Photography Challenge Day 5- Comfort

If there’s one season I adore, it has got to be winter, when you can cuddle up in bed wearing a bunch of layers and read a good book. Comfort to me is defined in the fibres of sweaters that make you feel all warm and cozy :)

No matter how many times I go shopping I can’t resist the urge to buy sweaters, hoodies, cardigans and coats because I love how warm they are! (This may be an unhealthy shopping obsession considering I live in a very warm country!) But just look at them! They’re irresistible!

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Yesterday I went shopping and bought a pair of these bad boys :) They make walking around the house for absolutely no reason totally worth it :) I remember all the pairs of slippers I used to wear as a kid and they’re an instant flashback to my childhood and how much I loved them!

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4 a.m

I decided to write something a little sinister and this put me in a very intense head space. Thank god it was only a short story…


The faucet was dripping again, making an echoing sound effect in contrast with the police sirens. The blanched curtains which usually looked so starved of an inkling of colour were permeated with flashes of red and blue through the cold glass of the windows.

I sat in the living room staring mildly, waiting for the impending knock at the door. All at once it seemed too quiet yet too loud. My eyes cut toward the clock in the centre of the mantelpiece. 5.am. But I thought it was four.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. “Excuse me ma’am?”

I walked over to answer it almost automatically, preparing to face this confrontation calmly. It wasn’t as if I had to expend much forced effort. My hands weren’t shaking. I hadn’t shed any hysterical tears. I couldn’t feel anything, just numbness. That clock could very well read 4 a.m for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t even know nor care.

My hand gripped the doorknob and twisted it to reveal a rather young police officer with a grim expression on his face. For some reason, I thought of how I would have found him attractive had I met him in a bar or at a coffee shop. Now, not so much.

“Are you Cara Welsh, daughter of Anne M. Welsh?” He asked, referring to his phone which no doubtedly had all the information he needed to judge me and my hapless situation. DMV records, personal details and bank details all for him to interrogate me. He’d have read that I graduated top of my class at law school so he wouldn’t meander around the irrelevant details before diving into the hard hitting questions.

I allowed him into the living room, switched on the light to reveal a haphazard and messy home. It’d been long since anyone had come inside and it surprised me how I could still be so embarrassed. I should have known better than that. It’s not as if it were the best time to spout out nonsense about how I hadn’t expected company.

So sorry, I didn’t expect the police tonight. Maybe next time I’ll make dinner.

As expected, Officer What’s-his-name cut right to the chase. “As I understand it, your mother passed away in the early hours of the morning, around 4 am.”

“That’s right.” My voice sounded hollow.

“It appears there are some concerns about the circumstances surrounding her death.” He said.

 I’m sure there are, officer.

He must have spoken to my lovely neighbour Barbara Motes, whose nose had to be pried out of my business with a pair of pliers. She’d always disliked me. I once overheard her saying that I was always a little off. So different from my jovial and friendly mother. How little that woman actually knew.

Yes, many would consider my mother a pleasant person. Yet, that was only when her medication was tuned right and even then there were chances of her mental illness creeping out from the suppression of modern medicine to make my life miserable.

My father, the deadbeat, had left a long time ago and as a teenager I began to understand why. He couldn’t handle being the husband of a degenerative schizophrenic. I couldn’t stand being her daughter. This, I assumed, was the key to the so-called concerns surrounding her death.

“I just need to ask a few questions about your relationship with your mother.” He started off.

I knew exactly why he was here and decided to make the bottom line clear. “I didn’t kill her.”

He was slightly taken aback with the bluntness of my declaration of innocence. “I hadn’t said you did…I know it was a suicide.”

I looked away, towards the clock. 5:04 am. On returning my attention back to his initial question I said, “My relationship with my mother was fine, officer. Not great, not terrible, it was fine.”

My answer seemed to have steered him into resuming his set of prepared questions and he immediately jumped to the second one. “Your mother suffered from schizophrenia?”

“Yes. For the past 29 years.”

“You’re the one who takes care of her?”

“Yes.”

“Anyone else help out?”

“No.”

There was no immediate family who cared about either of us; those bridges had long been burned by my mother’s yearly episodes in which she cut off all contact with people who were supposed to be considered family. I understood why they stopped trying after a while. I didn’t blame them.

“It must have been difficult.” The officer said as if he gave a shit. It was a prompt to speak about how lonely and overwhelmed I must have been all these years, trapped in a house by obligation of duty and forged love.

“It was difficult.” I grudgingly admitted, giving in.

Difficult is a fucking nice way to put it. Difficult is when your mother refuses to make time for you or get to know you but my mother was a downright nightmare. I grew up listening to her say hateful things to me. She called me a whore for an entire year. The worst thing was that there were times when I believed her.

