To Eat or Not To Eat?

I had an eating disorder for three and a half years of my life, throughout high school. Bulimia as an eating disorder is different from other such disorders as it has cycles. The cycle looks like this: diet-binge-purge-repeat. It typically repeats itself over and over, and if you are suffering from bulimia nervosa, you may feel like it’s impossible to stop. But understanding this pattern of behaviour is one of the best ways to figure out how to stop it and start on the road to recovery.

Throughout the last three years, I have worked intensely on myself. At this point in time I can, fortunately, say that I don’t do the cycle anymore. This project is not a romanticization of mental illness, rather it is proof that if you are experiencing bingeing and purging, recovery is possible. You may be able to apply some strategies on your own. Keep food records to understand your own patterns. Learn some strategies for breaking the cycle. Finally, seek help from a qualified professional.

The painting was created out of the mental state when the idea of binging and purging clash with each other. The vomiting, the discomfort and the continuous struggle to be okay being in your body is something I tried to embody in the painting. Someone once said, use a small plate to manage your food intake. The plate in the middle is there to say that it would not matter because the line that divided my two extreme ideas of consumption was pretty much present everywhere regardless of the utensils’ size or depth. It is a never-ending dilemma.

I wrote certain lines that came to my mind while I was painting. From a few lines, it went to a few lines that made sense together. I added the visuals that were going through my mind while I was writing as accurately as possible. To make the other person understand what goes through your mind when you have an eating disorder.

Valeur personnelle

It’s been two hours that I have been subconsciously shaming my body. Telling myself that I am not perfect, not presentable, not the best that I can be, maybe? I have understood that “men” in our society aren’t allowed to be insecure about these things, or women for that matter. They are supposed to get up there, feel guilty and work on their imperfect selves. But I have looked at the accumulated fat on my thighs three times now.

It’s been two and a half hours. I have gone back to the profile of that social media influencer twice now. The one I unfollowed, because she did not stand up for all types of bodies that exist, the one that had posted “a cow is skinnier than that” on her high school best friend’s prom photo and created huge drama? Yes. That one. Her follower count has steadily increased since then, but not her tolerance towards people who do not fit into an XS size cocktail dress. I have admired her collar bone a couple of times.

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Rêveries

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius

I have thought about various things that make me human. The bed at night, the bottle of water that I love, a letter that I wrote to my dead friend once.

The things that make me human also make me not so much of a human at the very same time. Between linguistic jargon and half-hearted memories what actually makes me, me, is debatable indeed.

A walked through the park with the person I kissed once and never saw again, my first sex ed class that made me feel like an alien, the ever changing obsessions that I live for, it all makes me different yet relatable. Like a box of matches that is empty. Useful, yet useless. Beautiful yet dangerous. New yet very out of date.

I exist regardless. Like an old Elvis record at the end of my grandfather’s bookshelf. Like an evidence of something that heard, saw, understood and yet did not react or reciprocate. Like something novel but not really.

It is difficult to exist this way but that is what makes it worth it every single day.

À Nouveau

I lost myself within the collective countdown to a new year, intoxicated enough to think thoughts like “why are humans so stupid? who cares about another year passing?” and all that.

I was so happy with where I was in life. I had let go of many things and held on to the more important ones, met amazing people, made dear friends. I noticed the froth on the sides of my beer glass. Amateur pouring, someone had once taught me. There was so much that was wrong with the world, so many bags heavy with emotions that we would all unenthusiastically carry into another 365 days of oxymoronic existence. Some of us would grow, some would fall only to get up, but all of us would live.

Not literally, although I wish with all my heart that that is the case, but metaphorically. In stories, told by people, animals, places, memories and things. Like the froth holding on to the rim of the glass, making a point, not always given importance though. Just there, as memorabilia of something or someone that once ceased to be.

And that is all that matters.

Independence!

Coming to college was somehow not real until the very last week before I moved to Bangalore. I was really happy that I was leaving home, actually. Independence is luring before you understand how much of a utopian concept it is, isn’t it? But the last few days, it just all became clear to me. It was not going to be as fun and happy as I thought it would. At least at first.  A new city, new people, strangers that too. What would I do? The fear was big and monstrous in my head when I waved my parents goodbye at the Bangalore airport. My heart was beating faster and faster as I took a cab home, my bad, hostel. I felt kind of forced into this, even though it was very much my own choice to come to Srishti.
I was not ready for this. I should have stayed back home. I might as well have gone to one of the colleges in Kolkata that I got into. I should never have left my comfort zone. This was, very certainly, not for me.

