November hasn’t been too kind to me.
Like every year, I stepped into November holding on to the remains of Durga Puja. I like November because it’s the month of change. You get to feel the warmth on your toes slipping away slowly, you are hit with a fresh cinnamony smell on the streets, you feel a hint of cold air sweep past your ears on tip-toe, you see the daylight fall off the sky quicker than before. It’s beautiful how these little unnoticeable things around us grow like saplings from a seed and then one fine day, sprout into winter.
(In today’s blog, I’m going to share pictures of some of the things I did last winter.)
But the temperature fluctuation got the better of me. The flu caught on like wildfire. My sore throat leaped into action. Bacteria, virus, you name it, I’ve had it. It all started on a Monday when my tonsils decided to have a party while I was leaving for work. And they refused to de-swell. For the whole month!
Nothing seemed to work. Medication, caution, happy thoughts – nothing. That’s when I realized that I was in it for good.
It’s really annoying to be sick for an entire month, but it has also given me one good thing – stillness. It allowed me to slow down for a bit and notice the tiny good things happening around me. My ill health gifted me a peaceful and slow advent leading up to one of my favourite times of the year – Christmas.
Have I told you how much I love Christmas? I love it to my bones. I usually spend Christmas with my family, buttoned up in warm clothes to my ears, binge-watching Christmas movies and of course, cake. It fills me up with warm, happy thoughts.
“He stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
Christmas has always been about calmness and reflection. Because I don’t like starting the new year all burned out and exhausted. But this year has been like a chain of domino, tipping one day into the next. I didn’t even realize that we were nearing the end of the year until the tonsils took me out for several weeks.
Two of these weeks I spent with Maa and Baba and I watched how simple their lives are. I watched how time has slowed down in my parents’ house since I left, how a new and slower routine has taken over, how they are coming to terms with my absence. What hurts me the most is their progress towards old age, their slow but sure inability to do certain things that weren’t a problem before. We, as children, probably can’t accept our parents growing old. It’s something I have been struggling to come to terms with a lot lately. So I turned to Christmas for comfort. And sure enough, there’s hardly anything that can’t be cured with a big dose of Christmas spirit.
After I returned home with Tathagata, we had a quick follow-up with the doctor. Another change of medicines, our fun and cheering drawing-room conversations and a heated Arsenal-Tottenham match later (which, thank God, Arsenal won), I was feeling much better.
Putting on the breaks has given me a renewed understanding of how deeply caring a family I have been blessed with. It has made me see how every person responded to my health, how silently but surely each and everyone helped me become stronger and better every day in their own ways. Recovery has been slow but I’ve had one cool support system.
What I’ve realized in the last month is that the way we care for our bodies, minds and souls are closely knit. When one of them is under-nourished, the others will follow suit. So, I’m going to step into the new year with a renewed sense of self-care, a pocketful of happy thoughts and covered from head to toe in an army of warm clothes. But before that, we’ve got Christmas coming up and I can’t wait to wake up with Jingle Bells playing in full volume in my head!
Hope you have a lovely Christmas! I’ll see you soon.
The cover image has been taken by Sanchari.