Changi Airport in early morning.
“All airports are same”, says Shadow, the protagonist of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, “it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re in an airport, tiles and walkways and restrooms, gates and newsstands and fluorescent lights.” This is exactly what I felt during my travels, except that the international airport in Nepal is darker and smaller compared to the other four airports in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
Airports feel like a different country altogether. You can shop, eat, sleep, read, watch people from different walks of life passing you by. And because you always have a suitcase or a carry on, you make yourself home if you are in a transit or your flight getting delayed. You make friends at the airport, those who have the same flight as yours or just those who are in the same lounge. It feels normal, that you don’t have to worry about what other people might think because nobody actually cares.
There was a popular meme went around a few weeks ago on how airports don’t follow any societal rules – you can drink anytime, you can wear sweatpants all day and so on. I feel exactly the same, every time I enter into an airport, but instead of feeling relaxed, having this new-found freedom of doing anything I want, I feel anxious and dread. Because airports don’t follow any societal rules.
The biggest fear for anyone who has followed all the rules and regulations in an airport is to miss their flight. And now flights can be missed in many ways. You could be sleeping throughout your transit period, not waking up for your flight. You could be stuck in the toilet and nobody is there to listen to you beating the door. You could be asked to open your luggage and you might have misplaced your keys or aren’t able to open the lock somehow. Worst, if you’re a Nepali woman traveling solo from the Nepali airport, you could be taken to a room and asked numerous unnecessary questions and these immigration officers don’t care if you’re about to miss your flight. All you need is a bad luck and I feel that you could be taken away because you look scared or nervous. And all you need to miss your flight is being taken away for a while. All you need is to be stuck, behind a line, in the toilet, with the immigration officer or just not be aware about the gate change, and as a whole miss the call.
I also get scared when I reach the destination. I don’t know why, but I have this fear of deportation. Part of the fear might come from the fact that I am a huge absent minded clumsy girl. I forget things. I break things. I leave things. So, I am always worried that I might have forgotten something in the plane or back home. I think I am also not confident because I am in a foreign land, and I have a habit of being tongue tied when talking to a foreigner (I have been known to speak my parents’ language when being spoken by a foreigner even if I am not fluent in it). I am always scared of being sent back from a foreign airport because I know the worst thing that could ever happen is losing something when you are just a step away from getting it.
Therefore, instead of relaxing I am more anxious when I am in the airport, especially if I am traveling alone. Because like Gaiman says in the same book through Shadow, “If hell is people, then purgatory is an airport.” I will always have the beaten, glazed look, especially when I am alone in an airport.
The first thing I thought of after putting down Thirteen Reasons Why was who would make it to my list. Not that I was suicidal. It wouldn’t even be a suicide note. And the ones who were on the list wouldn’t be the reason for my sadness or whatever you can say but my source of joy. My source of strength, the reason why I can’t be broken even if I want to be. The reason why I am strong.
Written by Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why, is a story of Hannah Baker, who commits suicide after going through betrayal, and bullying in her high school. Clay Jensen, who has crush on Hannah receives an audio tape diary, two weeks after Hannah’s suicide where she confesses thirteen reasons why she’d committed suicide.
To be honest, I wasn’t planning to read the book. When the series with the same name based on the book was released by Netflix, I debated on whether to watch it or not. My friends suggested that I should, but I knew that if I were to watch the series, I needed to read the book first. I still wasn’t sure about reading the book. Liking the books about death was one thing, but reading the book about suicide was something else. I mean, everyone knows how easily I become influenced by something I watch or read or hear.
But I changed my mind when a friend texted me, “Thank god, suicide is not contagious.”
Okay, I lied. After reading the book in one go, the first thing I thought of was whether I would ever make it to the list of anyone. Not the “you’re the reason why I killed myself” but rather “you’re the reason why I keep myself alive”. I know that I am not a superhero, but I also believe that I want to inspire people to continue to live, no matter what. I particularly thought of this one friend, wondering whether I would pass by his mind. Because I would feel the same thing Clay felt when he listens to the tape dedicated to him by Hannah. I also realized right then, that I needed to make my own list. Because I may never get a chance to say thank you to people I love.
After losing three of my family members in three consecutive years, two being shocking deaths, I realized we don’t always get to say goodbye. But you see, I am a huge fan of goodbye. As much as I would get awkward, I also love to know that I have a proper time for farewell. A tight hug. That’s why I thought I will write a goodbye email. I decided that I would send a not-goodbye email right now, and will send emails every once in a while to renew the “love, hugs, bye” in case I miss the chance to say the goodbye.
That’s how I penned, “This is not a good bye. Not yet” email.
I got various response from various people. My best friends, both A. and S., along with my favorite person, responded in the way I expected them too. They were cool and calm. A. and favorite person replied sending me inspirations to be better than now. S. called after realizing I also emailed his girlfriend, which freaked her out. Actually, since I was to go on a trip a month later, S. thought that the email indicated I might not be back. “I think you’ll meet some Orlando Bloom and stay there” he had said a few days before I left. Then there were people getting emails from me for the first time, including S’s girlfriend so they all freaked out. And then there were two assholes who didn’t even read the email (wow) because one thought he would read it later, and the other didn’t check his email at all.
Overall, the book made me realize that people deserve to know if they can save you. And you need to tell them if you need help. I believe that some people cannot be saved but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. And that everybody deserves a proper long hugs and goodbye.
Bhav‘s A5 Ring Notebook for bullet journal and Planner for logging and tracking while a journal gifted by A. from her trip to Europe for my regular journaling.
I thought I was finally fixing my fucked up life. One journal page at a time. One planner entry at a time. One project mapping at a time. One habit tracking at a time. I came back to the normal planner and journal on March after realizing that my life is a chaos and I needed to bring it back to my comfort zone. After a much needed discussion with A, I decided to go back to the normal writing journaling and normal planner planning. (More on that here.) After spending two months planning and journaling like I did last year, by logging my days and habit tracking in the planner while logging my feelings in my journal, I thought I could go beyond.
On May, I decided to try bullet journaling only to fail. Again. I realized, once again, like I have always done so, so many times before that journaling and planning needs discipline, especially when you are mixing both. On May though, I came up with a technique halfway through the month and decided to give it a full blown try on June. And I was happy. I could see myself turning into a new leaf with turning 25. Life was finally falling back into places. I was finally tracking my life with logs, to-dos, journals, thoughts, lists, tracking.
But on June, life decided to fuck me up again. A week after the start of the month, life brought me to the same place where I was, a year ago. At the same point, doing the same thing. My whole tracking was lost as I forgot about planning and logging and tracking and journaling. My only goal was to keep sane with all the chaos that was happening. Everything happened so fast that I lost track of time. It’s already the end of the month and I haven’t even logged about a day after the first week of June. I haven’t journaled. I haven’t written anything except a short musing or two.
I feel vacant now. Almost empty. Wanting to write more, track more, log more. But I don’t know where to start. I am back at the same junction I was before. I need to be back in my comfort zone. I am wondering if I will ever be able to move beyond comfort zone right now. Will I ever be comfortable with the comfort zone itself? Will I find my comfort zone now that I have lost home and am again filled up with holes that I thought never existed? Will I be able to go back to my life? What is my life anyway?
These thoughts keep haunting me into the late night as I wonder what will happen next. How do I go back to the world of tracking and logging? What will I write about? What will I talk about in my blogs and journals? If not the same old thing but losing and grieving. If not the same old thing about searching and wondering.
collecting; batuldai is an attempt to collect scattered pieces of my life, one musing at a time.