Uncategorized: alone in my head Dealing with grief Lifein2suitcases living alone pratishtha
by Pratishtha Durga
So this week kind of went into revisiting my old posts here, at lifein2suitcases. The dialogues I have had with myself, when no one was listening. Or maybe, they were. Maybe, you were among them. Why do I write here? Because, in my life, the life I live in the maximum city, everyone wants to be heard, but no one listens. It’s not a physical deafness. It’s far deeper than that. No sign language will break through this disability. Your words will ricochet off the binary laden walls of the cyberspace, and fall back at your feet. And you will look down at them, as they will lie there, whimpering, “But no one heard!”.
I am a bit overwhelmed at the withering relationships all around me. Where is there any reason to hope when everything you grew up believing turns out to be a dead end, or an omnipresent farce? Love, bonding, soul-mates, friendship, loyalty, destiny, patriotism, courage-under-fire… everything turns out to be a mirage. How does one survive in a world like this? I know what I do. I write. I write when I am happy. I write when it’s dark. I write when I feel longing, or hurt, or joy, or betrayal. Because if I don’t write, no one will listen. People closest to you are the ones who know you the least. My words are not for them. They are for a world that should have been mine, if everything was as it should have been. But the little girl grew up, became an orphan and the woman could never quite get back home. And we are all the same. Lost little children among a heap of unspoken conversations, unheard emotions. That’s why we have so many internal conversations. I know I do. Lots of them. And it’s okay. You are not morbid, or insane, or manic depressive if you spend hours inside your head. There is an entire world out there, inhabited by people like us. We are no freaks of this society. We are no exception, but the rule. So I write here. Hoping that one day, when either I am done talking, or when there is nothing more left to be said, someone is going to come here, read all the words, and say, “I heard you. Your story did not go untold.”
Uncategorized: being childlike Benny and Joon Bucket List Dealing with grief life changing project living alone Pratishtha Durga Sunita Shrotriya
by Pratishtha Durga
You know, there are so many things not even my closest friends know about me. Not deep, dark secrets, just things too inane to be brought up in regular conversations.
Like how Michael Bolton’s song “When a man loves a woman” shaped my dreams of the love of my life. Or that I am absolutely crazy about Rishi Kapoor, and I think he is one of our finest actors, understated, elegant, subtle. He is all the things our so called legendary performers are not. And that I still go weak in the knees watching “Bobby”. Not many people know that I think that Dev Anand was the most handsome star Bollywood ever had. And that I am a sucker for Rom-Coms, and can watch classics like “When Harry Met Sally, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “Roman Holiday”, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”, and “Prelude To A Kiss” over and over again. Barely anyone knows that I find it hard to sit in my house when I am alone: I walk around instead.
I don’t think any of my current friends know that for years I almost worshipped Lenny Kravitz. That I once loved mangoes, but don’t seem to like them very much now. Or that I think “Benny and Joon” is the sweetest movie ever, and it’s my favorite pick-me-up flick. I don’t think I would have brought it up that I think that George Peppard was not of this world. Or that I like big dogs more than I like small dogs. That I sometimes feel that my heart is breaking into a million tiny bits when I see a silly looking, smiling Labrador walk past me. I don’t think that I have ever mentioned that I found poetry through my ex-husband, who I think is one of the most talented men I have ever met. And the funniest. I wish we had chosen to remain best friends instead. And that I am done with the bitterness now and that I am very, very proud of him.
Oh, and I love Chinese cuisine, but the Indian variant of it. I think Gnocchi rocks! I don’t like alcohol, never did, never will. I don’t understand smokers. I have tried to get excited about wealth. And failed. I am unapologetically unambitious. That sometimes I wish I could scream and scream and scream, and that sometimes I feel like doing that in the middle of the day, when I am surrounded by people, and my face is aching from all the smiling and chatting. And that I’d rather be alone and quiet, and that silence is not something people associate with me, and that’s proof enough that no one on this planet really gets to be on this side of my shell. And that I shared that silence with my mother as we both sat and watched rains wash down our balcony. That I know that my mother would have loved it if I had been a dancer. That I sometimes shut my eyes really tight and try to remember how her voice sounded, but always end up losing my calm. And I cried when Micheal Jackson died. I felt so sad for him.
