•  Suhana Bhatia
    •  02 July 2020
    •  1851

    Dil Na-Ummeed Toh Nahi...

    A screenwriter's guide to 'Emotional First Aid'

    Dil Na-ummeed Toh Nahi

    Nakaam Hi Toh Hai

    Lambi Hai Gham Ki Shaam

    Magar Shaam Hi Toh Hai

    Yeh Safar Bahut Hai Kathin Magar

    Na Udaas Ho Mere Hamsafar

    (1942, A Love Story)


    This couplet by Faiz Ahmed Faiz saab was woven into lyrics by Javed (Akhtar) saab, and set to tune by our all time favourite composer, Pancham da. 


    Pancham da aka R D Burman - a man who had , in his lifetime, tasted the pinnacle of success, and then was shunned like a complete stranger for several years after a few flop films. And yet, he rose from the ashes and offered us this glorious music one last time before he left. In his brief stay here on earth he had experienced all the seasons of life.


    Today, more than ever before, these words are a reassuring salve for many a wound and blister that people are hiding in their hearts, afraid to show their scars to anyone. But today, more than ever before, we are not alone. There are thousands ... maybe millions ... facing anxieties, grief, fears, uncertainty and anguish, in varying degrees. And the most important thing we can do, as we go through this tunnel, is to be kind to ourselves.


    Like physical wounds need band-aid, even our heart needs a little 'emotional first-aid' while we stumble and hobble our way into finding our footing again. There's no quick-fix, no instant solution ... but there are things we can do everyday, moment to moment - by tending gently to ourselves - to keep our sanity, our sense of calm, and probably even  that smile on our face. A step at a time.


    The first step to do this is to switch off the news. On television, on your phone and even gossip via your social media. Just detox from anything that drains you. Instead, "Do the dishes" - engage in household chores, whether washing dishes or ironing a bundle of clothes, to get a sense of what is real and essential. The next thing to do, is see if you have included the 5 elements in your daily diet. Wanna check? 


    The elements: 

    The 5 elements are our key to balance - Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Sky / Space.  Once you consciously bring them into your 'Emotional Nutrition Plan', you're going to find yourself way more in control of whatever is happening around you.  So, here goes:



    Drink more water, shower before you sleep, soak your feet in salt water to wash away the day's strain, and splash your face with some cool water. And if you are one of those who lives near the river or ocean, and can sit on the shore for an hour or two  - "waah, kya baat hai!".

    P.S: For true blue Mumbaikars, watching the monsoon rains hit the city, and inhaling the fragrance of wet earth is one of the greatest joys we experience. 



    "Open the doors of the window and let the weather come in", as the old joke goes. Allow the breeze to caress your face and toss your hair. Let it refresh your home with its lightness of being. As you do, breathe deeper and slower. Keep a count of 5 for every inhale, pause and exhale, and do this for a couple of minutes everyday.  Learn pranaayam to strengthen your immune system and stamina.



    This element feeds our energy, literally and metaphorically.  So, get some sunlight, warmth and Vitamin D by standing in your balcony, and soaking it in. Light a deeya at your altar or a fragrant candle in your bedroom to soften the ambience. 


    The kitchen fires feed our tummies, and a good meal is always an immediate mood lifter. So, take the effort to look up your favourite recipe, cook it patiently and relish it while listening to some soothing music. Also, aise mausam mein, can anything beat the combination of onion bhajiaas and adrak waali chai?



    Our sense of grounding comes from the earth element. It helps us feel secure, rooted and reassured. When one feels restless, flighty or insecure we can connect to the earth to calm ourselves. You can do this by walking barefoot on grass, spending time with your plants, hugging a tree or, if you're at home - lying down on the floor on your stomach, and stretching your arms wide, as if you're hugging the earth. You should be able to feel your navel touching the floor. When you intuitively feel more at ease, you can get back to your chores. 


    Sky / Space / Ether:

    Our capacity to dream, our creativity and our sense of vastness comes from this element. It also literally means the space around us. The simplest way to do this is to physically create some openness around you - discard what you're not using, declutter, rearrange the furniture or sort out your cupboard, one shelf at a time. There's no need to do it all at once, or feel guilty if you can't manage more than one little corner in an entire day. It's about making the effort. One step at a time ...


    And when the day is wrapping up, watching the vast night sky from your terrace can be very soothing, as you allow the stillness to settle in you.


    The elements are a beautiful way to nurture yourself, and connect with your inner self. But emotional first-aid also means reaching outwards. So, in your daily routines include a phone-call to your parents, a friend, a favourite cousin or grandparent. Message people who you have known for a long time, but not heard from. Check on them, because someone might be in real need of a listening ear and a friendly little voice.


    Lastly, be kind to YOU. So, cut the self criticism, the guilt and the punishing comments and treat yourself to a hot coffee and some chocolate instead. 


    The world heals when we begin to heal ourselves.


    Suhana is a Mumbai-based screenwriter who loves art, nature and positivi-tea. A passionate tree-lover, she is also a keen seeker of the spiritual path.