don’t begin taking the meds, I find that highly unlikely. The pills nor the electric shocks, stopped my mother from attempting anything. The suppression of symptoms, is easy, working through your shit harder. I’ll just take my chances with therapy and alternative means of healing.

Anyway, as one moves forward in the journey towards mental health, I share with you something that might help you when you get beaten down. Though, I paid for my tests, as my case was a bit tricky and required a minuter assessment, any of these can be taken on the net and then a therapist can be consulted. Each time, I have taken one, the results have shown Bipolar 2. Whatever, it may be, in your case, a disorder, depression or existential angst, we all sometimes suffer from, journaling helps.

Someone suggested I make a list of habits that work for me and some that trigger me. This helped me to begin working on aspects, I could manage. This is what mine looks like, you can work on yours.

Central Problem

The central problem is not that you think too highly of yourself. Nor is it that you think too lowly of yourself. Instead, it is that you think constantly of yourself.’ -Wu-Hsin

One tried to run away from it, cheat it akin to how people try to cheat death. ‘When you get married, you will have to be very careful. When you make babies it will create problems!’ Here one is, neither married nor with babies and yet it stares me right in the face! Mocking me, almost! How do you run away from your inherent nature? You can’t but you surely try with all your might!

Did I Go Mad…

Did I Go Mad- Elise Cowen

A couple of days ago, a friend rang to find out if everything was alright. ‘You’ve not been ranting on your blog, when you’re quiet I worry about what is going on in your head, much more!’ she sounded concerned. Sometimes, I forget this is not one of my random notebooks lying around the house with all kinds of arbitrary information jotted in it but a blog that some, albeit a few people read.

What is going on in my head? Melancholy has come to embrace me, like it does…twice a year by the clock, a couple of weeks are harder but nothing to fret over, one bounces back like one invariably does. All kinds of inanimate objects ( that seem more real than most actual people do) surround one. The advantages of being a bibliophile with a terrible memory, I sometimes find poems and prose from a decade ago, that have vanished from my memory. My lack of recollection is no ways implies that the words aren’t par excellence, I invariably forget most of what I did and read, even a day before (The main purpose of maintaining this blog, is to help me remember).

How could I forget this brilliant, Jewish, suicidal woman who slept all day and used black slang? If you know me, you would know why I would like her.

Check her out. This is the last poem she ever wrote-

No love

No compassion

No intelligence

No beauty

No humility

Twenty seven years is enough.

Mother- too late- years of meanness- I’m sorry.

Daddy- What happened?

Allen-I’m sorry

Peter-Holy Rose Youth

Betty-Such womanly bravery

Keith- Thank you

Joyce- So girl beautiful

Howard-Baby take care

Leo- Open the windows and Shalom

Carol-Let it happen

Let me out now please-

Please let me in.


We are all controlled by our vices, till we don’t learn to control ourselves. Or is it just, my wrath, that takes over me? You reach a point, at least I do, where you’ve been listening to all kinds, of what seems to me as bullshit and then I explode!

But one has to ask oneself, what is the point of all of this life experience, if your Achille’s heel is so easily exposed? If having great gut instincts is just going to make one furious, isn’t it better to be oblivious to the truth? Isn’t that misdirected passion and sensitivity just as bad as all my other masochistic tendencies because it causes, if not more then almost as much harm to the body?

Don’t be like me! Anger intrinsically, causes harm to the body, is a waste of your precious time and energy and on the other hand anyone with an agenda will use it. If you’re scared of the dark and people know, they will use it to scare you, right? Same, if people know you’re going to get triggered, they will trigger you, for sure. Something, so frivolous as someone out of sheer jealousy, can indulge in all kinds of malicious gossip that started at my mother’s funeral and it just doesn’t stop, for an entire year isn’t a good enough reason for you to get so triggered as to destroy all your relationships. That is the goal of the person and you will end up damaging your health and your self esteem, eventually.

It baffles most people, how information travels at the speed of light. It’s easy, humans are driven by a need to share information once they receive it, so the person you will tell, will tell another and the grapevine will buzz with it. Everyone wants to tell you, what they’ve heard about you, they say knowledge is power and nobody who has power will not exercise it. In my case, everyone’s figured out you just have to drop the hints and she’ll piece it together, that’s my freaking double edged sword. Knowing other’s intentions ain’t rocket science, controlling your own reactions to them for me, is as tough as going to Mars. Sometimes, the misanthropic me wants to just go there but if one keeps having these fight or flight reactions, then I will end up in a brawl with a Martian. Now, the people and especially the men who’ve loved me, adore this trait and are usually amused by, all the drama, that the raging bull creates, women I’ve been told are rarely this aggressive but this level of reactivity is damaging.

The boy I spent the maximum time with loved comedy. He himself had a wicked sense of humour, like my dad and till date when I watch, read or hear anything funny it reminds me of him. That may have gone kaput but one has many things to thank him for, amongst them, introducing me to all kinds of comedians is on the list. So this came from an older black comic, can’t recall his name. He made an astute statement of how we got to pay for our privileges with our silence, how a fat person can body shame a thin person but to do that the other way round, is insensitive. A person who has less money, can pass snide comments or question another’s wealth but the reverse of it is insensitive! The crux of it is was something like this and that’s how the joke carried on. The more shit you have, the more shit you got to listen to was the gist of it. There aren’t any free lunches and a few snide comments or some gossip that ain’t going to matter to anyone who wants to deal with you in the end, is the price you got to pay for the life you lead, just roll with it!

