Mind Your Mind
Mind Your Mind
It was early morning, my legs were tired from running for too long, and I slowed down and bent forward holding my knees. ‘Let’s do it, just another 300 meters’ I pushed myself amidst severe panting. I stretched my shoulders, took a deep breath and resumed running. ‘Come on!’ I said as I ran. At long last, I collapsed onto the park’s bench.
“Mummy” a feeble voice pulled my attention. She was 5 years old, too cute, tiny, dressed up in dungarees, eagerly waiting for me to push the swing for her.
“10 more minutes. I will…” I stopped abruptly as I saw her frown, “Coming, sweetie!” I said as I got up. She turned excited and came running. “Where is your daddy?” I asked.
“Mummy... swing…” she repeated without answering me.
“Alright! Come on” I lifted her and made her sit on the swing. I felt a swift change in the weather, the chilly breeze turned humid. Darkness fell all over, followed by sheer silence. I felt the whole place swirling right into my head. “Mummy” the modulation of the voice changed, sounded more robotic.
‘Mummy? I don’t have a kid. Who is this?’ I bent down in surprise. The girl’s face was all distorted like it was melting. The entire scene got out of shape, I then visualized myself sleeping on my bed, alone in my room. I was suffocating, gasping for air. A mild vibration ran through my body, felt a heavyweight over my chest. I was trying to escape something invisible, battling hard to let it go off me. I was choked, couldn’t move my hands like they were tied. I was all-in fighting, left with a tiny ray of hope, ‘Breathe… Breathe’ I said to myself.
“Ah. Huh!” I woke up with bated breath. I felt light, as though I was saved from drowning. I picked up my mobile, it was 3:00 in the morning. ‘Not again!’ I said and got off the bed. I have been facing this for more than 13 years now. Years back I dug online, it was similar to Sleep Paralysis or Night Terrors. The episode usually makes your mind weary and terrified, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I walked to the kitchen to munch on some light snacks. The place was all messy, soiled vessels piled up in the sink, leftover dishes spilled on the floor. It’s not mandated for a bachelor’s house to seem this way, a divorcee’s house can too! I got divorced 2 years back, it was by mutual consent. It was neither easy for him to put up with a person with too many impediments nor was I content with a person who wouldn’t assist me out of my condition. Long story short, nobody is to be blamed.
I picked up a biscuit from a pack that was left open, not sure for how many days. As I munched on the biscuit, I got on my treadmill in the other room. I ran as long as I felt dozy and went to bed. I felt too precarious that every minute, I opened my eyes and scrutinized the room thoroughly. I honestly don’t remember the last time I slept peacefully. The sound of my alarm made me realize I was staring at the ceiling for 3 hours straight. I got dressed up and started to work.
I work in a clothing outlet located in a mall, as a cashier.
“Morning!” I wished the guard near the frisking booth as we exchanged smiles.
As I walked in, I saw a man in his mid-30’s, spruced up in a mild pink t-shirt and a dark blue jean. His left foot was swathed in bandages. He held the wall and was striving to bend down. ‘What is he doing?’ I wondered. I then noticed that he was trying to tie his right shoe’s lace that had come off. I walked to him, sat down, and tied it for him.
“My Goodness! What are you doing?” he felt embarrassed.
“That’s okay,” I said.
“Hmmm…” he dragged and said, “Alright! Thank you. I am Ameer.”
“Ramya,” I said as I smirked.
“Your endless grin! That’s for me wearing pink. Right?” He asked.
“Looks like you get this more often.”
“Oh, yes! I do. But, do you hate pink?” he acted surprised.
“Girls and pink, I wanted to break the stereotype” I winked. “Why do you love it?” I stressed on the ‘you’ a bit more.
“For the same reason,” he chuckled and continued, “See you later then, Good day!”
“You too!” I said as I left the place. I had no idea if he came to visit the mall or if he was working for any of the outlets. My gloomy mood was enhanced a bit though.
I punched in the attendance machine and went to the billing counter after having a quick chat with my colleagues. Customers came in slowly and the place was crammed with people of all ages. The craze for buying new clothes never ends. People are so ardent that their eyes are set on the outfits and outfits only. Dance near them or make faces, trust me, nobody notices!
Customers started lining up for billing, first was a lady. I emptied her bag and started scanning the barcode one by one. “Mummy.” I heard a girl’s voice. It shook me right away that I let out an audible gasp. I then realized it was the lady’s daughter. She had picked up a pair of shoes and was convincing her mom to buy it.
I wasn’t sure for how long, but my mind had gone blank. One moment, I recall them arguing, and the next, I hear the lady yelling at me. “Are you even listening to me? You are wasting my time.” She was getting furious, so were the people in the queue.
“Sorry, ma’am,” saying thus, I quickly finished her billing and asked my friend to cover the shift for me for a while.
I went to one of the trial rooms and locked myself in. My mind was elsewhere or probably nowhere, kind of frozen. This happens to me very often. I would feel lost for a few minutes until someone lugs me out of that state. Those few minutes would remain a mystery to me, having no memory of what happened. It triggered an insecure feeling, started feeding on it, slowly spreading solitude in me. All I wanted was someone to talk to, who would understand me without judging me. Though I had thousands of people around, there were none who would do that. Having no choice, I phoned one of my friends, Pranav.
“Hey, I’m in the middle of something, I will call you back.”
“No, don’t hang up. Can you please talk to me for a few minutes? Please?” I pled.
