Salt and Sugar
The Universal Anti-Depressant
She threw pages around after having ruined them already by writing and over-writing and scratching and darkening. She just couldn’t think of anything. She couldn’t make any decision, couldn’t perform her tasks well, and threw tantrums out of her outbursts of mood swings. Nothing was going right and their advice was to make a list? Yeah, dude I’ve got a whole bunch of things to do that I’m don’t know how to even start with, and you ask me to make a list! When she fumbled with all her tasks she was supposed to do, tried planning out strategies, in between which got even bored with her random doodling, her phone rang. “Mom!” She talked her usual stuff with her but suddenly she felt calmer, more at peace and the world didn’t seem that bad anymore. She made the list laughing at how useless it was cos it was her mom whose voice got the worst of her to the best of her.
Ria looked at Pranay for a brief moment; their eyes met but all they could do was smile. None knew what to talk about and small talks were not their forte. The cousins had met after five long years, and it occurred to them how everything had changed so swiftly. Ria was studying her journalism in Delhi while Pranay stayed back at his hometown doing CA. Once so similar to each other, their lives, their people, culture, outlook, everything had changed. A truth both lived, neither accepted. They sat in silence during the whole family function feeling overwhelmed with having lost their childhood friend, their alter ego into that stranger sitting in the front.
Manas had always known Tushar was brighter than him and would be more successful, perhaps even attain better position in career in lesser time than him in spite of being his junior. But never had he anticipated that they’d ever bump into each other like this; in the senior-junior relationship, again, only with the roles reversed. A college junior’s work junior? Yes, that was what he was now. Uncertain of his feelings about it, their relationship hanged on the wall of uncertainty as well.
“What else? “ The phrase had become repetitive and monotonous now for the past 10 minutes. They just had nothing to talk about! She didn’t want to hang up the phone, aware of the close approach of their friendship’s demise. A year ago, they could have talked endlessly; those 10 minutes would pass in a second. While now, it was difficult to drag the arms of the clock. Was she just getting emotional? Ridiculously thinking too much? Or was it true that since the past few months, they were distancing apart, of fault of neither? There had been no misunderstanding or fight or mis-communication, yet something had gone wrong. She sighed when they finally hung up. She knew despite the distance, less meeting and only phone calls, they still loved each other, would be there for one another always, still regarded each other as “sisters” or “best friends” or “girl- friends”, but sadly, not “close friends” anymore. They didn't share ‘anything and everything ‘, something that used to be a part and parcel of their friendship, now forgotten. Staying friends was all she could hope to be.
Restlessness, irritability, annoyance, self- pity, low confidence, his mood got the best of him all the time. Everyone was getting recruited; all his friends but him. He felt dejected, discouraged, and insecure of losing his friends and the respect of family he had earned. He started doubting if he really should have come here. Only thing that got him little excited was his little sister coming to town. He didn’t realize it but she instantly picked up his desolate mood veiled by gleaming eyes and smile upon her arriving when he picked her up. She knew he was upset over rejections in campus, but she couldn’t gather the courage to talk to him about it. The whole weekend they roamed around the city, went to new places, and tried new dishes, sometimes his friends tagging along too. For the first time in life, they had real fun. When it was time for her to depart, she noticed his teary-eyed brother who tried hard to keep that hidden, but in vain. His closest friend, who she suspected was his girlfriend took her aside and hugged. “You made him smile and happy. He needed this desperately.” On her way to here, she had thought proudly how her brother was a hero to her; now on her way back, she prided herself how her hero valued her as much.