As a child that’s all I dealt with: incessant gossip. My mother was too damn different so you can’t even begin to imagine the things that were said behind her back and to my face. People forget children remember, I spent majority of my life disliking and slightly afraid of other people and to counter it developed this response. It’s either my shell or my quills, most people encounter. But that’s a terribly unhealthy response. ‘ I don’t know!’ saying that perpetually is part of it I was told in therapy when I was younger but you know I don’t agree with it anymore. Maybe like they said, when I say I don’t know as a protective defense mechanism, I’m also telling myself that, which isn’t a good idea, to repeat something like this to oneself. But most people don’t need to know, what you know, so zip it. So now I’ve developed a new thing, someone tells me day is night, night is day, I say hmmm! Someone will tell me two plus two is five hundred I say hmm, correct. If you figure out other people’s intentions the reaction can’t be anger. It has to be hmmm! I’ve decided to argue and get angry with only the ones I love. There’s a breach in your defence mechanism if every rocket that comes at you, causes an explosion. Develop a Kippat barzel, your Iron Dome to protect from internal damage. But don’t be like Israel and react to the rockets. Be stronger, be wiser, don’t be like me or just react with hmmm to this rant, as well.

Random thoughts

Some nights, one longs to hear, ‘ don’t worry I got you. This too shall pass and I’ll be by your side as this rips you apart.’ Then one remembers, one is trying so hard to be one’s own hero! But old habits, die hard!

The Father, goes on and on about dying and mostly one lets it pass but these days, the humour is lost on me. ‘Find yourself a boy before I do!’ he says. ‘ If God wanted me to stay with one man, why has he made so many?’ I reply. The joke ( truth) doesn’t land well. ‘ I have you to fight with, what do I need a man for?’ this he gets.

The favourite topic of discussion, in our house of course has always been dying. So, a list of instructions are yelled at me, ‘ If I fall ill, hire a male attendant. You aren’t going to take me to the toilet. Don’t come to the hospital, you have to run my factory. Don’t do this pakhaand baazi when I die, no kirtan and all for me. Throw a party!’ It goes on and on, without a thought, about how I will manage. But, I’m superwoman, you see.

I saw the Meghan Markle interview and realized that, my whining must sound like that to people. Of course your feelings are valid but when you’re privileged, your issues seem rather superficial to people who are trying to make ends meet, especially at this time. Not to discount my feelings or hers but we live in a world, where materialistic comfort tops everything else and if you have it, you have to at some point learn to suck it up. ‘How’s are you?’ should be replied with ‘Great!’ and ‘how are things?’ with ‘ just peaches’. While the world sleeps, the fortress can turn into a home, the quills can be removed and masks can slowly be taken off, albeit for a little while.

Her life gets me through some nights

A prescription from 1998. The earlier ones from Dr Kothari, I think, must have got misplaced when we moved homes.

Some nights I struggle, more than others and then the life of the woman, who bore me flashes through my semi sleep state. The ego reminds me to not become a foregone conclusion and these prescriptions save me from myself.

Though her official name was Deepika Kochar, all the prescriptions before I started taking her (much later) to the doctors were made in the name of Neera (which is her nick name). My aunt, who was a like a mother to my mum, used to take her to see the all the doctors, when we were little.

The suicide attempt after I was born should have been a red flag. Postmartem depression is a real thing. Each time I would ask my mum what brought it on, she would reply, ‘your grandfather went on a holiday and came back with gifts for his other grandchildren but nothing for you! I could bear how badly he treated me but I couldn’t take it when he treated you the same way!’ Needless to say, our relationship with our grandfather remained the same out entire lives, he never brought us anything or spoke much to us and though I will always regret not knowing my grandmother better, I have no such feelings for the one, who threw my mum out of the house. My parents moved into a rented apartment and that’s where my brother was born. A few years after my brother’s birth, there was another one. About the self immolation, all she would say, ‘ Your father and I were fighting and I was getting too agitated. I spilt perfume on myself and set myself on fire.’ I remember returning from a relative’s house and the help showing the nine year old me, my mother’s burnt clothes. ‘ Yeh dekh tumhari mummy ne kyaa kara!’

I grew up disliking my mother. The father, I adored till the first time, I saw him beating her and then went on to take out his frustrations on me. The only one who I considered home and family, growing up was my brother, much like the protagonist from Dear Zindagi. The mother was too different from everybody else for me to have any understanding of where she was coming from. People, didn’t make it easy either. Everybody those days, would talk about her- my father, his family, even her own family, up until her stroke. Though, I was always asked to take care of my brother and her, nobody told me that her behaviour was driven by her disease and that she required love. My own loneliness, my own struggles with my dark side, with my sexuality made me empathise with her, too late in life. But I think she lived as long as she did, inspite of all her attempts and illnesses because I was supposed to mend my relationship with her. That went on to help in saving me, from my own self.
Mum’s addiction to Corex went on for a long time. Every year, she would be hospitalised.
I hate when people blame my brother’s death for her depression and my father’s alcoholism. Though, it’s very convenient, it’s an absolute lie. It also mitigates, and disrespects all of my mother’s struggles with her own demons. My Ma, was born a fighter, if you ever saw her throwing a fit or in a hospital, scratching, biting and abusing two, three people at the same time (who were trying to hold her down) you would know, where I get my fighting spirit from. She was a terribly sensitive, sensuous, flawed woman who could only be controlled with love and was way ahead of her times. Though, being her child was never easy, it required for me to mother her, it was an absolute privilege knowing her. She is one of the rare people I know, who actually got better with age, less temperamental, more loving and truly apologetic for what she made us go through as kids. The only reason, I managed to forgive her is because she reciprocated my efforts with so much love, that the last few years of her life became her swan song, to me.


It’s one of those days, when the fear of living, just grips my gut and makes me absolutely useless. So, I lie under the covers, staring at the shiny disco ball that hangs from my ceiling. Hours pass by, it’s mid afternoon and even the morning Zumba session, hasn’t helped. ‘Ma’am energy kahaan he?’ screamed the instructor. ‘ Not well, let’s just do something slow, today,’ I replied.

