When fishes climb trees. . . (the final part)

My story would be incomplete if I do not do literary justice to the final one year of the four years of trials and tribulations.
This is the year when slowly but surely, things started to look up. However, it is debatable if things really got better in truth, or if my attitude towards life became more robust.
It is for the reader to decide.

There goes a cliched saying that says that behind the success of every man, there exists the support of a woman. In my case, I am fortunate to have not one but, two women, who’ve played a major role in defining my personality.

One of them is my Mother, and the other is Mitali, my soulmate.
Readers who’ve been here for long know the story about my mother, and for the advantage of new readers, I shall provide a link to the tribute I had written for her on Mother’s Day, last year.

This, however, is the story of Mitali.
A rarely discussed handicap that I have is the tendency of having terrible nervous breakdowns, just before an exams. It has been a nemesis and I’ve had to live with it since I was 16.

It is a really complicated process and many who are not patient enough to listen, often misunderstand and ridicule the condition that I have.

The Doctor says that this cannot be solved with pills, but only with counselling and replacement of previous traumatic experiences with positive ones.

When I say doctor, yes, I mean what you would call a ‘shrink’ – psychologist/psychiatrist.
When you go to a ‘doctor for the mad’, there is a certain stigma attached to it, and it’s something I’ve maintained a secret. Only some people very close to me know this.

So, let me tell you more about what this condition basically is. The Human mind is complicated and it replicates previous responses to a bad situation.
‘Fight or flight’ – reaction is what it is know as. So, I don’t know why, but my mind developed a certain poor way to react to examinations.

And, with each time, that reaction slowly got converted into a habit.
I’d not be able to sleep the night before an exam, tossing and turning on the bed. Heart rate would be abnormally high. It is sometimes accompanied by getting up in the middle of the night and frantically revising the lessons again and again.

But I would just turn the pages, and nothing would be registered in my mind. Shaky hands and a feverish body temperature would follow suite.

The most disappointing thing was I’d not be able to recall anything that I had studied. It is one of the most horrifying experiences of my life – going as BLANK as the white answer sheet before me.

What my doctor couldn’t cure completely was cured by Mitali.
She reached for the root of the problem, and opined that this problem continues to persist because I have a deep seated fear of being judged by people for my academic performance.
How right was she!

Here was the simple solution to my nemesis of 7 years – saying out aloud in my mind “I care a rat’s ass about what people think about me. I know I haven’t wasted my potential. I have tried my best, and whatever grades I get shall be great. I’ll not hate myself for it”.

I learnt to love myself by loving Mitali. I learnt to stop punishing myself over the years for not matching up to people’s standards. I imbibed her attitude towards life.

I’m a Piscean by astrological meaning and connotation (skip this part if you don’t believe in all that jazz). Pisceans are people who absorb the positives of their immediate environment.

I learnt to think like Mitali. I learnt to say “I don’t care a damn”. This was a great addition to my soft spoken nature.

She’d call me before every exam of my final year, just minutes before the final bell and say “Listen this exam can’t determine your destiny. Even if you fail it, we’ll start again. We’ll start fresh, this time with an honors in English. Remember you ARE talented and you know it. And, no matter what, I shall love you”.

The solution is simplistic but it worked wonders for me. I survived. The ordeal is over.
Today, that is, on the thirteenth of April, Mitali and I complete one year of togetherness.

It seems like an eternity to me – like I’ve known that noble soul for generations. Among the few people I’ve dated, good or bad, straight or crooked, none of them had come to stay, none of them had accepted me so wholesomely.

It’s like, she is a seasoned sculpturor and she simply took some mud and created a different idol of me – very different from what I was. Women have great power and as I look back in amazement on the year we’ve spent, I cannot help but smile a little.

You have created a new Subh, and nothing that I can write, now or in the next fifty years, shall ever measure up to be a worthy tribute to you. Thanks a lot for showing me how to live without fear and how love can do wonders.

Looking forward to growing old with you.
Happy anniversary, buddy!
This, friends, is the story so far – the story of my simple life.



