Unmask the Mask

Unmask the Mask
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One evening I dressed up in a black T-shirt and blue jeans, took my car keys and said my mom who was in the kitchen in an excited tone “Mom I am leaving to the beach to meet my friend will be back in an hour”

Walking through the living room and the main door I sat in my car, turned the key and cranked the engine. I was taken by surprise when my mom out of nowhere knocked on the window and said “Don’t forget your mask” and handed over the Royale blue face mask. Every time I put on the mask I feel like a superhero. I wondered whether all these superheroes parents said the same thing to them when they leave home. Looks like my childhood dream of being a superhero is turning into reality to some extent. I was driving towards the beach with Music ON, AC ON and facemask ON. Isn’t it difficult to breathe with a face mask and especially with spectacles? The fog it creates is so annoying. The mask was suffocating and uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to reach the beach and remove it. I was also very excited to meet my friend Mallika after 2 long years. As soon as I reached the beach I lowered the window, removed my mask and took a deep breath of nature. I turned off the engine and got down from the car. As I was walking towards the shore to my utter surprise Malika reached before me, which happens only once in a lifetime. I was proud to witness this moment.

She has changed a lot since 2 years after being in a modelling career. She was sitting on the shore facing the sun. Her brownish hair with burgundy streaks was shining. Her designer pinkish mask with unique hexagon design and blue dress was eye-catching.

We had a lot of catching up to do and I had to share a lot of stories. Well, my stories will have a beginning, middle and an ending but her stories are like inception movie it takes time to understand the multiple layers of stories within stories.

Do you have a friend like this with the inception of stories?

I sat next to her. The sun was almost about to set, the sky turned orangish-red , the waves were kissing my feet and the cool breeze was whispering near my ears.

After all the small chit chats and reminiscing old times. I felt like things never changed between us. We felt like we just met yesterday. 

Then Malika asked “how’s the business going on”

“Due to lockdown growth is in the slower end but I am sure it will pick up,” I said with certainty.

Then I continued “I am pretty sure your modelling career is going on well. You already have a million followers”

She said “hmm yea “with a humph and shrugging her shoulders.

I could sense the calm before the storm.

I asked her “What’s the matter??”

Colour drained from her face. She let out a breath which she didn’t realise she was holding to. She removed her mask and flood of tears erupted. I could feel her heart was as sad as a black stone under the blue sea. The façade of joy was broken.

She said “It’s been difficult for a few months to make ends meet. The bills started pouring in and I don’t have enough money to pay. Many payments which I was supposed to receive yet to be cleared and due to lockdown there are no new contracts”

Time stood still for me. This caught me off-guard. I felt the struggle. Beneath her light, there was darkness and beneath her supposed joy, pain. She was slipping into depression. I realised she was telling me all this not to seek help. I knew she was strong enough to fight through the turbulence in her career. All she wanted was a person to talk to and unlock her emotions. I was listening to her carefully with undivided attention. After a while, she calmed down just like the still water after the turbulence.

After a moment of silence, I said “ You have been through all this before I am pretty sure you can fight through this”

 She said “You know what? You are right. I feel better and relieved now. Things are not that bad as I think it is. I am overthinking, it might be due to the lockdown and isolation, all these thoughts started creeping in”

I felt happy that she could immediately bounce back from the negative state.

Then she started sharing her new concepts of modelling in her phone. As we were looking through it, a comment popped up in her Instagram profile.

It read “Wow your lifestyle is so amazing. I wish I had a life like that.”

She rolled her eyes and whispered “If only you knew “

For a moment I felt like everything stood still and what followed next was a brief moment of silence.

Sometimes we tend to compare our lives with someone else and we feel “Wow what an amazing life. I wish I had one like that.”

But somewhere deep within we forget to realise to get that one perfect picture there are 10 imperfect ones. Everyone wears a mask to show things are going on good and fine. But deep within it suffocates them. They continue to wear it because of fear of judgement and how society sees them as. But it’s better to have few people close to us where we can remove the mask and express ourselves .It makes us feel lighter. Sometimes things are not as bad as you assume it to be.

This incident made me feel good that I made myself available to listen to my friend and make her feel better.

Everyone has everything within them to fight through difficult times all they need is someone who listens to them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we are that person whom friends can approach easily??

The only way to come out of depression is expression. So let’s make ourselves available to people around us to express themselves and help them move away from depression through expression.

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