Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? (375 words)

I do not see myself five years from now. Three days back I was thinking of killing myself. With this prevailing uncertainty, how can I see myself five years from now?

Instead, let me ask you. Where do you see your firm after 5 years? Do you have a policy where you consider mental health as an issue and spread awareness and sensitise your workers about the same? Do you have a counsellor your employees can reach out to?

How would you treat your employees who are going through trauma/ stress/ depression? Of course, one way is to ignore the same and treat it as the ‘employee’s problem’. But think about an employee who is going through medication and is numb. All he or she is trying to do is survive. Her manager is appalled by her work and she is too sick to reply. Where do you see yourself in that situation? I hope you do not refuse to sanction sick leaves since you are unable to see the sickness.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not want you to treat me differently or have lower expectations from me. You want consistent effort, profit and client satisfaction and so do I. I am wondering if you are willing to adopt humane ways of dealing with all your employees and least of all, trigger mental breakdown.

In case you are sensitive and you accept that all of us can have days where we will be too messed up to work then yes, I will give you my best. I did not generalise by mistake. Every employee can have bad days for reasons that are beyond their control. When that happens to me, I hope you do not correlate it with my illness, worse still, establish causality. Just like the rest, I will have good days and I will work in the most efficient way. Just look at me as a human being and you will not regret hiring me for one moment.

I cannot promise you where I will be five years from now. I promise you, every day that I am working at your firm, I will try my best. I will learn the fastest, try the hardest and I will never let you down.

 

Her #1

I know her for over a decade. We have not always been in touch, but she’s one of those who would never let the periods of silence get in the way. She is smart, intelligent, diligent and a hard working person. She would be successful wherever she would want to go. But academic success is not always the last thing that happens to our lives. I had not texted her in forever. So recently when I found out what she has been going through, I could feel my heart break a little.

I can only try to understand how hard things are for you. Will this help you? I do not know. It’s neither a counselling session nor a prescription of getting better. But do I think that you can do more than showing up at counselling sessions? That the very fact that you got up is enough? No. It is not; you are a phoenix. Yes, you have burst into flames six months back. I am here to remind you – that you are (even if you do not believe in it right now) going to get back up and soar the sky. When? Sooner than you think my phoenix, much sooner than you think.

I have not asked you exactly what happened, how it happened and all the intricate details for a purpose. I do not want you to relive the moments. If you feel like talking, you can share. If you don’t, then don’t.

The next part of the letter is completely fictional. You can choose to read, choose to ignore the ones in the middle and choose to ignore the whole of it. In other way, you can choose to follow what is written and let me know if it made you a little warmer.

A Different Date

She lay on her bed looking at the ceiling, whishing she could think of one reason to get out of the bed. Her mind was blank. Other than the regular classes that she has to teach, there was no reason to even get up and out of the warm blanket. The harsh cold weather was not making it any easier.

Same patterns a different date.

She lay there for a little more, numb. It was difficult to explain what she was feeling. Was she feeling anything? Perhaps not – she is learning to block out emotions. The thing is, this habit is going so deep inside her that she is learning to block all emotions, not just sorrow. So she draws a smiley after every text, smiles sometimes not knowing why. She is just here, that’s the only truth in her life right now.

She got up, momentarily, before collapsing into the bed again. If only she found a reason, just anything would do. She must have fallen asleep for an hour or two, when she woke up with a jolt. Standing next to her bed was who else – but her own self. She was so shocked that she pulled the blanket closer to her. Is she dead? What is happening? On the other hand, the self of her who was standing did not seem to care about her. She was humming to her own self and completely ignored the one under the blanket. She stole a quick glance at the watch, not to lose sight for the New Her. It was 8:40 AM.

She lay under the blanket unable to move this time. She could not understand a thing that was going on. Was she dreaming? Is this a joke?

Suddenly the New Her looked at her and smiled. She was scared now, unable to move an inch of her muscle.

“Wake up sleepy head”, she smiled and winked.

She woke up alright. “What the hell is going on?” she asked perplexed. “Am I dead? Are you my soul?”

New Her laughed loudly this time.

“Not really, no. You are very much alive. It’s just that you have been sad for too long now. Well, you have been sad for so long, that you have eaten into other people’s quota of being sad. So I was sent – tadaa!” she stretched her hand, presenting herself.

“That’s the most confusing thing I have ever heard”, she said. “Care to explain a little further?”

“Alright, alright!” New Her exclaimed and sat down on the bed.

“See, there is a quota for every people’s sorrow and happiness, okay? Sometimes we have to be sad just so that we can appreciate being happy at the other times. Now, if someone only experiences happiness, then the person takes that emotion for granted. He or she can not appreciate it anymore. It is then, the person increases expectations, believes in a different reality and pushes his or luck so much – that bam! The person ends up with a dose of sorrow.

“But you – you have been sad for so long, that you have not only completed your own quota, you have borrowed way too much sorrow from the other’s quota. Now those people have been happy for too long and are out in the streets protesting.

“To restore balance, you need to be happy for a while now. There, I have explained it all. Are you happy now?”

She sat more confused than ever. A quota of what? Did I drink too much last night?

“What’s your name – err, new me?” she asked

“You know who I am, you can call me by my name”, New Her replied

“Look – we can’t both be her. So why don’t we make a compromise?”

“Okay, what do you want to be known as?”

“Let’s see – call me Blossom. You can be Bubbles”, she said with a smile. It felt odd to smile, like the muscles had forgotten to twitch that way.

“Will that make you happy?” New Her, or Bubbles asked.

“Sure”, Blossom could not help smiling. It did not make any sense to her, but then, what did?

“Wake up Blossom, it’s time to bloom and save the world”, Bubbles said with a wink

Blossom got up with a smile. Her head felt lighter than usual. She was pretty sure that she was in a dream, but she was enjoying every bit of it. It was bizarre and made absolutely no sense; hence perfect.

“Tell me where to begin”, she asked Bubbles.

“Make yourself a cup of coffee. Oh – and click a picture and post it.”

So she did!

[If you have reached till here – that’s your milestone 1; post a picture]

 

 

They sipped the coffee when Bubbles explained the next state of affairs.

“I will tell you what to do today and you are going to do them. I hope this will balance the quota of happiness and sorrow.”

“Well – okay”, said Blossom. “I hope this happens”

Blossom got ready in a while and looked inside her cupboard. Her heart sank. All the clothes here have some sort of memory attached to them and she could not think of wearing anything that would not trigger something ugly. She completely forgot about the other person in the room as she kept staring at the pile of clothes that lay inside, patiently.

“Wear the blue shirt”

Blossom got out of her reverie. “I am sorry, what?”

“Blue shirt. Wear your blue shirt and the read coat.”

She did.

[If you have reached till here – that’s your milestone 2; post a picture/ send me a picture]

 

 

“Now look pretty”

“Objection – I am pretty. I do not need to look pretty”, said Blossom

“No, you used to be pretty”, sighed Bubbles

“I am sorry?” questioned Blossom with a frown

“Your smile, wear your smile. That’s what made you pretty. It’s been so long that you have kept Smile aside…”

Her frown disappeared. Alright, she would keep the smile today.

“So where are we going next?”

“On a date”

“A what?” Blossom stopped short of having a panic attack. The term by itself was enough to bring back a lot of unwanted memories.

“A date with yourself. Where you remember what it was like to love yourself. Now you will take the day off and do three things that would make you happy. Now – tell me what they are.”

[If you have reached till here – that’s your milestone 3; list the 3 things and send it to me]

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three

[Story to be Continued]

[I do not kow how you are feeling right now. Let me know, it’s your story and I would love to hear your feedback on the same.]