Who Saves the Saviour?

20th July was a depressing day for a majority of people worldwide. Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the band Linkin Park had committed suicide at the age of 41, leaving behind six children.

Death doesn’t affect me. It didn’t before and I doubt it will do now. But this time it has me questioning something. Who saves the savior? Linkin Park was the band I would listen to as a teenager when all my hormones were playing up and I thought that I was experiencing the end of my world as I knew it. On more than one occasion Linkin Park had brought me back from the throes of chaos and gave some sort of semblance of peace to my life.

To be honest, it wasn’t just Linkin Park that brought me back to my senses. Soundgarden, Nirvana, Winehouse, Robin Williams were a few others who I’d go running to. I thought I knew these folks. Apparently not.

What baffled me most was the fact that their art couldn’t save them. What good is my work if I can’t turn to it in my desperation? Or is that how art works in the end anyway? Maybe you need to be an artist who knows when and how to distance himself from his art. To keep his art and himself separate, that even in your most distressing times, you can’t turn to it to save you. I do not know how art works. Neither do I claim to know how artists work. All I do know is one thing that I’ve been taught since I was a kid “Perform your duty with detachment.” I guess I am still struggling to wrap my head around this.

There’s another thing that amused me a little. People who are so attached to an artist that they are completely and utterly distraught at the news of their death. It’s probably normal and hence I wouldn’t dare make fun of it, but I definitely was amused. How does someone claim to know an artist because they know their work? I feel that such a statement is a dangerous one to make. This kind of attachment leads to senseless worship.

I wasn’t wrong when I realized that the youth, people my age, we tend to find Gods in the most decrepit places and in the random-est of people.

Collapse – Ashesh Mitra

Note from author : This is a guest post by a good friend and fellow soldier who is fighting his predicament in a far better way than I ever did. It is not my work and I do not own it. All rights rest with Ashesh.

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“Collapse the light into Earth”

Collapse. That’s the key word here.

Let me tell you a story. Are you ready?  I want you to imagine a tunnel which is pitch black and sealed at both ends. Inside this tunnel, there is nobody but you and your thoughts. There is food, there is a bed. There are recreational items such as a laptop and books. However, they are all in the tunnel.

Again, it’s just you, all alone with a handful of inanimate objects. This is where it gets interesting.

You see, your mind is stuck in this tunnel. Your body is existing in the real world. You’re eating. You are attending school. You may even have a smile on your face. However, it’s like someone has shut off all sensory qualities or placed you in a state of inertia, from which you cannot break out.

On some days however, it gets too much and you snap. You scream. You attack like a cornered animal. The insecurity and fear comes rushing out of you, taking control of your arms, legs and your mouth; making you do things you never imagined you’d do.

Then one day, you take a breath. Something in you that has kept you safe from danger returns. You make it return. This unquantifiable entity whispers a secret in your ear. It says “Fight God damn you!”

You don’t want to. You’ve gotten used to the tunnel. You like it there. But, the entity you have summoned is not giving up. Every waking hour, it prods at you with the same statement.

“Fight!”

One day, you take a decision. You decide you want to get out of the tunnel and back in your body. You want to feel the sun on your face and the rain in your hair and skin. That day, you also find the dynamite, which was hidden under your bed. You use it to blow open a door. Taking a deep breath, you walk out.

However, being held captive in the tunnel has weakened you. You turn to loved ones and to friends. You heal. The smile returns to your face. Life seems to beckon to you, urging you to join it in it’s revels.

Suddenly, that inertia is gone. You want to run. You want to jump. You want to be you again. That inner You that you thought you’d lost.

The above short article is written based on my own experience with a severe disorder of the mind. I was lost in a black pool of darkness and I used to lash out in anger. I also used to cower, because I saw people with swords and guns coming to kill me.

Naturally, I took psychiatric help. I had to sit at home for an entire semester and lock horns with my tormentor. I just knew this-I wanted to get better.

Slowly, anguish became replaced with appreciation. Anger faded away and happiness returned.

Now, almost eight months after the metaphorical fall, I have reached a stage where the disease does not impair my regular functions. Yes, I still suffer from it and take medication for it, but I am the one in control now. I am reminded of a quote from the Sherlock episode The Abominable Bride. It goes thus- “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the landing.”

To every person out there with a similar demon, or a similar tunnel in which you’re trapped, I want to say just one thing. This can be beaten. Hang in there and start looking for the dynamite. Take the help you need. Tell your parents how you feel and to those in treatment, I beg of you not to miss out on medication. There will be side effects but your life will come back to you.

Don’t let the bastard win.  

