I'm sorry, but it felt like your question warranted a longer reply. It got me thinking, then introspecting, then it pushed me into this state of nostalgia and absent mindedness and regret and love and hatred and everything in between that I felt like I should write it all down anyway. For what it's worth, you are one of the very few people who have known about the stuff that has been going on with me ever since we graduated and went off on our own paths, so I doubt I need to push in facts intermittently. This could be verbose still; and I might digress here and there, so take your own time to read it. You don't even have to get back to me anytime soon. I'm just answering your question here, in more words than I probably should be.

I've had this trifecta: insomnia, anxiety, depression for years now, although I got a proper diagnosis done only during the 4th semester of our undergrad, which established this (insofar as written tests and long talks with shrinks are testaments). I'm not sure if I'm "properly" suicidal, I do get urges, and I've tried multiple times. First one was way back during 5th semester, when I tried jumping from 2nd floor to get a feel for it and twisted my ankle in the process. I think I got better from there on; I disconnected from a lot of social media afterwards, read more, poured myself into my education. At the time of graduation, in 2016, I'd say I was feeling better about things again, with the new job and all. There was something to look forward to, and I had all of you. You, Alakh, Prateek, Tavneet, Ashish, Mridul, Panda, Shubhorup (not that much, but still). It mattered to me because I've been looking for genuine relationships pretty much all the time since I recuperated from my terminal illness. I think I can objectively say that I was much happier and hopeful back then. I had never really cultivated the idea of a romantic relationship. Sure, I did long for one, but it was never a priority. About life, I had some milestones set, do this by then, then that by then; there were things I wanted for myself. Right now, not so sure. I've taken a more passive approach to things of late, I'll do stuff to change my current situation, but where I go from there on is not something that I think about now (compared to back then). Disorganisation, a sense of disintegration.

I think I can talk about the future as well, further extending on this train of thought. Like I've mentioned already, I think I've lost sight or the sheer motivation to pursue a lot of aspirations I had for myself. Only thing I'm sort of expecting is some healing, moving on, whatever people wiser than I call it. Although, I've started pouring myself into a lot of other things that used to be just hobbies back then. My writing skills have suffered a lot over the years, so I've been trying to write actively again. Same for reading. In the time I was with her, I barely found any time to read, and since January of this year I've already finished roughly 14-15 books. I've been trying to learn the guitar and music theory more actively as well, not just constant strumming and mindless picking. And I still go out, I travel when I can, visit new places, dance, go to parties, socialise. I think I'm doing all this consciously because I think it might help me move on, although it's been roughly 4 months now and I'm not so certain. I do have a vision of myself for the future: I want to be a bit more well adjusted, pick up some skills out of work, I want to go back to teaching kids and do some community service, I want to learn boxing (I've always wanted to), maintain a proper motorcycle and just escape the city whenever I want to. And I want to create some music, write something significant. I want to do all these things because I've always wanted to, what I need is just an ounce of motivation to actively pursue this. You could say that compared to back then in Delhi, I now have a catalyst that could trigger a path of self development, although I wonder if the suffering that set this off could be called a fair exchange at all.

The environment: obviously I feel shit about that compared to back when we graduated. I actually do like Bombay, but each fond memory of every nook and cranny can be associated with/to her. Delhi was my city, and had I cultivated something like this there, I'd have been much less spiteful of it in particular by the virtue of having replaceable memories: the same places could be attributed to multiple people, memories wouldn't have been that impactful, and I wouldn't be feeling alien. So Bombay sucks, and it's probably because I didn't do my job well and let her be at the centre of it all. And the rains. I mean, I love rains, but you can't help but be depressed at the constant overcast, like some gloomy shadow constantly hovering over the city, a memento of constant grief that I now find myself suffused with. And well, Bombay objectively sucks when it comes to city infrastructure; if this is the financial capital of India, that honestly speaks a ton. Let's see how Bangalore turns out.

