I worked in India, between 2018 and 2019 in a place called Visakhapatnam, (Visag).
It was a long way from home. I had to fly from Manchester in the UK, to Dubai in the UAE and then get a connecting flight to Hyderabad in India before moving onto Visag.
While there, I had these amazingly vivid dreams about an anaconda that used to climb into my bed at night and wrap itself around my chest so I could not breathe.
Worse still, the anaconda would force its head into my mouth and probe my throat with its forked tongue.
I loved working in Visag, and made friends with colleagues who sadly, I will probably never see again. They are still with me, though, because while I was in India, I wrote them down, along with the anaconda and someone who helped me fight the demons and anxiety I've suffered with for too long to admit. That someone was my own anxiety, Aftab, who come to life in India in the form of another friend.
Aftab has a head shaped like an egg, and small, dark eyes at the side of his head rather than at the front. His nose is long and slim, beneath which is a narrow mouth, slightly wider than his nose. Aftab's skin is pale and smooth, except for a wrinkled frown on his brow and more wrinkles around both its eyes that make him look older than his true age. Perfectly bald, he has no facial hair or eyebrows either. The fingers that sometimes appear at the side of his head from time to time make it look like he has at least a little hair. Aftab speaks in the voice of Stephen Fry, and he loves to sing, even though his singing voice is terrible. He plays the sitar too, very well. If only he did not play the songs that remind me of my past and the reason for my anxiety.
Two Lumps of Sugar for Mr Anxiety
International Impact Award Winner