Saw a picture of me last year, this time, on the day. I smiled. Remembering that I was stressed, worried, questioning myself. Am I studying the right thing? Am I seeing this hypothesis clearly? What will my research bring to academic sector of design? Is this even worth it? What am I doing with life? Existential crisis much!?
Thus, the PSL-loving-white-girl-doing-yoga-soul inside this very brown body – decided to find herself. So, I went off to India to search for answers as soon as international flights started functioning.
Didn’t care about Covid anymore. My thoughts? A very stupid and daring one actually – “Meh! Didn’t get covid all year, won’t get it at all… and if I do? We’ll see then.” Needless to say, it was a stupid thought, but fact is – I didn’t get Covid at all, even while travelling hours everyday to understand how central Bengal aesthetic practices work, coming in contact with thousands (of not millions) of rural Bengali men and women on my ancestral lands of Burdwan and Nandigram.
What I did get is nostalgic. Our 300year old house and it’s ruined library (thank you cousins for not leaving any singular first edition books in proper conditions for me to read or save from ruins! Nor a singular Sanskrit scripture!) – and looking for architects who can keep its structural integrity while renovating inside. On the other hand, in Burdwan, my paternal grandparents villa stands on the shores of Krishnasayer. It is a mishmash of badly constructed extra wings in Corbusier-style fugly added to rounded traditional L-shaped old-Bengal architecture. The horror! It causes anxiety to the designer in me to look at the royal mess my uncle created there – while renovating. So I politely stopped visiting. I am happy with the memory of grandpa watering his gardens personally, cutting ripe papayas for us youngest two cousins – Appu and I (before the other two younger ones were born) – and playing cricket (as Appu’s pants would halfway fall off his hips while running – who’d believe back then that he’d be a PhD candidate at Oxford someday), all on shores of Krishnasayer even before the park was constructed. I believe my favourite memory is of me hiding in the east-wing, under the huge mid-18th century style four-poster wooden bed, while my aunt ran around looking for me in-order-to feed me some food! I have always been a finicky eater!
Last year, September till early this year May: I did quite a lot. Finding myself, travelling, studying simultaneously at two Universities (thank God for online classes, and I am grateful that WiFi at my parents house in Calcutta is super fast and fabulous), studying for my BuEx, giving my BuEx, attending online meets of MUN-Basel, AV Orion, and my last meet with BDP as they officially ended and became Die Mitte, work, a horrible breakup, researching on aesthetic practices… dealing with quite a lot of inter-personal relations to be honest – passive aggressive management. Did I mention the horrible breakup already?
As I look back, I see a formidable person. No burnout, no Covid. Sensitive but hardheaded and strong, ruthless if need be, hyper focused, knowing what she wants; – I saw I changed physically to be soft, but otherwise?
Point is, journey. There’s a history to what and who we are. And every effort, every experience, every deed leaves a mark. It makes us understanding of what we truly want out of life – often making us humble in our approach (even when our circumstances say – there’s no need to be humble). I have learnt to control my anger, my attitude, and correct myself when needed. Yet there are people, dangerous half-minded dim-wits, who don’t see their own mistakes nor learn anything from them. They keep pushing narcissistically cause it’s all about them. Me, me, me, me…! Their ego makes them bulldoze their way through life – eventually burning out.
To them I say: STOP. Drink some water. Smell some roses.