A Few Days Later

I am walking down an empty street in Yelahanka, I know now that you don’t call this part of the city Bangalore. I have just finished my dinner at the dining hall. All my friends are at this party that I refused to go to because I have assignments due. The street is so very empty that you can hear the howl of a dog from kilometres away. I am feeling really alone, lost, out of place. I think of calling one of my parents, family member or my best friend. I take my phone out of my pocket when I see that it is dead. My forehead starts sweating despite the cool breeze that blows against my face.
I’m halfway to my hostel. I hear footsteps behind me. At this point, I am genuinely terrified. My animal instinct tells me to run, but before running it also tells me to look back once to check who it is. I decide not to act on either of my thoughts. I just keep walking, not looking back. I am almost there. My hostel is right around the corner or so I convince myself. I hold my breath and attempt to walk faster as I hear “Jishnu!” from behind. It is a familiar voice! I turn around, involuntarily almost, while I keep walking. My heart drops. My body just becomes cold somehow from the sudden relaxation that has engulfed it. It is my hostel mate, Jonathan. A smile lightens my face up and I give out a gasp of relief. As I wait for him to join me and we walk together towards our house, I feel a little more confident about life here. I feel a little less alone. I am still scared, afraid and nervous, but not so much. Tomorrow is going to be a better day. I am going to make it. I am going to be fine.

Continue reading “Independence!”

Life Update: Design School? Moving Out?

DISCLAIMER:  I AM ALREADY COMPLETED TWO WEEKS OF SCHOOLING BY THE TIME THIS BLOG POST SHALL BE UP. THIS WAS WRITTEN ABOUT A MONTH AND A HALF AGO.

So, I  graduated from High School! Okay. Let that sink in.

I thought of taking a drop year after school as I wanted to travel and learn new languages and acquire new skills and do all that cliched coming-of-age stuff. But I decided otherwise during my mid-terms in my senior year in school. Mainly because I was too excited to go to college. I just could not wait.

So here I am. Undergrad school (college) starts in a month.

So, where am I going? what am I going to study? Minors? Majors? Here’s the break down:

I am going to Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), India. I got into a lot of other places like Pearl Academy, NIFT (I did not appear for the second round of examinations though),  UnitedWorld Institute of Design, Indian Institute Of Art and Design etc. but I choose Srishti because it was in sync with my list of demands from a college. Srishti apparently has the perfect mix of art, design and technology as the name suggests. I really wanted that, somehow.

I am going to be majoring in Visual Communications and Strategic Branding along with minors and electives from a range of other transdisciplinary subjects.

So here I am. I am going to leave this place a few weeks from now, once and for all and I am going through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Let’s see where this new journey takes me, I guess?

XOXO
JISHNU

 

For the love of Don! – A play review

It was an evening like any other. Watching a play with my parents was almost a bi-monthly routine for me. As I walked through the cobbled path of AOFA, I was thinking of many things, but nowhere in my mind did I have a thought that represented the magic that I saw on stage that day.

ooo

The play that I am talking about is called “DON – Taake Bhalo Laage” (which literally translates to “Don – I like him”) by the house of Chetana. The play started off with very graphically rich visuals that represented, while questioning, the present state of our society, our country, this world and our very existence. All of it and none of it at the same time. As the play progressed and became more and more complex, lovable and enigmatic all at the same time, I could not help but notice the excellent use of light, props and, most importantly, music.

The play was so fluidly musical and mysteriously beautiful that you almost became a part of it, at least I did. The music, which was a mix of everything from Kirtan to Flamenco, was live, which made it even more real. The lead, Suman Mukhopadhyay, who plays a mix of a prosecuted poet, Hamlet – the prince of Denmark and Don Quixote – the man of La Mancha at the same time, is one person to keep your eyes hooked on, along with Aldonza (Don would tell me to rather call her Dulcinea, though) played by the ever graceful Nivedita Mukhopadhyay and Sancho Panza (my personal favourite) played by Sujan Mukhopadhyay, for whom the play becomes what it becomes. An adaptation of the original by Arun Mukhopadhyay (who also appears in a humorous cameo in this one) called “Dukhi Mukhi Jodhha“, this play stands tall as a testament to the world we live in today.

I identify as an agnostic person and the play made quite a lot of sense to me, as it did to the person sitting right beside me (my father) who is quite a firm believer in the existence of the Almighty.

The show encourages one to dream, to hope, to look beyond the real and find the truth, to rediscover reality, to find within ourselves our very own knight in shining armour. With references to the works of monumental personalities, such as Utpal Dutt and Bertolt Brecht, the production is a treat for the intellectual mind and a jug of lemonade for the dried out soul of the fantasizer that lives inside of all of us.

It is a play that makes you think a million times: “To be, or not to be?”

It a creation not to be missed.

Duration: 140 minutes

Director: Sujan Mukhopadhyay

Cast: Suman Mukhopadhyay, Nivedita Mukhopadhyay, Sujan Mukhopadhyay

Langugae: Bengali

BIOSCOPEWALA – an emotion!

DISCLAIMER: ALL OPINIONS ARE SOLELY MINE AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED OR SPONSORED BY ANY INDIVIDUAL, COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION.

