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Image by Leo Chane

Break Time!

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

-By Shreyash Sharma

Sitting on my desk, musing with the melody of my mindfulness app, trying to figure out how to manage my finances in Hong Kong, I noticed that I’m constantly trying to suppress some weird emotion which occasionally comes to the surface of my pond-like calm consciousness.

Making a decision to study in Hong Kong was not easy for me, in the sense that there were multiple aspects to it which made it an unfavorable choice for me. For someone who is a vegetarian, managing food and all can be very challenging. And if that were not enough, I don’t know Cantonese and I’m completely unfamiliar with the Chinese culture. Two years had passed, and I was about to enter the third year of my education. Until now, I attended my courses purely online from the cozy warmth of my home in India, but now it was time to move. I had to attend the rest of my education in-person from Hong Kong. We humans are such weird creatures, aren't we? I mean until I was not getting a call from my university to come and attend my courses in-person, I was complaining about my fortune and now that I finally got the golden opportunity to go and embark on a new journey, I am still complaining. All these thoughts were going on in my mind as I sat at my desk and observed my emotions moving across the spectrum.

At one moment the thought of leaving my home, an abode of smiles where I had spent twenty years of my life, sends a chill down my spine; and at the very next moment trying to console myself by envisioning a brighter future and feeling grateful for the opportunities that life has thrown my way (which probably a lot of people can barely dream of). Anyways, I left it to time to decide how this new venture is going to turn out for me. After spending hours on overthinking, which instead of helping me left me overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted and pitied, I picked up the daily to read some articles for leisure (also an excuse to divert my attention from something I can't eventually avoid).

Skimmed through the initial pages quickly so that I don’t consume toxic news, even accidentally. I turned to my favorite pages of the newspaper where they once in a blue moon publish some really good articles, often they’re uninteresting and even bizarre. And eventually much alike my fellow Indians, I too use them to wrap oily lunchboxes, cover old or even new notebooks, spread them on shelves and racks just to give them a fancy look and so on and so forth, which apparently also felt like the real use of newspapers. Well! As far as wrapping lunchboxes with newspapers is concerned, it barely helped in saving our bag from getting those oil patches. Anyways, it has been a tradition of many Indian families now, that somehow wrapping your lunchbox in a newspaper will serve as a shield when oil spills. And I’m sure most of us as kids used to have those oil patches on the edges of our crisp-white notebooks, because the shield somehow never worked, and the oil always managed to reach our notebooks. My purposeless thinking came to a halt when my attention was drawn by a weird headline, ‘Professional Cuddler Charges 7,000 an Hour for a Hug’. I almost lost my trail of thoughts realizing the oddity of this. However, on reflecting further, I came to the conclusion that in actuality this thing is really good. As the society we live in becomes increasingly emotionally arid, and you will have literally no one to genuinely hug you when you really want that warmth in not so good times, you can book a cuddlist for perennial support, although that might hurt your pocket.

I genuinely miss those times when your neighborhood itself was like your extended family, unlike today, when I don’t even remember the last time I spoke to my neighbor. When simply sitting next to your grandparents and listening to their seemingly kiddish anecdotes gave us lessons for a lifetime. When we didn’t have the luxury of privacy but there was no complaint of shortage of genuine hugs and cuddles. When there were infinite fights between siblings but no scope of communication gaps. When life was more about collecting moments than possessions. "When humanity was never this poor in terms of love and warmth that you would need a professional to cuddle you. When human emotions were barely a business!"

"Well! I've had enough of this delusional overthinking, and I'm going to have a break now!"

-Shreyash Sharma