One of the hardest things I’ve learnt this year is being alone. It isn’t as glamorous as it is usually depicted in TV shows and books. So, you won’t wake up every morning with a life-changing epiphany or be enjoying lattes every other day in a fancy bistro while being served by a handsome and charming barista who is admiring of your individual and very-together style or yoga-ing in the calm of the morning feeling the peace and the love of the world manifest in your inner whatever… It is bits of that yes but mostly it is mundane stuff: has my maid come today? why can’t I just skip working out today? No water for three days! How am I going to wash my hair? I hate my neighbour. It is also sobbing heavily in the deep of the night, looking at couples and other people with friends enviously, escaping in a book, getting lost in a movie and trying desperately hard to remain sane. It is almost like depression but a liveable depression – sort of like fighting a battle only you know and live every single day while trying to appear tough and stern so other people won’t annoy you. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to have your own space – you can shower any time, blare loud music of your choice, exercise and look like an absolutely abominable sweaty pig, parade in as few clothes as you want and generally make a mess but it is toil. It is made up on weekdays during which you try to tire yourself out mercilessly and vacant weekends during which you catch up on other things and try to remain busy so the gnawing feeling of lonesomeness won’t doom your thoughts. Friday evenings are the absolute worst when the whole world is out there celebrating a hard week and you come home to emptiness. Nights are scary some times because there could be a ghost right there in front of you and you pretty much have zero protection save for your incessant prayers to a God who might not exist and your bed covers. Living alone is a living nightmare some times. Being alone is death because emotionally it turns you bitter, cold and caustic to the extent that you are frozen in some kind of a trance where you can’t even feel your own indifference. Living alone has taught me that the world generally is a kind place where people are out to help you because you are all by yourself and somehow they seem to understand that you are fighting a losing battle day after that and somehow it also tips them off how terribly lonely you might be and desperate for some love and care. However, living alone also doesn’t give you the luxury of trusting anybody leave alone the luxury of a hot home-cooked meal with some company. I have often wondered what that might look and feel like – to come home after a hard day and have someone to talk to with everything being taken care of at home. Living and being alone with practically zero friends/ family you can turn to at a moment’s notice turns you into a robot who can and cannot cry. You become this stone-hearted, self/world-hating, selfish, mean-spirited and tough bully who cannot understand or empathise. I mean why would there be so much traffic at the exact time I am on my way to work? Why is my rickshaw driver so freaking slow? Why is the idiot at work so chirpy? It makes you despondent and resigned to days when you are horrified at your own selfishness yet you don’t help yourself or keep a positive attitude because you actually don’t see the point in being happy. It could also turn you slightly mental and suicidal, especially, after visiting doctors by yourself and having to bear with particularly painful orthodontic treatments after which you can’t eat a single thing. Fevers that way are kind – you sleep all day in your own space caught in mid-delirium when you attempt to reassure yourself that you are fine and that you will get better. I mean nobody died of a fever, right? Being alone leads you to talking to yourself and holding on to quotations or songs that give you strength through particularly difficult times. Quite often you might have to rock yourself back and forth and speak to yourself to get through to yourself the fact that things are fine and that they are what they are, rather, to convince yourself that it will all be fine. You develop your own coping mechanisms. My favourites are shutting things/ people who cause me pain and escaping from them by reading or watching something mindless. I also cry to get over it and somehow I seem to derive strength from tears. It is not exactly a great habit to possess but it does its job. Being alone is not for the faint-hearted – you lose yourself in the vague notion of “finding yourself” while trying to weave through life with all the appearances and pretences of a collected person. You get used to take-out, wasting food (restaurants only serve for 2), having the same meal twice or even thrice a day to save money, online shopping and people’s horrified looks about how you live alone. Some people call it a brave choice, I think it’s foolish. But once in a while while you are all alone reading a book in peace or are in a cafe sipping your favourite coffee while discretely updating your apps because of the free wi-fi or shopping by yourself or are lost in some interesting research or are starting your morning at noon it seems like life couldn’t get better… Reality, sadly, is a bitch and will exactly at the moment throw happy families or people with lots of friend or lack-of-food hunger pangs at you to burst the tiny bubble of independence.
#theindependentlife is torturous rapture killing you a cell at a time. I can’t remember the last time I actually smiled and had a happy thought.
To catered food made by unknown strangers who occasionally drop hair in my food!