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By Debanjali Nag Mitra
Loneliness, we define it as a state of being alone – a state when we end up feeling totally devastated and gloomy. People lament often about being a loner. I chance on some (especially womenfolk) who dread being alone. I get to hear more often than not, “My roomie is not in the hostel today. No idea what to do. It’s really boring”. In fact, I have heard many a time my MIL said, “Your dad isn’t at home so haven’t prepared anything special. I just had a chapatti with some aachar. That’s enough to fill my stomach”. I have grown up seeing my mother, chachis and maashis trying out their hands in making new dishes on Sundays and sometimes even on weekdays because that gave them a sense of satisfaction that their children and husbands would relish it but when left alone their agile brains stopped functioning. I mean it’s absolutely fine to have the idea of being happy when the entire family is happy but isn’t the ‘self’ important at all? And when penning this, I remember myself also doing the same thing. I remember gobbling the leftovers by my husband in the morning not because I couldn’t afford to prepare a one-time meal for myself but simply because I did not like the idea of sitting alone and having food. I wonder how that leftover meal was then heaven to me.
As the days passed by I tried researching on boredom? I thought why I slipped into depression? Why do I feel alone always? There’s nobody’s company we can enjoy if we do not enjoy the company of ourselves. The problem lies in the fact our world revolves around our husbands, in-laws, and children. We just keep ourselves cocooned in that world and we happen to unknowingly or unconsciously start expecting that in some way or the other they would reciprocate. And when that doesn’t happen we feel deprived of love and affection and those of who are fortunate enough to have expressive husbands or children feel happy and alive and immediately feel charged to give every bit of them to their family. Expression in any kind of relationship is a must. It makes you feel wanted. But it’s expectation that brings misery. There are some who loves you but not necessarily they will speak out. Probably, they expect that we would understand them even when they do not compliment us just the way we expect them to share their thoughts with us. Believe me, it’s expectation that always stands in our way to happiness. Be a good observant and study the gestures of your loved ones and you will understand how important we are to them. Prepare a cup of coffee and share it with him. Probably, he would be reading a newspaper then and you get to notice that he is still trying to gulp in every drop of coffee till he realizes that there is no more coffee left in the cup and seeing that you just grin. When you sit at the dining table for dinner and your husband asks for the same thing again, know that he liked what you prepared. When your children return home from school or even the other way round when you return home from work, your children exclaims with joy, ‘Maaaaa!’ That time you know yes they need you as much as you need them. It’s just that they set their priorities differently than the way we set ours. And fortunately or unfortunately you also come across people who shower their wives with insincere compliments to avoid conflicts or are diplomatic enough to be on the safer side.
So instead of expecting so much simply do the lot required to be done and see how happy you are. And believe me, you get to know yourself a bit better each day when you are alone. It’s then when you discover the things you would want to do or probably did enjoy once but due to lack of space, you have forgotten all of that. And to me, it is somewhat different. Once upon a time, I too got petrified at the thought of being alone but now I feel that a part of me condenses when in the company of others. It’s not the whole of me. Friends, besides being a good observant, there are several ways to conquer loneliness:
1. Firstly, fall in love with loneliness itself. I mean start valuing yourself and see the world falling automatically for you. Dress up for yourself without waiting for husbands or friends to compliment you. All this while if you have thought a dark red lipstick shade doesn’t suit you, then, go for it. If you haven’t tried out sexy and bright apparels because somebody told you that you are chubby or that it would hurt the dignity of the family, please do not be hesitant.Fashion is all about being comfortable.
2. Every morning when you wake up, look into the mirror and smile. You deserve to be happy. A smile is the curve that would brighten up your day. Give pouts to yourself and say, “You look beautiful” because nobody says so when your hairs are all messy. Never compromise your morning cup of coffee for anyone. Sit on your easy chair and enjoy the warm coffee and set out for a refreshing day.
3. Miss the days when you got romantic text messages or love letters? Post love notes to yourself and asks yourself out. Who said husbands always have to surprise you with roses or gifts or take you on a date? Go out for an evening stroll and relish the roadside ‘gupchups’ and ‘aloo-tikki chaat’ to your heart’s content.
4. Light music and your favourite writers’ books-Can anything is better than this? Books are one’s best friends- no complaints, no demands. It gives you more than you ask for.
5. Art and craft activities have always been women’s favourite. Try carving out new jewellery designs, make beautiful wall hangings, prepare portraits or something like ‘best out of waste’.
6. Feel awkward dancing in front of others? Don’t be. Turn the music system on and energize yourself with your exhilarating moves. Feel proud that you ain’t a bad dancer at all.
7. Watch movies. Be it a romantic one or a thriller, be it an emotional family drama or social theme based drama, movies always accelerate our emotions.
8. Spend time in the company of nature. Nature heals all our wounds. Hear a bird chirp, appreciate the beauty of the rainbow after the storms are cleared, feel the gentle breeze when the leaves rustle, get soaked in the rain- believe me all your pains will be wiped away.
9. Last but not the least, view loneliness from a different perspective. Take it to be challenging and not painful. Be comfortable with the self. Try new cuisines, experiment with all that you want to but haven’t because of the rules set by others.
Embrace life. Accept the things as it is. Do not depend on people. They are never there when we need them. They do not stay longer. It worked for me. I tried out different poses in front of the mirror, went out on my own, danced during pregnancy, bought gifts for myself, prepared lip-smacking dishes. I know myself a little better now. I do not wait for my husband tell me if I look pretty, I do not expect my in-laws to speak all good about me and nor do I look upon my parents to solve my problems I face in Life anymore. I enjoy being on my own with my heart as my company. I first do what is important for me and then comes the rest. If you aren’t happy, you cannot make others happy.
This is how I re-created myself and I feel proud about it that I grew up firm and a lot more beautiful than I was before. No storm can break me down.