Zaeida, Life and Death.

There is still a lot I have to recover from. Loss is not an easy thing. It crushes your soul into small pieces and it takes a lot of effort and time to build it back by placing every piece in it’s right place. I feel, for me loss is quite agonizing. I need a lot of time to heal. I am too emotional and can come of as, borderline depressed. But then isn’t everyone depressed. Everyone has a backstory or will have a story to tell eventually, some choose to tell and some choose to keep it within themselves. I know, I sound like a pessimist but optimism is only for the privileged few. As soon as people get whatever they want, optimism takes the forefront and when they lose everything, it’s then they realize that being optimistic can only do so much.

I learnt this from a friend of mine, Zaeida. Zaeida was always very cheerful and happy about everything in her life. Be it a morning cup of coffee or meeting new people, she enjoyed it all or she seemed to enjoy it all, until one fine morning when I got a call from her mother informing me of the unimaginable. Zaeida had committed suicide, she hung herself in her room during early morning hours. It took me a good minute to come to terms with the fact that she did it. In a state of disbelief, I stupidly asked her mother, “ But why aunty? She was happy and fine few days back. What went wrong?”. All that I could think of at that moment was, why? Why would she do that, she was a happy soul, content about everything around her, a strong support for me whenever I felt low. She loved everything around her, she had a perfect life, job at one of the top start-ups, a german shepard to come back to and a loving boyfriend who made dinner for her everyday. Why would someone end their life when everything is going well and life is perfect? My questions were answered pretty soon.

She had left a note before she took the decision to end her life.

“Dear mom,

I know you will be in a very disturbed state by the time you get this letter but I love you unconditionally and will always do so. Please don’t spoil your health because of me. This was not your fault, not my boyfriends or not anyone’s fault. I am taking this step because I am tired. I am tired to live the same life day after day. I am tired of the routine and tired of being nice. I tried being bad as well for a few days but I ended up feeling more and more miserable as days passed by. I know you might be thinking, why am I doing this, I was so happy with my life. Mom, you remember when I was a kid and you told me to not play in the dirt because I might catch an infection. And, I did as you told me to but somewhere deep down I wanted to just stay there forever and play in the dirt, because in that moment I didn’t care about anything around me, nothing mattered. I was happy alone with my thoughts. Over the years, I had started to find happiness in living alone, it crept to me pretty late that I don’t do good living alone. I took to books and cooking and dance and everything on this planet which brought happiness, according to others. Nothing made me truly happy. I tried to make it through it all. I have realized, the more I make new friends or develop new hobbies, the more unhappy I am about myself, about keeping up with everyone around me, about constantly living. For once, I want to be alone and do not be disturbed by anyone. This is my escape route from the madness called life. I want to experience the peace and calm without being disturbed by any boundaries set by anyone. Always remember mom your daughter is more happier than she ever was in her living years.

Love you Mom!

Your’s Zaeida”

That letter explained it all, it not only tore all the perception of life and death but also shook some chord inside me. People are not what they post on their social media or put up in front of the society. Everyone is different, everyone is thinking about life and why are we here and what is the purpose of this life and why not death? These thoughts have crossed my mind many times too, since Sam passed away. I am constantly struggling to brush them off saying to myself that I am just having a bad bout of depression.

I remember the first time I met Zaeida, it was in an evening yoga class. She had these beautiful strong shoulders which caught my attention. While, I struggled to get through the whole class, for her it was a cake walk. She had a physique like mine, a healthy build with strong shoulders. She was so good at what she did. With her strong shoulders and firm grip, she was doing every pose and turning all parts of her body with so much ease. I couldn’t help myself from asking her:

“Hey, you are so good at this, have you been practicing since long?”

“Oh! You are too sweet. No actually, I have been on and off with the practice but I make sure I give at least 15 minutes everyday to practice at home”

“Ah! I guess then practice does make one perfect. Also, I was very happy to see another big girl do all the poses with so much ease, it gave me confidence that eventually I will also be able to do it”

“Hahahaha don’t underestimate yourself, do you think being big changes anything. Not at all, these terms fat, thin, skinny, obese were coined by few insecure men who just viewed women as commodities to sell as brands and not as another human being.”

