Day 28 : Dear Zindagi

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NaBloPoMo November 2016

Dear Zindagi was a delightful watch. A leisurely movie about life and therapy.

Alia Bhatt is growing as an actress with every film. Her character is flawed, and focused but directionless. Kaira (aka Koko, her character) is a mixture of paradoxical traits and thus, complicated.

The movie starts wonderfully, but is painfully slow after the Interval. Gauri Shinde could have done well to dig deeper into Kaira’s psyche or Dr. Khan’s background. Instead, she lets the movie meander like anyone going to Goa does. Life just stops in Goa, so does the movie.

I liked how the movie tries to remove some of the stigma associated with therapy in the Indian society. My two cents : Indian society is made up of people who make it their business to become associated with every happenings in the lives of friends, family and strangers alike. It’s bad and good at the same time. When therapy was not this prevalent, people used to talk their hearts out to these friends, families or strangers and get comforted/find solutions from their talks.

With busier lives, people getting more judgemental, and no guarantee of secrecy – we have begun turning to therapists. BD – the brain doctor – as the movie calls them, are a varied lot. Some seem absolutely cuckoo (here, I’d like to say that one man’s cuckoo is another man’s genius), some just sit and nod their head and tell you that the session is over.

Then how does therapy help? If you have the right therapist, (s)he will listen to all you have to say without making you uncomfortable, and offer guidance on topics which relate to a behaviour trait which affects your life. Like Dr.Khan in Dear Zindagi, (s)he won’t meddle with your decisions but let you arrive at a decision after offering several options to deal with a situation. In essence, your therapist does what a good friend or mentor would do.

This is only for minor problems – dealing with life situations. If your problems arise because of a psychological condition like bipolar mood disorder or vitamin/hormonal imbalances, you will definitely need to get medication along with the therapy.

Dear Zindagi shows the goody goody part of therapy and counselling where the psychiatrist doesn’t feel the need for medication for Kaira. It’s a movie where you go on cringing at the protagonist’s decisions and keep telling her to make sane decisions, and the therapist helps her do precisely that and lo! With some of her cringe-worthy traits still intact – Kaira transforms into a new girl.

My two cents, again : Therapy ain’t bad. Consult a therapist whose vibes make you feel good about yourself. OR, if your problems are not pressing and you have reliable friends, family, mentors (none of these strangers), talk to them. Communication is the key to coming out of the downing blues. Whether to communicate with a therapist or a known person – you decide.

Second ramble

I am not attached to anyone at the hip. Especially family. Parents, to be precise.

When I see children being over fond of their parents or vice versa, it creeps me out. I love everybody alright. But I don’t go over the top declaring it… I may do it on social media, but in person I am all the more miserly in showing affection. I am just not built that way. 

At times, I am jealous of children openly showing care for their parents. “Mummy, you might have had a long day. Sit down and let me clean up the kitchen, will you.” They say with mock sternness and the mater relents. And there I stand looking with equal awe at this display of affection and acquiescence. Why do I never seem to succeed at it?

I try. Mostly on people other than my mother. But if I try it with my Mom, I just evoke a jovial laugh which doesn’t take me seriously. “Since when have you developed this streak?” That’s what I get. Or sometimes mild envy, you never helped me out like you did the Aunty, today…(and that’s true, I seldom help her out because I think of her as a superwoman who has everything figured.)

I am just plain incapable of displaying affection to her. And my close family in general. 

Whenever I am not in hometown, I don’t even call frequently. (Sometimes, it’s a subconscious decision as I feel if I talk more, I’ll get nostalgic…maybe burst into tears and have them worrying what’s wrong…while there’s nothing wrong per se. It’s just my writer self missing childhood at home, with them. Most of the time though, it never occurs to me that I should call. They’re so present in my mind that I don’t realise that I haven’t talked to them today or for many days.) On the other hand, I have friends who can talk for an hour with their mothers and their family. I envy them at times, at other times I just heave a sigh of relief that my family accepts me as I am.

To explain better, my mom and family are awesome. I have no grudges that hold me back from having affection. It’s just – I find it too cheesy to express it or be at the receiving end of such affection. I get fidgety if my Mom tries to pamper me visibly…it just doesn’t seem right. For me, parental love has to be subtle, at least when the child is grown up enough to understand stuff.

I trust them with my life. They always have my back. That is more than enough for me. This opens the vistas of the world wide enough for me to fly anywhere I wish to. And I know I’ll fly back to my nest whenever they need me (this will evoke another laugh, if they do read this). This equation works for me.

I will never be the one who asks, how are you, did you eat well? Is your back hurting all the more today? I’ll just take them silently the doctor if I am there or tell them funny stories of the day I had, if I can’t help from a far away place.

Would I wish different? Honestly, yes. I’d like to be able to show that I love them. Without feeling cheesy. That’s almost impossible with my present self.

Day 12 : Write about 5 blessings in your life

1. My Grandparents

My parents have always lived with my grandparents and hence, I was raised mostly in their tender care.

My Grandpa took me out every evening at the Railway Station where we watched trains go by, while I ate the chivda in my tiffin. He inculcated the habit of reading in me, as I always mimicked him reading the newspaper or the novels (from the town library, which was established by my great Grandfather). He used to pickup and drop me to school on our Kinetic Honda, even in his 70s. During our short trips to the school, he used to tell me interesting stories, facts about the WWI & WWII (which he had witnessed) and other such trivia. Till this day, when I go home, he asks about who I am reading and discusses the ongoing news stories. He even knows what Twitter is, at the age of 92!