Her abuse, however, was not only in the verbal form. I once woke up in the middle of the night with her hands gripped around my neck, squeezing the life out of me. I’d never felt so terrified. It was the look on her face. She looked…determined. She told me later that it had been for my own good. Occasionally I wonder if it had been a mistake biting her arm to get her off me.

And how she made home a dirty word and dirty place was shocking. She cooked meals that contained insects boiled in them. Either she was so careless that she didn’t notice them creeping into the pot on the stove and when she stirred its contents or she actually intended for them to there. I like to think it weren’t the latter but I could never be sure. Eventually I got used to picking them out and continuing to eat the food as if nothing had ever been wrong with it from the start. That was what came to mind when thinking of a home cooked meal.

Bringing me back to the conversation was another question,“Your mother attempted to commit suicide two times prior to her death?”

I nodded, mentally recounting the incidents.

The first attempt was in the bathtub with a knife that slashed her wrists. I’d come home from school one day to find her there. The sight of her spilled blood and her limp body caused me to vomit before calling for an ambulance. They managed to save her. I couldn’t begin to explain how relieved I’d been when I saw her conscious in her hospital room, thinking the worst was over.

Little did I know that I would be there again in a few more years after her second suicidal attempt when she swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills and the doctors had to pump her stomach. This time I questioned when the next time would be. I never imagined it would be for good.

Third time’s the charm, huh, ma?

I’d come to know that she never tried the same way twice. If anything I learned while growing up, it was ways to kill myself. I’d seen enough and learned from my mother’s mistakes. It would be very easy to off myself if I chose to do so. But I never did.

The officer cleared his throat and asked, “Your mother died of poisoning?”

“Yes.” I confirmed what he already knew. “I woke up to find her in the…kitchen. She drank a quart of ammonia.”

He nodded sympathetically. I wanted to say he didn’t know a fucking thing about me to do that. Instead I said, “Is there anything else you need to know?”

His gaze lingered down to the floor where a cockroach skittered across his shoe and into a pile of old pizza boxes. Finally he asked, “How did this happen?”

It seemed like such a preposterous question. As if I could just explain it in a sentence.

“Had your mother not been taking her medication?” He elaborated.

I thought for a moment. “Truthfully, it’s possible. I sometimes forget to check and she can be a little sneaky. You know, pretend to take them.”

She’d let them stick to the underside of her tongue to trick me into believing I was actually watching her. And what really boiled me over was how proud she was when I caught her throwing them out later. Like a kid who pulled the wool over her parent’s eyes. Being lulled into a false sense of security by a mental patient doesn’t do well for the good old trust issues. It was perhaps why I didn’t have a single relationship that lasted longer than a few weeks.

At last Officer What’s-his-name seemed satisfied with my answers, getting up from his seat slowly. “Alright. I’m sorry for taking too much of your time. You see, it’s a formality. We have to look into the circumstances of the suicide and exclude you from any fault at hand.”

“I understand.” You dickwad, now leave my house.

His little interrogation had served as an unwelcome walk down memory lane that I wanted to end as soon as possible.

Showing him to the door and closing it behind me, I wondered about the soul and what happened to her when she passed away. Would she be punished for committing suicide? Or was it possible that death was a blessing and she was finally free?

The sad truth was that I didn’t know my mother. I had a very up close and personal relationship with her schizophrenia and it did not tuck me into bed safely at night. Her dying wasn’t even a tragedy, knowing that that awful parasitic illness was gone forever… from my life at least.

As I heard the police car drive away and the blanched curtains were stripped of the red and blue shades dancing about on them, I walked over to the kitchen and examined the contents of the ammonia bottle my mother consumed.

You see, ammonia shouldn’t have killed her the way it did. As far as I knew, that only happens when you mix bleach into it. And when you unlock the kitchen cabinet containing hazardous chemicals for anyone to use. For whatever use that may be.

That is how it happened, officer.

 

Street Food- Cuisine that Captures Culture

If you were travelling in an exotic land and wanted to soak up all the culture that the destination has to offer, where would you go to eat? Would you reserve a table at a reputable four or five star restaurant or would you amble over to the street food stalls where delicious flavours waft in the air?

I personally feel that street food, low-key eateries capture the essence of the particular culture more so than fine-dining restaurants. Especially if you’re in India where pani puri and dahi puri are best made at the small chaat stands you can find on the corners of the street, packed with bold flavour and decently priced as well!

Recently, I tried a place called Momo Hut near Jyoti Nivas College, Bangalore and it was fantastic. The momos are to die for and let me tell you, the sauce is bomb. Quite literally, it explodes in your mouth with its sheer spiciness so if you have low spice tolerance I would recommend caution but if you’re like me and you prefer that exhilaration of eating something really hot, go for it! I’ve also tried the veg noodles and veg thupka (noodles in soup) and both were amazing. The thupka was my favourite, steaming hot and fresh!