I’d like someone someday to make me breakfast in bed. No one has ever done that for me. I feel I have loved more than I have been loved and some days I find it so unfair, but most days I am okay with it. That I would, for a change, want to be reckless and walk off. Just walk off. Just like that. Something I have always wanted to do, ever since I was a child but know I don’t have the courage to do. That I want nothing more than a small cabin in the hillside. That I like getting wet in the rain, but hate Mumbai rains. And yes, I don’t like to see myself in the mirror because the girl I once was hasn’t looked back at me for a decade now. I like lamps, and think overhead lighting gives people headaches. I like the color red, but think I can’t really carry it. I once bought a bright red lipstick and really really liked it, but someone close to me said I looked like a common whore when I wore it. I never wore red lipstick after that. I wish I had Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak: It seems so handy. I think God looks like Terry Pratchett. And Devil looks like Neil Gaiman, only cooler. I wish I could also have a flash mob wedding like Neil Gaiman did. I want to shave my head but think I will look too ugly. I wish I had some exceptional talent. I would like to learn how to ride a motorbike, but am too chicken to do it. That I am victim of my fears, insecurities and inhibitions, but I fight them the best I can.
So yes, there is lots more. Yeah, I know there is nothing profound back there. But you know what, after yesterday, I could do with a little randomness.
Uncategorized: Dealing with grief Lifein2suitcases living alone Pratishtha Durga
by Pratishtha Durga
I am slowly stepping out of my blue shell, and thank you all for being my support. It was a slightly difficult phase for me. And I am not good with adapting to difficult situations. I finally do come around, but it takes me some time. Also, I did not have an internet connection for almost 3 months! That’s how lazy I am, by the way. Now that I am connected again, we shall hear from each other more often.
First of all, I currently have three blogs. That’s one blog too many for me. So I am planning to bring the Food Blog under Shotcouture.com
I think that two blogs will be a lot easier to manage. Lifein2suitcases will still be about life and my thoughts and emotions. Shotcouture, on the other hand, will be about fashion, food and lifestyle.
Last Monday, I finally read, for the first time, at a poetry slam. I felt I was terrible, but I did not feel nervous at all. Better poems and better performances next time.
So it is that another cloud of blues has come to pass. I can smile again.
Uncategorized: Britannia Restaurant Mumbai de-cluttering life Dealing with grief Fine dining in Mumbai Gourmet Cooking life changing project living alone Pratishtha Durga Simplifying Life The Big Purge Challenge
by Pratishtha Durga
Oh, what a day. I went and had lunch at Britannia Restaurant in South Mumbai. On the table were Fish Patra (A fish in green chutney steamed in banana leaf), berry pulao (rice dish with tart berries), and salli boti (lamb stew with potato straws). I downed this elaborate lunch with an ice cream soda, and went to heaven. There slogan sums it so well. “There is no love greater than the love of eating”. I do not trust a person who does not love food. Did you know that Hitler actually hated food? There you go. Good food makes you believe, even if for a short while, that everything is alright with the world. That everything is possible. That everything is within your reach, and all that, just because you have good food in your plate.
As a copywriter, I was required to work on the launch campaign of one of the restaurants of the Taj group of Hotels. The creative director asked us to go have a great meal, and mentally record our reaction to food. I remember shutting my eyes when I had the first bite of this extremely sinful dessert that night. I sat speechless, as if in a trance, savoring every tiny grain of that chocolate laden piece of bliss. I remember throwing my head back and laughing out louder than usual at the next joke that was shared at the table. I remember that the moon seemed brighter, bigger when we stepped out later that night. Life was so much more accepting and happiness was that much more accessible, because I had dined well that night. And that my friends, is what love for food can do for you. When the dinner table is laid out, the cutlery is in its place, the candles have been lit, and the wine bottle opened, nothing can go wrong. It’s a magical little place and that slice of time, just perfect.
That’s how I find happiness. I cook. When there is no sunshine, I cook. I peel, I chop, I julienne, I chiffonade, I stir-fry my way to peace and joy. I worship Julia Child, Patricia Wells, and Sonia Allison. I read my way through cookery books and then come home after a day’s work and cook.
And the world seems like an okay place to live in.
Uncategorized: dealing with death of a loved one Dealing with grief Lifein2suitcases living alone Pratishtha Durga The Big Purge Challenge
by Pratishtha Durga
I think I once mentioned that grief catches you in the most unexpected places. Like when you are at a Barista, having a Coca Bonga or whatever that thing was called, and you are with a friend and you realize that you are still alone. When there are families around, laughing, celebrating each other’s presence. When the “O Word” hits you in your face. You’ve lost both your parents within 14 months. You have been Orphaned. It’s official. I am broken.
