The Anti-Toska

Toska: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

So, it’s like French ennui, but, you know, Russian. So not as casually melancholy – more tinged with cold, and hardship, and everyday struggles against dictators, oppression, and the possibility of freezing to death.

So, I’ve come up with the concept of the anti-Toska. An anti-Toska is life-giving, whether big or small, a joy that lifts us up, sets us on our feet, and makes things bearable again, if only for a short time.

And so, it’s the name I’ve given to my favorite drink: a hot cocoa with two shots of raspberry syrup. It doesn’t change how life is, but for a moment, it makes me happy. I am but a simple soul.

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