Just when 2013 was nearing its end I knew something was different. I could feel it. Not in a good way though. I felt a certain discomfort. I couldn’t figure out what’s going wrong. It was just like somebody taking out bricks from the walls of your house, one after one, you don’t realize in a split-second that you’re losing ground but you surely and steadily are. And sure enough I was.
January 1, 2014: I woke up feeling terribly sick. I tried to comfort myself by thinking that it’s just a hangover from the previous night and I’ll get fine as the day passes. I didn’t. I had to be taken to the doctor. Nobody wants to begin their new year’s first morning by a visit to the doctor but I had no alternative as I had to board the train in the evening for Delhi and my parents wouldn’t let me go unless assured that I’m probably just under the weather. My parents asked, even insisted, me to stay back for a few days till I felt better and join college a little later but that was not an option I couldn’t choose but rather I didn’t want to choose. But I didn’t want to go back to Delhi either. The mere thought of facing that city gave me a shiver. For the first time in the four years that I had spent quite happily in Delhi, I felt scared.
In the five hour train journey I couldn’t sleep for even a minute no matter how hard I tried. The moment I closed my eyes, my heartbeat raced. I couldn’t eat or drink anything due to the incessant coughing. Unlike my co passengers, I didn’t want to watch, read or listen to anything on my phone. I sat with hands folded on my chest and eyes towards the ceiling. I reached my destination quite late at night and straightaway went to bed. I don’t know whether it was the exhaustion or the medication that put me to sleep.
January 2, 2014: I always firmly believed in the miraculous power of “words”; a power that could soften stony hearts. It was not until this day that I realized that these very seemingly harmless words possessed a duality. The process of hearing does not just end at the brain interpreting the words that fall on your ears. Certain words pierce your heart just like the way a sewing machine works on a piece of cloth. At least the latter produces a loud noise. The worst thing about your heart falling to pieces is that it happens so quietly that not a soul around you can sense the storm raging inside. I cried for the entire length of the night. I felt as helpless as the stray dog barking on the road on that chilly night.
January 3, 2014: I have never been good at concealing my emotions. And today even if I tried I wouldn’t succeed as my swollen eyes would betray me. Therefore, I don’t even make an attempt to hide it and seek refuge in my friends’ comforting voices, hopeful words and shoulders to cry on. I don’t think I can ever thank my family and friends enough for being so patient and kind to me in this trial of my life. They tried their best to hold me together life was breaking me into a million little pieces. Honestly, they were as shocked and taken aback as I was but they tried to remain as optimistic as they could. Despite their rigorous attempts to save me, I broke. And I am glad I did.
Days, weeks and months followed. My health only got worse. The year was marked by never ending tears, countless visits to various doctors and sleepless nights. Even after the innumerable tests I went through they couldn’t pinpoint on a singular cause of my ill health. And I don’t blame them.
This was becoming worrisome for my near and dear ones and it made me feel guilty. Almost half a year had passed and I showed no signs of improvement. Bizarre ideas crossed my mind such as quitting my study program and taking recluse in a rehab. I was scared of disappointing my parents. They had always placed high hopes on me and I had always done them proud. I felt as if I was trapped in a deadlock.
I decided to take a vacation. The sea would probably make me feel alive, I thought. I spent a week near some of the best beaches of the world. Did I feel better? No. I felt worse. It was then I realized that no matter where I went, no matter what I did, unless I faced the emotions battling inside me I couldn’t feel better. And so I resolved to pay heed to whatever little thing I felt inside me – the anger, the resentment, the guilt, the regret and most importantly, the love. You can live with any other repressed emotion but it’s impossible to live with repressed love. At least I couldn’t. Accepting that you love someone is probably one of the hardest and bravest decisions you’d ever make, even harder and braver than expressing it to your beloved, especially, if that love is unrequited.
And thus began the journey of pain, grief and ultimately heal. The grief and sadness became my friends and helped my wounds to heal. Each time I grieved, I felt a little better and stronger. There were times when I felt I’ve healed completely and now there’s no looking back, but I broke down again. I stumbled, I fell, I hurt myself time and again but I never refused to get up and try just one more time and one more time again. I have been blessed with some extraordinary people as friends and they helped me keep my faith intact in that one more time.
The year is long gone now and had I been the person I was before 2014, I would have just dismissed this year as a bad memory by saying that this year was just not my year. Well, if seen in terms of health and love, this wasn’t one of the best years of my life but this was certainly MY YEAR not just in terms of becoming more of who I am but more significantly in the way it helped me un-become who I am not.
The year taught me innumerable lessons; the most important one being that of letting go of that what’s not meant for us. No matter what you lose, never let go of your dignity and if you do, don’t quit till you get it back again. And lastly, never repress your emotions. Be courageous enough to face them, resolve the negative ones and once you’ve healed, don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Be cautious, but never afraid.