My happy places

Unemployment has once again begun to get to me. I spend hours relentlessly mailing possible future employers, following which I spend hours panicking about my future if no one hires me. The remaining 20 hours, you will find me sleeping, eating, watching Netflix or desperately wishing for a meteor to fall on my head. 

The past 40 days were interesting,  to put it lightly. I spent a whole month Ramganga, a small town in Sundarbans, West Bengal. I volunteered with an NGO named Digambarpur Angikar during my time there. Only after I reached the place did I realise that no one there could speak Hindi (I hadn’t expected anyone to be able to speak English). Turns out, they only knew Bengali. The first one week was the toughest. I felt ridiculously lonely. While I had wanted to take this trip alone, I really thought that I would be able to make friends of my own in this new place. But there I was, struggling to let them know that I wanted a glass of water. The fact that the people there were friendly was the biggest blessing. Once they realised that I was alone in a land where I could communicate with exactly two people, they started making efforts to make my life easier. They tried to talk to me using gestures and whatever Hindu words they knew. Knowing that they were making an effort, lifted my spirits like nothing else. Over the next few weeks I learnt what kindness of strangers really means. When you are in a strange land with no one else, all you can really rely upon is the hope that the people around you are good, decent humans. 

From the moment I stepped out of the train until the moment I took a his back to Kolkata (from where I took a train to Tirupur), I was in the hands of a complete stranger. The guy who picked me up, could have taken me anywhere and I wouldn’t have known until too late. The Swiss knife that I was clutching in my hand could only do so much. If I had to run asking for help, no one would probably even understand me. But, I chose to trust. Probably because I knew I didn’t really have much of choice. It wasn’t easy though. This is something many people out there wouldn’t understand. When you have grown up hearing about girls being raped by their friends, and loved ones, it becomes quite hard to trust someone so blindly. Every night when I would get on his bike, I would pray that I would return home safely. And when I would, I would wonder if I was being paranoid for being afraid, but the next day I would find myself clutching my Swiss knife and praying. However,  don’t let that fool you into thinking I had a terrible time.

My happy place. Sundarbans, 2016

I was at peace there. Ironical, I know. But, when you wake up to the river and you get to watch the sun rise and set against the backdrop of a beautiful clear sky, all complaints just fly out of the window. I could sit by that window and smoke for hours. There, at that point, I was just happy existing. However, before I knew, I had to say good bye to boat rides, the beautiful night sky and the gentle breeze and the view from my room that made my day a little better every day. I made my way to Kolkata, where my college roommate, Sohini was waiting to show me her city. The two days there flew by in a frenzy. Sohini and Sreeparna, my two guides in the city, were practically my gym instructors. Everytime I was too tired, they literally dragged me to new corners of the city and each time I was grateful that they didn’t just let me sit there like a cow. Following Kolkata, came the favourite part of my trip– 10 days in Tirupur, with Radhika. 

Radhika and me. Tirupur, 2016

Tirupur is Radhika’s hometown. If I haven’t mentioned it before, Radhika is pretty much what someone would label as my best friend, but we decided long back that tags are not our thing. Of course, there may be no tags, but there is a lot of love and history between us. She is the person I would call crying at 3 am,  she is the one  I would send my ugliest selfies and the one I would tell my deepest, darkest secrets to. Truth be told, she is my happy place. I mean,  I fight with her and I get annoyed when she is irritated with me (and that happens a lot), but I am always happy when she is around. And now, she is leaving for Canada this August and I don’t know when I will be seeing her again, which is why I had to make this trip.

We spent the days chatting till late night and smoking  cigarettes in the terrace once everyone at home fell asleep. I would watch her swim (I am terrified of pools) and we would drink beers after and sometimes I would smoke a doob or two with her brother. My favourite parts were when we would sit in her room and laugh over the lame things we did in the past. It never gets old–laughing over how naive and Stupid we used to be. We even managed to stuff in a two day trip to Kerala. For the first time, I didn’t cry after I said goodbye to her. I cried in a train that she was leaving in after school got over, I cried when she left Bombay after college, I jumped in joy when she came back to the city and cried like a baby she left it for Delhi. This time she is leaving the country and all I feel is excitement for her. From the day I met her, I knew that she was going to kill it in life and this is just taking her one step closer to it. I know that keeping in touch will get harder, she will make more friends, maybe better ones. We will miss one too many Skype dates and maybe I won’t see her till my wedding day. But, I will always be the girl who wrote her a book as farewell, she will be the one who comforted me as I cried over the loss of my aunt. We lived together for years and apart for years and we survived both. I think we will do just fine 7,127 miles apart. I will miss her like crazy, though. 

Well, I should probably get back to my job hunt, or well, Netflix. 

Hopefully, the next time I write, I will have a job in hand. Let’s wait and watch. 

Until then, 

This is me. Quirky and patient as ever.



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