The Monologue of a Young Indian Man Struggling with Mental Health – Part 2: Love, Life, & Mental Health

A sensible guy would simply reverse his car if he needs to pick up his right-next-door neighbour. But I don’t ever do that. I prefer to play it safe and drive around my block to pick her up daily for campus. None of my snooping and take-it-or-leave-it advice-giving Indian neighbours have noticed this peculiar habit of mine, so I continue doing so instead of simply reversing my car. Why do I do that? I don’t really know. It doesn’t bother me much, so what the hell.

Every weekday night, without any deviation, she messages to inform me whether or not I should pick her up for campus the next morning. I don’t remember a day on which she had skipped campus, but for some odd reason, she still finds it necessary to send me a “Pick me up tomorrow morning, handsome” WhatsApp message which, believe you me, is a copy and paste of the original one. That’s how lazy her ass is. But I don’t mind. After all, any message from her still sends my heart racing and brings about a smile to my perpetually grouchy face (or at least that’s how she describes my face).

Like every other weekday morning, I drove around our block at 6:13 am sharp and was parked outside her house at 6:15 am, as promised in my reply to her message. I never copy-and-paste my redundant “Pick you up at 6:15 sharp, beautiful” reply; instead, like a true devotee, I type it out freshly and prudently.

“The whole point is to let you know that you should pick me up in the morning. It’s not a romantic, late-night message or anything,” she had argued when I once confronted her about this whole copy-and-paste debacle.

“Yeah, but you would never do that to Kim,” I remember telling her this in response to her annoying and passive reply. “You will make sure that you type out a long ass message with all your stupid girly emojis that no one ever uses.” I still can’t figure out why I had started this frivolous argument in the first place. Perhaps to grab her attention on a day that she was clearly not in a mood for me. Or maybe I was just jealous of this Kim, even though I am too egoistic to admit my jealousy to her or myself.

I knew that she wouldn’t step out of her house until 6:30 am – she never does. But it’s always a good idea to wait for her in the car instead of waiting in my house until the lounge clock signals 6:30. I do this for two reasons. Firstly, by me waiting outside her house at 6:15, she tends to rush to get to the car (or at least she pretends to), and secondly, the euphoria of watching my girlfriend walk out of her front door, hurriedly and shambolically, is demonstrably more gratifying than the wait in my lounge which is usually escorted by my thought spiral tightening with the passing of each minute through the wait.

“The defence rests, your ladyship,” I professed using legal jargon, as she walked towards the car at exactly a minute past 6:30 am, concluding the fictitious argument I had once again won that morning whilst arguing impishly in my mind, before an illusionary judge, that she would be late. Yet again.

I stared at her through the closed passenger window, admiring my not-just-beautiful-but-hot-too girlfriend in her pink cashmere knit jumper and black sateen jeggings. She complemented the modest outfit with her hair tied in a ponytail, the satchel backpack that I had gifted on her birthday (not so romantic, I know), her blueprint carrier and laptop sleeve in the left hand and an insulated coffee mug in her right. And as she got closer to the car, I found myself exclaiming under my breath, “Damn!” awestricken by her beauty and sexiness. Her emerging presence obliterating the misery inflicted upon me by my chemically-imbalanced brain that had been a source of great discomfort and exasperation earlier that morning, too.

As per her habit, she opened the left back door of the car and tossed her possessions in the back seat. I judge her daily for being so careless about her possessions, but I dare not start another frivolous argument with her. It’s just not worth wilting our relationship through such trivial arguments, I had promised myself after the meaningless ‘copy and paste’ one.

“Hey, Salaams,” she greeted as she made herself comfortable in her seat, ready to ride shotgun.

“Hey, Wasalaam,” I replied, moving my face closer to her perfectly round-shaped one and giving her a peck on her right cheek. She smiled, her eyes sparkling with delight and emitting exhaustion, both at the same time.

“Didn’t get enough sleep?” I asked her, concerned and hoping to start off the conversation on the right note with my not-a-morning-person girlfriend.

“Only slept at two,” she replied timidly. “Was finishing off for today’s pin-up presentation.”

“What time are you presenting?” I asked in an attempt to keep the conversation flowing.

“At 12,” she replied, somewhat annoyed with all the questions that early in the morning. I wanted to ask her about plans for lunch but chose to let it pass, prompted to defer the question and reserve it for later over WhatsApp.

After noticing that I no longer had any annoying questions to ask, she fiddled with her seat belt so as to loosen it a bit and laid her head against the window, ready to take a nap until we reached campus. I turned the radio’s volume up a bit to catch the latest news and continued driving in silence, with the most beautiful girl sitting beside me and my thought spiral seeking undivided attention to continue the mental purgatory that my mind had incited earlier that morning.

An hour later, we reached our destination and I parked off briefly on the west side of the campus to expedite her walk to her design studio. I noticed that she was still asleep, so I gently stroked her cheek and whispered, “Wake up, sleeping beauty,” in her right ear. She smelt of vanilla, body spray and perfumed talc, and she looked seductively hot and beautiful.

“We reached?” she asked and opened the door without waiting for my answer. She ran her hands over her face and admired herself in the visor mirror. Even after an hour-long nap, she looked perfect. She always does. She moved her head closer to mine and kissed me on my lips, our tongues idle during the few seconds kiss.

“I’ll WhatsApp you as soon as my pin-up is over and we can plan lunch,” she told me through the passenger window.

“Perfect,” I said, gesturing a kiss with my lips.

She returned the virtual kiss, grabbed her stuff from the back seat of the car and rushed off towards her design studio. With her back facing me as she walked away swiftly to not miss her early morning lecture, I checked her out for one last time before lunch, perused her erogenous ass, and felt somewhat envious of her as I watched her disappear into the campus building. How is it that a physically frenzied and chaotic soul like her manages to maintain a strong mental existence whilst me – manifestly a conscientious guy – is constantly at war against his own mind? I found myself asking. After the failed attempt of answering my own question, I started the car, whispered, “Enjoy your day, Sarah,” and drove off towards the law building.

(Photo by Will O on Unsplash)