Me in black and white, a zillion years ago
Me in black and white, a zillion years ago

A zillion years ago, I was in a lockdown of my own. I had just moved to Bangalore and didn’t know my way around town. I didn’t know the local language, heck I couldn’t even understand the heavily accented Hindi that the shopkeepers and auto drivers used to speak. I had very little savings and my pathetic state of unemployment was starting to get to me. My mental health wasn’t at it’s best form, either. So, like any other girl whose life had come to a standstill after a lobotomy, I used to stay at home 24 x 7. I would cook, I’d write, I’d chat with whoever was free and online. But on most days, I’d just stay in bed. Alone. Sweaty and numb in the heat of our tiny attic apartment. I didn’t have the energy to chat or call, I didn’t even want to wake up at all.

Over the weekends, Nachi would try his best to cheer me up. I was his newly married bride, I was supposed to be happy and full of love and laughter, right? But no, I would always be elsewhere. On one such afternoon, while Nachi was busy making lunch in the kitchen, I had just woken up from my sleep and was sitting on the bed looking aimlessly out of the window. I didn’t realize when he had taken this photo of me from behind the bedroom curtain and saved it for keeps.

But as I look at it now, I’m momentarily transported back to that time when everything used to be mind numbingly gray. And suddenly, I cannot believe how far I have come since then. Right now, though the situation across the world is dire, I have not felt the road under my feet for over 2 weeks, I don’t know when I’ll see my mother next, our stocked rations are slowly running out, and even my finances are being stretched thin: there hasn’t been a single day in these weeks that I haven’t found a reason to laugh or at least smile. I’ve been cooking, working my ass off from home, doing chores and watching TV all the time. No, life hasn’t been easy of late and yet, I’ve been humming my favorite songs all through these days, I’ve been painting when I can, I’ve been reminiscing fond memories with Nachi, alive with half a smile and half a tear. Overall, I’ve been feeling so fortunate and so happy! Strange, huh?

That’s the thing about happiness. It is like a butterfly. When you chase after it, you’ll hardly be able to catch up. But once you settle down after the storm, find some soil, grow some roots and become a healthy, green plant full of life, it slowly moves towards you and lands itself gently on your shoulder. And it just sits there for as long as you can remember. Comfortably. Effortlessly. Irrespective of the weather outside. As if it was meant to be, as if you never had to chase it at all, as if it was nothing but destiny. And that, to me, is the most beautiful feeling in the world.