The pre menstrual days are the worst. From hysteria to hopelessness, the moods fluctuate like a pendulum. ‘Pregnancy will turn you into your mum,’ they had warned. I think, her not being around will make me forget, just how scary this place is. ‘ Don’t think about your conversations. I know you, you talk to people and then think for hours- why? what? how? Just concentrate on your work, that keeps you fine,’ the Wall, tried to calm me down, last night. He tries so hard, to stop me from falling down this rabbit hole.

I know you! Isn’t it a strange sentence? I wonder which version of one, do people actually know. The one that smiles and says, yes, I’m fine? The one that lies in bed crying for hours, staring at nothing, paralysed by the fear of tomorrow? The one that falls repeatedly and picks herself each time or the one that wonders if it’s better to just remain on the ground?

Then there are the Phd holders, who claim to be an authority on the subject of moi. Their claim to fame, having known me the longest. Having no man around, means that no one can question, ask, manipulate, anyone else to get to know or pass on messages to me. If it’s about forewarning me, convincing me about calming down, not writing about my feelings, definitely not talking about them, (anything that shows anyone in a bad light) basically, these are the ones who are contacted. Then, randomly in an oh so subtle way, things are said.

Normally, you would say, time is of consequence. But how much can you know about someone who is like a chameleon? Between SB and SC, even I get confused. What you know, about anybody, at anytime, is just their past-their past actions, reactions etc. In fact, that’s all we know about ourselves and yes, there are things about a person, that remain the same, there’s no denying that. But which one do you claim to know and have become an authority on? I sometimes want to ask, the gossipmongers.

Do they refer to the one year old, who loved her dad so much, that she would clap when he would see him, coming on his scooter? The two year old, who apparently loved to eat so much, that she would end up eating breakfast, multiple times, with all her relatives? ‘Khaa’, she would say and stick her tiny hand out, asking for food, I’m told. The six year old who did kathak, even performed on stage, but was so painfully shy, that she had one friend in school and one friend in the colony? The seven year old who got burnt and till date is afraid anything hot? The nine year old who came home to her mother’s burnt clothes? The ten year old who stabbed a servant in his hand, when he tried to touch her or the twelve year old whose tutor, actually managed to get his hand into her shirt?

No, these are not the versions, anyone, will talk about. These make them very uncomfortable. So, let me tell you about the ones, they like to talk about. Lets remove the sword that people, think they hold over my neck. The salacious, Bollywood type scandal of my life, from the age of fourteen to thirty five is what, they all love. This is of course full of men and drama. I wish my love life, was anyone’s concern but considering I am unmarried, nothing in the world, including my father, can stop me from being with however many men I want to. Though my Dad, thinks all this is just society’s hypocrisy. I come from a slightly different family- he very honestly did put up on FB, even when my mum was alive, that he was in an open relationship. Though, somethings one will never talk about, none of those have anything to do with my own life.

As far as my men and then later boys are concerned, other than the one, I would probably never get over, who too is about to, everybody is married, happily or not, the jury is out on that. So, just for the sake of that, one refrains from discussing the exes, in detail which gives people the impression, that it’s something that they hold over me. I digress but let me tell you, a secret about men. A woman’s apparent ‘loose character’ never, ever, makes her less appealing to a man. It is only when he wants to get married, that he wants the angel and even then, a lot of them don’t remain faithful to these women. So, my reputation, that people keep talking about, actually helps me. Anyone who gets involved with me, already know, what he’s getting into.

You must be wondering, why this whining? There’s just so much drama, around me right now. Back and forth phone calls, discussions, that now have started affecting my work and psyche. I never, ever want to go through loosing a parent and having my love life, being discussed with her dead body in the room, again. It’s a really tough year and I can’t keep this sword on my neck and this baggage on my back. So, just bear with me.

Of course, there’s other stuff too- running away in the middle of the night, just walking in the dark for hours and returning after blowing off steam, the cut addiction, suicide attempts, shifting from one school to the other at sixteen because I was so depressed, I locked myself up, didn’t clear my exams and had to move to another school. No one will tell you, how many things I aced at after that, there’s no fun in telling those stories. Honestly, these days, I forget too. But thankfully, I have people who remind me, repeatedly. They tell me, this is also something, I will look back at and say, I dealt with but I keep feeling, SB won’t be able to handle it, with just her anger. The other one, will send the system spiralling out of control.

P.S- I should send this post out to prospective suitors and employers. 🤭 Thankfully, the art world is a good place for broken people. Like the Japanese, they put gold on the cracks and admire them.

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.

Drop it!


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!


A 34 year old actor, commits suicide and the stupidity of humans, becomes so obvious to me. On every platform, I read the same hypocritical nonsense, feigning shock and asking a question that drives me crazy-‘ do such people not think about their parents?’. What a myopic view of the world, we all have! The assumption that everyone’s relationships are the same as our’s, that everyone deals with pain, angst , frustration, failure exactly as we do.

I came back home to a burnt, Jaipuri kurta. My brother and I had been dropped back home, we had spent the day at a relative’s place. The maid picked it up dramatically and showed the nine year old me, what my mum had worn, when she sprayed perfume on it and lit herself on fire. My mum came from a large family, was married and had two kids but in that moment, nothing stopped her. That was the first time she tried to kill her self but the permanent scars she was left with, didn’t stop her. She remained masochistic her, entire life. The means changed but the inherent loneliness, she suffered from always haunted her.

Did people not love her? They did! But no one saw her, not even I, for the longest time. Anyone can love the idea of you but to be seen for who you are and be accepted, that is the tough part. Especially, when you are not run off the mill and woh, was she made of a different grain, or what? I think, other than one sister and her son, I never really saw her, be totally at ease with anyone, despite her jovial nature. I saw her struggle with people her whole life, always wanting to return to her aloneness. I’ve struggled with people my entire life, forever feeling, like being an ‘outsider’, not belonging to anything or anyone.

