Editorial

Overthinking, Constant Worry And Living With Whatever Is Normal

The clock was ticking in the distance, the movement of the hands could not be seen, but the constant tick-tick-tick could be heard. Time was slipping away, time was standing still – both at the same time.

It was perplexing, it was anxious, it was what I had become. 3 months of lying on the same bed, 3 months of cooking, cleaning; 3 months of the same, nothing had changed, nothing was same – much like the ticking clock, much like the time – same and different, all at the same time.

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The masks on our faces, the constant washing of hands, maintaining distance, and walking on the road all alone have all become indispensable habits in our daily lives. When people avoid people when people don’t want anyone around them, do we start to understand the importance of people. This is when we are forced to go looking for the unbridled reservoirs of human resilience and patience.

All this while, are we developing compassion towards one another, or just like it has always been, this too will be an extended fleeting phase and when it all passes away, only the different GODS will remain, their disciples will roam around and we will all start fighting one another – all in the garb of religion.

These thoughts, this sense of helplessness all keep coming back, even as the clock in the distance keeps ticking in the distance – all the same, all so different.

A notification pops up – ‘Highest spike in COVID cases in India over the last 24 hours’. I look at it, tap it away, toss the phone on the bed and start shuffling again. These numbers used to scare me earlier, it has now become ‘news’, read it, forget it, and moves on. Now, I am overthinking – and this new normal is scaring me, or perhaps, me overthinking is scaring me. What is it? Am I thirsty, why am I not able to sleep?

This has to be melancholy; this is so pensive and this is clearly overthinking. There is distress at the borders, politicians trying to hijack the scenario even now, during these desperate times to gain political mileage – do we deserve them? I am suffering here, not because I am alone with a pillow on my head, but because I am overthinking and creating this vacuum where everything will enter and vanish. I have assumed, perhaps, I am convinced that nothing will ever be the same and everything will only go horribly wrong.

I am definitely thirsty. I am not sleepy and hence, I saunter towards the fridge, pull out a bottle of water, and gulp it down. It was icy cold – what if I get a sore throat, what if this cold water gives me cold, a running nose, what this… what that? Overthinking has got to me, the doom and gloom all around me might all be encompassed in the stillness of this night, but my mind refuses to stop sprinting and create demons out of even a bottle of water!

I go back to my bed, this time lay flat on my stomach and start to think about school – I am on the stage, the audience is in front of me, the bright light has put me under the scanner and I am expected to deliver. I stand tall, a deep breath, and go on to narrate the historic triumph of a leader, of a fiction leader, and the audience laps it up. I am applauded off the stage, the result is a foregone conclusion. The trophy is bagged, the applause does not cease, it slowly fades away.

When I wake up the next day, there is a notification again. ‘3 missed calls from Mom’ – I call her back, she says wake up and go eat something, everyone else in the family is okay. And another day arrives, another day might end in the same way. And so I go on. This time I can see the clock, the tick-tick-tick drowned in the humdrum of the day.

All so same, all so different!