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The phone call stirred me. It said "she's no more". Last night, if someone had asked me how would I react to such a news, I would have shrugged my shoulders nonchalantly. Last night, if someone had still pressed hard, I would have said "It is sad" and moved on with my soap. But that would have been last night. Today, when I hear it, I can neither shrug my shoulders nor remain glued to the television. Strangely till the phone rang, I never thought she meant anything to me or that I had any memory of her, with her.
But right now, I am sitting all alone on the couch, shivering. I want to cry and remember her. I want to call up her daughters and tell them that when I last met her, she looked pale but happy. I want to tell her husband that she thought he was good. Now I realize that we actually did share a bond. A bond of nonchalance. We passed on our bags of problems to each other and always thought we are not taking any in return. But today as I mourn, I feel heavy with the weight of her baggage.
Today when she is gone, I feel sad, strange and I am scared too. Sad because she is no more, strange because I never knew she mattered to me and because I never thought her death would leave me so numb and scared…. Scared because suddenly I see myself crazily flipping through those pages in my mind that say “people who don’t matter”. I no longer know who does or doesn’t matter! I have realized that it is harder to lose such people who belong to the "doesn't matter but actually matter" list than the "actually matter" list.
I like being good. It gives me a high when people look at me, smile encouragingly or say nice things about me. I also like to give a lot of gifts to those around me. Again, I like when they are delighted but I deeply love when they look at me lovingly and sometimes say "thank you". But I like it best when they don't say much, just smile and nod in appreciation and love. And while I like all this, sometimes I wonder "Am I really good? Are other good people driven by the same factors as I am?"
I am more acceptable when I am not ME.
I would be punished for mistakes I always thought as my achievements.
I would question my identity.
I would feel so without an identity.
I would cry over my helplessness.
I would feel so helpless.
I would mourn the death of my self.
I would be only one mourning my death.
I would spit so much venom ever.
I would start a "Never knew" list and it would become endless!!
If there was a way to know what I wished for
I would never hurt you
If there was a mirror that showed the real me
I would never fear your love
If there was a way to love you less
I would easily breathe and live
if there was a way to make you love me less
I would easily live with you, without you
if there was but one me
I would never be so confused, so vulnerable
I have often been criticized of making my daughter too independent. Mostly when someone hurls such criticism and questions my way of parenting, I react strongly. For a three-year-old, she wastes quite some valuable hours in deciding her sleeping suit. I am not talking about her hours spent on footwear because that cannot be contained in this 100-word post. People often tell me that since I gave her the right to choose, she is becoming stubborn! That since she has been given too much of a free hand, she is misusing it and turning into a brat!
I have argued that this probably would not turn her into the most obedient daughter in the family but as she grows, it would surely expand her horizon from clothes to ideas to life philosophies. She will probably not listen to me but would be able to make her own decisions and mistakes. Thankfully, she would not have a secured life tailor-made for her. For some, it is quite a radical way of parenting, but I have taken the chance. Probably it is because my parents gave me the right to choose my blue dress when I was three.
Somebody once said when you read your diary and then quickly shut it only to hide your face in embarrassment, consider yourself grown up. Since then, I often turned those pages, torn and smelly, to qualify this grown-up test but always lost. Instead I loved myself more after reading the page I should have ideally been ashamed about. Now after years of failing, I've accepted my defeat. I have grown up a few more inches and by a few years but that doesn't necessarily mean that I am now a better and more intelligent version of the diary-writer.
"I think I know you" he said.
"Yeah I know that you think so. I am pretty and guys often tend to say that to me," she replied.
"I would call that overconfidence without which you would have surely been prettier," he smirked.
"Oh so am I dealing with I-might-hit-on-you-but-you-better-not-know-it guy? In that case mister, I think you have failed miserably," she got up.
He was blocking her way and she didn't like it.
"Excuse me," she almost screamed. He apologized awkwardly.
Apology was the last thing I expected in this tete-a-tete.
He stepped back and almost fell on the chair lying behind him.
"Idiot," she said under her breath and moved on.
The guy shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
"Remember that girl I told you about. The one who wanted to end her life because she wasn't pretty. I think I met her today."