If you live in Bangalore then please go and check this place out! Here’s more on Zomato :)

Why the World Needs its Introverts

Originally posted on Key to the Pysche:

” Solitude is sometimes best society.”

                                      – S.T Coleridge

Since childhood, Cara loved reading book in her room and playing by herself with her toys. On the other hand, Elle liked going to the park often to play with her friends and loved being in groups. When both girls entered into high school, their preferred levels of social stimulation was more or less the same. Cara liked to go out for dinner with friends but also couldn’t wait to get home to spend some time alone with her thoughts but Elle was more outgoing and did not crave for that need to be alone when she went out to family functions and parties. 

Evidently, Cara is an example of an introvert while Elle is the polar opposite, being an extrovert. Carl…

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Dissociative Personality Disorder

that90'skid:

This is a blog I started dedicated to anything and everything psychology related so I’d appreciate it if you dropped by :)

Originally posted on Key to the Pysche:

INTRODUCTION

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a disorder in which a person displays characteristics of two or more distinct personalities. DID is the most complex and rare disorder amongst the dissociative disorders which also include dissociative fugue, dissociative amnesia etc. The original or primary personality is called the host while the other identities are referred to as alters.

DID was formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. The common misconception about this disorder is the existence of multiple personalities within one individual. This is inaccurate. Those suffering form DID only have a single personality but it has split off at different points in the past into dissociative identities. The sum of these identities is their personality.

HISTORY

DID officially became a classified disorder in 1980 when it was included in the DSM-III as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). In the fourth edition of DSM it was renamed as DID.

The definition…

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Book Review- Sharp Objects

Goodreads Synopsis: WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

I was on a mission to read this book and I must say that Gillian Flynn’s debut novel is much better than Gone Girl. Sharp Objects is darker and creepier without presenting itself with outright horror. The book is severely under appreciated because I couldn’t stop reading and finished it in a single day!

The characters are captivating in how disturbed they are. The family portrayed in the book is truly toxic. There are a lot of female characters who each have their own oddities, making them unforgettable. Camille’s rocky relationship with her mother and her mourning her sister Marian’s death are just some of the demons she has to battle on returning to her home town. Her mother Adora is sickeningly nurturing and has a pathological need to be needed, manifested in the form of munchausen by proxy, leading Camille to face the horrible truth about her past.

The story is built up well, giving the reader bits and pieces of Camille’s past, enough to blow our minds when the climactic realization of the truth hits Camille smack in the face. The small town of Wind Gap seems like a terrible place to have grown up and you can easily understand why Camille had issues with coming back to the place.

I think I was particularly interested in Amma, Camille’s half sister because of how differently she behaves when compared to average thirteen year olds. If you’ve read or watched Pretty Little Liars, she seems a little like Alison except perhaps that she’s ten times creepier. She may seem exaggerated on looking back but that is sort of the reason she is interesting when she is mentioned. You never know what Amma is thinking or how twisted she really is because all you do know is that there is something very wrong with her.

I wasn’t entirely convinced about Richard the cop. He seemed aloof and uninteresting when compared to the rest of the characters and did little to move the plot along despite his role in the ongoing investigation of the murder of the two little girls. In the end he does become irrelevant as Camille and him sever ties with one another despite having a brief sexual relationship while she is in Wind Gap.

It’s interesting how Flynn uses crude words to describe things especially when Camille says her mother pokes tweezers into her ankle wound. The images immediately flash in your mind in a grotesque manner but that’s just one of the many reasons to read the book. I think it’s what Gillian Flynn does best.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Halloween Reading

I’ve watched enough scary movies for now, so it’s time to reach into my bookshelf and pull out a few good reads in anticipation of Halloween!  These are the books I would love to read this month so fingers crossed!

Sharp Objects- Gillian Flynn

After reading Gone Girl, I found myself hooked to the inherent darkness of Gillian Flynn’s writing so I downloaded the pdf of Sharp Objects. Next I need to get my hands on Dark Places!

Dracula- Bram Stoker

The only vampire book worth reading because the vampire is actually a bad guy not some sparkling, mystic divine handsome creature that the protagonist falls in love with. I’d started reading it a while ago but put it on hold so this would be a good time to resume the literary journey into Transylvania!

The Shining- Stephen King

This would be my first Stephen King novel and I’m sure if Joey Tribbiani was scared enough to keep the book in the freezer it should be really creepy! (I watch a lot of Friends, as you can see.)

The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

It’s the first book to have won both the Carnegie Medal and  Newbery Medal for children’s writing and that wasn’t even what caught my attention about the book. When I’d first seen it in a second hand book store I’ll admit the cover drew me in but the plot seemed so interesting so now I can finally sit down and read it!

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Apart from these, I’ve got some Poirot mysteries and a book on infamous murderers to tide me over this Halloween :)

So what books would you recommend for this time of year?

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this blog :)

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