These past few days have been a bit difficult. I know good days will come again. After all, I am less than a month away from the Garage Sale. But every day weighs down on me. I had said that being alone is not the same as being lonely. I cherished being alone. But these days, it’s the loneliness that has been hurting. I was dealing with my mother’s memories, filing them away. And now I have Dad does moments, all want attention in my head. It’s tough. There is no tutorial that can equip you to deal with grief. It’s like shards piercing your heart and there isn’t much you can do, but wait for it to get better. I had hoped against hope that my father will get better. He is dead now.
I came back home today and tried “happy visualization”, an exercise that has always made me happy. Today, it failed. I read, I wrote, I even drew a little. But it all failed. So, it’s past 1 in the night, and I am awake. This writing too is a form of purging for me. It helps me vent my pain. I miss my mother. I miss my dad. I miss a home and a happy, beautiful dog I used to talk to. I miss my illusion of being a happily married woman. I miss naivety. I miss dependence. I miss recklessness. I miss my old self.
Uncategorized: dealing with death of a loved one Dealing with grief living alone Pratishtha Durga
by Pratishtha Durga
I am tired of being told how brave I am. Do people even know what brave means? I know that the words are well-meaning and sincere. But I wish I could swap places with someone who has a mundane, ordinary life. I listen with rapt longing when friends talk about their love life, their dreams, ambitions, career moves. I hope to one day wish for a luxury car, a country cottage, foreign vacations and brass bath-tubs. I wish to long for things everyone else wants.
But my life has other plans for me. It’s teaching me to be brave. To me, then, the definition of courage has changed. To me, courage is being sick alone at home. To me, courage is waking up from a nightmare and having no one to comfort you. To me, courage is the knowledge that your closest, most loved friends will leave you at the end of the day, and go back to their homes and loving families. To me, courage is getting up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain and knowing no one can hear you cry. To me, courage is missing everything that was right and wonderful about my life and dreaming about all the good things that everyone keeps telling me will one day come to me. To me, courage is the willingness to accept that the worst might yet come. To me, courage is living alone and being completely accountable for my life, its pains, its hurts, and its healing.
As a child, I hated being alone. I hated being sick. Tonight, I am sick and alone. So yes, it needs courage to know that tomorrow I will be back in office, smiling and laughing and chatting, and no one would know. Tonight, I live in the hope that tomorrow will be a better day. And on some days, even hope takes courage.
Uncategorized: de-cluttering life Dealing with grief life changing project Lifein2suitcases living alone Mother-daughter relationship Pratishtha Durga Sunita Shrotriya The Big Purge
by Pratishtha Durga
2010 is ready to call it a day. Last week of the year. And this year has been very different from any other year of my life. I made some goals for myself. I missed some and achieved the others. All in all, I did not just live through this year, I grew up a year. I learned swimming. I lived alone. I cooked my own meals. I travelled alone. I made some new friends and said goodbye to some old ones. I grew my nails, and I cut my hair. I wrote a lot. I connected to a lot of people. I gave away bags-full of clothes, CDs, and other things. I shopped less. I reconnected with schoolmates. I cried and felt good about it. I called friends over for dinner and had a great time. I read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies.
I missed my mother and learned that there is no cure for grief. I got locked out of my house and ended up having an unplanned sleep-over at my friend’s place. I ate at new places and went back to some old favourite restaurants. I had a “Plant Burger”. I went on a full-moon harbour cruise where I meditated and prayed with a group of Wiccans. I hosted my first ever Halloween Party. I learned to read Goddess Tarot cards. I rediscovered Jazz. I started singing again, and learned that in order to enjoy singing, you don’t need to be very good at it. You just have to sing. I played with other people’s dogs and missed my own. I watched my father get weaker every day, and learned to live with it. I drank Sangria in Spain, and ate Maggi noodles in Ladakh.
And so many more things to recall. 2010 has been a memorable year. It has made me a bit more of myself. So I wait for the next year. I had wanted to avoid a “Let’s welcome 2011″ post. But I’d be undermining the contribution 2010 has made to my life, if I did not pay it this tribute. Rest well 2010, you did good.