"I know her voice. Even if I can't see, I can hear mate," I later heard him talk on the phone. I did not expect this either.
Misha was happy. Her father had gifted her the pup she so desperately wanted. She thanked everyone in the family. She genuinely tried to hug each one too. The effort though fell apart, considering the number of members present in the house then. So, now with her puppy she went to the park. Obviously, she so needed to flaunt her new toy to her friends.
Ria would be jealous, Ashma would squeal with delight but most of all, all of them would love her and her pup. She entered the park gates and flashed her much-practiced smile.
"Hey guys, look what I have got!" Misha screamed.
Strangely, nobody really bothered to look up. They were all standing awestruck in a semicircle surrounding something.
A very upset but curious Misha moved towards the group. "What is that?" she asked and a few of her friends stepped aside for her to have a look. Her best friend had a beautiful puppy cuddling in her lap. Misha sighed and returned home with her first lesson of life. There is always a bigger pup than the one you love and it is almost always with your best friend!
Last week when I visited my parents with my toddler, my father said "You would not be able to give her everything, so give her everything you can. And for the things she cannot have, she should have faith and confidence in her parents. She should always believe that all can be achieved and she is no less than any of her friends. "Instil this faith in her through words, stories even games" he said. "Did he say 'games'?" I wondered. What followed was a rush of childhood memories and suddenly, a lot of "senseless" childhood games started making sense.
We were not particularly well off when I was a kid. We often had days when mumma's face signaled that we slid our demand-list aside till she looked more genuinely relaxed. But often, because my parents had mastered the art of camouflaging any roadblock into an interesting hurdle across which lay the best, we missed the veneer and gave her our list. She always took it from us and passed it on to my dad. He, in turn, always and I insist always showed lot of enthusiasm reading that list. He sure didn't believe in over-pampering through words!
When our demands were fulfilled is a different story. But I always, the emphasis please, got what the list had. Papa would call me quietly and show me his fat wallet. I would excitedly tell him, that I always knew we had so much money! Dad would nod and smile. I would hug him proudly. I never told him that this money would disappear in paying debts and that I knew his wallet was empty till yesterday. Whenever papa had dough, we followed the same ritual. He never got to know that I always knew it was just a game.
In the last few years of loving and many years of hating, I have understood that Hate is more real an emotion than love and love is actually a state of mind. Hate stays with you despite everything and love because of some things. It is so much easier to nurse and pamper hatred than love. The latter keeps throwing tantrums and is very demanding while in hatred, less is more. In love you might die but it is only because of hatred that you would NEVER want to die. I, however, prefer love. To me dream still outshines reality.
It is strange how we often present ourselves as someone else and in this pretense, things get so stifling that we either end up being what we had chosen to show or crack up to show the real self and get rejected.
I was not what I always claimed to be.
I was not what I was made to be.
I was not what I made you see.
I was not what was made of me.
But now that I have claimed and you have believed
I have to be
Last week, my daughter said "you cannot use papa's computer." I explained things like family and sharing but it was too much for her tiny brain already outraged at my action. So I made a family tree and pasted pics of all the members to explain that she can share things with all of them. Later when her playmates came, she checked her tree and refused to share her toys. Since then, my family tree has been growing and so is my daughter's confusion. Unknowingly, I have given her her first lesson: In Family. with numbers come contradictions and confusions!!!
I always love to write and I always love to think that I can write. Only this time, when I have bounded myself in a discipline I am nervous. More so because I have decided to put forth an idea everyday in this time and word limited world. My fear has suddenly shifted gears, it is not writing, it is generating a thought worth writing. Last afternoon I cursed my gardener who in turn cursed a squirrel for ruining a new plant he had planted and I had paid for. Can the written thought be as futile as the curse?
I fought my heart out today and now I feel exhausted. Now when I am trying to recollect the chain of arguments, I am clueless. What I remember is that there was lot of passion and energy when I had put forth my arguments but now I don't remember much. This has led to lot of self-doubt. If it was so important for me, why do I not remember it or even what led to it? And in case, it was so unimportant that my memory refused to store it, was the fight and emotional turmoil really worth it?