Yesterday I was invited for a special screening of Bioscopewala by a friend of mine, Neel. Here’s what I thought of it:

IMDB describes Bioscopewala’s plot as: “A woman meets her dead father’s old friend, who was the operator of a Bioscope show that she loved in her childhood. Connecting India and Afghanistan, a story of love and cinema unfolds.” But it is a lot more than just a mere adaptation of Kabuliwala.

b1.jpg

Bioscopewala is everything that a Tagore story demands in today’s time and more. It’s new, yet it is old. It’s modern as well as nostalgic. Madhekar has so beautifully churned out this fresh and enigmatic piece with the characters of an evergreen prose that one can not take their eyes off the screen while the movie is on.

You are bound to be swept away by the plethora of emotions that this movie upholds with great grace, and cry, laugh and feel good at the end of it. The movie makes you realize how important art is for the admirer and the creator. This movie subtly tells the story of the struggle of every man who wants to put art out there. The film points out how we all have someone who teaches us to make things up, to tell our story. We all have our individual Bioscopewalas.

The eye for detail also deserves appreciation. Every scene is so perfectly crafted that after a while it feels like real life. Among all the other things I loved, the use of multiple languages was my favourite. Also, did I mention the title song that is still buzzing in my ears?

Each and every character has been given adequate screen time and enough opportunities to show off their skills. It is needless to say that they have done justice.

This is probably the only film that I felt like watching again and again. After a very long time did I feel this way. Another thing that caught my eye was the poster artwork, as an aspiring designer and artist, I could not help but fall in love with it!

Hats off to the whole team for their effort and hard work which translated into this beautiful bioscope of sorts. This piece is heartwarming, heart-wrenching and everything in between. This is what Indian cinema was begging for.

Go watch it when it releases a few days from now, in a theatre near you, and thank me later!

#WHATSYOURSTORY

LINKS:

TEASER

TRAILER

BIOSCOPEWALA TITLE SONG

MOVIE INFO (CAST, CREW ETC.)

Judgement Day

Day 256

What are we?

Nope. I am not pretending to be super woke all of a sudden, out of nowhere. I have probably been asking this question since I saw the last season of Black Mirror. No, a little before that, when I read 1984 by George Orwell. Or, maybe, just maybe, very recently after I binged on Lost In Space on Netflix?

I am not sure.

And finding the source of this question that is going nowhere is wasting time. When the year started off, I promised myself that I am going to procrastinate a little less in 2018. I want to keep that promise, at least when it concerns this blog post.

Back to the question: What are we heading towards?

Well, you tell me. Given the way things are progressing, I may go to space by when I am 50. Woah! Isn’t that a lot to take in? Starry-eyed dreams of travelling through the Alpha Centauri like a hitchhiker would come true? You’re kidding, right? No, no, no. Not the time to throw in pop-culture references.

Back to the question: What are we making of us?

I know this one, I truly do. Nothing. I can’t say we are becoming animals, because we were animals in the first place. I can’t really claim that we are becoming uncivilized, because what even is civilization? Wearing a blazer to a school in India where the weather outside is forty degrees celsius? I think we are failures as a race. Oh, shoot, look at me being a misanthropist again. Damn it!

Back to the question: What…

Wait, I am sleepy again. They told me this would happen if I did not keep my mouth shut. Mouth…shut….”

#TheHabitat – An ‘other-worldly’ podcast!

I love podcasts, they are just the right mixture of everything and the pinnacle of hands-free entertainment. I was just searching for something new to get hooked on to when I came across #TheHabitat.

It was reality TV on a whole new level. I loved the podcast more than anything and not without reasons. Hence, I was compelled to like this blog-post.

This podcast by the digital giant Gimlet Media is everything your space freak soul was asking for all these years. It is through the seven episodes and a bonus one of this masterpiece of a production that I realised, real human emotions and a fake planet can result in interesting scenarios and devastating situations.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.57.57 PM.jpg

On the website, they say: “On a remote mountain in Hawaii, there’s a fake planet Mars. Six volunteers are secluded in an imitation Mars habitat where they will work as imitation astronauts for one very real year. The goal: to help NASA understand what life might be like on the red planet—and plan for the day when the dress rehearsals are over, and we blast off for real. Host Lynn Levy has been chronicling this experiment from the moment the crew set foot in their habitat, communicating with them through audio diaries that detail their discoveries, their frustrations, and their evolving and devolving relationships with each other. From those diaries, Gimlet Media has crafted an addictive serialized documentary: the true story of a fake planet.”

I can only tell you this without spoiling everything, it is a lot more than that.

This unbelievably unbelievable podcast is the true mixture of sci-fi and hardcore reality. With no connection to the outside world, dehydrated bird food, miniature furniture and just a couple of faces to look at for a year, it is easy for one to lose it completely. But do they? Or does the crew stick together and fight every odd like our ancestors did when they started off on planet Earth? For that, you have to go ahead and listen to this one-of-a-kind documentary that is already winning hearts, and awards.

If not for anything else, for the original compositions by Haley Shaw, plus seven killer covers of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”