That feeling got so amplified after my mum’s death that, now, I wonder how I survived. Everyday, I wanted it to end, feeling totally lost. To feel like an outsider in your own house, is not a nice feeling. To be alone, in your grief is almost as heartbreaking as the the grief itself. People are mean, the sooner we accept it, the better it is. It is in your weakest moments, that they will say and do the harshest things. They will judge you, your life, your choices, your personality and have discussions about it, then, because they can. Jab waqt burra ho, to har kissi ne PHD kari he aap pe. But shine and they will shut up…nothing succeeds like success.

You can either learn from it, somehow, learn to totally count on yourself or succumb to the pressures! What that young boy, must have struggled with, only he knew. How did his struggle play on his mind? How his mother’s death impacted him, only he must have known! When people talk about how brilliant he was, I’m reminded of what my mum’s shrink said. ‘ Only a person whose mind works more than other’s can be depressed. Her intelligence is the cause of her depression! ‘ I’m sure in his case too, it was because he was so sharp that he was depressed. The burden of being different, is a heavy one, to bear. Some carry it better than other’s. Sone try to fit in and some just bow out. Sushant Singh Rajput’s death doesn’t shock me. The hypocrisy of this society does.

P.S- I have to wonder though, how do we know, how much our mind and body can take? Sometimes we survive the biggest things and sometimes, the smallest things make us feel helpless. Maybe suicide is just the fault in our stars! We go when we have to and exactly how we are meant to.

God knows!

So on a day, when for the first time in a long time I thought of getting over with it and the only way I could deal with all those feelings, was by sleeping, God had other plans.

Being a little bit not normal gets aggravated before the menstrual cycle. With the amount of stress I am under, it made me terribly agitated and extremely melancholic, today. So I did what I do, locked myself away. It’s just for symbolism, the help would be the only one who would notice, in any case.

Out of the blue, the phone started to buzz, with messages from friends who had been trying to get in touch, generally. A number of video calls and chats later, I’ve survived a day. Pretending to be fine, actually makes you feel a bit okay, sometimes.

I always mocked those, suicide awareness messages, people shared on their fb walls. ‘ if you are feeling like this…know that you can call me, blah, blah and all that shit’. I always looked at those and thought, ‘these people would throw, the poor person who calls them, under the bus, themselves!’. I am partially right in my assessment of this world, in fact I’m not cynical enough. But on the other hand, I may have lost sight of how the universe functions.

The best piece of advice, came from a friend, a little while ago, who generally messaged to give her condolences. She asked me to let go and let someone in. To which I replied, ‘ I tried to and in the bargain lost friends rather than finding any solace.’ To which she replied, ‘the true and hard nuts always come around!’ Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Maybe your life becomes a soap opera. The voyeuristic tendencies, of everyone coming to the fore. Who knows? The universe on the other hand, ensures you remain glued together, by any means possible, through anybody it can, for as long as it wants you to!

Kindred Souls

‘Good morning’, I say to the person whose hand clings to mine, like a child’s. She smiles, gives me a casual salute and falls asleep again. I stare at her wondering how I’m going to carry on with the bluff, that we are on vacation, as the Mumbai sun seeps into the room.

The World and reality are rather harsh; for the overly sensitive to navigate through existence, even harder. In any case, old age takes away everything we have gotten accustomed to- health, family, friends- all of our worldly possessions. When you’re not ‘normal’ earlier than you can imagine. As people go on with their existence, these people get left behind- just confined to their homes, with no one in particular to converse with. Of course conversations with them are haphazard and nonsensical but whose to say how much sense most conversations make.

From a bunch of eight, two turned out to be a bit off the regular chart. Apparently, their father’s sister was a little different. Needless to say, they are kindred spirits. Other than her sister and her darling dog, my Mum has never felt protective about anyone. I wonder how she’s going to react when she sees her sister in the ICU.

The circle of life

The white horse and I galloped into Delhi on a Saturday morning, after having spent two and half days on the road trying to get here. Two thousand kilometres, we both could have tried doing straight but since the sensors of the car were being mischievous and I started my period it wasn’t something we wanted to attempt. Plus, of all the states in India the three I liked the least due to the male population I encountered- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat.

But on another day we can discuss the sleazy creatures I meet on the road. A couple of weeks ago, I parked my car, in a locality close to my house, where a tailor has setup a small shop. When I returned from the tailor’s after having given him instructions on how to stitch my kurtis, which I required for my road trip, I found a gentleman reading the stickers on the car. It’s something I am accustomed to, by now.

He started chatting, asking me the usual, ‘fear, my marital status, the how’s and why’s’ basically everything, everybody asks me. Then the conversation took a turn, I wasn’t expecting. His daughter was in depression and he wanted me to meet her, whenever I had the time. ‘Aap jab bhi yahaan aaoge, my shop is here, I will call her,’ he said. Though, I found the request a bit unusual [why would anyone want my opinion about their life?] but since he seemed genuine, I agreed.

Today, as I returned to the tailor’s to get a flaming red, polka dot outfit made for my Mommy, who is going to be a year older- physically, this Saturday and not a day older, otherwise, the same Uncle approached me. ‘Aap Sikkim se kab aayee?’, he asked. I was a bit taken aback. Apparently, he told his children about me and they found my page on Facebook and that’s how he knew about my whereabouts. Anyway, long story short, somehow I managed to meet his daughter today. It was a rather awkward meeting, with me treading on her personal space, shamelessly, which I almost never do, since I am so fierce about mine.

I grew up surrounded by mental illness and addictions, at sixteen the shrinks wanted me to get on meds because they thought that was the cure for my existential angst and of course I was genetically inclined. This was way before being depressed was considered cool and when regular people turned towards family, friends and most of all faith to deal with the harsh realities of life.