My Grandma fed me the most healthiest meals, while diverting my attention to the moon – as I was a very fussy eater. She told me all the stories of our Puranas – The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and even the Bhagwat. She is the epitome of contentment and has taught me to be happy under any circumstances. She has even been strict to me, when Mummy could not. On the other hand, she always rescued me from Mummy’s reprimands. She is a friend to me now that I am grown up. We watched movies together…old and new, Hindi and English. She has been my silent guiding light all these years.

My maternal Grandpa and Grandma were a decade and a half older than my paternal grandparents. But even they have left a lasting impression on my personality as a whole. I do not remember my Grandma much, but she was a living repository of old folk songs. She had a song for every small occasion. She was ever smiling. Her English was impeccable. Grandpa was a doctor and the most gregarious personality I have ever come across. He absorbed the most unpleasant shocks with grace and lived each day to the fullest. We were spoilt bad with the season’s best mangoes when we went to Nanihal. They taught me that life is a celebration.

I am blessed to have Grandparents hale and hearty throughout my childhood.

And a special mention to my paternal great Grandmother – she used to tell me – ” Don’t give up on education because you are a girl. Become a doctor, or an engineer.” Born in 1905, she was a progressive lady and had an outlook far wider than her times. I was 10 when she passed away, but not before she shaped my tiny mind.

2. Supportive and understanding parents

With 3 elders around to care for me, you’d figure they didn’t have to do much to raise me. But that did not keep them from lending their unique touches to my personality.

My Mom has always been in the background – taking my daily homework and keeping me focussed enough on my studies. She is the rock of our family. I have never given her enough credit, but she is the one who has taught me to keep my cool when the world is falling apart.

My Dad has always encouraged me in the quirkiest things I wanted to do – like planning to watch a ’99 solar eclipse in ’93 and actually doing so when the day came! You might think it’s not a big deal, but it is. Particularly because it wasn’t the Internet age yet and being in a small town, it was quite difficult to get the glasses to watch it. He went all the way to get a tinted glass cut from a large sheet at the local furniture shop, to keep an off-hand promise he had made 6 years back.

They let me paint my room, they let me and my friends DJ party at home in junior college, they let me keep pets. I could discuss anything under the sun with them.

And they knew when to let go!

After I went to college, they have never tried to keep excessive tabs on me.


3. Wonderful childhood

I had the best school ever and the best teachers ever and the best playmates ever. Our school went from a 2 room Kindergarten, to a former law court and finally to an owned building. Out batch has seen our school building being built. When we were in Senior Kg., we would be taken from the current building (law court) to the new building when it was just a skeleton. We’d be allowed to play for an hour or so and then head back. We moved to the new building in 1st Std. If I have my basics clear in languages, maths, science, history and other stuff, I have my teachers to thank for it.

They raised us like their own children and knew what each of us was up to!

I never felt that I was anything less than the city kids, thanks to my teachers.

It so happens sometimes that school time was so good, nothing extraordinary that happens now measures up to the magical days that were.

A big part of my childhood is the time spent with the younger sibling. When he was a baby, I watched out for him and he was in awe of his big sister. (At least that’s what I think.) Later,we fought, we hated each other and then made up for our fights. We had each other’s back when it mattered. I may have been sort of a bully to him in the those years, but that hopefully did not impact our sibling bond. He graciously included me in his gully cricket matches and humours me still, when I ask him to play a few overs with me.

He’s taught me to share and to be responsible.

If not for him, my childhood would not have been as wonderful as it was.

4. My husband

He’s the biggest surprise of my life. We were class-mates, who connected half-a-decade after school and the rest is history. I am the most ‘me’ when I am around him. He’s a dreamer like me and unlike me, he works on them. He keeps me grounded when I get over-confident and motivates me when I feel I have under-achieved.

The smile in his eyes is all I need, to know that life is beautiful.

5. My brain

Don’t look at me like that! If not for my brain, which has been shaped and nurtured by such insightful, loving, and knowledgeable people, how would I have enjoyed life? I am thankful that I am sane enough and that my dear brain makes my own company enjoyable to me. I am never bored when alone. I can just think of an interesting subject (day dream) and my loneliness vanishes. I am not schizophrenic, in case you are wondering. It aches to learn new things, grasps new concepts easily and goes into zero when I want it to. I hope my brain lasts till the lifetime and I don’t catch Alzheimer’s anytime soon.

Emergency

E

The word Emergency implies a sudden unforeseen event which demands extraordinary measures to cope with the situation at hand.

Well, that is precisely what happened on April 2. My grandfather, who is 91, fractured his hip bone which had to be operated upon. It follows that I and Abhijeet rushed to hometown as soon as we heard the news. He is recovering and well now.

I will be staying back for a week or two.

The moment I heard the news, I was stunned into silence for a few minutes.

Because for the last few days, I used to wake up mid-sleep late in the night. I used to have this nagging urge to write to my grandfather, as he does not hear much due to his age. I wanted to pour all my memories onto paper for him. However, when I told him this after meeting him in the hospital, he smiled and said; a letter without a reply is incomplete – do not write to me dear daughter, as I will not be able to write back by myself. I know how you feel and even I look back on your days as a kid and remember them fondly.

That made me smile.

A smile in such situations is rare, but that is what lessens the burden of worry. Our family has always come together in testing times and borne the vagaries of the old-age journey with ageing grandparents in a positive atmosphere.

As my grandfather says, the show must go on!

Hence, I will be continuing the April A-Z Challenge with a different theme. No theme, so to speak.

I am blogging for the April A-Z Challenge this month.