Tag Archives: family issues

Just Like Me!

My niece just spent a good long week at my place and it was nothing but wonderful. (The same niece who presented me a little souvenir when I was at her place) Yes, there were times when I was losing it completely trying to keep a nine year old occupied and entertained all day long but I never took it out on her. Well, I tried my best, as best as I could despite not being a fan of the kids. (In my defence, I don’t hate them either.)

But this kid, is really special to me, has always been. I have never met a kid like her. You will see what I mean.

When she was here, I could not help but notice that what my brother and his wife used to tell me was nothing short of true, “She is just like you.” Earlier, when they used to tell me this, I tried ignoring the fact assuming it as their fondness for me. (Yeah, I know I give myself too much of importance 😉 )
But the more I stayed with her, I realised that they weren’t kidding. She is precisely, unerringly like me.

And you know what my first thought used to be? “Oh, my!!! Another mess like me? What is to happen of her?”

She brought the exact replica of my childhood in front of me. It was as if I was looking at a flashback in mirror, only she was a little more cuter and sweeter and the adjectives can go on.

She loves all the same things which I used to love; she reacts the very same way that I used to do. She is fond of colours, loves to sing despite the fact that we are no singers, her tantrums, her habits, her behaviour, the list goes on.

I use ‘Used to” for myself above, because reality hit me hard a few years back and it changed me. Well, it wasn’t a shock to me, because I had been dealing with it for years, only I did not want to accept it. But then I question again and again what will happen of this lovely kid?

I don’t want her to turn like me. I know reality cannot be overlooked or evaded and one day even she will have to grow out of the fantasy land. But, only I don’t want her to be troubled and moved like me.

I use ‘like me’ a lot today which reminds me what I am like. “I am just like her” which again I don’t want to be. So if I am like her and my niece is like me, it is like the genes are flowing down and we will keep creating messes like us. (We should just stop marrying, you know 😉 )

Coming back to my niece, I knew she would grow beyond her age, considering our long known family drama, and the fact that no one cares in our family to keep the kids away from the things which they needn’t know. But I did not see that coming so soon. This was precisely the reason why she was at our place; to avoid the family scenes.

But I don’t think that made any difference.

I know for a fact that when her mother is not around she takes care of her younger brother. She does small things like bringing him food, asking him if he wants milk, looking after his homework- as if she were a teacher. She doesn’t do all of this to enact a mother or a teacher, which most other children would do at her age, she does all of it because she cares, because she knows that she needs to do it. I know it, I know this because I have seen her performing the caring one, I know this because I have done it myself.

So when she came to my place I was happy and relieved that at least she would avoid a little of the drama and could have a week of saneness and being a carefree child.

But something happened after she left, which is still boggling my mind.

This is what happened and this is the reason why I say that I have never met a kid like her.

Her parents did not have the time to come pick her up, neither were we free to go and drop her at her place which would require at least a day’s break. So her father asked her to send her with an uncle that we know and was travelling the same way. I don’t exactly know what is the right age for a kid to be left alone at home; or to let her travel alone for a journey of four hours? But it just doesn’t feel right for a nine year old to be left alone. Though I do remember very well being left alone at home, and so is she left alone most of the times.

So we all thought that she left with the so called uncle and reached safe home, when she called me from home in the night.

I kept checking on her while she was travelling and so did her father.

(Since she has a phone which her dad gave her only since she was alone here. We weren’t supportive of it at all, but since she had it only for the time being, we thought it was okay.)

But today, we got to know the real story, the story that she wasn’t giving away yesterday, the story which was kept from everyone but her father.

In the midst of the four hour journey the said ‘Uncle’ needed to buy a pack of cookies on a railway station for which he got down alone….

And yes, if you were guessing, you might have guessed it right; because he did miss the train leaving that poor little child alone.

After the train moved the panic must have begun in her, but before anything happened her dad called her and warned her off any kind of people. (I cannot begin to think what her state of mind would have been then)

She was left alone for two hours in a journey; she kept playing games, and talking to her father, her mother and me. But she didn’t give away anything. I called her like four times but all she said was I am playing and I will call you as soon as I reach.

Her father reached the station even before the train would arrive and picked her up. Only then must have he breathed a sigh of relief, I am pretty sure about that. But apart from those two people no one new anything.

When they reached home her mother was briefed about what happened, and she scolded her for not telling her anything. My niece’s reply broke my heart-

“Mom, I know you have high diabetes and blood pressure and if I would have told you this then you would have got tensed and then you might have fallen sick, I know you already have a lot of problems going on so I didn’t tell you!”

And when I got to know this, I asked her too, why didn’t you tell me?

And she retorted, “I know you’d have done the same thing. And I am just like you!”

And this broke me completely.

Here, I was trying to keep her away from everything, but I just didn’t realise that she was already captivated in all of it. She was already beyond her years.