I never thought I would have to go through this! Actually I knew but never thought it would be here knocking my head so soon and so strong. My daily supplement of 24 hours are these days consumed by my daughter alone. Of these 24 hours, 3 seemingly giant hours are taken up in her deciding what she wants to wear and the next two in me trying to convince her on something else. Next few hours are about her questions and my counter-questions simply because I either don't know the answer or don't want to give it yet.
Contd from Oct 22 Besides this,I am usually busy entertaining guests, which are primarily my daughter's friends. They are invariably hungry when they drop in and strangely my daughter who would otherwise make me run for one hour at least in my effort to feed her, too would be hungry and how!!! Last night, my daughter said she was angry with God because he did not make her as tall as giraffe. I tried to explain but had to shut up when I heard her soft snores. For a three-year-old, her lifestyle is pretty hectic you see!
When you tell me I look good, I feel beautiful. When you tell me I look tired, I feel weak. When you tell me I need rest, I want to dream. When you tell me I am wrong, I curl up in shame. When you tell me I am just, I slaughter emotions. When you tell me I am yours, I forget ME. When you tell me you are mine, all I remember is you. You are my mirror, my reason to be. Don't abandon me because we are not compatible. Tell me who I am, make me live, breathe.
I often jot down things and thoughts that are very confusing. A lot of other times, I pen down thoughts that are very intricate. And almost always after undertaking this exercise, I keep my diary hidden from the world, in my closet under lock and key. I always always make sure that none except me get to read it but even while I am doing it, a part of me is always rehearsing the conversation I would have if I found you reading it. If the thought is so profound, why does my action defy it? What do I want?
I am extremely depressed today. My companion of almost 15 years is dying. He was the first "man" in my life who I looked up to when I was sad. When happy, I would often sit with him and sing along peppy numbers. I remember my long bus rides when nobody mattered except him. He was my companion in thick and thin. I still remember how he would happily (at least he never complained) sit between me and my closest hostel buddy and we would sing hoarse with him. I would miss you dearie.. my sony walkman.. I so loved!
I have often cried out loud that life has been unjust to me. I have also blamed my hubby for bringing bad luck to me. He, in turn, has often thanked me for bringing a turnaround in his life. He believes that before "us" happened, he wasn't as happy as he is now. I sometimes wonder if while saying all this, he remembers my blames and criticism too. Guess not. This has always haunted me and now I sometimes wonder why cannot we accept that reactions are because of our own actions, and not because of someone something somewhere else??
It started as a wonderful day. When I entered the house, my family waiting for me with an envelope and a big smile. I smiled and then grinned and then cried... the envelope contained a letter from a publisher who had written quite a long letter, but what I read and understood and cared about (Confession: I cared about the financial bit in my second read) was that I was chosen. I would soon be a published author. I jumped and fell off my bed. It woke me up and as calvin says "My life is always ruined by reality".
A lot of pages of my diary remain incomplete. Some though complete crave for a little extra description a p.s. or an afterthought. I have also started quite a few stories. For some, I had the plot ready and wanted to weave the story around it, for a lot others I started with an end in mind and again thought that I would weave a story ahead of it. But all this has failed. I wonder how writers are able to finish what they start. Or do they really finish the way they thought they would when they started?
I am an Indian and I am not a snake charmer. And believe it or not, in my free time I neither take a dip in the Holy Ganges nor do I flex my muscles practicing yoga. Instead, I write. Sometimes I do yield a gem and but most often, I write nonsense. So, in all I am like anyone who is reading this (some might consider it an insult) and trust me, most of my friends are like me, some even worse. So please stop asking us if practicing yoga in the Holy Ganges is good karma or bad!!
Today I realized that it is most difficult to see your children grow and your parents grow older. My baby would be three soon and as much as I claim to be delighted and super-excited about it, a part of me is really sad. It feels a loss that I might never need to feed her or force feed her. Similarly when I see my dad, I feel sad that he wouldn't take me for a flight in his strong arms. That he would pant and breathe hard and that I would be scared for him and for me!
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