There are nights which haul me to interrogate myself, some very dull, frightening, blank nights, sucking away the remaining last few ounces of peace in me. Amidst all the sparkling lights playing hide and seek along with the bright moon beams outside, my room seems so dark surrounded by huge clouds of pointless insecurities; as dark as my pessimistic thoughts which keep on encompassing and then engulfing me as the night grows old, as my soul slowly collapses into utter dismay about my stressed-out urban existence. My conscience doubts itself; my mind gets bewildered to the point where it almost goes numb. My intuitions desperately search for a valid reason to cling on; to rescue themselves from being oblivion. Something severe in my head proceeds to hammer my self-confidence causing vigorous deep wounds on it. I literally don’t feel like being active or productive; even the starkly uncomfortable rays coming out of my laptop add fuel to my restlessness at such moments. Nights as such are gruesomely traumatic. They often lead to shabby mornings in which I wake up with an utter blank mind with no thoughts or initiatives to paint on it with.
Tonight is one of such nights.
I sit alone with a heavy heart as well as eyes full of tears waiting to wet my cheeks, beside my window listening to some favourite songs on loop, scribbling these lines oozing out unstable emotions on my diary, while ‘Panchami’, like all other ‘Pujo’ days, starts fading away as if in a blink, taking along its share of freshly bloomed excitements for one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India especially in Bengal. A buoyant ‘Shasthi’ eagerly awaits itself dawning with a fresh set of blissfully promising yearnings for the remaining festive days ahead. Traveling through Kolkata, aka the City of Joy, ignoring the never-ending annoying traffic jams and the unadulterated Pujo vibes is next to impossible now. Every corner of ‘The Bengali Capital’ is overflowing with people glowing with vivacious auras of love and happiness around them. Maa Durga has brought Her children along with the heavenly gushes of genuine fun and frolic with Her this year too, as expected. The entire city is blazing soothingly by Her mighty blessings.
Right from my very childhood, Pujo has always been a fair escape from the strict rules and regulations I have otherwise been expected to follow, in order to be suffice to gratify my family as well the society I am compelled to be a part of. This year too, though quite unmoved by the roaring exhilaration around me, I was determined to try my best to grab an opportunity of reliving those pandal-hopping days of my innocent childhood with my loved ones. Took all efforts possible to weave some plans to experience my first ever Pujo in the city which experiences the real taste of Pujo through its every cell; though I had already understood that the childish joyful elation in me for Pujo is gradually getting more and more suppressed under the heavy pile of adulting, with each passing year of my life.
Well! Who knew that the Goddess of Strength and Power only had some striking unpleasant surprises this Pujo to bless me with? I was all prepped up this evening to savour the thrills of Panchami when a sudden train of melancholic anxiety hit me hard out of nowhere and instead of going out to enjoy in one of the seemingly best days of a year for a ‘Bangali’, I was directed by my heart to sit silently, as it got seized by some alarmingly scary memories of my abusive teenage. I sank back into the ocean deep well of chilly terror, I was once a victim of. My inner self bled mercilessly, the ghastly uneasiness started flowing down my cheeks.
There’s an eerie sensation in feeling absolutely helpless in such situations and trust me when I say this is how the demon named Depression can play havoc with us anytime, anywhere and anyhow. Unknown fears and uncertainties start creeping up my mind and soul like scary spiders. Even the mere word “Happiness” seems Hebrew to me in such crises. Sleep eludes me even after lying down by closing my tired eyes for hours. Being an emotionally vulnerable person makes it harder to cope up with mental breakdowns; I feel like giving up on myself and prefer rigid social isolation for a long period.
But when you possess a stubbornly hopeful heart which never really stops rebuilding itself with love and peace entangled with it, it’s way beyond difficult to give up completely. Also, when you get a big hit on the sensitive core of that heart, it shakes the base of your self-esteem. It may be a tad strenuous to conceive, but when you’re in bed after a tough day breaking all alone, bit by bit, your bereaved soul is bound to question your fluent affection and attachment towards few dead plants you’re watering and nurturing everyday in the name of memories. Right from our adolescence days, there’s enormous pressure on us to fulfill our “duties” and mostly silly “societal expectations” , to abide by what we “should”, which slowly turn us into ‘living deads’ by the time we reach our adulthood.
Yet at the end of some such nights, I still find myself conquering my mulish self-doubts and inculcating an unbelievable amount of love and positivity inside me. I regain the strength and courage I usually possess, which is amply required to forgive my stained past and to live in my better present without any regret. And I guess therein lies the irony! Maybe the Universe wittily plots to accord these jim-jams to those, who can channelize it into benevolence and smile radiantly through it.
Oh! I was so engrossed in shaping out my inner dilemmas in a daze that I barely noticed until now that this night has come to an end too. The soothing chirping of the birds intermingled with the loud chanting of the powerful “Shakti Mantra” from the nearest pandal pulls me out of my miserable mood. A gaze outside and my tormented self immediately feels at ease with the tranquility the fresh morning breeze has to offer. “Pujo pujo” vibes occupy my mind and I inhale sharply in the air filled with the smell of blossomed Shiuli, an iconic “ambassador of pujo” . I start humming:
“…Singing from heartache from the pain
Taking my message from the veins
Speaking my lesson from the brain
Seeing the beauty through the…
You made me a, you made me a believer, believer
You break me down and build me up, believer, believer
Oh, let the bullets fly, oh, let them rain
My life, my love, my drive, it came from…
- Believer (song by Imagine Dragons)