My Dad threw a fit and saved me from a life of addictions. There are a number of individuals who genuinely require treatment but I have seen the aftermath of those meds, that big pharma pushes down the throats of people who could get better with just a proper tweaking of their mind sets, through counselling. All this makes me a bit blunt sometimes, when I encounter people life myself. A friend who is part of some support group suggested I come in for a meeting, a couple of years ago. My reaction to that to that is and hopefully will be till I can fight it, with all my might, ‘ I ain’t feeding that beast!’

So, I attempted to give advice to the young lady, who sat there as awkwardly as I did, while her father looked over us, worriedly. So, as she discussed her lack of confidence and inability to work, I totally empathised with her. Of course, I never have a positive reaction to people getting on the pills, but since it was not my place to say, this and a bit more is all I could say, ‘ there are things you will go through which you will have to experience alone and you will be unable to discuss that with anyone. If you surround yourself with people who seem to have perfect lives to you, in a state of depression, that will make you retreat further, into your shell. All you can do, is to go out and meet people less fortunate and you will realize how tiny your problems, are. If you can just spend sometime with kids, they will make you feel better, for sure.’ I felt like an aunty giving a sermon.

What a role reversal, it was! Four years ago, I would get calls asking me to stop my romance with my bed. God and my gigantic ego came to my rescue. I hope faith and her ego come to her rescue, too!

Notes for the suicidal teen

There’s something about being on the road for long periods of time, that is meditative in nature. Of course, there are many fleeting thoughts that catch one’s fancy, memories hang from a tree somewhere and faces appear and disappear with the sprinkles of rain but all in all, there is mostly inner silence.

On my birthday, I saw a video on an acquaintance’s wall…something about plastic. I don’t recall the video, just the first still. A plastic bag covering a man’s face. Reminds me of the last time I tried to kill myself, something I had found on Google and watched in a film, where the killer suffocates the victim with plastic and then chops her up. Fortunately, I was discovered by someone who has made it his mission in life to get my ass out of trouble. It was a nice reminder of how low, low can feel, on the day I was born-it was a lovely birthday present. Like Javed Akhtar says-‘Khudd khushi kyaa dukho ka hal banti…maut ke khudd sau jhamele the. Hum to bachpan mein bhi akele the. Sirf dil ki gali mein khele the.’

Suicide! It’s funny when Dharmendra yells, ‘Mausiji suicide!’, in Sholay. In real life, I can’t begin to describe the mix of desperation, loneliness and courage it takes. Ya, I know people always say it is an act of cowardice, but people say a lot of things like parrots, thoughtlessly repeating something they heard, read or were fed, without feeling or thinking, much. Is it a cry for help? Sometimes, but in my case I think it has been conditioning, something I learnt was a solution when life got tough.

I was nine when my mom tried to kill herself. She has bipolar disorder, I won’t say suffers from because it makes her who she is-unlike anyone I have met! Her entire life has been one long attempt at trying to destroy herself, through drug abuse and suicide attempts, a punishment she induces on herself for not being like everyone else. I learnt the tricks of the trade, early. By my adolescent years, I was a professional masochist (my celoids are a good reminder of those days)
and before I turned 18, I had been hospitalised twice for overdosing on pills. Two stomach pumps and a loving boyfriend and his family later, I calmed down. I discovered the one thing that saved me and continues to till date-photography. Shrinks? Well, a few did make some failed attempts on me but I am my mother’s child! Besides, no outsider can teach you self worth. 

It was in my early thirties, when I felt the same kind of thing. It’s like being an alcoholic, you got to admit that you are one to deal with. I somehow managed to forget. I somehow believed that if I had not done anything after my brother’s passing, I had miraculously become so strong that life could not bring down. But bang, I was there in the same spot. 

Over the past few years, I have thought many a times about this. I recently saw a video where the orator, an actor was talking about his life and trying to reach out to people, especially children who feel so alone that they want to kill themselves. It made me think- If I was asked to tell a child not to want to kill himself/herself what would I say?

If you have thoughts of suicide, it’s probably because are in a situation that you feel you can not handle. Know that it’s okay to not know where life is taking you. It’s fine. We don’t always need to know. The adults don’t know either! If they do, it’s something that was scripted for them by their loved ones. If you’re lost, you will find your own way.

You are alone! Learn that as quickly as you possibly can. You came alone and you will die alone. In between you will find people who will walk with you for a while. Don’t wait to not feel alone. Infact, embrace it. That’s where you will derive your strength from. But don’t let yourself get lonely. Aloneness is the ability to embrace your own self, loneliness is a sadness about being on your own, a hole nothing can fill.

If you have these thoughts, it is probably because you don’t feel who you are is enough or that you are not living upto the expectations of your loved ones. Your loved ones are human beings not demi gods! They are flawed like you and I, they are selfish like you and I and they make mistakes like you and I. The world doesn’t owe you anything and you don’t owe the world anything, either. Don’t let people’s expectations weigh you down! No one owns you! When you stomach is being pumped, they will be thinking about police cases and not your life. When you are dead they will be thinking about how difficult their life is, not yours, you will be reduced to being just a body a minute after you pass away. Before, you start thinking how terrible they are, darling, you would be thinking the same thing if when you were in their position!

If you have had a tough childhood and you look at other people and wonder why? It’s because God wants to give you the courage to be your own person. Most people I know who come from loving homes find it harder to take a stand because they don’t want to hurt their loved ones. They find it harder to deal with rejection. Turn all the crap that has been hurled at you into something great. If you have been told you are not good enough your entire life, if one more person says it, it shouldn’t make a difference. When people say something terrible to me now, I just think, ‘join the que. ‘ If they say you can’t, I think ‘wait for it!’

A boxer was being asked recently on a British talk show, if he won a particular game because he was younger? In his answer lies the truth about survival, ‘ I am a fighting man and at the end of the day I think you have to have spite. That’s what makes you go for a few more rounds.’ It isn’t anything other than spite that made me get up from bed, otherwise I was gone. Despite, all of my Mom’s tangos with Death, when it really does come close, she fights like a champion.  

