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శ్రీనివాస్ మంత్రిప్రగడ

Abstract Action Inspirational


శ్రీనివాస్ మంత్రిప్రగడ

Abstract Action Inspirational

Ordeal Of New Normal

Ordeal Of New Normal

13 mins 315 13 mins 315

After spending a couple of hours on his laptop Avani turned his head towards the thick cluster of trees visible from the window of his ninth-floor apartment.

Though he was on the laptop for a long time and appeared like working on something seriously, Avani was just roaming all over in the virtual world.

From reading brief parts about Gonanda, Damodara, and their clan from Kalhana's epic work of Rajatarangani to seeing and wondering about wonderful paintings of Raja Ravi Verma he was going all over with an unknown goal…

His thoughts were wandering along with his aimless actions…he shook his head as though he is trying to get rid of something bothering him but apparently with no clear impact on his body lethargy nor on mental fatigue…

He started experiencing a slight sensation of heaviness on the head as though a huge block of IceCube was forced onto him…

The day is sunny but a bit of chill visiting occasionally like a shy child peeping the unknown visitor…

Bangalore is still heaven he thought.

The unexpected pandemic created extraordinary situations for the entire human race imposing a kind of Vanvas in one's own house…

Though it helped people experience a different world with no external negativity, no jealousy, no cursing of traffic jams…it gave a feeling that each one landed in Anatole France's Penguin Island…

The life in exile launched their digital lives…

At a distance from a huge thick green tree, a flock of birds appeared like a spark..

Nice tall green trees appeared to be dancing to the tunes of the cool breeze…are they appreciating the lovely morning breezing or the breeze start visiting appreciating their dance…

He involuntarily started humming the melody of Lata didi "Chupke chupke chal ri purvaiya" just like that…

Walked into the kitchen and returned back to his study table with a cup of steaming tea made by himself…

Nice breeze, a good song, or even a sip of wonderful tea with its fresh aroma…none could clear his heavy moods…

He continued to feel morose.

He suddenly recollected a couple of lines of Dylan Thomas "The almanac of time hangs in the brain; The seasons numbered by the inward sun."

Thoughts are moving in all directions like an unruly mob at a religious gathering…they are not causing harm but not creating harmony either.

Trees, birds, and animals do not have consciousness as humans have. They can only perceive the physical conditions as per a set of formulae and cannot interpret Transformatory changes and attempt to adjust to the new conditions…

They are so fortunate to use the natural algorithms…humans with complete consciousness recognize the transformations around but have huge blocks on changing the ongoing sojourn…gets stressed he thought…is there a path to deliverance from this?

Suddenly the research of Doctor Peter Wohlleben, the German natural scientist flashed in front of his eyes.

Trees also have minds, relationships and can think as per him but these trees continue to have the same civilizational values, they inherited from nature…they have not altered nor went against anything hence they do not experience stress. Birds and Animals are also in the same state of harmony with nature and so they are always happy.

Humans with all the creativity can create their own hell he thought with a wry smile…

It is not just the mind, his body is also aching badly. He is not feeling encouraged to move and get ready by completing his daily ablutions even…

What is wrong? For a few weeks nothing seems to be interesting…whole day he was sitting on his laptop doing nothing or holding a book he wanted to read for years with no progress…

No excitement to make a call or receive a call from some of his beloved friends…no thoughts of Old Monk are encouraging nor any memories of the girl he always wanted to marry all his younger days but ended up contributing his labor for her marriage as a good neighbor.

What is wrong? Is it a mild and prolonged covid that the medical world has yet to identify? Will I become a sensational being on earth for helping the world to identify one more mutation of the dreadful virus?

Fear started engulfing his thoughts. If it is covid and I cannot address it on time will my life end here abruptly?

"Why don't you take bath, you will feel fresh. If you want, you can stroll in the garden also, it is all empty and fresh with no visitors" said his wife Sandhya from a distance….

Just nodded his head without moving from his seat…

Suddenly his phone rang. It was from his friend Raju….

Avani showed no interest to answer the phone…

After a few rings, Sandhya came forward and answered the phone. After brief greetings, she gave the phone to Avani…

He has picked up the phone disinterestedly and said "hello doctor…no patients or what you are calling me" asked sarcastically.

Raju laughed loudly from the other side and said, "looks like I got a new patient in you."

 "What do you mean? I am not mad…do not try to focus all your experiments on me…just feeling a bit low maybe because of some physical problem" said Avani a bit angrily.

"Oh artist, keep quiet. I can understand from your voice that you are not fine and feeling low. If I am not wrong, you must be feeling extremely confused and there might be slight migraine as well," said Raju.

