I miss watching Big Shot on Disney Plus. Every episode used to feel like a warm hug. For the uninitiated, Big Shot is about an excellent but temperamental basketball coach who is demoted to coach high school girls in San Diego after he throws a chair at a high-stakes, televised basketball game. He arrives at an all-girls’ school defamed and reluctant but he stays because he has no choice and for the love of the game. The reason why I loved the show is because every character, no matter how sore or different they may be, is accepted as they are by the rest of the characters. The principal is straight-as-an-arrow and measured. The drama teacher is whack-a-doodle and romantically forward. The assistant coach is tough and kind. The coach himself is brazen and open to being vulnerable. The school counsellor is cold and comforting. Of course, all the girls who play the sport have their own complex interior lives — as complex as parental trauma and girlhood trouble allows them to be. There’s no perfect character, they all rub each other off the wrong way sometimes, but they’re all accepting of each other and make room for everyone to co-exist. It made me so mushy and warm inside with every episode knowing that no matter the plot conflict, these characters would resolve issues with tough conversations, vulnerability, boundaries, and most of all acceptance. To be honest, this is why I like most of the ‘comfort shows’ that I do like. At this point, it seems as though I have collected a bunch of TV shows that substitute for the warm hugs and the fictional society I need to get through life.
In two days, I will have completed 21 days of a food challenge we are doing with my workout group. The challenge required us to go off all junk food (obviously), no processed food, nothing that came out of a packet, and no sugar including no sugar substitutes such as cane sugar or jaggery. For the last 19 days, I was that annoying person in social spaces and in restaurants saying things such as can’t eat that/what are the ingredients in this/does this have sugar. There are many reasons I undertook this food challenge very seriously, most important of all is that seeing my dad manage his food, life, and medication after his heart attack makes me wish we would have done things differently. Other reasons include growing older, living in a deeply adulterated world, hoping that my skin lights up, and of course, because my workout community is doing it, too. All said and done, it’s very hard to have to constantly think what to eat and what not to eat. If anything else, that has been the hardest part of it all. The actual eating of ‘clean food’ is easy. Have you eaten a bowl of fresh cut fruits dunked in a yogurt smoothie dotted with chia seeds and sprinkled with sliced dry fruits? Try it. It will sensationalise your taste buds. Yesterday, after discussing dessert options with my workout buddy, she recommended I eat a particular no sugar, dates and walnut, whole wheat bread slice. It cost me 40 bucks. It tasted like paper napkins. It was boring. I dunked it down with black coffee which has been my armour against an abyss of nothingness that sometimes becomes my life and my beverage of choice that tastes least like garbage without sugar. I’m not sure if I will continue the no-sugar rule into the rest of my days because when we started 3 weeks ago my life looked and felt very different from what it does in present day. I don’t know if I have the wherewithal to keep going.
A whole host of things have piled up now burying me under their uncomfortable odours and weights. I find myself questioning every decision I’ve made in the last 1.5 years. (Nay, my whole life. It is a slippery slope.) I wonder this and wonder that. While talking to TFB recently, it seems as though I was being very positive about the way things might pan out. He was telling me that something inside me had switched for me to be so optimistic and that, my readers, is the reason why all of you should be concerned about me. I am not a positive person. I believe in nothing. Though I must note that after wards I realised TFB did not care that I used the F word so many times during the entire conversation. I must really not have it together coz my friends are letting me off the hook so easily.
Amidst not having a comforting fictional society, doing the hard mental-gymnastics to eat clean food, and anxious planning of what I should do next with my life, I found myself a small pocket of joy when I sat and watched from the inside of a really tall building as the sunlight faded outside. The glow of the sky receded and I sat under the warm yellow of the ceiling lamps. Flecks of blue dissolved into black and silver pinpricks shone from the smaller buildings below. For a brief moment, it felt okay to be in the world. Onward.
Maghrib means ‘West’ or ‘land of the set’. Maghrib is also the name of the fourth prayer of the day performed by Muslims at sunset. The prayer called so because the sun sets in the West (I mean, like obvs.) Muslims follow the lunar calendar, so Maghrib is also technically the first prayer of the day or the start of a new day which is similar to the Jews.