I know most people would say that these kinds of experiences make you strong, bold and practical; they give you the strength to deal with life. They sure do, but most importantly you lose a lot too in all of this. It sure makes us strong and resilient, but it also, makes you too practical and feeling-less. By the time you grow up you are hollow inside, and all that is left is a concrete body. You are referred to as pessimistic, gloomy and heartless.

But the fact is we aren’t heartless, we do have a heart, just ours is shielded with facts and truths. It is not that we don’t love ourselves, we do, with all our might we do. But when it comes to our loved ones, we go even a step further than we could, or we should and love them with borrowed might.

And this is what I didn’t want her to go through. I didn’t want her to grow beyond her years, but she already has and I can do nothing about it.

I am just like ‘her’, and she is just like me…

 

PS: I attach the two links here that I refer to from my previous posts.

https://aestheticmiradh.com/2017/06/12/just-like-her/

https://aestheticmiradh.com/2017/11/01/a-souvenir/

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That Evening

 

I was running on an empty lane outside my house, without any shoes, without a dupatta at 7:30 in the evening. My salwar being stained by the puddles caused due to heavy rain an hour ago. My kurta too was a bit torn around my high collared neck design. My hands were stained of turmeric and flour, which I had used to wipe my forehead twice. Blood was dripping from the cut on my cheek, neck and hand. And to top it all I was getting cuts on my legs too. My hair was not made properly and I had nothing with myself, not a penny nor a phone, only a hope and energy to run to my husband’s shop. My condition was such that I would not mind if someone would interpret me as a beggar.

The dark night and the empty lane did not scare me that day. It was too late for any woman to saunter around alone as expected by our esteemed husbands. However that day I was least bothered about anything except me. So I got myself a place to sit for a while and relax. I sat on a huge stone beside a locked house, the only safe place where no one would bother me for a while.

As soon as I sat my thoughts went back seven years ago, to the day I got married to my prince charming who was exactly the opposite to what I had thought in my dream, tall (just three inches than me), dark (actually too dark for me) and handsome (fairly less than me, even a bit bald). He was eight years older to me and I ignored even this. I am not boasting of myself but actually telling you the truth. I was never forced for this marriage but I knew how my parents worried about me not getting married till the age of 24. I bargained with his looks in the hope that everything else would turn to be perfect. And in actuality it was too perfect for the first two years.

I loved my husband, mother in law, father in law, two sisters in law and my dear brother in law (my favourite among everyone). We were almost of the same age so we used to jell up best. We used to bully each other, crack jokes on each other, spend time gossiping, he even took me outside when my husband did not have time for me even on Sundays. They all cared for me, loved me, and had no issues with me. How perfect my life was with them. It was just a blessing. I used to think that all the compromises, a sacrifice of leaving my house, parents, two brothers, three sisters and even my carrier proved fruitful. The happiness, the romance that filled my life was worth it.

But things changed after we got separated from our extra large family to form a smaller joint family. We left the place of my mother in law’s mother in law, her sisters and brother in law and moved to another apartment with my parent in laws, husband and my dear brother in law. By that time both my sisters in laws were married. Even our financial status deteriorated and perhaps that was the cause of frustration among everyone in our house.

Frustration reminds me that at present hour I was frustrated. I needed to start running again and isolate the place.

I then turned towards main road, extremely lighted for me to bear, too crowded for me to walk, either run and even too decorated where as I was in a condition too tattered. To inform you, in my place it is not less than a shock to see a woman without proper dress  (in my case a missing dupatta) to be called a whore in front of everyone.

I turned around to see a bike following me, when I just started running as an athlete who would run as if reaching just too near the finish line and see a competitor reaching behind. I complained to the traffic police that the bike is following me but he showed no reaction except amazement, as he knew both of us, me and my dear stalker.

In a positive hope that the traffic police would do nothing to save me I started running again towards my husband’s shop. On reaching the outside of the block of my husband’s shop, I turned to see if he was still following. Yes he was, but as I reached there he turned back giving me a murderer smile as if saying:

You are dead my dear, going to complain about me to your husband? Go, go! No one is going to believe you.

But you believe me that your being alive is difficult from now on. I promise that to you.

I entered the block and then to the basement, shop no 17, my husband’s shop. It was already 8 o’ clock and I was in such a beautiful condition that as everyone saw me they could not conceal their surprised looks. And as I said it was half past midnight for them and a missing dupatta made me look a whore to them and not a beggar.

I did not care for them now. What I cared for now was myself and my baby in my womb. But yes in this running I had forgot my pain. The pains of the cuts in my check, neck and legs, and the pain in my womb which was due to a kick by him (my bike stalker).

As I was standing outside the shop, my father in law came outside and took me into his arms and took me straight to our shop. My husband first completed attending to his customers as if nothing unusual had happened and then came to me. Till then I was painfully sobbing in my in law’s arms and was absolutely out of breath to say anything, only hoped that I was safe now. No one would beat me; kick me or even worst think of me as a whore.

I took a sip of water and recalled today’s evening at 7:15 in my house.