I think I could be a bit respectful when I talk about how people around me have changed, and vice versa. I'll obviously except her from this discussion because I've both said and written too many words about her at this point and constantly burdened and bothered so many of my close friends about this entire ordeal. In the time since we've graduated, I think I've broken my shell a bit. I've developed new bonds, I've met a lot of people both at my workplace and outside. However, social interactions are still not something I seek. When I say I've developed new bonds, it's not because I was actively making concerted efforts to meet new people. It's - it's this weird thing that has constantly bugged me ever since I was a kid. I've always been introverted, and I'll continue to be because I don't see any incentive for a change. But every damn time, since school to then college and then at work, I just end up being at the centre of it all. Okay, I'm painfully aware how egotistic that sounds, so let me explain a bit.

You're aware of how people think that their own subjective realities matter, how they feel that they're special, centre of the world? I don't think my experience is due to that, I just have always had people come to me and tell me how I'm sometimes the "glue" that keeps everyone together. It happened in primary school when I had briefly switched to a better place. I couldn't go through it, so I reverted back. The day I rejoined, everyone from the classroom, even people I didn't know, flocked around and gave me the rockstar parade float. I was as surprised by it as I would be later on in life when I eventually joined (and left) the "better" school, when Alakh would tell me how I kept everyone together despite the differences and how everyone respected me, when people at my workplace would wait for me at any event or outing (not because of courtesy since we're all very ill-mannered, caustic people). It becomes more apparent when this would be made explicit to me by certain agents, and how my "approval" mattered by their own accord. It's the same thing when Asmita asked you in the group if you were jealous that I was "loved by all". Maybe you've had similar experiences and I'm over-assessing my own importance in people's lives, so do tell me if you've been made to feel similar at times (I'm also aware that I never had much of an impact on your group, Alakh was talking more about our initial faggot-y group with Panda, Sukrit, Archit and others). But we're all still fags.

It's weird because it's not something I actively set myself on. I don't, at least consciously, project myself as that kind of person. I don't think I alter my behaviour and/or "adjust to the jar". And yet shit like this happens, and it's depressing because I don't think I've ever been equipped both mentally and physically to handle this. Hell, even Sukrit reached out after a period of complete silence just a few months back and told me how he always felt I was special, and how much he expected and still expects of me, and how he'll do everything in his power to make sure I reach my full potential. What's worrisome to me is that people normally say stuff like this to people they haven't contacted in a long time when they themselves are suffering and needy, and here was Sukrit, offers from Stanford and Berekeley and CMU, probably the most well-adjusted and stable person I'm aware of. It didn't make sense. This sort of stuff, it never has. It's just plain depressing.

I'll not digress further. My point with this ramble was that people around me sort of want me to be around them, and so I end up getting coaxed into attending events and gatherings more often than not. And compared to college, since I'm an employed professional now, I can "afford" these interactions, I have no good reason to avoid them at least. So since 2016, these interactions have also rewarded me with new friendships, unexpected experiences, differing viewpoints. I hope it's been an equal exchange! And I think this could also count towards personal development since.

When I sum all this up though, I'm not sure if I can conclude if I've either turned better or bitter. Maybe years from now I can look back on all this and smile at it like how those actors in cliched dramas do when credits roll up and be glad and respectful of what I've shared with her. Maybe then I can look back and reward myself for always being kind, loving, and respectful towards her despite her past and (now) present. Maybe in the process of getting there I'll also know and understand better, both myself and relationships, and about humans in general. Or, like a good friend of mine says, maybe it's Maybelline. Sorry.

I know my problems right now aren't that big or that unique, but I wonder if taking a more objective, stoic standpoint even helps? All I can gauge or infer is the damage it all left on me. From here on, I'll try to be more rational about my actions. I'll try.

Maybe ask me this question again after 2 years, if we're still in touch by then? I promise to have developed my writing skills enough and not be this overflowing pot of verbal diarrhoea again.

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