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  • Kanika Bhatia

Let's take a walk in the strawberry fields.

Alright, so here go the game rules. You’re walking down a hill, and you notice a strawberry field. Ripe, juicy berries hanging, and almost calling out for you. Instinctively you enter the space, and with no man guarding it, you know it’s going to be a field day. However, you’re allowed to enter just once. What do you do with a field full of strawberries?

Eat to your hearts content. Walk the field, smell the red wonders and be happy.

Eat to your hearts content, but try and hunt for a bag. After all it’s only fair you carry some to eat later.

Eat a little and decide strawberries aren’t for you.

2012, is when this story line was narrated for me to pick my ending of choice. I decided I had to stuff some of those strawberries in my pocket, because I prefer knowing I can savour them beyond the boundary of this imaginary farm. Apparently, it resonates what my personality is largely. I love back ups.

Before you decide to smirk at the rushed judgment, apparently the strawberry field test is designed for studying relationship behaviours and personalities at large. So option 1 echoes dependency, loyalty, people who bank on the present, and are at peace with being who and where they are. Option 2 is for the fidgety characters who represent impatience, the next best thing and a strong desire to have a plan B. They know what they want, so they protect themselves by keeping options. That way, they never have to feel vulnerable. Option 3 is for those who haven’t diced out their choice of relationships. Maybe even the gender they prefer. They don’t think they are designed for being in a monogamous arrangement, or any arrangement for that matter. And then are detailed variations of the three sets.

Now, having notice something I probably knew, but never paid heed to, I was curious. How is having back ups such an important aspect of my existence and yet missed by the ever probing brain? And if it’s so dominating, how bad or good is this habit exactly. To break it down for you, here are some patterns defined by my need to have a plan B:

I have my brand of shampoo, face wash, conditioner, vaginal cleaner, toothbrush, toothpaste, face cream and everything else, in two of my houses I tend to juggle between. If this doesn’t seem absurd, I maintain a travel vanity kit with the exact same permutation, and a back up dresser drawer in my washroom, because you never know.

I follow a similar ideology with my choice of coffee, peanut butter, pesto sauce and pasta. So much so, I keep them while travelling to someone’s house, because they might not have either or any of these things.

My kitchen is planned in a way, where the liquid washer, cleaning equipments, detergents are lined up with a couple of back ups as well. I would hate to run out of lizol suddenly, so I rather have one (or three) ready to dive and take its place.

Up until 26 years of age, I always knew who to text if am feeling lonely or had a bad fight with my boyfriend. I wasn’t frivolous or disloyal. I always had back ups for validation seeking. And as crude as it sounds, it’s absolutely natural when you’re younger, to bank up on people you know who like you. Admittedly, I wouldn’t have ever said out loud maybe when I was 25, but for 30, I couldn’t care less what you think of me.

One of the major reasons I keep working on my micro mastering skills, is simply to have back up career options. With this pandemic, I am so thankful for the skill sets I have invested in over all these years, that I can figure the next step without overwhelming or undermining myself, but subconsciously it’s my method of not being redundant. You know you don’t really want to be a good anecdote but a bad reality.

So this behaviour seeped into nearly every aspect of my behaviour like bad cholesterol. And here I am, permitting myself to exercise it in areas (like toiletries and kitchen stocks) where it’s less damaging. But areas like dating, friendships it tends to clog up growth in more ways than one. Having back ups gives me the sense of security. I wouldn’t be out of it anytime soon, and I go to bed in peace. However, consistently maintaining different friend groups since I was a kid, might just be my natural instinct kicking in. I don’t wish to run out of friends, or people to hang with. In retrospect, it escalated in college a tad too much, I had 44 “best friends”, beat it. Over years of analysation is when I have made peace with limited close friends. Narrowing of circles wasn’t cutting out people, I haven’t felt the need to do that ever. But it was simply an exercise to know how many can I really keep up with. My dating scenarios changed dramatically post that age of self delusion and naïvetée. If we are being completely honest, part of it might have been to keep the man on his toes, but a very large part was for myself. I hated the idea of feeling vulnerability so much, that tears were weakness, and a bunch was at beck and call. Apologies, boys.

However, half the battle in therapy or otherwise, is knowing the problem (or I am just stingy). But I have seen how my idea of love has changed over the years. After a terrible, gut wrenching emotion of love storm, I am finally in a stable relationship with absolutely no need for reciprocation to flirty messages. Even misplaced anger isn’t converted into texting your exes back, which btw wasn’t cool even back then, but no ones judging. We all know how “A fuck is a fuck is a fuck.” But if you do enter that strawberry field with an aim to pocket them, you might wanna get hide those 3 extra ketchup bottles in your kitchen, next time I am visiting.


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