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153: The Thrill In The Uexpected

2 Jun

Ever since I got here, I’ve experienced a series of unexpected joys. As I was very matter-of-factly walking towards the bus shuttle after exiting the airport, I chanced upon the first bus in line, which was relatively empty, that I decided to get home by. On approaching the bus, there she was sitting right in the front seat in direct sight – my first ever psychology teacher from back in the day. One really finds it difficult to sum up all the feelings that bubble and gurgle within you…a fine blend of shock, excitement, confusion, joy, thrill, all woven into a fabric of beautiful memories put together. We couldn’t believe our chance meeting – on a bus out of so many buses, at an airport of all places; and after what’s soon going to be 15 years. Of course this count was meant to highlight just how long it’s been, except it also reminds me just how long ago I finished my 10th board exams. It goes without saying that we spent the rest of the bus ride seated next to each other, sharing titbits from our life and experiences, and how the journey has been so far. To say that the ride was too short would fall short of how I felt; where’s that traffic jam when you really need it?!

In-keeping with this, and as if I hadn’t walked back in time enough, I passed my school during functional school hours yesterday for the first time since I’d left it. As I drove past it, I couldn’t resist the urge to get off the car and walk right in, to just perhaps see if I could meet the teachers I’d once spent every single day of my life with. And I did. I still cannot describe the feeling; perhaps the connections run so deep that they’ve remained embedded somewhere within me in a place that’s hard to access. Time really isn’t enough when you’re walking down memory lane. Sometimes words aren’t, either.

It’s a strange feeling, this. There’s always been an indefinable friction within me to go back to where I came from. Notwithstanding the trying times that they were, and not discounting the amazing things that were also happening back then, it really isn’t a road I like to walk down. Things change, people change, everything changes. Apart from this insecurity of not being remembered or being acknowledged like you perhaps once were, it’s this strange tug of war stepping back in time versus watching your memories from the safety of disconnected distance. As I walked away from these two episodes, it only reminded me that as the years pile up, so do our own thoughts and perceptions of the whats and hows. To say I didn’t take away so much from these experiences and in turn give so much to these experiences as well, would negate the actual power of reminiscence, time, and life itself.

148: It’s Sunyay Today

28 May

I woke up at an unusual 6:30am thanks to a prickly bladder that wouldn’t relent till I got myself to the bathroom. There was no point in drifting back to sleep because while sleep-walking to the bathroom, I happened to get a glimpse of the weather through my door; and let’s just say it was too good to pass over sleeping in an air-conditioned room. Today morning feels like a beautiful Sunday morning in Bangalore. Despite all the changes that have happened to my home city, I still continue using it as a yardstick wherever I go. It’s true when whoever it was said that Bangaloreans are spoilt people. I haven’t found a single person who doesn’t use the (unfairly) high standards of Bangalore’s weather as a comparison. But then we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, no?

Thinking I’d get a round of laundry done while my piping hot tea reached a more drinkable temperature, I found said laundry already done, except I don’t remember when I did it in the first place. It made me feel both stupid and productive. I’m now on my third batch, and also tuned into a Sunday morning playlist on YouTube, and thoroughly enjoying this morning as it is. The only thing that has been nagging me is the sudden demise of most of my plants who have, I presume, been attacked by pests. What was one a bunch of lively, green, beautifully healthy plants is now an arid bunch of brown stems with all those gorgeous leaves dead and gone.

Given that I will be travelling, I am feeling apprehensive about this outbreak that has made my garden look ghostly. I’m standing on the precipice of giving into these feelings of sadness and helplessness versus giving my babies time to fight and make a comeback. It’s a difficult experience – to stand by and not intervene versus throwing myself into this pit of disease and darkness that has taken away all the hard work I’d put in to see my plants become what they once were. :( Do pray for my plants, will you? It is disheartening to see them perish and become lifeless.

I do also have to head in to work for a bit today, because a teacher’s life is never hers alone.

Having said that, I’ll take your leave and think about breakfast while I let this affliction nag me till I can figure a way out. You have a lovely Sunday. :)

136: Dissociation

16 May

Dissociate (v.): to severe, to separate, to cut, to remove.

I just walked out of class talking about a certain classification of psychological disorders that fall under this category. And yet time and again, I find myself unable to do the same between my work and me. If flitting from one classroom to the other, inflicting one scolding after the other, taking one lesson after the other, being present continuously one after the other isn’t enough, I find my waking and sleeping zones plagued with all of this clutter too.

I can’t seem to dissociate.

I’m trying, but it’s taking much longer than I thought.