19 comments on “When fishes climb trees. . . (the final part)

  1. Mitali Das says:

    M touched. This blog means a lot to me. Thank u. Thanks a lot. M madly, truly nd deeply in love wid u. I’ll alwys b der. Love u πŸ™‚

  2. Dagny says:

    Darn it! You kids made me tear up today. Bless you both.

    Life’s solutions are always simple. Aren’t they?

  3. lgyslaine says:

    is is wonderful progress. Full of beautiful things you both πŸ™‚

  4. soumyav says:

    May the love of friendship,togetherness and understanding always bloom in both of you. The way she has been with you is admiring and truly deserving..for if she is compassionate about you,you too are worthy enough for her. Certainly she has brought out the best of you,by believing in you and by encouraging your true self to the last … My best wishes to both of you !

  5. Beechmount says:

    Dear Subh

    Anxiety is a condition that many students suffer from at exam time. We have five universities here in the Halifax/Dartmouth area, which means that students are often in the news, thus we become aware of the β€˜anxiety’ that quite a few of them suffer from during exams. How they cope with it varies-some seek the company of fellow students who study for the same exams, some use prescription drugs-crazy things like ADHD (Attention deficit hyper activity disorder) pills, to calm them down,-some smoke pot, the results of which I couldn’t imagine.

    I have great difficulty in understanding β€˜anxiety’, since stressful situations triggers my adrenalin pump and just makes me work that much harder. I have always been like that and consequently, exams just never bothered me- au contraire-they hone whatever intelligence I have and intensify my ability to focus on the subject at hand.

    Now that your exams are behind you, the problem should resolve itself, since you can focus your intelligence on something you love to do. Leaving university and beginning a career often creates a feeling of euphoria and I hope you will get that feeling. Also, you are leaving home (for a while) and that will give you a perspective of life as it is in another place. It becomes a new learning experience, which in itself can be both euphoric and mind expanding.

    Subh, I have followed you for more than a year and observed you develop your writing skills and ability to convey your thoughts and opinions into increasingly sophisticated blog posts. I’m happy for you and hope your future will be bright, rewarding and cheerful.

    All the best from Grandpa

  6. Grandpa, I’ve given this little handicap that I have a lot of thought. I believe it happens only in case of Math. I’m okay facing an English test, or a test of Physics or Chem. Also, when I take up self assigned writing goals, I feel the adrenaline pump. With the political analysis blog, I’m trying to push my self and venture into a territory that’s not entirely my forte. I give myself deadlines and I successfully ace them. No nervousness happens then. It beats me :-/

    • Beechmount says:

      Give it time Subh- everything will eventually fall into place and you will find a path that will lead you through life. I can tell you that I truly hated my math teacher in middle school and it affected my ability in this subject, but I got over it later, in University, although I never developed any interest in the subject..

      History has been my great passion through my life. I’m currently reading Winston Chuchil’s ‘A History Of The English Speaking People’ which, being 4 volumes, will take me a while.

      • It’s really great to have a voice of wisdom on the blog. It helps. We are basically people who are still trying to find our way through life – Jessica, Allwin, Mohit and myself and the rest. I can tell you that it’s a blessing to have you here and to have known you.

  7. Oh Madam, it feels great to recieve such wonderful awards from you. I also feel a little guilty for not writing the award acceptance posts. I never seem to find time for them. I hope you understand that I appreciate the gesture and accept the awards wholeheartedly.

  8. Jessica says:

    Wonderful Subh and Mitali! I’m so glad you’ve found one another. This story was beautiful—what a great girl you have, Subh. Never forget that! No matter what the world throws at you, you will always have each other.

    Grandpa is right. You’ve grown a lot even since *I* started to get to know you, Subh. And going out “into the world” will help you continue to grow. What an exciting, challenging journey this life is…

    Also, Subh, an English note from silly me: You do know “fish” is plural without the -es, right? πŸ˜‰

  9. The usage is controversial – I’ve found examples of both forms in text. Hence I chose to go with the safest.
    Wish – wishes
    fish – fishes. Isn’t that right? πŸ™‚

  10. I just read a beautiful fairytale. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ You are truly are made-for-each-other couple. I’m SOOO happy for you both!!! Best wishes. πŸ™‚

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