BitterSweet

Tejal Khorava

“BitterSweet” is a story of Trisha Kshatriya, a 29 year old woman suffering from Depression where she falls prey to “Emotional Eating”. Her routine life puts her through a roller coaster ride of emotions and she being an introvert succumbs to cravings instead of venting out to someone. In the middle of her catastrophic life, she meets a renowned psychologist Dr. Ayan Mehra who helps her get rid of this self destructive habit and cultivate positive thinking. Dr Ayan helps her cultivate positive thinking and her work colleague Vihaan Parmar whom she refers as “Mr Arrogant” turns from a frenemy to friend in the end. Hope this story brings back the much required positivity and happiness in our lives.

Characters :-
Trisha Kshatriya(Lead)- 29 year old woman working as an Admin & Secretarial Executive in an event management company
Dr Ayan Mehra- Renowned Psychologist known for his expertise in treating Clinical Depression, Emotional Eating & Mental health issues.
Vihaan Parmar- A 34 year old Event Manager working in Trisha’s. Known to be a no nonsense, arrogant and difficult personality.
Darsh Swaminathan-Trisha’s close friend from college. 30 years old.
Sohil-Trisha’s brother.

It was 24th May 2016, a regular day in Trisha’s life until she bumps into Mr Arrogant again. It’s strange how some people enter our lives just to create a havoc for things that are not that important. She was travelling to office through Uber, was not in a mood to catch a local train. Just stepped in office and there, she just bumped into him.
Vihaan-“ Good morning Trisha. If you have 5 mins can we just discuss something you can work on? Freshen up and meet me.”
Trisha-“Sure Vihaan. I’ll be there in 5.” Thinking-what does he have for me now? I hope it’s not something that leads to an argument.
Trisha -“Hey Vihaan. Let’s discuss, you had something for me right?”
Vihaan-“ Hey, yes. So, here’s this caterer I look forward to empanel . Also there are few people you’ll have to call for the Sales Event happening on 28th June. These are the clients who have to be present for the event, so make sure you talk really nice to them. Got it?”
Trisha-“Noted. Will do the needful and keep you posted.”
Trisha finished some tasks assigned by her reporting manager and then started working on tasks assigned by Vihaan. She was in the middle of doing her follow ups for those tasks when Vihaan arrived at her desk.
Vihaan-“ Trisha, didn’t I tell you that the clients are important? You need to call them up and confirm their presence for the event? You can do this empanelment crap later. I want you to do the calls on priority! Right now!!!
Trisha-“ Hey, this is not feasible, you need to understand this. I have called up some clients already and kept some on hold because they’re not available in 1st half for a discussion. You can’t say I want things to be done on drop of a hat! That’s insane!”. All the team members started looking at both of them.
Vihaan-“Can you just get up and walk to that cabin please? Let’s discuss this separately.”
Trisha was just anticipating the worst and it was going to be something beyond that. Mr Arrogant was not easy to handle.
Vihaan to Trisha-“ Firstly, you better prioritize your tasks and do them as expected instead of showing this attitude and lastly, Don’t you ever dare talk to me like that! You can throw these idiotic tantrums to people who give a damn about this crap, keep me away from this. Get that?”
Trisha-“Yes. I got that. Sorry for losing my cool, I didn’t mean to……”
Vihaan banged the door on Trisha’s face and left the conversation midway without listening.
Trisha almost broke into tears. Rushed to the washroom without anyone noticing her and cried till she felt normal. Returned to her desk like nothing happened. Finished her tasks and left for the day.

