Imbalance I: About one and a half years ago, I purchased a Scooty to ease the hassles and pains of commuting in Bangalore. In the initial months, I was constantly dogged by the fear of losing balance on the bike. My tendency to panic made my relationship with my Scooty even worse. I ended up in two accidents within a space of two months.
The fear of losing balance led to tremendous anxiety. I avoided taking the Scooty on the roads as much as possible. In the middle of last year, it became imperative that I ride the bike if I was to get around comfortably and cheaply. In that period, I turned fear into a source of zen. I started watching every moment when the sensation of fear and imbalance arose. In each one of those moments, I’d calm myself down by saying “move forward”. When I passed the rough terrain, I’d say to myself, “phew! negotiated”. This was an empowering experience – I had learnt to deal with that which was once a source of fear.
Imbalance II: When I started writing up my thesis in 2011, I was stricken by a terrible bout of anxiety. For the first time in my life, I was having trouble falling asleep at night. I was always in an anxious state, trying to define my research question and putting a finger on the most perfect way to articulate my arguments. I was stuck with concepts. I kept reading more and more books and journal articles to clarify my ideas. Each time I was left with feeling that I knew very little about my field.
In the meanwhile, I kept fighting the boundaries of my relationship with my husband so as to keep my focus and concentration intact and not be distracted by external circumstances. Each time I fought, the emotional fault lines got stronger. Eventually, I was neither writing my thesis nor was I happy about the state of my friendship with my husband. There was no flow in my words. There was no flow in our relationship. I was a loser on both counts until I finally decided to support my husband in what he was doing. This was also my way of reclaiming the spirit in my writing. In the first few months that followed, I regained the deep friendship between Kiran and me. I also triumphantly wrote an essay and moved forward in co-editing a journal.
These days though, the words have dried up in the (s)pool of my mind. I don’t have a fantastic relationship either. I have found my husband, but I have lost my friend. There is an imbalance in my life’s journey. There is imbalance inside me.
Imbalance III: Yesterday, the cycle at Devrayanadurga was an 18 inche frame Trek mountain bike. It was too high for me. In my mind, I decided not to ride it because I was afraid of falling. TBD insisted that I try standing and riding. I don’t know how to stand and ride. I had given up hope even before I even tried. I was in a state of panic, frustration and wanting to give up as soon as possible.
Eventually, TBD got me to practice pedalling with a single leg and learning how to tilt the upper half of my body and balance the bike. All the small lessons I learnt yesterday culminated in me being able to stand and pedal, and even stand and get on the frame of the bike. It was my moment of triumph, my moment of empowerment, my moment of having opened my mind and moved forward despite the fear of falling down and losing balance.
The words have dried up.
My mind is not imaginative anymore.
I think of tasks and task lists, of missed and to-be-achieved deadlines.
Time is dead wood. The tree of my life is stunted.
Are the roots still there? Are they alive? How do I know? How do I nourish them?
What is the first step I have to take to find flow, to find balance, to seek comfort despite the discomforts within myself?
Will the words return?
Will they return if I let go?
– Dedicated to love, one of the most powerful emotions that humanity knows