How I got out of my comfort zone and found new ways to live

We are what we do when we get stuck in a rut - getting out and finding new grooves to fit in and reinvent ourselves

By Asha Iyer Kumar

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Published: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 10:47 PM

For some queer reason that nature has kept close to its chest, rain eludes the part of Dubai I live in even when the rest of the emirate gets its share of deluge now and then. It is often from the newspaper that I come to know that the desert has got a welcome reprieve from months of aridity. ‘There is very less rain in my life’ is a refrain I have told myself for a while now, with a dot of melancholy that accompanies a mind that got labelled by the shrink as clinically depressed and needs revival.

The reason for the diagnosis is immaterial, for the brain has its own ways to function, which I now don’t care to decode. But the nagging sense of being parched persisted until recently, when on a trip to my native place I was consecrated by a shower that came down unexpectedly, bringing with it the heady fragrance of the earth and the sweeping comfort of a nocturnal wind. The pitter-patter got louder, and I stepped out into the open, eager as a kid to catch the rain in my face. As the rain gathered momentum and the still, night air got whipped by the torrent, I opened my hands wide, looked up at the skies and said, ‘Soak my spirit with all that it lacks. End the drought and let an oasis rise where for long there has been bareness.’

It was a call to nature to refill my coffers with the zest for life that I had thrown off board somewhere during the rough sail in the high seas. It was an ardent desire to end the prolonged period of languor and listlessness that had become fixtures in a routine-ridden life. It was an open invitation to life to grace me once again after I had given it a short shrift for a while.

Standing in the rain, I uttered the lines from an old song, ‘into everyone’s life a little rain must fall.’ It wasn’t an aphorism that I emptily quoted; it was a reiteration of my intention to get the lost spice back into my life. In that moment when I was enveloped by the darkness of the night, I felt light worming into my heart, as tiny beams at first, and then as I allowed more space inside knocking off the mental blocks, light came in radiant bursts that could rival the dazzle of the Milky Way.

The rain was only a ruse, the real reason for the change was the resolve to budge the needle from where it had stood stuck to a spot where it would start ticking again. What set up the shift was an informed decision to move out of the comfort zone and do something unconventional in my scheme of things. I embarked on a long-distance solo tour to the unsought parts of the Himalayas with a blank itinerary. With nothing on the agenda, the trip was like going on a blind date, fraught with apprehension and anticipation, but not bereft of optimism.

Steering through unchartered ways in an unaccustomed manner, it was the first-of-its-kind escapade that showed me that a major chunk of what we consider life exists beyond the fences we have built around us. Ripping the fence took a lot of will, effort and grit, but when I ultimately got to the other side, I realised that my spirit had always wanted to break free, but I had kept it in fetters only because I hadn’t dared to let it free. The monotonous pattern of living had only made it convenient for me to stay closeted in my so-called comfort zone. I suddenly realised that the comfort zones were anything but cozy. The fizz comes out only when you pop the cork and let the drink flow freely.

Often, we tend to ignore the prods from our inner voice that suggests what our life additionally needs to thrive in an atmosphere of redundancy. Work is not always worship, our duty is not always our beauty, and we are not what we repeatedly do. We are what we do when we get stuck in a rut - getting out and finding new grooves to fit in and reinvent ourselves. And only the child in us can hand-hold us to those unexplored territories in life and inspire us to do crazy things that will pep our insipid lives.

Find it in nature, find it in new friends, find it in fresh pursuits. Push the boundaries and let the old walls break. I did it, and it has made me decide that I will ask the shrink to spare me his prescription. No more anti-depressants. I have found new ways to live. And how!

- Asha Iyer Kumar is a Dubai-based author

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