I remember her as though we met just yesterday… I used to steal glances at her… wait to get a glimpse of her… often felt doubtful about my own ‘sexuality’. She had crew cut hair, wrapped herself in a saree. In her 5 feet 8 inches tall body it was as out of place as the effortless confidence that shimmered through her. She had a tatoo at the back of her neck which she never bothered to hide. But the ‘pallu’ of her saree somehow seemed to consider it a disgrace and tried to cover it, in futile, often. I don’t know her name, who she was or her story. I was drawn to her by some raw attraction… like the fragrance of “old spice” on a man…I can remember her gait, her carefree smile, her sloppily worn saree, carelessly wrapped around ‘pallu’, with ease every time I close my eyes. She was then a subject of many hushed whispers. People felt it was taboo to mention her even in conversations. All I could gather was that she was a student who strayed away from the spiritual path during her time abroad, spent a life carefree on hashish, nightlife, marijuana and alcohol… called back by her Guru when she had almost lost herself… Strangely I never could spot guilt or fear or self-loathing in her…I found her often happy, content, to herself and humming a tune, an attitude that said aloud, “been there, done that ,you can’t entice me with it any more…”
I don’t know why I remember her too often these days. All my life I have been trying to be somebody else. All I ever wanted was approval of my mom, then it widened to include my relatives, then my teachers, then my colleagues and bosses. I have been what they would have wanted me to make them feel. I did what my mom wanted, studied what she wanted me to, pursued what she suggested, and even chose someone whom I thought she would want me to… In this whole process… the acting has worn me out… now I am tired, dead tired and what is worse is I do not recognize the me now. I do not know what I want, I do not know who I have become and I do not know who I really am. I feel caged, but I do not know who is caged! Its all mixed up!! I hate my Dad for f***ing up my life! More so because I loved the life he made me aware of and it is because of him that I could never have that world! Every waking hour of mine has been a desparate attempt to prove to my mom how unlike him I was.I hate myself for trying so hard to make people accept me and how hard I try to love them, doing it often at the cost of loving myself or not bothering about myself. I wish I could have lived my life bloody differently… A fighter plane pilot, a writer, a photographer, a war Journalist or just a carefree wanderer…no binds…no fetters…free…free..free…I just wish I could stop hating myself… care a damn about others’opinions of me…I could be free to write…to imagine….
Today I can’t do anything… I sleep, I sleep like a log,drained and exhausted… I don’t even have the luxury of a dream!
I envy people who have a legacy to look upto, I envy people who were not handed down a legacy but they had the freedom to create one… The best gifts parents can give their children is to “just let them Be” … They will grow up to be better than you or perhaps not as good as you…but atleast they will not be a mere shadow of you!
I wish I had learnt this a little earlier in my life and had the courage to fly away from my nest. Now in my attempt to be a “good birdie” I have turned “flightless” and left only with yearnings to discover the vast horizons…