I was in the kitchen preparing the dough for chapattis and my mother in law was slicing onions. My niece who had come to visit me was watching television with my son. My brother in law came out of his room and without uttering a word switched off the television and showed both the children his anger in gestures. I must say my niece is quite daring and a bit too modern for our type of society. She took the remote, switched on the television and smiled cunningly saying:

Excuse me sir don’t you have that much courtesy to ask us before switching off the television

As we were watching that. Even we have that much common sense.

My brother in law wiped his hand ruthlessly across the centre table, too hard, which broke the flower vase on it and even cracked a part of it. listening to the sound we came outside the kitchen, at first unable to fathom what had happened, and even before we could do that my dear brother in law came almost running towards us, held my neck by his left hand, snatched the knife from my mother in law, put it under my chin and almost cut it. He then kicked me on my stomach. My mother in law tried to stop him but in vain. Seeing the children screaming and crying, he got a bit diverted.

I took the opportunity, pushed him hard enough to remove him till a distance from me, to run before he could get onto them. I took the children to my room and asked for a promise that they would not open the door till I would ask them to. As I came out of the room they locked it from inside.

Without another thought I slipped through the back door and ran on the empty lane at 7:30.

By then I was completely exhausted telling my husband all this in his shop and only after completing my story did I fell unconscious and regained it after an hour, still in the shop.

After another hour passed we went home hiring an auto rick-shaw. The devil was in his room and I ran to my room, politely knocked on the door and asked the children to open the gate. I saw them still crying. My son was of course as I had known too emotional and he was expected in the same state. But I had never in my life seen my niece in such a condition. I took them in my arms, hugged them, and kissed them. Neither I nor the children ate anything that day. We locked ourselves in the room and kept close to each other for the next two days. I knew that evening had changed everything in my life.

Regaining courage I asked my husband to book the first tickets he could get and leave my niece with her parent in the town. Eventually she came out of the scary event after a month, my son after about three months but I was never allowed to come out of it. Because that was just the first time the attempt to murder was attempted on me. From then on I faced regular attempts to murder, harassment, molestation, as well as physical torture of being beaten up by my dear brother in law, for years.

Only until, finally my husband had the courage to separate our houses which was not very soon. They still work together, in the same shop but at least I don’t have to see him.

PS: I know the woman was wrong to still live with such people, to go through such trauma. But before you start judging why the woman still lived with such people, why did she not leave them? For once can we think about how ruthless and unacceptable the men’s behaviour was? Even the husband did not do much to in favour of his wife.

My story: Of how I started writing!

A few years back, back in 2010-2011 around, I wasn’t this person that I am today. I was scared of everything, I was may be the most immature person you would have ever met, and may be, even the most depressed one. No one could tell then, not even my friends and family members. I had that talent in me, of hiding things, of hiding feelings. Come to think of it, I still have that talent, but I can safely say that I am not that person now, not anymore. I have moved out of that zone, for my own good.

It took me three years? Yes, I am that slow. I spent three years of my life crying and being helpless. I know you’d say, I should have known that no one is going to come and help me. I had to help myself. But I was lost then, and that’s what lost people do, they sulk. I am not saying my life stopped for those four years or so, it moved on very well. I went to school, I completed graduation, I did everything that most people my age did, but something was missing constantly.

I am sorry I am not going to mention what exactly happened, but I can mention three pointers,

A personal trauma relating family issues;

A social change,

And, being thrown into the ocean, when I did not know how to swim. (Metaphorically of course)

Anyways, my life moved on, yes it did, but I did not. I was in complete denial of what was happening. All at once.

Why did I not talk to anyone?

You think, I wouldn’t have? I did, but parents had raised a ‘strong woman’ who wouldn’t need her parents’ help every now and then, and my friend’s, well, they never seem to get me. Partying is more fun, I agree. It was not their fault. Whenever I would sit and want to talk to any one of them about my problems, it seemed they weren’t interested or at least they didn’t get me. And how would they, they weren’t in my position. Instead they felt that I kept repeating my problems, so I just stopped talking, stopped talking about my problems to them, and eventually I just stopped talking to them.

And then I lost all my friends too. I was in no way going to make new friends; I had lost faith in them.

I said them? Oh, sorry, I had lost faith in myself.

So that went on for about some time, and then I realised that my thoughts, my feelings were eating me. I couldn’t contain anything else inside of me now. I had to hold my fist tight, clench my jaws, breathe hard inside, to not to let out anything. And I could not let out anything, believe me, I just could not.

And even if I did, who would take that all in? Who would want to be surrounded by a depressed teen?

And that’s when I realised I had to do something, that’s when I borrowed comfort from a pen, loaned some security from the blank papers, fought for sanity from my own words, from my own feelings.

I am not saying it happened overnight, I am blatantly saying it might have taken me half my youth, but I did it. I came over it. I managed to conquer the harsh feelings my heart bore and I came out the person I am today, the Moushmi you all know.

That’s my story, that’s how I started writing, though blogging is what I started just a few months back. I would love to listen to your views, or better yet, how you started writing? What made you the writer you are today?