In solidarity

Ashesh

On food and mood

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I went out today, alone. Had a delectable plate of mutton chops and some really good raspberry/cranberry drink. It was an isolated place called “Group Therapy” in Secunderabad, India. I had my copy of “To Kill A Mockingbird” with me and a bunch of tangled thoughts that gradually came free and together to appear comprehensive. The people there were so nice. It was a lady, with short red hair. She reminded me of a friend I once knew, a long time ago.

That’s when it hit me. I was so uncomfortable while talking to her. She did everything right, said the right words and smiled the right way but my stomach wouldn’t stop clenching. The introvert in me remains strong. I’ve always been by myself and now it doesn’t help me make any conversation. When I do, I always have a nagging feeling that I am being awkward or ridiculous.

Like food, my will to converse depends on my mood. Lamb chops may be the special for today and tomorrow, I’d find them absolutely distasteful. I’m just beginning to learn that people are not meant to be boring one day and appealing the next. I’ve made a resolution to talk to strangers more and I think I’ll try talking to people with different opinions and mindsets. Anyway, how long can I stay shy and secluded?

On a completely different note, I enjoy eating alone to the point where I might cancel plans with a group of friends to spend time with myself. This is not the introvert in me, shying away but just one enjoying one’s own company.

I want to analyse and give a detailed review of To Kill a Mockingbird and I shall do it once I finish it. I haven’t read that book up until now, can you believe it?!?

On exploring

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I believe that it is easy to see but hard to look. Sitting here, in this empty house I have a strong desire to move to some place where I can be free of societal prejudices. To move far away where no soul knows me. Every day I see the same things, the same road, the same people. These things get tiring after a while. I need to explore new dimensions, new worlds that are hidden away from the dreary foot steps of human beings.

It’s always nice to experience something alone. Lakes, trees, rivers, streets, cottages etc must be experienced by the soul, not the mind. To have company while travelling will only ruin the world around you. With a companion, you perceive things with their eyes and the distractions become ominous. To be by yourself, there lies the true magic.

I haven’t travelled much. Just a few states in India. Though they were extremely beautiful, I feel the need to experience more, to feel more than what I have felt and already feel. I personally like thick and wet woods. The smell of the trees after rain, the bees buzzing in the bushes, the road hidden by fallen flowers and leaves… it’s the kind of atmosphere I prefer.

I think my ideal place to live would be Ireland. I have a strong urge to visit the country and breathe its air. Maybe someday..

On everyday blues

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I have a friend, let’s call her A. A and I have been friends for over five years now and there has never been anything to hinder our friendship. When she moved away, I admit I did feel a little out of place, the only person who ever empathized with me was gone but we always kept in touch through letters, e-mails etc.

Letters. They have been our solemn means of communication. In A’s own words “we had created a private little world” and it is thanks to these handwritten letters that we never had a chance to say goodbye to each other though we lived miles apart. We were connected by some sort of a weird telepathic wire.

I’m thankful to A for always sticking by me even when I proved the most difficult person to deal with.

Coming to the point, everyday I catch a small cold of sadness.. it’s a pounding in my head that won’t go away. Sometimes this cold lasts for a long time and it’s during these times that I find myself incapacitated. My motivation takes a vacation and I find myself lacking in any enthusiasm. These everyday blues are difficult to let go, easy to hang on to. They parent mysterious thoughts and sometimes I find myself saying things like “The ground under my feet is a whale.”

I’m trying to let go of these thoughts and replace them with good memories. Memories of A and me, whispering to each other, coming up with silly ideas for stories and separating ourselves from the rest of the world that we find so incomprehensible. Memories of Dad and me, driving on the early morning roads carpeted with dew drops from close knitted tress, bed-time stories and his face, smiling down on me as if I could never do anything wrong.

A has become an integral part of my world. She’s a weapon I use to fight my blues with and I hope I am hers. I’ve always wanted a sibling and I guess I have found one in A.

LIBERTÉ

It started as a simple idea in a foggy head and soon it materialized onto my screen. I struggled with various issues over the past few years but the greatest struggle was my inability to pen down my thoughts coherently any more. I lost my grip and the words faded into oblivion.

But I know for a fact, that in some dusty corner at the back of my head, these words are alive and breathing. The air around them pulsating with vibrant shades of love. I know that if I put enough effort, they’d break free. I can see them fly one day, onto the paper, into different consciousnesses, an amalgamation of beauty and inspiration…

I can hear them cry… for Freedom. And everyday, it’s this cry that motivates me to move forward, to get rid of them from the safe confines of my head and share it with the world.

To words.

To Freedom.

To Me.