From ceasing bringing work home (as much as a teacher possibly can) to physically shutting every single work-related thought out of my way at home, it’s a monumental effort that’s not effortless at all.

It’s so easy to cut, break off, walk away. But I have no idea what the key to this severance is, if at all.

135: Red Pen Memories

15 May

I’m sitting with a red pen, armed almost, and remembering the seed of fear it had germinated in me. The sight of a red pen in any of my work was only welcomed when it re-affirmed the best of my capabilities; and dreaded at other times. I wonder if it continues its legacy with the students whose work I mark today. Is there fear, or just complacency now? Kids today fear less, or fear different things. How far or how effective this colour is on their answer sheets is one I can only guess or confirm upon clarification.

Flitting between the rustle of papers, I feel odd and out of place in a bodily experience. Is this really me? Never did I think of being here, again. Never did I plan for any of this. Little did I imagine making someone chase marks again.

It’s a strange feeling.

For now I’m caught in the urgent thoughts of many squeezed in a 60-minute clock. There are spews of panic, confidence, confusion, “silly mistakes” (oh how I hated that word, because I made so many of them), hurry, and a slight streak of calmness. I can’t help but smile, and also grimace at the same time.

128: Wisdom

8 May

Sucking on this ice lolly rather whimsically, I can’t help but think of this prayer that I once used to begin my workday with back while working at a rehab.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

This Serenity Prayer was just another routine thing I mumbled back in the day; a formality, a must-do, a not so crucial thing that didn’t really make a difference to my life. I didn’t know, and I couldn’t have cared less. I was there to do my work, get the job done, and get my ass back home from that all-male rehab which wasn’t the most pleasant of settings I imagined spending my summers in. But it was the need of that hour, and it was to be done minus much preoccupation.

Today is a different time. It’s seven years later, a long enough period for a lot to have happened, even if one was inert, existentially or otherwise. This has been a recurring thought to me off-late – to let go, to let go, to let go in absolution. I haven’t inspected the fear of letting go in absolution; no I have not. Neither have I bothered looking over the cliff to see the view and/or the fall. Like many things universal, this cliche is definitely easier said than done. But I’m fighting hard to not just try. And each day for a while now, has been exactly that – a reminder to work towards jumping off this cliff.

Sucking on this rather comforting lolly, I wish to, by action, also tell the world to go suck it.

I’m taking what’s mine and I’m walking away – go suck it.

I’m drawing my lines and you nasty, line-encroacher you, can go suck it.

I’m not going to care, and you can go suck it.

Watch me make 50% become my new 100% while you, my dear universe, can yes, go suck it.


This has made me feel better, strangely. I felt like I’ve left what’s unnecessary and jumped off the cliff. Or maybe that’s the soothing comfort of the ice lolly speaking – the sheer blindness of denial. Whatever it is, I’m feeling better already – a little less of me is preoccupied with things that really don’t matter (which I thought really did), and a lot of me is urging to fight this battle as hard as I can.

I hope you had a more fruitful Monday. Have this ice lolly, and suck it. Trust me.

(PS, thank you for stomaching the rant. I owe you!)

122: Impromptu

2 May

In being caught up with my work and owing to the nature of my work, drawing lines and boundaries becomes both necessary and difficult. I’ve failed a 100% at leaving work in school just as how successfully I’ve managed to leave home out of my work. It’s not where I imagined being and neither is where I want to be. 

Yesterday was so overwhelmingly exhausting that it showed on me before I could realise it. A couple of my colleagues asked me if all was well, which I affirmed. 

And then I couldn’t get out of bed today. It has been everything and all that put together in a nasty combination of fatigue. I’d say a lot of me is taking undue and unnecessary stress; a hazard that met its fate soon enough. An impromptu leave to recoup was requisitioned post which I woke up only to a phone call from work a couple of hours later. 

My husband made us tea and breakfast, which was a treat. The day has passed, during which I did nothing else. Yet it feels like I’ve been up to my nose in work and tasks, as if to jab at my sense of productivity. 

Couple that with being in an antsy and crabby mood, and it has turned out to be a break of sorts. When did I get so caught up to feel this useless and irritable about things in general? Classic signs of stress and burning out, if I were to diagnose myself. 

Too much for an impromptu late evening walk to salvage, either. Sigh. 

115: The Ease Of Walking Halfway

25 Apr

It was till almost 11pm last night when I finally got up from my chair to head to bed. I knew what I wanted to do in class today, except I didn’t have the means to get it all done. It’s finally time to get into that part of my subject which I find both fascinatingly intriguing and painful to study as well. My mind only kept insisting that I begin this new chapter with either a reading from a book or by watching a movie based on the same book.