Darsh’s message on whatsapp-“Hey Trish, sup? Can we catch up on a coffee?”
Trisha-Reads the message but does not reply. Darsh was the only person she would instantly reply to always, no matter what. But, today she didn’t. She rushed to an ice-cream parlour and ordered an extra large tub of Belgian chocolate ice-cream. Trisha had this habit of eating sweets whenever she was upset. Strange, isn’t it? People normally eat sweets either because they like sweets or when they are happy. Trisha didn’t have a sweet tooth; she ate sweets to fill the void of people. She felt there’s nobody who could listen to her without judging her, so she succumbed to eating lots of sweets whenever she felt low or stressed.
Darsh was a very good friend and he knew when and where Trisha could be found. He found her at the ice-cream parlour and walked up to her:
Darsh-“So here you are! After ignoring my message. I asked you if we can catch up for coffee? No reply. I don’t mind having an ice-cream, atleast let me know!!. That’s so unfair!!.”
Trisha-“Darsh…I’m really not in a mood to argue. Let me have ice-cream peacefully. You can have too, I’ll place an order for you.”
Darsh-“That tub is too big for you to finish alone. Now tell me what the hell happened that you ignored my message? I’m all ears”
Trisha-“Nothing.”
Darsh-“It’s definitely not “Nothing”. Spill the beans. Is it because of some moron at work?”
Trisha-“No”
Darsh eats ice-cream and says-“Do you realize how harmful this is? Eating sweets like that when you don’t like them at all! Why don’t you see a psychologist to stop this binge eating habit? I have a reference too. Dr Ayan Mehra-He’s a renowned psychologist for Depression and Mental Health.”
Trisha-“So even you think that I’m insane and need therapy”
Darsh-“No Trish. I didn’t say that you’re insane! This is a problem. You assume things. You judge yourself so critically that you miss out even when someone thinks highly of you and appreciates you for what you are. Stop seeking validation and attention from people who don’t matter.” Darsh left because he was upset with Trisha’s comment.
Trisha felt even more lonely after Darsh left like that. But, she pondered over his suggestion of seeing that psychologist he suggested. She woke up next morning. It was weekend and she managed to book an appointment with Dr Ayan Mehra.
Trisha visits Dr Mehra’s clinic and waits at the reception. She’s second in the row. There’s that nervousness you generally get when you are visiting a doctor for changing a habit. Our country isn’t so receptive about mental health issues yet. We still consider depression as a normal state of mind or loss of sanity.
Receptionist-“Ms Trisha Kshatriya, you may please go ahead and visit Dr Mehra.”
Trisha-“Dr Ayan Mehra?”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“Yes Ms Kshatriya. Please have a seat. So, tell me. What brings you here?”
Trisha-“ I have this habit of eating sweets whenever I am stressed or upset. I don’t have sweet tooth otherwise and my friends and family feel this is destructive. Eating anything in excess is harmful anyway! Do you think I’m insane or need therapy?”
Dr Ayan Mehra—“Hmmm, got your point. My question is why did you ask me if you’re insane or you need therapy? Don’t normal people need therapy? Retail therapy is something women seem to enjoy! There’s no doctor involved there, yet that’s a therapy too! So does that mean they’re insane?”
Trisha-“Wow! I didn’t expect that answer. Yeah, my friend told me the same thing. Maybe I’m too harsh on myself. Sorry, please help me get this resolved.”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“So, tell me what triggers the craving. And in what proportions do you eat whatever sweets you eat.”
Trisha-“I eat sweets whenever I feel upset or stressed. In a normal scenario I might just eat a small bite of any sweet offered to me to respect the person who offered it, because I simply don’t like sweets. But when I am stressed or upset, I order anything that’s heavy on sugar or carbs. For eg Donuts, Cakes, Brownies, Ice Creams, Indian sweets and the proportion is not certain. I keep eating till I start feeling giddy or unable to eat anything further.”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“ Well, that’s crazy! Eating anything in a certain proportion is fine. But, eating it the way you mentioned, is harmful to both your physical and mental well being. Ok, so let’s try this. Next time when you are upset, call me up. I’ll arrange some treat for you and we’ll chat over it”
Trisha- “Treat? When a doctor says “Treat” it sounds fishy. What’s the treat? Some bitter medicine? Yuck!”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“Hahaha, no. So what we’re doing is, next time you feel upset or stressed, replace your cravings for sweets by eating a fruit you like and that should be a sweet fruit. Like a chikoo or an apple or a pear or watermelon!. Anything you like.”
Trisha-“What?? What kind of a psychologist suggests that? Are you sure you’re a psychologist? I spent like a fortune just for one visit of consulting you and the cure for my binge eating is chikoos, apples, pears, watermelons!!! O Lord! seems like one mad person bumped into another. You need therapy more than me!”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“Ms Kshatriya, please give me a benefit of doubt just once. Trust me, this is gonna work really well! I can join you too in this. Eat healthier stay healthier. A happy mind starts with right food.”
