After a point of time, even I get bored of hearing myself tell the same stories but to different set of people. As if explaining my life to different people is a desperate measure to be understood. They’re the same stories — about a food not eaten, an anecdote from my past, the literature festival by the sea — going round about the social circles and yet everyone taking away something else from it. Recently, I started going inwards, focussing on my most critical needs because I had given so much of myself away that I didn’t have much to run on. I had never experienced this feeling before, a feeling of being focussed on my inside than my outside. I’m not even sure how to explain it, but one morning when I was in a tough pilates pose I thought about how peaceful it felt to not want anyone’s validation and to not share my stories with people who were mere spectators and not actively involved in my growth or well-being. It felt freeing to live the small life here in the back of beyond not wanting to reach out to more than the five people on my palm. I didn’t care a fig about being understood and not in a negative way. I just ran out of the emotional bandwidth needed to account for this kind of acceptance in my life. I wondered if this is how most people live. Is this how people focus inwards on their lives and just go on with their days? What a powerful thing! 

This morning, I was thinking what others are thinking about when we are exercising in the studio. For me it depends on how the 30 mins between my waking and leaving the home go. Do I scroll too much on the phone before getting out of bed? Do I not have charge on my Fitbit? Do I remember to apply sunscreen? Does my mother ask me too many questions? Did I have a bad previous day? The mood I wake up in is different every single day and it spills into the morning and into the thoughts I have when we are exercising. Some times I think about how others are able to do the reps better than me, where are they getting this strength, I want it too? On other days when I have to stand close to a person who smells a lot and doesn’t apply any deodorant, I wish time would go by quickly. That’s definitely a thought in my head. But if the mind speaks to the body, what should I be thinking? What is the recommended thought process to have while working out? My mind is a lot. I am a lot*. Life is a lot.

My friend’s father passed away four days ago. I remember when my dad was in the hospital, one morning, she took me to her house so I could have a bath, eat some food, and get some rest from my continuous hospital stay. She was kind to me and my mother. She would visit me and my mother at the hospital. After my dad was discharged, she helped file all the insurance paperwork. Given that my dad was in the hospital for a month, the paperwork was a lot! She said she had done it many times before for her dad; she said she knew the drill. On hearing that she has faced such a huge loss unexpectedly, it has brought back a lot of memories and emotions for me. Some very hard emotions but also some warm ones like the bath I had in her home. There was a bottle of talcum powder on the shelf. The roof was leaking and someone was going to fix it or look at it or I don’t know what. I was too grief-ridden to process aesthetics then, obviously. I’ve been thinking about her every day since I heard the news and I can’t even begin to imagine how she feels, how heartbroken she must be. Her loss makes me immensely sad, too. Like I said, life is a lot. 

While I went inwards, I thought to myself — why do I care about the world so much, about how we live and what kind of inequalities we have to face, about how we should have a fairer world for all? Why does it matter to me so much and enrage me so much? I won’t live long enough to see large scale social change. In the overall scheme of things my timeline is too insignificant. What the bejesus is the matter with me that I want to document socio-economic climate inequality around me in a photo essay? So, why then? 

*There’s nothing wrong with being a lot. Be a lot. As the popular reel goes “I am not intimidating. You are intimidated. There’s a difference.” Watch the reel. It is so freeing.

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