I rushed to my Kindle (what a blessing technology is) only to find the book unavailable, perhaps for controversial reasons. A visit to the bookstore was out of the question. Besides, venturing into this heat towards zero guarantees is a risk I wasn’t willing to take. However, some thinking and help later, I had the movie with me, ready for my students to watch today.

They came halfway too, today. Having sacrificed their break to watch this movie made it seem worth my while. I wish I could be there to see them through the end of the movie (I had another class, but they watched the entire thing in one sitting, letting it spill into their next hour). One needs support, answers, closure when you’re dealing with something so real, yet so unknown and new.

I am looking forward to opening them up to more experiences with my subject, but in time of course. However, these small joys of working, learning, exploring avenues and potentials of learning seal the deal completely.

114: Manic Monday

24 Apr

My posts are increasingly a review about the days that come and sometimes crash into me or days I mostly walk into with some sense of chaos. I hope to work on that and write more about meaningful things, except the only meaningful things that occupy my mind are that of school and class-related work. It’s something I’m working on.

Before reflecting on today, let me quickly reflect on the embarrassment that was yesterday’s RCB match. I’ll assume they have a menacingly dense grey cloud holding fort right above their heads, because there’s just no other explanation to that. I mean I actually have no words for the joke of a nightmare that experience was. But I’m an RCB girl, and I’ll just have to give my team the best vibes and thoughts I can. FOOLS.

Today was about learning, throwing myself out there a little more than I’m used to, and tackling fear by its horns. It turns out that rushing head-on into a fear sort of dismantles it instantly. I was left feeling victorious, empowered, and so silly for being afraid of something I’d obviously magnified in my mind over the weekend, and therefore consequently wasted so many brain noodles on this stress.

There’s a palpable joy in accountability, in watching someone, even if it is one person, turn to you and say thank you with genuineness. Sense of self and confidence intact, gratitude patches even the most fulfilled souls. Maybe this is what keeps teachers going despite the cruel hell their daily life can be, on an okay day. Maybe it is about being a little more than a forgotten speck whom the world walks past. I don’t know, and I’m not sure.

Meeting students fresh out of their board exams, students I’ve never met before, and students who looked at me as though my being there made a difference to them (even though talking about an exam is the last thing anyone wants immediately after a paper), was an eye-opener today.

Every single day is a new day, and every single day brings forth an opening leaf with fresh lines to read, learn, and cherish.

112: Of Weekends With No Time

22 Apr

Today was one of those Saturdays that didn’t feel like one. For starters, the two of us went to work, which, for now, seems like something we’re making a part of our lives, just like the million others out there who work on every single Saturday. Top that with time for nothing else but to collapse and de-heat our minds and bodies, and we were done with yet another precious weekender.

It’s been a day of tremendous running around, and it’s been a day where my routine has gone out the window. No groceries, no weekly preps, no nothing has happened. The once upon a time me would’ve cared and panicked. Now I couldn’t care about tomorrow any more. We’ll see it when it gets here.

For now, I’m slinking into some stress-relieving tv shows, and a chicken curry rice meal I made somewhere between post lunch and tea-time, in record time. This is my comfort for today – to just be with whatever I have.

108: The Irony Of Self-Preservation

18 Apr

As I got home from work today, ensconced in my own rather sticky web of thoughts – all work-related – I tried shutting my mind off for a bit. It’s a thing I’m actively and aggressively trying to do because someone like me needs this sort of push to compartmentalize, draw boundaries, and segregate work from home. Or work from my non-work life in general. If it’s something I try to live by within my work – to be organized, in control, and just aware – then it’s something I’m not doing enough of once my work day ends. It wasn’t the case when I was working earlier – my shut laptop and exit from the building meant work after that would only be dealt with the next day, which isn’t as demarcated and strict now. It’s okay for work to spill into every other aspect of life; it’s a done thing.

We’re currently working on this chapter called ‘meeting life challenges’ which primarily deals with stress. To come back from school having taught my classes the meaning, threat, and nature of stress, and how it’s imperative to de-stress consciously and subconsciously, only made me realise that some urgent self-application was indeed due too.

Being assertive is a faraway dream, but being strict about one’s own self-preservation, irrespective of how the general trend is, is possible. It’s not going to stop me from trying and figuring it out, that’s for sure. To have my mind buzzing with thoughts about school, when I’m out of school is an experience I’m undergoing and a challenge that needs to be tackled. It’s normal, I’m told. But for someone who takes more stress than normal people, I’ve got to find my way, and quickly.

Here’s my takeaway for the day – to practice as I preach, or teach, in this context. :)