Being Useful ft. A Hungry Bird And Being Truthful To Myself


Last 6 months have been tougher than I had thought would be. It still feels unreal. Everything actually. Sometimes I have these bouts of blankness. I see something, or I just sit back and look around and feel…blank. The answers to questions why am I doing what I am doing and what's the point of all this are still elusive in a way that makes me answer dull, sometimes frustrating I don't know and nothing respectively. The same two answers can be wonderful I don't know! and nothing! :), but they come and go, thanks to the energy sucker that was 2020 and which continues to cast its shadown on 2021.

In the last days of 2020, it snowed in Rohru. It was an overcast day, with white all around, mountains' tops and contours covered. An audacious bird came fluttering on the terrace's railing, then flitted onto the terrace floor and started finding and picking things to eat. She mostly got tiny sludges of ice mixed with dirt, and she dropped them as soon as she picked them up. The way she was searching, I knew she was hungry. My mum had made early dinner, we'd had a heavy brunch. I picked vegetables and cottage cheeze out of my sandwich and slowly opened my room's door to trudge on the terrace. I thought if I was not slow, the bird might fly off. To my surprise she didn't. In fact, she keenly kept her eye on me and I put her food on the railing. As soon as I went back she ate it all with relish.

As I looked at her from the glass window, eating to her fullest, I cried. I hadn't been useful in such a long period of time, that it felt really nice to be able to be of service. It's the answer I want to every why am I doing what I am doing. In preparation to fly off, she did something which made me guffaw. Using the narrow rectangular top surface of the railing, she swiped her beak clean like we do with a tissue. And she flew away.

I ran to my mother like a child to tell her all about the bird.

As I sat that night, I reflected on how I've always found subtle ways to complain about things, rather than stepping up to be a part of the solution. I read Sarah Drasner's Reflections on 2020. She coded and worked despite her husband battling with cancer, the conundrum to decide if they should tell that to their children, and having a constant battle of clash of opinions with the birth mother of their children. After I read the blog post, I put my hands on my face in utter disbelief. I thought to myself and you complain about the smallest things in the world, don't you feel ashamed?

That night I decided that I'd be more truthful with myself. For me, that meant being more specific about finding words to describe answers to some of the questions like what do I want?, what do I want to do in the next hour, the day?, and to have precise words for the reason for feeling a particular way. Writing helps to introspect, learn from retrospect and plan.

I've acted on my feelings more than I ever acknowledged. To battle that I started keeping a journal. Every time I have to decide something substantial or reason about feelings, I write down as specific words about them as possible. I wrote pros and cons about leaving the job. I wrote why I wanted to go back to Bangalore, especially when I'd be unemployed and have to pay rent out of meagre savings. Writing down specific things helps me to be truthful to myself. It has been working so far. Let's hope it shows results as well. Desperately needed results.

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