"How do you know? I thought these symptoms are an indication of a mild covid" said Avani.

"Amazing yaar!!! what is this mild covid? Is it like a mild fever or what? There is no such thing. You are at home for a long time and not adjusted to the new social realities…it causes anxiety…you must be in this state for more than two months but now it is bursting out in you," said Raju.

"Raju keep off from using your psychiatric knowledge on me…I am mentally very healthy…little bit of body and headache does not make me a patient…just wait I will bounce back in a couple of days" said Avani suppressing his anger.

"Avani, I am not looking for a new patient. My appointment book is full and there are quite a number of counseling sessions we are handling. Please understand that I am not trying to attribute something to you which is nonexistent. Please listen to me" said Raju apologetically.

"Hey doc, that's not what I mean. I am sorry I was a bit rude. For the last few weeks, I am in bad mood and felt a heavy block on my mind to take up any activity… I was just laying down and not even thinking clearly…not sure what is wrong" said Avani

"If you do not feel bad, I want to ask a few questions," said Raju blandly…

"Sorry Raju, I think I was rude…please speak like my old friend Raju," said Avani realizing that his rudeness hurt Raju…

"No worries…in the recent past was there any change in your body weight?" asked Raju

"Yes, it has gone up drastically. My food intake increased dramatically. I think I am overeating maybe because there is a lot of time available" said Avani

"We will come to the analysis of why later, for now just diagnostic questions – are you feeling confused and unclear about anything spoken?" asked Raju

"Kind of…I am joining office calls but am not able to recognize my action items. My team had to remind me a couple of times and write a clear action plan for me in the email. I never was like that in the history…not sure" said Avani thoughtfully.

"Okay, no worries. Let us proceed further. Are you acting on things as and when they come to you, typically like yourself or procrastinating?" asked Raju infusing some energy into his voice to kindle Avani's dooming moods.

"You got it Doc…no interest in taking up anything…even the ongoing activity. Happy to just while away time…every evening I feel bad that, yet another day passed without any action" said Avani…his mind is slowly activating and struggling to understand which way is Raju heading…

"So far so good. None of these symptoms are dangerous. Cheer up…this is nothing but natural.

Tell me something, you are very calculative and always make commitments with due attention. But these days you must be committing something with no action plan in mind and failing" said Raju

"Heavens!... you are just telling me my position as though you have been watching me all along…are you hinting that I am getting into some sort of psychiatric problem?" shocked Avani was not attempting to suppress his feelings…

"Avani, I already told you that nothing wrong.  I am asking some diagnostic questions and not making any assessment of your psychological condition yet. Do not jump to conclusions on your own" said Raju in a stern voice

"Sorry, Doc. Please go on" said Avani. He knows that Doctor Raju is very practical and methodical. Even if there is something wrong, he can pull him out…so better follow him without the interference of emotions he thought…

"No worries, are you sleeping well these days?" asked Raju

"I am on the bed for more than 9 hours but actual deep sleep only 3 to 4 hours. Remaining time I get into a kind of trance and dream as though I am a slave in old Greece and was cremated in the tomb along with my master or falling from a height and never touch the ground and so on. Mornings are never fresh" said Avani

"Ok, so far so good.   Tell me how comfortable you are with your office work?" asked Raju

"It is a huge headache. When we are facing each other a lot of communication goes in the nonverbal format. Now we must speak everything in words…it can sound rude and impact the other person… expressing unpleasantness by making faces is less hurting than saying that in words you know" said Avani

"When we are in the office people respect our engagement and plan their activities and meetings with me sequentially. They allow me to take a breath and focus. Now people do not know any sequence and lot of their questions comes in the digital chat tools…" he continued

"I can imagine," said Raju encouragingly…

"I am always staying alert and never relaxing. In the night also I keep checking my phone for any urgent messages or emails…my team stopped taking decisions, they just give alternatives to address an issue leaving the decision to me" said Avani and paused for a while…

"Action always used to energize me but now I always feel that I am overworking, and this self-pity is draining my energy," he said thoughtfully

And continued "To avoid this feeling of overworking, I stopped acting on issues immediately… as the pending items grow in my plate, pain in my shoulders and neck increases"

"I can understand. Any other irritants?" asked Raju

"Quite a lot. The servant maids not coming so all home tasks are divided among ourselves. There is a thorough quality check on my work and constant criticism putting me off" said Avani irritably

"Then?" asked Raju

"The online sellers are very inefficient. They are not keeping their commitments well, cancel at the last minute, and need a lot of replanning regularly. With so much technology available not sure why people love mediocrity" said Avani. His irritation now converted into anger...

