Who would call if you robbed someone? By Aditi Kapur

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief

If you ever robbed someone and got caught, who’s the first person you’d call? Your best friend, siblings, close cousin… parents… or no, not your parents. I mean, don’t call your parents? You wouldn’t want to listen to a lecture from your father as he goes on about how careless you are, in the middle of a crisis, while your mother abandons her senses in the background. That would be awful, because by the time a solution remotely emerges; you’d already have been locked out. I’d have written about your ex’s but I’m sure some of us have already thought of that. So, I’m just going to stop you there — a practice I can seldom boast of, when it comes to mine, but what’s the harm in you trying?

Anyway, I ask because, a while back, someone I know found herself in a similar dilemma. This friend had just finished robbing someone of, what many would regard a man’s proudest possession. No, it wasn’t a 20-carat solitaire ring; the kinds that a woman earns only if she is good to her mother-in law (before the sexist lens falls on me, please note these words are not my ‘Kundra’ Ka Karishma). Neither was it the A6, its side mirrors, tyres or the leather jacketed red seat covers, although having the last stolen wouldn’t be so bad; it’ll save South Delhi one less stereotypeThis robbery is a bit unconventional, like the robber itself.

What she stole was somebody’s peace of mind — their sleep, appetite, focus and perspective, to name a few of the valuables. I know this sounds a lot more like falling in love than a heist but believe me, it’s quite the anti-thesis. What this thief does is; finds a person when they are at the brink of hitting rock bottom, pins them in an aloof corner, ties them down in spirals of self-doubt; then blindfolding them, so all they see is ceaseless darkness. Just when they are about to call out for help, the thief sweeps a tape across the face, shutting the voices inside out. Powerless; the robbed is deprived of any strength to think straight? What do they do? Succumb to the invader. What does the invader do? Far away from her sensibilities, she wallows in guilt, sinking down in fatigue herself.

In case you’re thinking this was a case of Karma, 2020 or 2021— no, it wasn’t. 2021 is busy burning buildings, dreams and lives. And Karma, well, is still adding fuel to these fires. But, if at any point, you felt sympathy for the robbed or perhaps, some empathy for the robber, I am glad you are reading between the lines.

Metaphorically, this may be a tale of self-sabotage. Quite literally, it is a story of many of our lives. It’s the plight of anyone, who sank down in fear, robbing themselves of any chance to rise — the robber and robbed being all the same in disguise. Some time back, I, too, went down a rabbit hole, hand-in hand with my inner saboteur. She had convinced me of all my self-doubts, creating a nagging insecurity in my head that left me feeling anxious for days. It was hard to sleep, but even harder to wake up. Food didn’t excite me, neither did it fill my stomach. My mind was full, still blank in the face of work. Functioning was difficult, but it was more cumbersome to live it up. What did I do? Surrendered and let the robbers do the dirty work, till I couldn’t hold it together. In many ways, I was the living embodiment of my iPhone; full of cracks and perpetually out of battery — especially when I was outside the comfort of my home.

I dialled many numbers, but never called. But, somehow, unlike the SOS service on the iPhone that beeps when you need it least, my life’s SOS hollered on the right day and time. Simply put, I was fed up of feeling detached from my own self. And so, I ripped the tape and reached out for help. That herculean moment changed my life; as I unloaded all my inner worries, whims and whines. However, I must mention, this change I am raving about — it didn’t happen over night, it summoned lots of patience and time.

And here’s what I learnt; the idea of revealing one’s vulnerabilities is daunting, especially when you think you are more than fine without it. Except it’s often scarier than we make it. Sometimes, the hack is to simply let it all out without any inhibitions and allow someone to untangle the threads with you. No doubt, threads are tricky; you try to unravel one and another gets strung, much like our thoughts. Take mine for example, I may not be a jetsetter but my thoughts would definitely be diagnosed with an insatiable wanderlust for their lurking capabilities.

But that’s when the power of talking kicks in; when you speak, you also hear your own feelings out loud — all of them — the crazy, cringe worthy and cranky ones. You may laugh at a few, while uncontrollably sobbing at the others. But, sometimes, somewhere, a solution might emerge. And if it doesn’t, at least, you’d know you aren’t in this battle alone — that there’s someone out there, already a part of your storms; ready for you, whenever you want to divulge. This may not solve the problem, but it’s a step forward in that direction. And come on, if there’s one thing CBSE has taught us; it’s that we get some marks for the right steps, even if it’s just the first one.

I recently heard that the pandemic has caused a lot of robberies — of all kinds. I don’t have much advise on how to protect your belongings, but definitely some for your state of mind. And since nobody yet, has invented Google maps to help out of the labyrinth inside, I hope you muster the courage to call someone (best friend, siblings, close cousin, parents, a therapist… or your ex) and let them be your partner in crime.