Handling Worry

I sucked at Maths. I hated that subject, did not understand why we were studying it and was pretty much dumb at it. My heart would come into my mouth every time I wrote a maths exam and while expecting its results. I still have nightmares, often getting up in the middle of the night thinking I failed the exam, even though it’s been 10 years that I successfully graduated. My fathers health was always in doldrums. I would jump off my seat every time the phone rang, always expecting the worst. I would worry every time my manager would ping, wondering what I might’ve messed up.

Worry is a part of everyone’s life. Some of it real, some imaginary. But, worrying too much just makes our life hell. There are days I didn’t want to get up from bed dreading what was in store for the day. Worry can immobilize us. As we grow, we learn different tips and tricks to combat worry. I learnt a few from the book – ‘how to stop worrying and start living’ by Dale Carnegie.

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To a younger me

Dear Sai,

I know you are going through the lowest point in your life, that you are clueless and want a guiding hand, a sympathetic smile and someone to believe in you. Let me tell you what, you did not get all of them, but you still made it through. Ten years hence you’ll look back and term this period as the most difficult but life changing time. Hang-in there. Life teaches us everyday, sometimes the same lesson again and again till we learn from the experience. Over the last ten years I’ve stumbled and learnt lessons that would’ve made your life less difficult and more bearable, had I known them earlier. But, better late than never. Here are a list of few points to help you navigate the world better. Hope to see you as a better me.

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Capes & Cowls

When I was a kid our family used to go on a lot of pilgrimages, with trains as our preferred mode of transportation, thanks to my grandfather. And, of course as any kid, I used to love trains, even the smelly sleeper class coupes and train stations. Train stations were gateways and trains were the transport ready to whisk me away on an adventure, I used to think. But, there was another reason I loved them – bookstores. You can always find bookstores in a train station – a Higginsbotham bookstore, a RK Math outlet, or at the very least a nameless vegetable cart littered with magazines, pirated books and comics. These were the only bookstores I knew other than the magazine stall at Dilsukhnagar bus stop. And, it was here I first discovered comics.

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Two Indias

These days I feel old; not physically, but mentally. The world is changing fast around me, India has changed in the last few years. Or did I? Probably I moved from an India I knew to what we see now. Our experiences add colour to life or make it bland. We see the world through tinted glasses. We think what we see is the world. So, when we see someone with a different perspective, it feels very alien. Is that what is happening to me? Probably. But, I struggle with a deeper yearning: Where do I belong? To which India do I belong?

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Illusion of Life

Death puts the futility of life in perspective, the utter meaninglessness of it. Why? Why do we do so much? Why do we care/hate/love/fight/yearn/compete so much? Why do we build? Why do we dedicate our lives to causes that go beyond our lives? Why even bother? When death is just round the corner? Why? Why? It is said we go into a phase called ‘smasana vairagya’ when someone we know dies. Why? Apart from the pain stemming from the loss of a loved one, what bugs us about death? The fact that it breaks down the façade we’ve put on ourselves not just as an individual but as a society as a race to escape the meaninglessness of life – that all of this is an illusion.

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