Tag Archives: scared

Constant Vigilance.

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Cobra. Bodyguard. Impower. Bullet. What are these, you wonder? Brand names of pepper spray. Why do I know, you ask? Because New Years’ Eve happened.

Unlike so many others in Bangalore, I wrapped up work at 5 PM on NYE to head home! Yes, I wanted to stay indoors while the rest of city revelled out in ten degrees of chill. If finding commute on regular days is a pain, that evening was exceptionally terrible. It took me ten minutes of futile attempts at booking an Uber and three refusals, before an auto driver agreed to drop me home, by the meter. Anyone who’s travelled in Bangalore knows ‘by the meter’ is a blessing. But was I to know what would follow? In the guise of a request for smaller notes to buy gasoline, he borrowed 2000 bucks from me, skipped the gas stations and took a wrong turn. On my insistence to return the money back, he stopped at the beginning of a flyover, turned around to scare me with stories of a fresh murder he’d committed and threatened to put a knife through me. I, obviously, didn’t want to see him brandish a knife, so a couple of futile attempts later I got off the auto, lest he drive away with me. Oh, he wasn’t crazy; he was crazy drunk. I saw him speed away with my money, but more importantly, my composure and the peace of my family and friends. At the end of three hours, I’d found my strength again, a helpful auto driver and with my friends in tow, filed a complaint with the police.

They say PTSD is diagnosed after a month of the symptoms, which generally show up around 3 months after the tragedy. But what is the diagnosis for the deviant thoughts that strike me every time I step into an auto now? What about the anxiety that rushes through me when the auto driver takes a shorter, new route? What about my friends now who keep asking me if I’ve reached home, while I am still stuck in Bangalore traffic? What would I have done if the man had taken out a knife? You’d say ‘don’t overthink’. I try not to. But when I look out of the auto to distract myself, I catch myself reading auto license plate numbers, searching for the one I’d unfortunately ridden in. When I look inside the auto, I furtively glance at the driver in the rear view mirror. When they argue about the fare now, I prefer to get down midway. When I give them a bigger note, I worry if they’ll return the change. This happened in broad daylight – would I have survived an attempt at night? I have seldom felt more vulnerable in Bangalore but that day in the usually crowded metropolis I found no person to walk up to. There were barely any cars on the roads, people were scattered around on a five-point crossing and there was no traffic police guard. Post my written complaint, I expected the police to immediately start a search to nab a drunk driver – after all, I did have his license plate details on camera. But I can’t tell them how to do their job, right? Would the driver have done this if a man sat in the back seat? Would a pepper spray have helped me? Could I have punched him in the face and gotten my money back? What if the driver hadn’t stopped the auto at my insistence? Should I have sat there and argued or cowered at his macho attempts to scare me?

I am not maligning all auto drivers. But nor do I plan to forgive and forget what happened. What I wonder is what had I done wrong? How do I ensure that I don’t get into another such situation? How do you ensure constant vigilance?

Oh, also. Happy New Year! ❤

Graciously Yours!

In the woods.

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The box. The door. The crumbling brick. They all begged me to enter. It was the only shelter I could find from the thunders outside! I’d lost my way back. Now it didn’t seem such a good idea to stomp out of the resort in anger. In my blind anger, I’d forgotten the road and the turns I’d taken, the spot where I’d decided to enter the woods. I recalled a milestone sign, but I couldn’t recollect the number written on it as I’d seen it through my blurry vision then, clouded by tears. I was never this careless. My mobile phone showed no network. This was a decision I’d have to make. I couldn’t Whatsapp a friend and ask them about whether I should enter the house or try another turn in the woods. The trees were swishing loudly, the darkness that had set in not helping my heart calm down! I was shivering, gooseflesh lining my arms. Was it the cold? Or was it fear?

My ears were on alert but I didn’t want to pick up any more noises than I already was. I didn’t know what a slithering snake or the roar of a jaguar sounded like, or the bite of a wolf felt. Lightning struck once again. The trees around me lit up. The house was just a dozen feet away. Closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, I decided to go there than lose myself further into the woods. I took each step carefully, hands crossed across my chest, lest my heart thumped out of my body, phone inside the pocket and head lowered. But one step on the porch and I knew I’d made a mistake!

Graciously Yours!

Surviving the horrors!

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Coming up is a survival guide if you are being forced to sit through a horror film on the 70 mm film on cinema screens. For those of you bold and brave people out there who stepped into the halls knowing your dreams might not be as pleasant in the nights to come, I have put together a list of life hacks to, well, make life simpler. Isn’t that what life hacks do? Also, I have specifically picked up cinema halls because at home, you have a way out that is not 100 metres away shining in bright red reading ‘EXIT’, devilishly grinning at you while you sit crouched in fear as people scream and shout for their lives on the screen. Not that I was sitting crouched in fear. Anyway, let’s get to the point.

