I’ve always loved March. Just like the coffee I’m sipping. No, scrap that. Coffee is Life. I just love March. Or used to. Oh well, that’ll take some time to cover.
My March of 2017 had been awaited with a lot of trepidation. It started off with my first performance poetry at SoulSlam Kolkata, 2017. I wasn’t nervous as I often perform impromptu amongst my friends on their demand, but that’s not officially, so that cannot be counted really. The names were being called on being picked up at random by the hosts and as luck would have it, guess what? I was called as the very first performer! (Dammit, happens with Me every time!) We had been told to confront our inner demons and as their theme, will have to confess to something that we wouldn’t usually say or admit to in public. To be weird and just be ourselves. I have no idea how I did get the guts to just go out there and say it all in front of 50 odd performers, added to that the pressure of being the first performer, but I did. God, I did it! Seeing people connect to my poetry pieces, my story of clinical depression, and the overwhelming sounds of finger-clicking and claps, mine had been a sure success and crucial for setting the pace for the next stories to follow up on. The entire event had felt to me as if I had been sitting in a therapy session and we had all gathered there to share our experiences, our battles with life. And I had just been showered with public support and empathy for mine, without any judgement. It had been definitely one of the finest evenings I ever had.
This beautiful experience was soon followed by a nail-biting anticipation of my post-graduate seminar where Masters final-semester students had to present their thesis in front of external professors, all faculty members and guess what, all the batches of my department. In fact, our batch turned out to be the guinea pigs to be tested on for an idea of this kind. It hadn’t happened in the history of our department before and we were to create one this year. My supervisor landed from his holiday just 2 days before our seminar and while some of my friends have had already 2 mock seminars by then, we on the other hand, especially if I talk about my situation, I not only had my speech not ready, I also had my presentation total incomplete. I remember not sleeping even a wink in that span of 48 hours and I also remember writing my speech at 2 in the morning and sitting down for the presentation at 5 in the morning, with the deadline at 6. I remember going to Univ with an unprepared speech and I also remember freaking out on the inside looking at my well-prepared friends. All that had me going was my love & eagerness for my research and before I knew it, I had given my life’s first seminar presentation and successfully (at least I hope so!) answered all the questions. No matter how many hardships I get to face later, this will undoubtedly remain etched in my mind for a long time to come.
And then, came along my much-awaited marathon run! I had started running since the start of this year as one of my resolution (yeah, I tend to adhere to my resolutions or at least try to) and intended to follow it up with actual marathon run. Right then, Pinkathon, the biggest women’s race in India managed by the actor Milind Soman entered into the scene with its very first edition in Kolkata and I just couldn’t let go of such a golden opportunity to prove it to myself that yes, I am indeed a runner! First happened the Gulal Run, which was a fun run of 5KM conducted on the day of Holi, which was my first official public run with hundreds of other amateur & professional runners in the midst of rains. While on the run, I came to realize , what an amazing day to start off! It was a wonderful pre-run before the main event that was to be held on 24th March and it is here where I had my fan moment (actually not mine, one of my sister-friend is a huge fan of him and I had to take the selfie for her to give her that beautiful smile!) with Milind Soman. (I swear, I’m never going near any celebrity ever. God, the crowd I had to cut through!! Thank Heavens, I don’t have any fan feelings for any celebrity!)
Now the main run which was to start from 5:30 in the morning at Rangers Club Ground, Maidan. I had literally forced my father to come with me to the marathon so that he can see his youngest daughter trying to do at least something fruitful in her life! We were made to do Zumba for one whole hour and oh my God, the fun we had with the super cool Zumba instructor! And finally, the run for 3Km was flagged off. (I had to choose 3km as by the time I had registered, the 5km run had been closed) Wearing the Pinkathon shirt and running with thousands of women, both amatuer and professional ones, all women who are trying hard to become a bit fitter was such an inspiring moment for Me. I had timed my run and I think I did well for my first run. Everytime I felt I just couldn’t run anymore, the volunteers who were there at every turn clapping & cheering us on, saying, “Yes, you can do it! We’re proud of you!” gave me goosebumps every single time and I just kept running. I had no clue where my father was and when there was only a few meters to the finish line, I heard someone shouting which sounded like my father’s voice from the stand-lines, “That’s my girl! Go, Eshita!” And I had turned to see my father clapping for me with a huge grin. I swear it was such a moment of pride and before I knew it, holy shit, I had just crossed the finish line! I finally became a marathon runner with the unique medal and certificate provided by Pinkathon and no matter how many marathon I run from now, this first marathon will always remain special for Me.
All the years that has preceded this year, I used to do this countdown before my birthday date, like a week to go, 3 days to go and so on & so forth. But probably because I already knew the fate of my birthday of this year, I had almost totally forgotten about my birthday maybe because I didn’t want it to come. But then, it did come on 30th with half of my family out of city, University classes to attend (with a cake-cutting ceremony, sure, but hell! Who wants classes on Birthday!) and a low-key birthday plan to follow up on. Last year I had partied with so many people that I had eventually gotten tired and decided to have a low-key birthday next year and here it was happening, as desired. At the end of the day, I had a full belly stuffed with delicious foods and an amazing homemade cake courtesy my Mom who had worked really hard to cover up the void of my father who was out of the city. The calls had been only from my significant friends, with the midnight call from my school best friend, who had been with Me since the time when I looked like a guy! To end with the call from my workaholic brother who did his customary two-liner happy-birthday call only an hour before the end of my birthday. And with all this, I decided to not celebrate my birthday from the next year at all. Because really, I came to realize that birthdays are a reminder of people I’ve loved and lost, increasingly losing and just forgotten. Birthdays are being a reminder of the fact that I came alone and will go alone.
I just realized that my coffee is tasting awful and I definitely need another refill. Also, if I get to survive next month too, given that I gotta submit a dissertation which I haven’t even started writing even one word of the required 10,000 words… See you then!
P.S Gravest apologies for the extremely long post. I had quite a…difficult time in my favorite month, of all! Bear with Me?
Big and tight hugs if you had the patience to read it all.