Cigarettes After Melancholy


Image Courtesy : Kanika Manchanda

Arey abhi abhi pyara sa chehra dikha hai
Jaane kya kahun uspe kya likha hai
Gehra samandar dil dooba jismein
Ghayal hua main uss pal se isme

Every week brings something onto the table. Life, for everyone, brings challenges at every step and while some see hardships much more than others, there’s always time to understand that maybe each test is for a renewed, confident week ahead. So I packed up my bags, boarded the next bus to Bangalore for my paper presentation at the Indian Institute of Science as a precursor to my entry into my work life complemented with a part-time PhD from a University to make sure I have made the most of my goals.

While my life is defined by how much I’ve achieved, there are always days when I feel like I do not amount to much. Not everyone needs to be perfect at everything, but everyone WANTS to be perfect at everything.

And so I embark on the inevitable. Call myself names, call myself a loser and put myself so below everyone around me that I fail to acknowledge my self as someone who ever deserved the things, the education, the love and the personality his parents gave him. And when people say, ” why do you undervalue yourself so much?” My answer to that is quite simply ” That’s how I keep myself humble, make myself struggle more to achieve what needs to be achieved.” Modesty has to be omnipresent, and hence I concede too much when I feel too much. I introspect and I charge ahead. A single cigarette often does the trick, alleviates the melancholic self-cannibalizing sharpshooting suicidal brain from completely killing the sanity within me.

And this time, I had lost. Lost again. Lost again at making someone feel the things I felt about them. I had fallen again. The damage that I had repaired after a long term friendship had to wane away, because of distance, I had to mend an already, burnt, beaten and neutralized heart. Given that these two have so much in common, they talk the same way, they look like they care the same way and they remind you of each other. It is a daily affair, to see her move onto a Navy Sub-Lieutenant within a few months, hurts but then it makes you question yourself – “You don’t deserve her at all”. Well its the same thing again, your new found muse, interest already has someone in their life and it does not make it tough to accept the fact that ‘You don’t deserve her at all’.

When people told me to go up to her and say it to her face. I was too scared. I was too afraid to do something I am extremely good at – Talk. But the heart keeps on telling you about the unbearable melancholy that follows after she’s said no and the heart is never wrong. The melancholy is unbearable.

“Ishaan you’re a terrific writer”, is what I keep on hearing. Well here is what I wrote for her –

I think it’s about time that I’ve put it out ( like a weasel, on text and not upfront). Anyways, it’s festive season, and I’ve never figured you to be someone whose interested to date. But then again, I’ve been trying to take baby steps to ask you out. And since I’m in Bangalore, I though maybe, since there’s a distance it would be easy for me to say it ( like a weasel). It would be nice if I could take you out on a date. Pertaining to these 3 assumptions – 1) you don’t have a boyfriend ( if you do, you can toss me aside like a cardboard box) 2) if you already like someone ( go ahead, you’re a strong independent woman.) 3) if you don’t like my face ( can’t change it that easily, but then again I’ll push off) And last but not the least… 4) if you don’t like the things I do – getting drunk and finally shout like a dumbfuck everywhere – using expletives has been my way of emoting things out. It’s hard to even press the send button, but Jesus – what do I have to lose. P.S. – don’t let it ruin your Christmas. I hope this isn’t the first time a water buffalo has asked you out.

Well, words don’t do enough and they shouldn’t have done enough. Given the fact that she’s already with someone, is both good and bad news for me. Good because she already likes someone and that I did not deserve her and Bad because of the same reasons. There is a tinge of jealousy, yet a tinge of relief and then there is a 7 day melancholic journey which isn’t hard to wane away. I write to emote. I smoke to emote. I drink to emote and nothing seems to work. Much like the time when my ex left me for another. And this is my last ditched attempt to emote everything out. If cigarettes couldn’t do the trick, then writing is the last resort. I hope it makes it kind of easier.

It was nice of her to say that she felt so stupid and sorry if she was being rude and to not be mad at her. I cannot be mad at her. I just cannot. There is nothing to be mad about. There is only melancholy. And that melancholy will fade away, soon. very soon. And it is because of this catharsis and melancholy that i can finally get up and move on.

I specifically remember sitting on the balcony of the Backpackers i was putting up in Bangalore. I was all alone, smoking a cigarette and brooding. That’s when I got a text from my mom. Well she senses everything and she texted “whatsup?” to which I prompty replied, ” just chilling, plus brooding over a rejection” to which she replies ” are you in Bangalore for girls?” And I had no answer, because I happened to be in Bangalore asking her out when she was 100s of kilometres away. Technically mom was right.

I also remember, being zoned out in Hampi, brooding over the same melancholy only to be graced by the presence of Manju, the caretaker dog who felt what I felt, because he looked at me with those puppy eyes and sat next to me imploring me to pet him, just to throw the melancholy out of the window.

To NOT FEEL ANYTHING, TO NOT BEING MODEST is way worse than FEELING LOW for a few days and PUSH YOURSELF UP for the next few days.

You tend to brood over these things in your room, but when you meet friends you enjoy. You understand pretty much, that it is better to NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. And even if things bother you, find an avenue to vent it all out. A single cigarette can get rid of the melancholy temporarily, but venting it all out in my diary, my blog does a much better job.

And finally, she really deserves better. While she was probably one of the few people I had feelings for the way she is, she can only become a better person as she moves ahead in her life. And she will be someone whom the world can’t raise a finger on. Because she truly deserves the love and affection of herself, her family and if she chooses some lad who cares for her truly.



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