Find something that you love. Not like- love. Channel that excessive passion into something else, preferably not a human being. That’s just suffocating for the other party and not sex because it  does tend to get messy. Academics, sports, music, art, take all your broken pieces and turn them into something beautiful.

And finally, as I drive from one city to another, meeting all sorts of people, chasing rainbows and laughter, getting more blessing than I deserve, I find myself thanking God for this life. There are too many experiences that are waiting for you to embrace them, too many more heartbreaks to feel and too much more love to give. Don’t give up just yet! Life is waiting for you just around the corner. Faith and perseverance are all you need.


December came and went sooner than I could say ‘winter’, what with the cousin’s wedding and all the happenings around it. The last week of the year, the time that I usually spend trying to sort out my head, travelling and working; were spent rejoicing and being a part of the festivities of what I called, ‘the last wedding of the Kochar clan’.That and meeting the man from Cr Park.

‘You should read the Alchemist again. Follow your intuition-wherever your intuition takes you, that will be your destiny,’ told me the Father after the Bengali Babu departed to the Queen’s land. Much to my surprise, I remained relatively calm through his visit . The combination of knowing it was a short visit, the warnings from the men in my life-that they have a bad feeling about this one and the timing (still not ready), made me sure, I didn’t need to be my usual selves- Super Bitchy and Super Clingy. He did bump into subtler versions of both but the two only come out roaring when they feel afraid (which is bad news for me and great news for a guy). Barring, the conversation about the boy, ‘you need to get over’,  I made him quite comfortable. I was easy-going and chatty and we had a pleasant week.

Though, within all of us are many mini mes and I’m convinced, within this body also lies a 18-year-old tapori character, who wants to get on top of a tempo and serenade a guy with the song, ‘tera dhyaan kidhar he, ke tera hero idhar he’ or ‘Jumma chumma de de’, these two are more prevalent on a daily basis.  So when I say, my single status is an ‘act of altruism’, I’m shitting you not! Let me introduce you to the Yang and the Yin, that make me an absolute delight to love (not).

  1. Personas- S.B is the more dominant personality type. Though, they both come out periodically in phases, S.B flips into action much more easily. She believes she can manage to get herself in and out of any kind of trouble. Untameable, her voice is deeper, her style of speaking similar to her male friend’s and her favourite  phrase, ‘bhaag ja yahaan se’. She expresses herself through, the tilt of the head, a raise of the eyebrow, a smirk and a defiant stare.  S.C,  on the other hand is incredibly shy, cries at the drop of a hat, lives in lah lah land and sounds like a nine-year old. She expresses herself only through her eyes, how frequently she looks at your hand and alcohol. The quality of the voice and the stride, give both up easily. S.B, walks in a bouncy, masculine manner, with her head facing the sky, as if she’s either ready to take flight or hit someone. S.C, walks with her gaze lowered, arms wrapped around herself looking like she’s perpetually trying to steady herself. S.B, loves adventure, S.C just wants to snuggle in bed with a book or better still on her Mommy’s lap.
  2. Emotions and dealings -S.B is cynical and totally self-centered. Though, naturally aggressive she rarely goes on the offence, until, she’s convinced that she can not trust you and then there’s  hell to pay. Highly intuitive, her mind automatically starts to store, people’s tells. It’s her armour against the world. Extremely secretive, she rarely let’s people know, what she knows about them and how she knows it.  There isn’t a forgiving bone in her body and push comes to shove, she’s more ruthless than most people. S.C, on the other hand loves for life, neither betrayal nor distance changes that. If she loved you once, she’ll care about you forever. She’s an incurable romantic. When you hurt her, she’ll throw a fit, yelling, screaming and crying like a child. On the rare occasion that her other polarity allows her to trust you, after much analysis, she tells you all her secrets, every damn emotion she feels, every thought that runs through her head. If you continue to hurt her, she hides behind S.B, who turns Stone Cold. While S.B,  if she likes you will say, ‘the world will give you roses and all that I will give you are thorns.’ S.C, will say, ‘tamasha na kar ae taskeen-e- aina dari, hum kiss tamana se tujhe dekha karate he’.
  3. Reactions- To the same words both polarities have unusual reactions. To the phrase ‘I Love You’- Nothing makes, S.B crazier than this particular phrase. The response can range from’ I want to throw up on your face’, ‘ Do you think I was born, yesterday?’, ‘ I know people say this when they want to get into each other’s pants!, or the all time favourite ball buster, ‘Do you think you’re the first man who has said this to me or do you believe you’re going to be the last one?’. S.C, on the other hand, will well up, ‘Really, me, you love me? But I don’t deserve it!’.  What’s ironic is S.B has heard it more times than she cares to recall and S.C hasn’t  heard those words in a long, long time. To the questions- ‘Have you had dinner? Taken your medicines? Where are you have? Have you reached home?’, S.B always has the same reaction- ‘ Are you my Father?’ S.C, smiles and nods her head while S.B coaxes her to, ‘wipe that silly grin off your face.’
  4. Desires- When S.B was a little girl, she perpetually wanted to escape. Her notebooks were scribbled with the words,’Run Away’. Till date that’s her desire-to travel like a gypsy with no attachments to any man or any land. She likes the boys young, under that guise she doesn’t have to work on her commitment phobia. Her greatest fear is being stuck in a rut. S.C, on the other hand would draw a tiny hut and write the words ‘home sweet home’, besides it. All, she wants is three to six babies (it’s reduced from 12), a small house, a baby grand piano and a large garden. She wants an epic love story, with all the twists and turns, with someone who likes her more than S.B. Her greatest fear is, that if she loves you too much, you’ll die on her!



Beat the Blues

saadiya kochar

At the Voice and Music Meditation worshop.

So, the birthday went off quite undramatically and rather peacefully. That makes it a first. Made me realize- controlling and fine tuning your own mind is absolutely vital, especially for those of us who have more melancholic days than cheerful ones. People keep harping on ‘being positive’, well for some of us it doesn’t come naturally.

