Feeling lonely tonight

Scratch the glitzy surface of psychedelic socialising and unending partying and you’ll find a lonely soul behind many smiles.

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It’s pretty easy to be lost in a city as big as ours. What’s even easier is to get lonely in the crowd. Known for its social culture, Mumbai doesn’t outwardly seem like a city that one would find lonely, but scratch the glitzy surface of psychedelic socialising and unending partying and you’ll find a lonely soul behind many smiles.

“I grew up in Mumbai, so I don’t really get all that lonely because my family and friends are pretty much here. But I have a lot of friends who have moved to Mumbai and find it incredibly lonely even though their work involves meeting lots of people,” says veejay Purab.

“I felt a sense of wanting to be with family when my house burnt down last year and I lost everything," says actor Koena Mitra. "For three months I was living with my friends and had to rebuild my whole life; that’s when I missed my family the most. I think that when you are ill or in trouble is when you feel very, very lonely.”

While it’s not surprising that single people get lonely in the city, it is a bit of an issue when this loneliness takes on physical ramifications. “Lots of people tend to the hit the bottle pretty bad. I’m not saying they’re alcoholics, but they do tend to randomly hang out at a pub and drink more than they would normally,” says radio jockey Jaggu.

Jaggu just may have pin-pointed something that is more than just his observation. Psychotherapist Seema Hingorrany says that she gets enough clients who have psychosomatic illnesses that rise mainly out of loneliness. “Headaches, anxiety and panic attacks are very common. People are too busy to be able to listen to anyone and also to sit down and talk to their heart’s content,” she says. Hingorrany’s clinic sees a slew of young people who come with depression, lack of sleep and appetite and general listlessness that they can’t attribute to anything.

“I get physically ill when my boyfriend leaves town,” says a model who requests anonymity adding, “To get rid of that urge to just sit at home and drink myself silly — as I have done very often in the past — I stay in constant touch with him on phone and try and immerse myself in work.” That may not be the best thing, she adds knowingly, as her phone bills are huge and she tends to overwork herself.

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