The demented mindThe sound of water running from a tap woke me up from my sleep. I feel a dull headache; I look outside, and it is still dark. I check the time—it’s 2:30 am. My hostel room is a mess; things are scattered everywhere. I get up and make a half-hearted attempt to clean up my room, and midway, I decide to do it later. I go outside my room to the verandah to get some fresh air. It is cold. The air is heavy with silence. Everything is enveloped in thick fog.
The sound of water running from a tap woke me up from my sleep. I feel a dull headache; I look outside, and it is still dark. I check the time—it’s 2:30 am. My hostel room is a mess; things are scattered everywhere. I get up and make a half-hearted attempt to clean up my room, and midway, I decide to do it later. I go outside my room to the verandah to get some fresh air. It is cold. The air is heavy with silence. Everything is enveloped in thick fog.
For the last few days, everything in my life had been like the morning’s weather: foggy. And to make matters worse, my headache, which was until yesterday just a simple pain, has gotten worse. It has developed into throbbing pain. But the headache is nothing compared to what was going through my mind. For the last few weeks, my mind hasn’t been normal. I feel as if something in me has changed, irreversibly. But I can’t pinpoint to what it is exactly that had changed. It’s a terrifying feeling.
I don’t know where this journey will lead me; I don’t even know what it means. But one thing I know for sure is the uncertainty is suffocating me from inside. I feel a thick darkness approaching me and enveloping everything, forever changing me. I have never been the kind of person who loses hope easily. I have always been the kind of person who made it a point to be happy, to find joys in the smallest of things. But today, that me feels like somebody from a distant memory, and with each passing day, I recognise less and less of that person. I feel more like a wounded soldier. A soldier who has given up and is just waiting for the enemy forces to come and catch him or kill him.
A cool gentle breeze breaks me from my daydream. I take in some fresh air, which immediately relaxes me. I decide to sit on the verandah for a few minutes. I watch the fog for a few minutes and begin to wonder what it was that caused me to get lost in my thoughts for such a long time. I try to remember when it was that things changed or began to change. I remember. Everything was going well until it wasn’t. I was busy preparing for my seventh semester exams. I was doing assignments, preparing notes and making presentations. I was very much looking forward to getting done with my exams, so I could have fun with my friends and family, but then a strike happened at my college, and everything came to a grinding halt. That was when the changes started happening. I didn’t feel like studying anymore. I would lie on bed the whole day, and get out of it only to go to the washroom, and eat.
I thought I would feel better once I got home for post-exam break. Post-exam breaks were always fun, at least they used to be. I would go out with my friends, meet relatives and go on hikes, go out to eat pani puris in the evenings and take long walks. But I did none of that. I just sat home the whole day. I read some, but mostly, I slept. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but I couldn’t help it.
It’s getting cold. I decide to head indoors. It’s 3:30 am. I have been outside, lost in my thoughts for nearly an hour. I try to go back to sleep, but I can’t. I get up and start cleaning up my room. It’s four in the morning. Then I remember a conversation with my mother. It was more of a one-sided conversation with my mother the last time I was home. My mother did all the talking. I just listened and stared at the walls. She asked if there was anything wrong. To which I said nothing. She asked what is it that I intend to do with my life. The old me would have a lot of answers to the question. But the new me just stared at the walls and said nothing. I wanted to tell her I don’t know what’s wrong with me, mother. I feel lost. I am not me. Instead, I just stayed quiet.
I have always been an ambitious girl. Had dreams. Had places to go.
But not anymore.
My seventh semester results came out a few days. I failed in six subjects out of eight. When I saw the result, I wasn’t even worried. I just tore it and flushed it, something the old me wouldn’t have even thought of doing, let alone doing it.
I have changed a lot in the last few weeks. I am just existing. Days mean nothing. I wake up, attend classes, come back to my room and sleep. I no longer talk to people. I don’t like who I have become, but I can’t help it. I don’t have the energy to fight it. So I just ride with it.
But I do know that I can’t go on forever like this. Somewhere down the line, I’ll have to fight it and make an earnest effort to change things. I don’t know if I can, but I know I have to. I know I have to hold on to the memories of who I used to be before everything started changing. I can do this, I have to do this.
It’s six in the morning. After two hours of thinking, my room is still a mess, just like my life. I begin sorting out things: keeping clean clothes in my cupboard, clothes that need washing in the bathroom and books on my desk. I make my bed, for the first time in several weeks. I look outside. It isn’t foggy anymore; it’s sunny. I opened the curtains to let the sun in. The room is bright and clean. I tell myself, it is possible.