Trisha-“You can call me Trisha and just for once, I’ll try what you have suggested!
Dr Ayan Mehra-“Perfect, Trisha. So you may leave for now. And let me know after you have tried this. If it’s helpful in any way.”
It was four weeks. Trisha kept having tiffs with Vihaan, her family and everyone who made her life bitter except Darsh and her brother Sohil. She also followed Dr Mehra’s prescription-ate sweet fruits everytime she felt cravings to grab carbs or sweets. Apparently, that healed her. She lost that unwanted weight she had gained by binge eating. However, what was still affecting her was her emotional state. So she decided to visit Dr Ayan Mehra, this time to find the ultimate cure.
Trisha-“Dr Mehra, your suggestion worked well. I have almost recovered from unwanted cravings for sweets and carbs but I still keep feeling low and unhappy. There’s this person at work I refer as Mr Arrogant. He and I never had a consensus on anything. We’re like polar opposites! There are only fireworks if we communicate. I’ve always felt like a doormat and a leftover. I don’t find suitors because people have conveniently labeled me as “arrogant” just because I give it back to men who take a jibe at me and call me unaccomplished. My parents feel I need to improve myself and learn to be a bit humble and practical.”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“Ok, I heard that all. And I’ll answer each of these one by one. Firstly, with reference to Mr Arrogant-Why give importance to someone who means so little? He’s a colleague, maybe a toxic person! The best way to keep it cordial with such people is to imagine that invisible wall between you two or to keep the interaction minimal. Avoid face to face conversations with him. Secondly, why worry about not finding suitors? Everything has a right time, you’re 29 and I understand the society pushes you to get married by a certain age talking about the biological clock and that usual crap! It’s useless!. Find someone who wants you for what you are, someone who will have the heart and brain to accept you with one’s own judgements and not by what others say. Lastly, parents are the best people to talk to, they only want the best for you.”
Trisha-“That was so good. I wish there were people out there like you, who heard me, tried to understand me and not abandon me when I felt my vulnerable most.”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“You know what Trisha, life is too short to be anything but happy. Stop seeking validation and attention in the wrong place or wrong people. Our sanity depends on us. Let go off those bitter words, moments or people who take away your positivity. Try finding joy in things and people we already have. Learn to value those who care for you. It will be much better. Trust me.”
Trisha-“Indeed Dr Mehra! I agree. Thanks for being such a wonderful Dr and an amazing mentor! It would be so good if there was an Ayan Mehra everywhere out there.”
Dr Ayan Mehra-“That’s sweet of you. I am blessed to have known someone equally good and so selfless and innocent. Always remain like this, happy and innocent!”
Trisha-“I shall take my leave. But, I am partying this weekend. I just got a promotion and an award for performing well at work. I owe you! please join me. My friend Darsh and my family shall be there.”
Trisha goes to work. She’s a changed individual now. Back to her jovial and bubbly self. She does her work and Vihaan walks up to her.
Vihaan-“ Hey Trisha, Do you have a minute? Can we talk?”
Trisha-“Hey Vihaan, Yes. Let’s talk.”
Vihaan-“Trisha, I just wanted to congratulate you for your promotion and getting the award. I know we haven’t been good with each other, but I am really happy for you. You have been a great colleague and an efficient employee too. I apologize for all the times that I have been rude or disrespectful. I hope you can forgive me.”
Trisha(surprised)-“Uh…Ah, It’s ok Vihaan. I did not take it personally. Don’t apologize.”
Vihaan-“So have you forgiven me?”
Trisha-“Can I ask you a question? But, promise me you won’t lose it on me again. “
Vihaan-“Hehe. I won’t. Go ahead.”
Trisha-“Did you get possessed by a mighty soul by any chance? I just want to be sure it’s you who spoke to me and not a ghost!”
Vihaan-“Hahahaha. No, I did not get possessed. It’s me who spoke to you. Ok now?”
Trisha-“Gosh!! I am relieved.”
Vihaan-“I am getting married by this year end and you gotta help me. You will right?”
Trisha-“Wow, congratulations!. Yes, I’ll help you with anything. You can count on me.”Vihaan excuses himself and leaves.
Trisha has a grand party on the weekend. Dr Mehra joins her, Darsh and her family. They all congratulate her and celebrate her success. To Trisha’s surprise there’s an elderly couple who approaches her parents and they talk and exchange smiles. Trisha goes towards them and finds Vihaan. She’s totally surprised to find him there. Just as she tries to recollect her conversation with him she’s brought back to reality where Vihaan has proposed to her and she has said yes.


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