These are ten ways that help me to beat the blues, when I’m down in the dumps.

Know Thy Self– Different things depress different people. My Mother grew up, in a huge house in Jammu. She was surrounded by siblings, parents, cousins and domestic help. She met my Father in Delhi, fell in love and fought with her entire family to marry a man, who they didn’t approve off. When she moved into her Husband’s house, other than her doting Mother-in-law, no one really welcomed her. Within a couple of years of her marriage, my Father and Mother were asked to move out of the Family house in Bali Nagar to Masjid Moth and my Mom suddenly found herself alone, most of the time. I don’t know if that triggered off the depression but after all these years of observing my Mother, I know she hates being alone.

I on the other hand, have the opposite problem. While my Mom was loosing her mind, her family was also bearing the brunt of it. There are to many unpleasant memories from my childhood  that I’ve grown to accept as a part of life but I’m still amazed at the conversations the adults chose to have in front of us children. The way I dealt with them was by shunning most people away.  When I look back now, I know many of  my signature traits came from my mom’s illness, including my legendary defense mechanism and my ability to bounce back. Most of all, my limited need for human contact.

‘The game’, depresses the crap out of me, not because I can’t play it but because  I resent when I do . When I have to outsmart someone just to make them behave themselves, it truly saddens me. Being alone depresses my Mother. My Father feels blue without his friends. Maybe the fear of the future depresses you or  the fear of death. I’m sure marriage depresses the crap out of  people…just kidding. But whatever it may be, when you’re feeling blue avoid doing something that will trigger you off.

Be with people in whose best interest your mental well being is– Remember one thing, your family and friends don’t have your best interest at heart, they have theirs. The same goes for you. That’s why people confide in psychologists because they are not a part of their everyday lives. If you don’t believe me read ‘The games people play’.

We are all selfish creatures, we do everything that makes us feel good about ourselves! Each time I say this to someone, people think I’m too damn cynical. But look around you. You will see a doting mother who will spoil her children so that they remain dependent on her. You will find a wife who will put up with her husband’s bs so that she can play the victim, ‘the nice one’. The thing is that most of the time we don’t even know what we are doing. We play our parts very unconsciously.

Think..analyze your past, identify people who have had a positive affect on your life and be around them, especially when you are feeling low.  Without my teachers, mentors, assistants, friends who are not a part of my immediate social circle, I would have either been a crack head or in an asylum, by now.

Have a cheerleader in your life–  Some people are just born with a positive outlook. For the longest time my Father was like that. He believed that everything turns out well. Before Shahrukh Khan mouthed off, ‘Kismat badi kutti cheez he, saali kabi bhi palat jati hai’, my Daddy had been saying this to me for years (without the profanity).

You may be a cynic or an atheist yourself but it’s nice to have- the spiritually inclined, the God fearing , the Fatalist friend or relative to give you another twist on things.

 Love your body- One of the most important things in life, is to take care of your body. That’s your temple, your friend, that’s what keeps you going. Exercise it, nourish it, listen to it and respect it. Do yoga, join the gym or just dance. Don’t do it  to fit into the society’s preconceived notions of beauty. But for yourself.

Most of my family members are as white as milk, so the colour of my skin was a bit controversial when I was a little girl. Many quips were made about it. But by the time I reached adolescence, with Anu Kapoor and Noynika hitting the modeling scene my wheatish complexion and curly hair was considered attractive. I’m told I looked the best at that age but I was a masochist who abused her own body. With time, it wore off considerably. But I put on around 20 kgs and the hair is neither straight nor curly, anymore. Despite, that I never really  seriously wanted to alter my body at any point, up until last year.

Only at my lowest ebb last year, I wanted to change the way I looked. Not because I was bored but because I was so depressed- I just wanted to straighten my hair and  my crooked nose.  Thank God better sense prevailed. If you ever feel like that, don’t make any decision in haste. Wait a while, you’ll probably feel differently in a few days. Don’t take remarks about your physical appearance to heart. I know it’s easier said than done. I still can’t get over someone saying to me, If I was better looking my ex would have married me. I look almost the same as I did two years ago. I have no dearth of men, in my life at the moment. Trust me there is someone out there who will love you just the way you are. But first you have to love yourself.

Lower your expectations- The less we expect from others the happier and more grateful, we will feel. While on my previous birthday, I was really hurt. This year, I expected nothing so I was really touched by a common friend calling me up early in the morning. It was just a five minute conversation about his trip to Ladakh but when you don’t expect it, you’re grateful for the gesture.

Though, I wished that my ex  who had been my best friend for over a decade would  have sent me a message this year, I knew there was no point having such unrealistic expectations. After a while, we have to know that everyone has their own lives, relationships and priorities and some of our own expectations are silly. My new mantra in life is-‘Jo mil gaya usi ko mukadar samajh liya, jo kho gaya usi ko bhulata chala gaya. Mein zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya.’


Listen To Music- Music is considered one of the best therapies for people with mental illnesses. Some say it aligns your chakras. Studies suggest that the sound created by certain instruments like the flute, the sarod, the santur and the harp have calming effects on the mind.

I spent my birthday weekend at a voice and music meditation workshop by Tritha. Though, I can’t sing to save my life. Tritha’s enchanting, sultry, Bengali voice juxtaposed with the sound of the Tanpura, left me calmer than usual. Music helps the moody.

Enjoy Nature- Take a walk in the park, go on a trek or just sit and stare at the greenery. It’s great for your eyes as well as your mind. The voice workshop at Zorba was conducted in Tritha’s first floor room. The view was so spectacular that I couldn’t stop staring at the trees that waltzed slowly with the wind.

Solo Dating- Enjoy your own company. No one knows you better than yourself. Watch a movie, take a class, spend some time alone… you are your own best friend.