“Usual distress call?” he asked and continued, “Don’t worry and just try to cheer yourself up. I will call you back. I am really stuck in chaos now,” he disconnected the call.
I instantly got up, walked back and forth inside the confined space. The restless feeling was making me go crazy. My breaths turned short, sweat broke on my forehead, and throat went dry. I sensed a warm feeling of my blood rushing through my veins, my heart thumped so fast that I could hear my own heartbeat. I wanted to scream, break something, and hurt myself. ‘Control… Control…’ I said to myself. I called another friend, Sara,
“Free now?” I tried to sound normal, yet my voice was a bit shaky.
“Yea, tell me,” she has never been so formal with me. I sensed a drastic change.
“Was thinking to stay in your place, like last week. Is that alright?” I asked.
“Oh! Sorry, I won’t be home tonight.”
“No problem.” I disconnected the call.
I felt like everyone was avoiding me. I have been inside the trial room for hours. This mental condition has always been a barrier to my work. It had ruined my personal life. Made me want some company at all times, to stay sane. It made me beg, lose my dignity. It made people repel away from me.
“I am sorry, you are too clingy. I feel uncomfortable around you.” I got a text from Sara.
My feelings have been frozen for too long that when someone made me feel it, I get too attached. I looked at the mirror, ‘Pathetic’ I smiled at myself. My rage grew intense, got me all twitchy that I lifted the chair and hit the mirror.
“Ramya, are you alright?” one of my colleagues checked on me on hearing the thud.
I couldn’t stop myself that I knocked the mirror again and again till it shattered into pieces.
“Open the door.” I heard too many people outside. One of them got in crawling from down below the door. “Stop it,” she shrieked as she pulled the chair from my hand. She opened the door and drew me along.
“This is your last warning for your creepy activities. You will not be paid for this month too.” I could hear my floor manager yelling, he sounded too draggy and low though he was nearby. All I could hear was the crackling sound of the glass as we walked over them. I took the day off and got out of the store.
“Ramya.” It was Ameer. I gave him a smile and continued walking.
“Hey, wait,” he swiftly hopped beside me. “Everyone in the mall is gossiping about you. I am not here out of curiosity. Let me know how I can help.”
“No, I am alright. Thanks!” That’s about the human mind. It begs for help from the people you think you know better, but it can’t confide in the one who offers help. Nobody is transparent, can’t blame your mind either.
“You helped me today, I just wanted to return the favor. Trust me.” He said.
“I don’t have a choice, do I?” I smiled.
“Haha, nope! I owe you,” he let out a smile. We went to the food court and spoke as we sipped on our juice.
“Hey, don’t drink that,” he pulled the glass from me. “There are tiny pieces of glass all over your dress, not sure if any fell into the drink.”
“Oh! Alright. So, tell me. What happened to your leg?”
“I work as a fitness trainer over there,” he pointed out to a fitness center opposite to us, “One of my students dropped the weight on my leg,” he smiled and shrugged his shoulders as he said, “It happens!”
“I have never seen you around earlier. I am working here for more than 2 years now.”
“I joined a week ago,” he said, “I already heard a lot of peculiar stories on you, so let’s cut to the chase. Tell me what is making you this crazy?”
‘Why am I answering a stranger’? I convinced myself that I have seen and done far worse things in life. “I can’t stay alone, but my mood swings don’t let anyone stay with me either,” I really didn’t know how to put it in words. I paused and then continued, “It’s complicated. Let me narrow it down to today. It made me furious when my loved ones got rid of me when I besought their help.”
“Did you ever think from their perspective? Have you considered their situation, what if they were really in a tough spot? Or, what if they are scared to take the responsibility of a life savior?”
I just gave a vague smile. He then continued, “If one of your close friends had called you today when you were all fierce and enraged, would you still answer their call? Even if you managed to do so, will you come down to their level and help them out?”
“Hmmm…” He had a point.
“I am no counselor but trust me, I have been through a lot. Every time I trusted, loved, hoped, expected too much were the times I was wounded deep. Involve yourself in athletics, do things you love, enjoy your company. Life will change!”
Heeding to a stranger advising was rather new to me, I just couldn’t stop myself from carrying a broad grin.
“I know, I am boring,” he giggled.
“Oh, finally! You understood!” I laughed.
“Get married! Then, you will not search for a company, instead, you will crave for some me time.”
“Haha! I tried that too.”
“Are you married?”
“I won’t ask why he left you,” he laughed so hard that he couldn’t finish his sentence, “The entire mall is scared of you. Poor guy!”
“Oh, enough with your lame jokes. Why should you assume he left me, can’t it be demise?”
“I just saw your mood swing live, girl!” he couldn’t stop his silly jokes.
“It is more than an hour, I am leaving. See you around,” saying thus I left the place.
Though I sounded uninterested in the conversation, he got me thinking. What if I help others instead of begging for their help? What if I make them laugh instead of expecting them to make me smile? I noticed an unusual positivity in me. I didn’t want anyone around me to suffer the pain I went through. ‘Let me give them what I longed for and someday it will come back to me.’ I thought.
It takes pain to find your will, it takes fear to find your strength. You need to mess up first, to learn how to clean them up. You need to go through darkness to see the potent of light. Before asking for something let us make sure we have given enough. I don’t need anything that I don’t deserve. Let me earn it. I strongly felt, all I desired, for now, was myself. The one-legged guy was right, after all!