"More…" asked Raju. He is liking this conversation as he is getting good hints about Avani's condition…

"You know a small thing like any gadget not working making me anxious until we find a way to fix it or replace it" said Avani

"you are honest as ever Avani…amazing," said Raju sounding very relaxed…

"You are sounding very relaxed when I am in the middle of a super mess. This is unfair "said Avani in a complaining tone

"No worries Avani…little bit of housekeeping needed to ensure that your life is not cluttered, just give me a bit of time and your full attention," said Raju

"Sure Doctor. Go on" said Avani a little sarcastically

"Do you remember the words of Gurudev in Gitanjali - Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action?" asked Raju

"Yes, by all means. Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…the very thought of these golden words make us feel energetic…glad that you invoked Gurudev when I am feeling morose, these are like steroids" said Avani…showing a welcome excitement in his voice

"Indeed. These words always take me to the good olden days when we used to sit on the seashore and read his works or listen to Talat Mehmood "said Raju

"Ahh!!! You ferried me into lovable past…thank you Doc" said Avani

"That was our golden childhood" Raju stopped for a while as though his mind was wandering into the past then started again

"Avani, your problem is not a typical psychiatric disease. It is a kind of inversion. People when encounter something very new replacing the regular and comfortable practice, they tend to press the panic button. That is the source of Anxiety…

You were not comfortable with these models of social interaction with full off verbal expression and no role for body language to give hints…

You have not found ways to relax and settle down with the new normal…constantly waiting for the good old days and models to come back…

Because of that you were constantly alert and thinking about current and next actions. This robbed you of your comfort and composure…

But you will never happen…world will not come back to old models but will settle down with a cross of old and new" he stopped…

"Does that mean I was hit by schizophrenia? considering my inability to think, feel and behave rationally I think it is true" said Avani with a lot of concern in his voice

"Hang on, why are you robbing me of my role?" Raju asked jovially

"I am dying here and you are finding comedy in that?" asked Avani angrily

"I should be angry because you are self-diagnosing, now decide on the line of treatment also," said Raju wryly

"Please understand my condition. I do not want to disrespect you. I am unhappy and anxious…please help me" said Avani

"Unfortunately your problem is not a glamourous disease like schizophrenia…it is called Mental Fatigue. Do not get disappointed" said Raju little jovially  

"What is that?" Avani became curious…

"It is a condition haunting many people these days. The pandemic brought in too many new ways of living, working, and socially interacting.

Adjusting to such large-scale change is not easy…some people are getting flummoxed and building pressure on themselves…you are one of them" said Raju

"What should I do?" Avani asked

"Always maintain a written plan for your actions…keep following the plan without procrastinating. That resolves more than half of your problems.

Do not ruminate about anything…just take things as they come. It is not required to understand everything in this world all the time…

Divide your tasks into logical parts and start attacking one part at a time…this way you not only gain your concentration back but also feel motivated as you complete a part…

Never commit anything unless you think through and make a clear plan of action. In addition, always keep a plan B for all your needs including very basic things like your laptop chargers" said Raju

"One sec, let me make a note," said Avani

"Not required Avani. I will send you a list after this conversation…be clear that you should take that list seriously" said Raju and continued

"Your condition is not chronic so you can come out easily by paying small attention," he said

"Sounds exceptionally good Doc…these are all precautions. Give me some actions now" said Avani…there is a clear sense of exhilaration in his tone

"Coming there… you have to drink a lot of fluids, not the ones we used to enjoy earlier but healthy stuff," said Raju and was happy to hear loud laughter from Avani's side…

"Be relaxed all the time and sleep for a minimum of 7 hours…that will clear your current troubles" said Raju

"And…" stopped Avani

"And, practice meditation...

Please take a step back anytime when you sense any feeling of anxiety….

Do not allow that condition to linger for a longer time as it can lead to hyper vigilantism which is chronic and difficult to deal with" said Raju

"Got it Doc…why not everybody lands here? Is there any specific deformity I have?" asked Avani

"It is not about deformity…sensitive and serious people are prone to more anxiety than those who CAN take things easily. You are a bit repulsive towards new things and adapting to new ways of dealing with things. You need to spend extra energy because of friction. You are draining your energy than using it positively" Raju paused for a while and continued "People get impacted at different levels. Some people face it mildly and adjust themselves on their own and some people need counselling and advice"

"hmm!!! Looks like being sensitive is wrong" said Avani

Nothing is right or wrong…that is just the condition. We should accept and move on" Said Raju

"Got it, I will focus on your advice and increase my activities to ensure that I never come back into this trap," said Avani

"Good. Send me my fees" said Raju laughingly and the call ended.



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