After a while, I am back! To refresh you all, here are the first 3 parts: https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-one/ , https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-two/ and https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/my-experiences-as-an-aspie-part-three/ .
I was lucky that my mom had a counsellor friend who had her own clinic near my home. By the way, it was obvious that my counselling in Chennai was not very effective; and I had also shown my preference for a female counsellor. Thus, it was really lucky that my mom’s friend was one such person. One thing in our first meeting (where my mom also came) that struck me straight away was her sympathetic nature and that she wanted to understand me in and out. This also meant that I had to undergo several tests at a centre in Andheri West, which reconfirmed my earlier diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome; as well as showing up other major issues like anxiety and paranoia which were due to the emotional turmoil I had undergone over the last one or two years – especially the last 5-6 months.
There is one incident which I missed mentioning during Part 3. During my UG, I had a close friend who even came to my home for lunch (along with 9 other friends) just after the end of our final year (in 2010). A year later, I met with her twice before joining IFMR. After that, I continued to be in touch with her through Facebook Messenger occasionally till the middle of my second year at IFMR(in 2012). I even talked to her on the phone in the beginning of 2014 and she was pleasantly surprised to hear from me. I then talked to her on two more occasions in the year – April and May. The next I spoke to her was in January 2015 – I informed her about my upcoming trip to Mumbai that month, and she said that she would let me know if we can meet. Eventually the meeting did not materialize, though I did speak on the phone with her again during my stay in Mumbai.
This was the last decent conversation we had, as things rapidly nosedived from here. One day after I returned to Chennai, I saw her profile picture on Facebook – it had about 45-odd likes. I commented “why only 45 likes? you should get 150 likes :P”. I then got a Whatsapp notification – this girl had messaged me “Stop your nonsense on FB”. I checked my FB and got a shock – I was no longer in her friends list! :O It was completely unexpected, and that made it all the worse. I had made a jovial, harmless comment and did not deserve to be unfriended for such a trivial thing! She could just have said “I am sorry but I don’t like your comment on FB. Please delete it.” or “I am hurt by your comment on FB.”. I would then at least have understood that she did not like my comment. My intention on putting that comment was purely out of good humour (as a friend), not to insult or poke fun at someone.
Anyway, I apologized profusely through Whatsapp, text and Messenger; not because I really had to, but because her inflated ego needed it. There was no response in return. I sent her a friend request on FB – that was ignored as well. In March, while I was in a train to Mangalore; my Nokia Lumia 820 fell (while it was being charged from a high perch near the compartment doors) and the glass cracked such that the touchscreen couldn’t function properly – it was already 2 years since my parents had bought me this phone; hence I decided to buy a new phone. I got a Sony Experia E3 for only Rs.8500 and fell in love with it – however lost it (along with my Sim Card, obviously!) in a freak incident, one night in April when I was driving my scooter; it somehow managed to fall out of my tracksuit pocket. I had driven miles by the time I realized the phone was missing – despite a frantic search and repeated queries (hoping against hope!) to the shops near the spot where I had lost the phone, I never found it.
So, on an impulse; I bought a HTC Desire C at a similar price (Later in May, I would get the Lumia 820 screen replaced by shelling out Rs.8000). I called this girl (who had unfriended me) from my new number, and she (obviously must have not expected it 😉 ) said in a tense tone that she would call me back later. Ha! Even an Aspie like me knows a lie when he hears one 😛 A few days later, I messaged her on Whatsapp introducing myself and reminding her of our earlier friendship. For once she replied, though the reply reeked of arrogance ” I know who you are. No need to give intro. I thought you were overdoing it. And If I expect you to be my friend you can’t comment anything on my wall” Wow! One must wonder if she cared about friendship at all! At that moment, I angrily retorted that I didn’t want a friend like her. So that was that!
Anyway, coming back to my return to Mumbai; I was struggling to get a job – partly because of my being an Aspie – as my counsellor pointed out. She made a good suggestion that I mention about my being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (along with the fact that I had been proved to have average intelligence) in a mail; whenever I was called for an interview. This way, (my counsellor felt) the prospective employers would be more inclined to accept me because of my being upfront about my condition. I followed it almost religiously, though I still didn’t clear any interview – because my experience in my previous company was mostly in back-office HR and only the last 5 months involved recruitment; while I was keen only on recruitment (I had developed a liking for it). Eventually, I took up a freelance recruitment assignment in January 2016- it involved no salary , just a commission of 3-4% on closing a position.
This freelance recruitment assignment was a good learning experience for me, as it involved calling candidates and lining them up for interviews – which I largely lacked in my job at Chennai. However, I did not close a single position; as the candidates failed to clear the interviews. This meant that I essentially did the assignment for “free” 😛 – anyway, for me the hands-on experience gained was more important than any money. Meanwhile, my paternal grandfather passed away towards the end of March; 5 months away from his 90th birthday. He had had a nasty fall and a resulting hip fracture, while trying to sit on a chair at the dining table; during the last month of the previous year. After a successful surgery, he seemed to be on the way to recovery and was about to be discharged from the hospital; when he had a mild heart attack and thus an angiogram had to be done on him – resulting in gradual malfunctioning of his kidneys (he had CKD[Chronic Kidney Disorder] and was a heart patient as well);and thus dialysis had to be done, which weakened him greatly and led to his eventual demise through a cardiac arrest.
Initially when the news came (at around 3 30 am), I was in shock and kept clinging to my mother for support. I reluctantly had my meals, and had a dream in which my (late) grandfather was calling my sister. I was feeling very empty and depressed (though not grief-stricken), because all these months we all were busy attending to my grandfather – I visited the hospital along with my parents and relatives quite a few times. His death thus left a void in our lives. That day (being a Harry Potter fanatic), it was reading “The Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” all over again; from the afternoon to the night, which gave me solace and much needed distraction from the grim atmosphere. Sometimes (irrationally) I felt that the doctors treating my grandfather at the hospital should be investigated for their negligence! I also (again irrationally) felt a fear that death might occur in the case of other family members too – say my maternal grandfather or grandmother for instance.
At these times, I would seek reassurance from my mother. When we had gone to Chennai to attend the last rites function, I told her about the dream I had had (about my late grandfather) and she said that I was blessed to have a vision of him. How true that turned out to be ! In the 2nd week of April, I got a full-time job as a recruiter with a recruitment consultancy in Malad West. The best part was – I was selected before I told my interviewer (the Director of the company) about my Asperger’s Syndrome! Well..I think that must be enough reading for you all – I shall resume in Part 5. Stay tuned!