 Don’t be pressurized by the idea of time- I’m a big believer in ‘live as if today’s your last day’ but I’m slowly starting to realize that there has to be a balance between that and ‘you may live for a really long time’. I’m impulsive, I do things without thinking them through-travel, date, work… everything is driven by my gut. You may be the opposite. You may need to take the next train to nowhere just like I don’t have to date someone right this very moment.

Dance the blues away– Many forms of active meditation, help to release the stress from the body and mind. The perfect end to my birthday weekend was when The Delhi Drum Circle jammed and the participants from  the workshop danced away to glory. When I returned home, I slept like a child.

I’ll Never Be Daddy’s Girl

“How would you describe your relationship with your father?”, asks the family counselor. Silence. She repeats the question . “I have no idea,” I reply. “Do you love him?”, she probes further. “I don’t know!”. Two years later, from a problem child I have been officially declared a nutcase. The slitting has gotten worse, the scars that were only on my wrists have gone from my arms right up to my shoulders and formed keloids. Sometimes, I run out of the house in the middle of the night and at times refuse to come out of my room for weeks at a time. Though, I barely scrape through my classes, at 16 I’ve graduated from going to a family counselor to a full-fledged shrink. The question remains the same. The answer, also remains the same. Much probing later about this that and the other, the experts decide to start me on meds to calm my nerves down. That’s when the man I supposedly don’t love, steps in and shuts the party down.

It’s twenty years later. My relationship with my Father remains as tumultuous, as ever. He hates aggressive women and I hate being told such an aggressive person can’t be his child. But there’s something I never forget. My Father saved my mind. He refused to give me what I call the ‘crazy pills’. Eventually, with age and the help of my mentors, I calmed down, relatively. Though, once a masochist always a recovering masochist  but most of the time, I can fool most of the people, including myself to believe I’m absolutely normal. Now, as exotic as all this seemed to me in my adolescence, I find nothing extraordinary about it anymore. My Dad always says that children understand their parents only when they have their own kids. I disagree. I think as we grow older we stop seeing our parents as infallible heroes and heroines. When we make our own mistakes…. when we break hearts and our own hearts are mangled, when we struggle for survival  and  when we deal with the ambiguity of relationships, that’s when we understand our parents. That’s when we actually start to see them as mere mortals, with their own set of insecurities and failings.

My Father is not a villain of some story. Though, many a times when I try to replay the story of my mother’s life, it comes across as that. That’s why it becomes harder to explain. That’s why it takes me three hours to write a few lines and I’m still at a loss for words. Let me start at the beginning. My Father, Paramjit Singh Kochar, was born in 1956 to parents who had migrated from Pakistan to Delhi. He had two older siblings- a sister and a brother and one younger brother. When my Dad was a little boy, his parents were going to give him away to one of the relatives. Somehow, they didn’t but I guess it’s something a person doesn’t forget. As a little boy, my Father who was a little meek was constantly bullied by his more aggressive elder and younger brothers. In those times, parents were busy trying to put three meals on the table for their kids, no one had the time to intervene in such matters. But my theory is that his absolute aversion to aggression stems from his relationship with his brothers and his emotionally distant behaviour stems from early abandonment issues. Psych 101.

My Dad grew up being the good guy. He was the good son to his parents, he was the good guy when my Mum fell ill and for most of his life he played that part very well. But there’s a problem with playing the good guy and that is someone has to be willing to play the corresponding role of  the bad guy. My brother was just like him. He was treated more like Daddy’s little girl- protected and fussed over. I’ll never be Daddy’s girl because I’ve always been more  like his prodigal son, the rebel without a cause, the uncontrollable, the unmanageable, bad guy. So, I play my part and he plays his. We infuriate each other no end. Even though the answer to the question  do I love him remains the same, I’m always amused how the only boy I couldn’t make myself leave was so much like my Dad- emotionally distant and a good guy, too.


I started this project thinking it would be about my interactions with people and about the city I live in. For each month I have a backup interview ready, waiting to be published. People I’ve interviewed, are wondering why I am not publishing anything new. Honestly, my attention dwindles as usual.

There’s a diary I found a few months ago, from when I was in the seventh grade, that has sparked this series of monologues. It’s a diary of a twelve year old contemplating suicide. I know, it’s the most politically incorrect thing to talk about, unless you’re advocating against it. Now, you may wonder why at such a young age thoughts like these pop up in a person’s mind. There are plenty of reasons for it but that’s a conversation for another day. People have all these archives, that show them in their best light. Someday, that would be a part of mine.

But the retrieval of that diary has lead to many revelations. Ya, ya, I know, I’m having too many of those, these days. It seems like I’ve got stuck at a particular age and have not grown beyond it. I feel as if this 35 year old body is just a disguise, I’ve put on and despite my varied experiences, I have the maturity of an imbecile. But there’s another thing that worries me, incessantly. Why are we supposed to go through our lives pretending to be perfect, normal, regular or what have you? If I call a project a 100 pieces of me, what are the pieces that I am going to put on display?

I don’t really have the appropriate answer to that question, yet. But there’s something that gnaws at me. Each time I’m having a conversation with a person it runs the predictable course. Nobody really wants to show you their scars, their broken pieces, their not so perfect lives, their not so perfect thoughts. Nobody wants to say ‘no I’m not an expert on life’ nor on myself! Nobody really says, ‘I’m so confused my head hurts’ or ‘my heart aches’ or ‘I messed up’ or ‘I want you to see the worst version of me.’

I  wonder how I’m going to take this forward. For the longest time I thought not many people read my personal posts. I never share them on other platforms and I don’t allow followers on this particular one. But I underestimate the general curiosity about me. If I carry on, I have to be prepared for all kinds of personal attacks-a dissection of everything I am. To do a project on a person, place or thing is so much easier than on your own thoughts and on your own self. I don’t know if I’ll be able to muster up the courage to talk about my less than perfect existence.