And the point is, or the points are:

  • Help comes from above:

Have you ever noted what the ceiling of a cinema hall looks like? When we go to museums, temples, mosques, churches, palaces or even when in the open, we look ceiling-wards or skyward to opine about the place. But why not a movie theatre? Well, for starters, obviously because you don’t go to admire the interiors of the theatre but the quality of their audio and visual. I get it. But you should try looking up too, you know? I did and I ended up counting 13 rows and 24 columns of tiles. At least. While the film was playing. It was difficult counting with the play of light on the ceiling. So rest assured, I spent a good amount of time not looking at the screen, while Annabelle Creations was being played.

  • Friend in need:

Always, and I am telling you this very seriously, always go with someone who’s worse than you at watching horror films, who screams at the drop of a hat or well, knife here, who jumps at every turn the protagonist takes, who bites their nails or digs them into the neighbour’s arm! That way the limelight is on them and their rather audible gasps and you leave unscathed from being the butt of jokes in your friend circle!

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  • Know-it-alls aren’t shy:

Keep your eyes closed if you want, but your ears open. There will always be one of those know-it-alls in the audience who will try to predict out loud what happens next and sometimes they’re correct too, being experts having watched way too many horror films over the years. That way you’re prepared for what all might happen next and your heart doesn’t jump into your throat at times odd and even.

  • Scope how you cope:

What’s your coping mechanism when fear settles in? Fight or flight? Well, reality check. Here, both won’t work. You can neither fight or flight. So what could work? Laughter! I picked up random scenes and separated them from the context – voila, the comments were such that my friend was in splits while the rest of the hall was intensely silent. One such chain of thought : Talking to myself, Tune out the audio, girl. That is what is scaring you. Tune out… Tune out… Auto tune… Shirley Sethia. And friend is in spilts. Google ‘auto tune and Shirley Sethia’. You’ll know what I mean.

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  • Phone a friend:

And if nothing else works, then whip out your phone, dim screen brightness, make sure it is on silent and start browsing through the multiple apps which have reduced our attention span, narrowed our world view while expanding our reach worldwide, update your interests on FaceBook, add a few snapchats in the dark, use some Instagram filters. Or like me, SMS (yes, it still exists) another friend sitting three seats away who was complaining about the film being boring! Boring would be the last thing I would call the film. I wonder what he’s made of.

These are my life hacks. What are yours?

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Want more life hacks? Tell me the topic in your mind and I’ll work on it for you. 😉

The House That Wasn’t.

dark_ancient_house_by_sand3rr“What is it that is stopping you?” she asked. “Come on in! I am sure the place isn’t haunted.”

He stepped in. His torch was slipping from his hands due to sweat. In the eerie silence of the house, the buzzing quiet of the night outside seemed favorable. All those stories he’s heard in his life of 19 years came back to haunt him.

“Will you even move?” his girlfriend whispered.

“How did she even manage to get the keys?” he wondered. He took his first step forward and his shoes clicked louder than ever. Coherent thoughts were giving way to fear again.

“Couldn’t you wear sports shoes or rubber slippers?” she whispered angrily.

“Well, you never told me you’re going house hunting today,” he retorted, scared of his own foot step.

“Take your shoes off,” she said, “or you’ll scare the ghosts away!”

“I am not going to do that,” he said.

“Fine. Then try and be less noisy,” she said with gritted teeth.

“If you could be less nosy,” he mumbled under his breath.

She held him by the wrist and walked around. The furniture was strewn all across the floor. Cobwebs shone into the torch light, dancing around him. The musty smell of the place was getting on to him. He spotted a cracked mirror hanging on the wall ahead. He averted his eyes lest he saw something he wasn’t meant to.

She kept talking to him but not one word got through to his conscious. His mind had its own set of defenses in place. His body was tense and alert. She stepped on to broken glass. His scared jump had a feline touch. She laughed at his reaction. Her laugh echoed in the house. It was scary. It wasn’t the laugh he had fallen in love with.

Soon he’d know why. She had stopped laughing but the house hadn’t.

Fear crept in her eyes too.

Continued…

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Pinterest.

Dare to dream?

For the past few days I have been pacifying myself with these words :

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough”

And I think I have dreamt big. Because my dream is scaring the hell out of me!

My dream wasn’t planned. One fine day, it just happened to become mine! Some one crossed my path and changed my life’s direction or should I say, gave my life direction. I always wanted an assortment of things which I thought would never fit together. But it does. Fit together. And I’ll be happy pursuing that dream.

But. There’s always a but.

I’m taking risks by leaps and bounds. I’m doing what is not obvious. I’m not following the crowd. And I’m refraining from en cashing my recent success. Instead I’m dreaming out of my league. My friends think I’m made for more. My heart says I want more. My brain says it’ll work for more.

Yet some part of me is making me ask you this : should I settle for the ordinary (which will be available to me even two years down the line, though not so easily maybe) or should I try and get into the league of the extraordinary?

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Remember, I just cleared those exams? This is about what I wanna do after.