The GreaT es­cape

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

YES, I know ex­actly how you feel. It seems like the world has gone to hell in a hand­bas­ket. And you don’t know how you’re go­ing to get through the next month, the next year, let alone the rest of your life. You’ve spent days try­ing to live off the loose change you’ve scrounged from around the house. Or you spent end­less hours queu­ing at the bank or at an ATM to get ac­cess to your own money. Don­ald Trump (Don­ald Trump!) is the new Pres­i­dent of the United States. Leonard Co­hen died. The list of mis­for­tunes and tragedies seems end­less.

So how do we sur­vive in this world, which has be­gun to seem like such a nasty, brutish place?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I try and do so by go­ing to my ‘happy place’. Which is of­ten not a place at all but a state of mind I achieve by do­ing what pleases me best. from ob­sess­ing over Pres­i­dent Trump (yes, yes, I know he’s not my Pres­i­dent, but that doesn’t make it any eas­ier). Word of cau­tion: may be a good idea to stay away from the Harry Pot­ter se­ries. All those Volde­mort ref­er­ences might come crash­ing back.

Out of the mouths of babes: Spend time with chil­dren. Read them sto­ries. Lis­ten to what they got up to in school. Ask them to tell you the lat­est jokes they heard in class. Get them to share their wor­ries and fears; if noth­ing else, that will put your wor­ries and fears in per­spec­tive. If you don’t have any kids of your own, don’t worry. This is an emer­gency and you are al­lowed to bor­row them from friends and fam­ily. There is noth­ing like lis­ten­ing to the in­con­se­quen­tial chat­ter that emerges from chil­dren to make you for­get the cares of the grown-up uni­verse. (Note: if there are no chil­dren handy, just head for the near­est park and watch the kids at play. Their screams and shouts of plea­sure will make you feel bet­ter about the state of the world.)

Sched­ule a dig­i­tal detox: If you can’t stay off­line dur­ing the day be­cause of the na­ture of your work, that’s fine. But once you get home, put away the smart­phone and tune out the con­stant chat­ter of the out­side world. Don’t peek in to re­view your friends’ sta­tus up­dates on Face­book. Don’t keep trawl­ing twit­ter to see (and out­rage about) what’s hap­pen­ing in the world. Don’t even check In­sta­gram to see those care­fully-fil­tered images of per­fectly-cu­rated lives. Let the out­side world fade away while you lis­ten to mu­sic, read a book, or just talk to your loved ones.

Watch re-runs of your favourite feel­good TV shows: My own go-to show when de­pressed is Friends, which I have now seen so many times that I know en­tire episodes by heart. Modern Fam­ily, with its blended fam­i­lies and cute kids, serves as an­other emo­tional re­treat. And of late, I have taken to binge-watch­ing Gil­more Girls on Netflix as well, while sneak­ing in a few episodes of Will and Grace. There is cer­tain com­fort in re­treat­ing to a par­al­lel uni­verse where noth­ing re­ally bad hap­pens, and there are no nasty sur­prises be­cause you know ex­actly what’s com­ing next.

Well, that’s just a small sam­ple of the many things I did to try and stay sane while the world seemed to run mad. But if none of them work for you, then you could al­ways go to your ac­tual ‘happy place’ and re­cover your equi­lib­rium. Walk down the flower-edged paths of your favourite park. Take a day trip to the beach with a pic­nic bas­ket of your favourite treats. Or re­treat to the moun­tains for a week­end of quiet and calm.

And take com­fort in the thought that what­ever hap­pens, the sun will rise again to­mor­row, and the day af­ter, and the day af­ter that. It may seem like the world has ended, but you

When the wor ld get­stoo much to bear , it’stimeto r etr eatto your ‘happy place’

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