Uncategorized: de-cluttering life Dealing with grief life changing project Lifein2suitcases living alone Pratishtha Durga The Big Purge The Big Purge Challenge
by Pratishtha Durga
Last night, I bought flowers for my house. Lots of them. I could not think of any other way to fight the feeling of sadness that threatened to overwhelm me. My father is on Oxygen now. He could not breathe properly and they did tests to find out if he has a lung infection. He does. A really bad one.
So, on my way back home, I bought flowers. And this morning, I went for a walk with my friend Roseanne. And now, I am going to treat myself to a good breakfast. The most difficult days to live through are the ones which leave you so deeply hurt and filled with pain. Those are the days I take out my “sunshine arsenal”. I indulge myself in some nice books, music, food and good company. My father is in a good hospital. He is being looked after. My brother and I are there for him. Beyond that, there is love, hope and prayer. And a dream for happiness. And my sunshine arsenal helps me make that dream real. You can be happy, even on the darkest days. We all have our happiness triggers. Mine are flowers. And beautiful aromas: Lavender, rose, jasmine. I always keep some aroma oils in my house to give me a “get up and go”.
Then there are books. They never fail you. They take you into a lovely world filled with words, where things can be the way you want them to be. And then, there is music.
Put all these together, and my happiness trigger is ready. I am now going to make some breakfast. I am thinking eggs, tomato juice, and cup full of sweet potato salad. But what’s more important is the way I will serve my breakfast, to myself. I will make it a visual treat. And I will eat slowly. And I will be listening to music. Who can be sad like this?
Making happiness a habit, a way of life isn’t easy. It takes a bit of practice. But start small and you will find yourself happier way often than you used to be. And that’s something to look forward to. Right?!
Uncategorized: de-cluttering life Lifein2suitcases living alone Pratishtha Durga Sunita Shrotriya The Big Purge The Big Purge Challenge
by Pratishtha Durga
There are days when living alone doesn’t seem like that great an idea. Since I don’t have a television, I find it difficult to spend time. Fortunately, those days are rare. On most other days, I feel like a princess in my own little castle. A house just for me. I sprinkle my Goddess magic in my tiny space. I cook my favorite foods, and read my favorite books. I listen to music, I dance. I live my life so much more than I have in years. And it fills my life with joy and pride to be able to do so.
I can be spontaneous. I can plan my weekends the way I want to. This is really a lot more than most people can ask for in their life. And so, I am thankful. For every blessing life has brought my way. I am thankful that I am basically a happy person. I am thankful that I can afford to travel alone to Rajasthan. I am thankful that I am capable to dealing with my anger, and rather than fight it, I am letting it take care of itself. I am thankful that I have beautiful and positive people around me. I am thankful that my house gets ample sunlight. I am thankful that most dogs like me. I am thankful that my office is close to my home and in the evenings, I can walk back. I am thankful that I have parents I can be proud of, and so I can be proud of myself. I am thankful that I can cook well and my friends love to eat at my place. I am thankful that I have a beautiful niece who loves to chat with me on the phone and tells me what she wants.
There is lots more I am thankful for. this post won’t be enough. But it’s a great reminder. List all the good things in your life. You will find that most of them are non-material. Start packing your suitcases. We have a long way to go.
Uncategorized: life changing project Lifein2suitcaes living alone Living in Mumbai Pratishtha Durga Simplifying Life The Big Purge The Big Purge Challenge
by Pratishtha Durga
I hate being sick. And nothing puts me down more than being sick and alone. That’s how my day began. And I spent a good few hours feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately, I get tired of that really fast. So I dragged myself to a doctor, went to office for a while to send some mails, came home and made the day better.
This is how I did it. I got myself a great lunch – Hot noodles soup. It did wonders for my sore throat. After taking my medication, I slept for an hour. Got up feeling better, and the fever was gone! But I was still feeling too weak to do anything of great consequence. So I remained in bed, listened to music, and finished reading “The Adventures Of Peter Pan”. In the evening, I fixed myself a sinful snack of oats with dry fruits. Yum!
You see, happiness is a choice we make for ourself every single day of our lives. You can choose to find happiness in the smallest of things, or ignore to acknowledge it in the biggest events. I find happiness in phone conversations with friends, in favourite songs caught on radio, in long forgotten and half-read books, and silly snacks that mean so much more than fine dining! And so, in ever so small ways, I managed to turn this day around. Small achievement, but a great boost for me. Like I said, some days are far more difficult than others. Today was one such day, and I managed to survive it, with happiness!