Wow! A woman who is super confident and is happy about the way she looks was hard to find in my friend circle and here she was in blood and flesh, showing me a reason to love myself.

I mumbled “Sorry, I forgot to ask your name?”

“Hi, I am Zaeida, such a pleasure to meet you”

“Same here. I am Rumi”

“Rumi, such a nice name. What’s the meaning of your name?

It took me about a minute to gather my thoughts and reply back to her. Why had I forgotten the meaning of my own name. What is wrong with me?

“Oh! My mother always told me that I was named after my father’s favourite poet. I have never really bothered to know the actual meaning of it, I should now.”

“Yes, now I remember. I have read his poems. He is such a beautiful writer, soul stirring.”

I had no clue what she was talking about. You know at that age, I was more involved with my relationships and college. I was so alien to the world outside my campus and the few guys on whom I was emotionally and physically dependent on. Reading books and spending time in improving my life skills was not even an option. I realized that I had been talking to myself while funnily grinning at Sara’s face. I adjusted my thoughts and replied.

“That’s nice you are into poetry. Listen it was great meeting you. Will you be coming for a class everyday?”

“I want to, but still not sure, I work with a group of individuals in the gaming field and some days we have more work and other days we don’t. But I can give you my phone number and if I am going, I will message you?”

I had never met someone who would give away their phone number in the first meeting itself, especially to a person like me who is awkwardly trying to end the conversation and wants to get home and live in her little comfort zone.

I have always been this way, too scared to make new friends. I am pretty comfortable with a few old friends. Actually that’s a lie again. I had grown out of friendship even with them. You know that feeling you have when you start hanging out with a few of the same kind of people and slowly you realize that their personalities and yours don’t match. The way they think is not what you expected out of them, initially you try to change them but then you just can’t change someone who doesn’t view things the way you do. It’s a struggle to be in a such a friendship. Believe it not, I am still friends with them because it got lonely after Sam left. Strangely, no one has offered to hang out with me just to have a cup of coffee. Everyone came to his funeral and just sympathized. Sympathy is more like apathy for me. What is the point of sympathizing with me when you are going to go back home and have your food as usual, watch your favorite tv serial and play with your kids and maybe even have sex with your husband? What is the point of putting up a face which has no meaning in your life? You just waste yours and my precious time. If it was up to me, I would have never had a funeral for Sam. I hate being sympathized by people who hardly even knew him. I should be just left alone with his memories. I didn’t want anyone around me at that time, not even my kids. Kids came into picture long after we got married. What we had for the first 3 years of marriage was special, was a bond which cannot be replaced by your pity looking eyes or a few good words spoken about him. He was good and bad for me. He was my life and now death for me.

Sara and me exchanged phone numbers before leaving. I brushed it off thinking that she will never call or message me. It had happened with me before as well. I was not expecting anything from her. I went on with my life as usual. The next day, I was in my morning class when I got a message from her.

‘Hey, this is Sara. Hope you remember me from the yoga class. I am not in a mood to go to yoga today but if you are free we can catch up on some chatting over a cup of coffee. I really need a break from my office colleagues and need to get some fresh air.’

I was happy because this was probably the first time a girl had asked me out for a coffee that too someone mature and not from my college.

“Hey Sara, of course I remember you, the girl from the yoga class. Well, I will get done with my classes by 4 p.m. We can meet after that in the Happybird Cafe right across the street from our yoga class. If you are okay with it, I will message you the exact address?”

We met around 4:30 p.m that evening and talked for 3 hours straight. We instantly clicked and I never felt out of place or awkward with her. Zaeida was such an easy going person. Such a breeze to talk to. She was a crowd pleaser. Always smiling and talking politely with everyone. Always making sure that she listened to you and your problems. During our whole conversation, there was not even a single minute when she was negative about anything. I shared my relationship issues and she just listened. Now that I am thinking about it, would it have been different if I would have asked her, how she was doing? Like, actually how she was and does she have any pain or sorrows to share with me.

We get so busy and lost in our own lives that we forget to ask the person sitting right next to us if things are fine with them. Maybe if one person had asked her about her feelings or how she felt that day, she would have opened up, she would have been alive.

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