School holidays

That nervousness about the approaching final exams in school

Those many hours of cramming and preparing and fussing over self-study books and guides

That first-look of the final-exam time-table

That oh-shucks feeling on realising that there is no holiday to prepare for the History-Civics paper

That happy (in most peoples’ cases sad) feeling on realizing that Math is your last paper

That blanking-out feeling just before stepping in to the examination hall

That looking at your friends calling out for extra supplements and wondering what-the-heck-are-they-writing-so-much

That counting of estimated marks at the end of each paper

That counting of how-many -more- days -to-go-before- vacation-finally-begins after each exam

That planning months in advance about how will we celebrate our last day of exam and school

Those nervous glances at the neighbouring students on seeing a particularly lengthy or a difficult question paper

That rushing through the last paper because you can’t wait to dash out of the exam hall and you couldn’t care less about anything else in that moment

That partying with your friends and ending up in a restaurant or a garden to celebrate (When there were no air-conditioned malls to hang out and spend several useless hours in)

That excitement about summer holidays

That happy feeling of being allowed to wear nail paint

That pleasure in devouring several dozens of alphanso mangoes

That relentless playing outdoors, until your mom threatens you to get back home for meals

That hurried chomping of meals so that you could quickly run out to play

Those endless hours of cycling, lagori, saakli, help-help, four corners, hopscotch, badminton, dark room, and what not (where have all these games disappeared?)

That sweet taste of melting popsicles in your mouth (does anyone remember the kala khatta flavour)

That rare treat of an occasional Cornetto cone (25-30 rupees was big in those days)

That annual summer trip to your village/hometown and the ever-so-exciting train ride

That nervous feeling of vacations coming to end and school reopening soon

That anxiety about beginning a higher class and meeting new teachers

That excitement about buying new books, uniform, shoes, umbrella, and all necessary stationery items

That choosing of cartoon-labels for endless hours and not being able to decide which labels to buy

That smell of a new book

Those many hours spent neatly covering (where have those brown covers disappeared?) and labelling your new books

Those blues on the day before the first day in new class and that end-of-vacation feeling

That excited first day at school and meeting your grumpy-faced teacher and going facepalm


Top ten ways to beat the seasonal mood swings

Sun plays a very, very important role in our overall wellbeing. I am not saying anything new, am I? Everyone knows this.

But this taken-for-granted-sun has really made its point. And how well! Till very recently, I did not really understand how sun influences our personal and mental well-being and how much can it really affect our mood.

The full force of its power has recently dawned upon me. NZ is in midst of a full blown winter.  This means we have very short days here and very long nights right now. For the past couple of weeks, sun has been rising at 7.45am (OMG, can you believe that?) and sets at 4.57pm. On most days, its gloomy, rainy and windy. Sun just gives us a formal guest appearnace once in a while and behaves like a celebrity who walks into a party late, knows his worth, charms everyone and leaves just as quickly.

I am observing how depressing this can get. Not getting enough day light can seriously affect moods. When I wake up at 7, it is so dark, that I have to summon every little speck of power within me to leave the warm comfort of bed, and step into yet another cold, gloomy day. When I leave office at 5.15pm, it is so dark that it seems like 8pm. Ya. So basically, my exposure to sun is now limited to the weekends only, provided that sun decides to come out on a weekend. If it also decides to take a weekend off, it gets extremely dull and can also get quite depressing.

With this, comes a crushing realization of just how powerful nature is. And how paradoxical life is! And how it makes you want things you do not have! When I was in India, I used to rant about how hot summers got. And now when I am in NZ,  how much I crave for some sun and light. I really need a Vitamin D fix. Urgently.

There have been studies on this unique condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. People with SAD, seem to have depressive mood spells in autum and winter. I am not getting into the whole scientific part of SAD. Am just saying that what so many people are experiencing is not baseless.

But lets take charge of this and do small things to keep black mood at bay. Let us not let it affect us so much. It’s all in our mind, and we can control this.

Top ten ways to beat the seasonal mood swings:

  1. Try to be upbeat, and not have lingering, depressing thoughts. Stay happy. Train your mind to think happy thoughts.
  2. Surround yourself with postive people and people who love to laugh. You definitely do not need negative, overly critical, unreasonably judgemental, and people who constantly find reasons to complain. You need more positive aura around you.
  3. Listen to your favourite fast music. Your favourite peppy number. Have a go-to playlist for such days or listen to your favourite song in loop. Whichever way you like really.
  4. Steer clear of sad, depressing songs.
  5. Call, talk, meet, skype with your family and excahnge good conversations. It really lighthens the mood.
  7. Ease up on coffee and eat your favourite food.
  8. Watch classics and funny movies.
  9. Develop a hobby. If you already have one, lose yourself in it.
  10. And you may want to use more white lights at home as opposed to dim, yellow lights.