I am being rowed through Paradise on a river of Hell:
Exquisite ghost, it is night.
The paddle is a heart;it breaks the porcelain waves…
I’m everything you lost.You won’t forgive me.
My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
There is nothing to forgive.You won’t forgive me.
I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain
only to myself.
There is everything to forgive.You can’t forgive me.
if only somehow you could have been mine,
what would not have been possible in the world?
–Agha Shahid Ali
The Country without a Post Office
I used to wonder.
If only somehow you could be mine.
And then you were .
And then I woke up.
You deserve an explanation.
This is me running away.
It is said that the world is in a state of chaos.Every action has a consequence, and no one really understands the far reaching effects of the cumulative actions of your past.The mother-of-all-butterfly-effect that screws you up,maybe just a step away !
My parents were always different.
In a country dominated by parents yearning for male heirs , mine always wanted daughters.
So it was expectedly ironical that their only child was male.
Growing up I always was jealous when my cousins were showered lavishly with presents and gifts and love I thought I deserved more.
Mom had a very cute way of making her wish come true.
Till the age of three I was said to have worn only frocks and skirts with long pony tails with ribbons.There is an album full of incriminating photographs of my crossdressing past that are reserved for special occasions (especially when guests come home).Even my toys were cuddly teddy bears and coy dolls wearing garish pink gowns,having lustrous blonde hair and perfectly thick eyelashes.
One of my earliest memories is of my doll singing ‘London Bridge is falling down‘ and another teddy bear with huge inky black marble eyes that went like THIS when thumped on the back.
Mom always told me I’d make a cute girl, but only if I’d let her snip my shamey off ,she’d say pointing down below .I used to get scared, and sometimes cry , but years later I realized it was her way of joking , just like the time she took away my nose and kept it with her.
Of course she also had to play ‘Disown Your Daughter’.It was a part of their proud tradition, a game she claims that her mother played with her and her grandmother with her mother .
But not having a daughter did not dampen her spirits.
I would do just fine.
The game went something like this:
One fine day your mother would look you in the eye and say that it was time to reveal a secret.
Yes.You are not our child.
Yes.You were adopted.
Yes.You were abandoned.
Yes.We still love you, but its more like pity.
Yes.You are all alone in this world.
Wash, rinse & repeat as often as required.
With years of fine tuning ,the game was honed so well that it cut you down to size with a butcher’s precision while bludgeoning your self worth with the blunt efficiency of a sledgehammer.
Don’t blame the game, blame the players, willing and unwilling.
Wash, rinse & repeat as often as required.Does wonders to the self !
Years later mom would confess that she was never ready for motherhood.At eighteen she wasn’t mature enough, patient enough or strong enough.
No , when she confesed she wasn’t asking for my forgiveness nor was she trying to make amends as she remains forever feeling guilty, hoping her corrosive guilt will absolve her of her past wrongdoings, imagined and real, and someday she’ll be able to forgive herself.
To be a parent is to be guilty in some way or the other,so much so that the feeling is inescapable .
But guilt is a wasteful emotion, much like revenge, I tell her.It drains you of your lifeblood.
So let go.Let Go.
The past is over and the future isn’t written yet.
All we have are the sands of the present, and that too is slipping between our fingers.
Let Go .
Am I making mountains out of molehills ? Is this is what made me who I am ?
All these years I’ve been burdened with a false notion of intelligence.
But I must confess.
No matter what others say, I was never intelligent.Good grades never mean intelligence, at least not to me.It simply meant that I could remember a lot of things and regurgitate in back in a way it didn’t look like vomit.
My good grades never meant much to me.
What I had going for me was the ability to look at things differently, which I loved,and yes, I read a lot and hardly spoke,but that was not intelligence.It was plain eccentricity.I’m a weirdo from another planet, as friends and relatives called me.
All you intelligent people out there, remember this:Intelligence is not conscience. Intelligence is not virtue. Intelligence is not character. Intelligence is not morality. Oh intellectuals, who find yourselves so brilliant that you think you ought to outshine all stars, you do not notice your own contradictions. It is impossible to debate with intellectuals such as you because, with you, one can come to no truths. You are the living contradictions.
I’m glad people no longer think that I’m so intelligent these days. These days I’m the smart kid that made a dumb move and ruined his life.I’m the smart kid that could have made it easily anywhere, but chose the road to hell.Glad to fail in your eyes, people.
Even the road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so I’ve heard.
But my intentions were to escape.
That was me running away.
And this is me running away.
You deserve an answer, but instead find me running away and relenting to explain my actions.
So I’ll try to give you what you deserve.
This is me running away,far away from everyone and everything else.
This is me asking you to leave me alone, let me be be myself.
This is me , unmovable,unchangable,sad to see that your efforts
were doomed from the start.
This is a self imposed isolation.
I’m lonely by choice , not by circumstance.
I chose this route because nobody follows you on the road to hell.
I see the world too clearly.It is not filled with shades of grey.It is I who gets to fill it with colours and I’m in no mood to paint the town red.
So this is me running away.
Far away from a colourful yet drab world that has nothing to do with me nor I anything with it.
You owe me nothing , and I owe you my sanity, my humanity,and my everything else.
I don’t deserve you , nor do you deserve the pain and misery that is mine to give.
I’m not playing hard to get.I’m not pushing you away.
I’m simply pushing you to forget me
and to believe in a lie that we were never meant to be.
It would be a lie if I told you that I don’t love you.But I’m a better liar than a lover.
I love you more than the entire world itself, but at the same time I don’t want you to love me.
Makes sense? No?
Not to me either.
Can you ever forgive me ?I fantasize you telling me ‘There is nothing to forgive.There is everything to forgive ‘
But You won’t forgive me.
All this I confess so that you know.You may never understand , but at least I’ll know that You know.
This is me running away, for you want to change me into someone I’m not.
I know who I am , what I am, why I am and accept myself – an imperfect , flawed and tortured soul, content with mediocrity , floating hopelessly in the sea of life.
In the end ,I need a favour.
I need you to pass on my message to the rest of the world, so that they know what to expect when they come knocking by.
This is me running away, crawling under a rock , and staying there forever.