We recently had district elections in Maharashtra, and they’re still going on in Uttar Pradesh. This means that jingoistic rhetoric is at an all-time high, and my social media is filled with contradicting opinions and arguments among friends.The newspapers are filled with tragedies and dire warnings. As someone who follows politics regularly, it’s really hard to see the silver lining around the speeches and the tweets.
After a particularly passionate debate over the dinner table last Sunday, I decided to list out and appreciate the small joys of the week; joys that did not depend on who was milking money in the Municipal Corporation for the next four years. These are as follows:
I played cricket after a really long time. It was amazing to be in a team with people I’d hardly ever talked to over the last three years. It was nostalgic as well and brought back memories of playing with my brothers.
I had a very, very long day. I attended a lecture at 8 am, then postings at 9, then another lecture after that, and then a 6-hour session on neurology which ended at 10 pm. I was alert and awake for everything without getting crabby! I’m very proud of myself.
I finally realised what neuroanatomy was about, and was able to clear misconceptions I’d had for three years. I had many ‘a-ha!’ moments. I’m so happy.
I was examining a patient today, and practising obstetric grips. She was an uneducated woman from a very remote part of Central India, shy and a little intimidated by ‘city people’. My consultant had admitted her as a high-risk pregnancy (she’d already had four miscarriages at the age of 23). She was near term, so it was very easy to understand the lie and presentation of the baby. I told her where the head, buttocks and anterior shoulder of her baby was and made her hear the fetal heart sounds. Her face lit up into a gorgeous smile. I hadn’t really done much, but it made my day.
I saw THE most adorable puppy on the street today. It was white and fluffy and the happiest, tiniest baby I have ever seen. It was like a bouncy little cloud. At one point, it decided it was going to sit on the road and not go any further, so the owner picked it up like a baby. It burst into excited face-licking and tail-wagging at that so this may have been the plan all along. I was watching from my window. I squealed and ran immediately to my hostel mates so that they could enjoy the puppy too. Then we ooh-ed and aah-ed for half an hour after the puppy was out of sight.
I travel by train from Mumbai to my parents’ house on weekends. I got a window seat, which was amazing. I had a cool breeze on my face for the entire journey, plus an amazing view of the Sahyadris while they still have some of the green left over from the monsoon and winter. There were three toddlers in my compartment, which I was really tense about, but they were quiet and well-behaved throughout. Also, I got to meet my cats and dogs after a week! I love them. They love me.
I’ve been on a journey to grow as a person and a functional human being. As someone with anxiety, I’m always struggling to see my day in a positive light. I always react to and remember failures rather than achievements. Owlturd is here to tell us, however, to calm down and not lose perspective.
For more nuggets of laughter and wisdom, visit owlturd.com
As someone who spends a lot of time on the internet, I know a lot of crap about a lot of things that don’t matter. As a student, I know a lot of crap about a lot of things that do matter. I just hope my brain knows the difference.
I had a theory earlier that you eat more when you’re hungry for a long time. This one is sort of a parallel. Introverts elsewhere will know that we have a social tolerance level for every human interaction. It is defined as the amount of time you can spend talking to other people before you need to be alone and ‘recharge’. This tolerance level varies according to the humans you’re interacting with (it’s almost always longer with animals).
This need for recharge doesn’t necessarily come from being antisocial or boredom. You can be having an absolutely fabulous time with your friends and still have enough of it after a couple of hours.
This here is my Totally non-scientific Theory for this Tuesday: Your social tolerance level increases if you’ve been alone for a long time. Your batteries are just fully charged.
I love reading print books. I love smelling them. I love flipping the pages. I love how books that I’ve read a million times sort of lose their binding a little bit and flop open at my favourite pages.
I also love the compactness and versatility of eBooks. I travel a lot, and these make my travel time amazing.
Being alone in India is, I imagine, very different from living alone in the US or the UK. In a country of 1.2 billion people, you’re never really alone. You’re expected to talk to your neighbours, your colleagues, your parents and the family friends that live just three train stops away from you fairly regularly. Privacy comes second to family, and social constructs trump respect for boundaries.
I sound ungrateful. I’m really not. India’s social culture prevents a lot of mental health issues that plague Western societies. It is easier to meet people and make friends in India than anywhere else. On the flip side, this also means that mental health issues go unobserved and undiagnosed for a dangerously long time.
Loneliness is in the mind. It rarely depends on how many people you actually meet. You can be lonely in the middle of a crowd, and socially fulfilled completely alone. What matters most is whether you understand that you need help and whether you can get the help that you need.
I was privileged to be a part of a mental health study recently. As I was researching for the project, I realised that there is hardly any work done on mental health in India. There are no statistics. Young professionals cannot allow themselves to seek help, and students who approach their parents are mostly ridiculed, because people don’t think that mental problems exist.
This year has been assigned to combat depression by the WHO. For my part, I’ll be talking to as many people as I can to remove the stigma of approaching a professional. Being more social and talking to more people does not combat loneliness. Pushing it under the carpet does not cure depression.