August 1, 2013 Off By Fried Guest

-Budding Psychologist

15457_wpm_lowresI stared above at the beauty of the night sky. The therapist had asked me to keep my mind busy so that I could avoid depressing thoughts. I definitely couldn’t count stars, so I decided to engage in “appreciating beauty.”  At least for once, the night sky, the twinkling stars and the dim flickering lights of late night flights helped me escape the ugliness of my life.

When two weeks pass, I go back to the therapist. A sweet lady clad in profession of warmth, greeted my torn soul. 20 minutes of soul talk and she suddenly asked “What is it that you do when you are not busy with the household chores?”

I sat there blank. I had nothing. It was me, my dying husband and the depression that deepened every day. She understood my silence. She did, and she did not complain.

“Take up something that interests you, something that won’t take a lot of effort, but will be productive and keep you busy. Try taking up a hobby dear.”

“People don’t take up a hobby, something they enjoy doing becomes a hobby.” I retorted back. I knew I had nothing; all that I had was long gone. 20 years of marriage without a child and then a husband suffering from Alzheimer’s, all that I loved doing had lost their identity years ago. And I never wanted them back. All I wanted, and needed, was a child, and a husband who would not wake up next to me and ask me who I am.

“I understand. But don’t you think at this moment this is just an excuse to not try out something new? You need to come out of the small web you have created. Break the monotony of nothingness and engage in something productive. Your husband would be proud of you. We will try things differently if this doesn’t work, you have my word.”

“Hmm…okay, I will try. For Sudhir.” And I walked out, random thoughts already disturbing. What after Sudhir? Where? The sound of traffic didn’t seem to bother my ears. I was lost in thoughts again, like I’m on most of the days now. Depressed. I stopped by at the market, still lost in thoughts. It was when I arrived home and the maid asked me whom did I get the paint brushes for that I realised what I got. Paint brushes, canvas, colour and some bits of life may be.

Hobby, I thought to myself. It’s been more than 18 years now since I had last held a paint brush. Those autograph books of school and college days where I would proudly declare painting as my hobby flashed back. The faded brown pages then, the faded brown pages now. Life has indeed not changed.

I painted. Painted, painted and painted.

It took time to bring back the beauty. I was never a great artist, but whatever I had I enjoyed doing it. I was no professional, and I don’t want to be. A hobby, painting is now “officially” my hobby, I thought and let a smile pass- one that I had waited ages for.

The therapist was right, when we keep our minds busy with productive work that doesn’t require much effort on our part, we start thinking less about our worries. And the joy of doing something that interests you is a feeling that doesn’t let depression set in, rather it helps us get over it.

And so I go ahead with it, with all my heart. I had to fight depression and obsessive thoughts; I had to live a life.  Life is all, but very short to do everything we love. So when we still have time, may be pick up the pen and write the lines we always wanted to or put those old stamps we had collected in an organised album. Rather than just waiting for depression to set in, why not pass him a smile and say that you are busy.

I take up the brush again. I will draw depression, I say to myself.



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