Date No 2-Cheer Yourself Up.
My instant pick-me-up-Icecream. Yup, that’s how much the doctor prescribed for tonight. Tomorrow, I will be a few kilos heavier but halfway through, I’m already happier.
Date No 1-Face Your Fear.
I got burnt when I was in Grade 2…for many weeks after that I couldn’t go to school and a faint scar is still visible on my thigh. I’ve got it into my head ever since, that I don’t even want to be cremated. That I’m terribly afraid of being burnt is an understatement. So I decided it’s time to fight my demeons. Fire walking at Zorba was quite interesting. The session began with the instructor- Tathagat Roy, telling us about the Power of the mind and then demonstrating hypnosis. But ofcourse, eventually we walked on burning coal.
Growing up I had two aspirations- Dying before I turned 18 or if God forbid that didn’t happen, making lots of babies. Don’t ask me the logic of my childhood goals, my view of the World was even more skewed and tainted, then. Anyway, in a few day I will turn all of 36 years old and would have miserably failed at achieving my goals. Ordinarily, each year a couple of weeks before or after the D-day triggers many melodramatic episodes but I seem unusually calm this year. I even feel a little celebratory, in fact. For the first time in my life I have gone without dating anyone, for this long. For anyone who takes that lightly let me enlighten you, here. People who spend an awful lot of time alone, usually have co dependent sometimes even obsessive relationships. They also have unrealistic expectations from these relationships and that leads to much disappointment. My theory is that though they may have a clear understanding of the functioning of the society, the coping mechanism is not in place. I have no scientific basis for this assumption, other than reading about studies on introverts or from various encounters with people such as myself.
Anyhow, don’t try to burst my bubble with your quizzical look, wondering how it’s even a big deal. It is to me. Do you want to hear what my new goals are? I want to live up to 100. I figured if I ain’t going to die young at least I should live long enough. It’s a great goal though, you should try setting it for yourself. Irrespective, of how old you may be, how terrible your life may have been, you will feel younger and more positive. Whatever, happens around me these days, I think to myself, ‘You have all the bloody time in the world, don’t fret!’ That’s why I am in no hurry to date anyone, new. Breathe in. Breathe out. Chiiill. Dil ko behlane ke liye Ghalib ye khayaal accha he.
But it would be such a pity to not date anyone at all. My other goal is to get myself to date myself. Solo dating. After my much publicized romance with my bed last year, I want to have a fabulous time, now. So, last evening I took myself out on my first date and first dates should be oh so special. Mine was-Fire walking with Tathagat Roy at Zorba the Buddha. But I don’t want to get into it at four in the morning. So later peeps.
“How would you describe your relationship with your father?”, asks the family counselor. Silence. She repeats the question . “I have no idea,” I reply. “Do you love him?”, she probes further. “I don’t know!”. Two years later, from a problem child I have been officially declared a nutcase. The slitting has gotten worse, the scars that were only on my wrists have gone from my arms right up to my shoulders and formed keloids. Sometimes, I run out of the house in the middle of the night and at times refuse to come out of my room for weeks at a time. Though, I barely scrape through my classes, at 16 I’ve graduated from going to a family counselor to a full-fledged shrink. The question remains the same. The answer, also remains the same. Much probing later about this that and the other, the experts decide to start me on meds to calm my nerves down. That’s when the man I supposedly don’t love, steps in and shuts the party down.
It’s twenty years later. My relationship with my Father remains as tumultuous, as ever. He hates aggressive women and I hate being told such an aggressive person can’t be his child. But there’s something I never forget. My Father saved my mind. He refused to give me what I call the ‘crazy pills’. Eventually, with age and the help of my mentors, I calmed down, relatively. Though, once a masochist always a recovering masochist but most of the time, I can fool most of the people, including myself to believe I’m absolutely normal. Now, as exotic as all this seemed to me in my adolescence, I find nothing extraordinary about it anymore. My Dad always says that children understand their parents only when they have their own kids. I disagree. I think as we grow older we stop seeing our parents as infallible heroes and heroines. When we make our own mistakes…. when we break hearts and our own hearts are mangled, when we struggle for survival and when we deal with the ambiguity of relationships, that’s when we understand our parents. That’s when we actually start to see them as mere mortals, with their own set of insecurities and failings.
My Father is not a villain of some story. Though, many a times when I try to replay the story of my mother’s life, it comes across as that. That’s why it becomes harder to explain. That’s why it takes me three hours to write a few lines and I’m still at a loss for words. Let me start at the beginning. My Father, Paramjit Singh Kochar, was born in 1956 to parents who had migrated from Pakistan to Delhi. He had two older siblings- a sister and a brother and one younger brother. When my Dad was a little boy, his parents were going to give him away to one of the relatives. Somehow, they didn’t but I guess it’s something a person doesn’t forget. As a little boy, my Father who was a little meek was constantly bullied by his more aggressive elder and younger brothers. In those times, parents were busy trying to put three meals on the table for their kids, no one had the time to intervene in such matters. But my theory is that his absolute aversion to aggression stems from his relationship with his brothers and his emotionally distant behaviour stems from early abandonment issues. Psych 101.
My Dad grew up being the good guy. He was the good son to his parents, he was the good guy when my Mum fell ill and for most of his life he played that part very well. But there’s a problem with playing the good guy and that is someone has to be willing to play the corresponding role of the bad guy. My brother was just like him. He was treated more like Daddy’s little girl- protected and fussed over. I’ll never be Daddy’s girl because I’ve always been more like his prodigal son, the rebel without a cause, the uncontrollable, the unmanageable, bad guy. So, I play my part and he plays his. We infuriate each other no end. Even though the answer to the question do I love him remains the same, I’m always amused how the only boy I couldn’t make myself leave was so much like my Dad- emotionally distant and a good guy, too.
‘Meyaan ki daud masjid tak’, sums up my daily routine. Head out for my nocturnal drive…a round later on the route that I’ve been taking for almost two decades, at a distance, I see what I fear the most – fire. Hesitatingly, I drive towards it. Dry leaves have caught fire under the Andrews Ganj flyover. A few men are trying to extinguish it by throwing sand on it.
A few cars stop and men get down to ask if anyone has called the fire department. But of course another woman gets off her car…takes out her phone, starts recording, speaks about the incident and then abruptly leaves. Out of the many passerbys only two guys, wait around to make calls. We all call many times and are hugely disappointed with the emergency services. Anyways, half an hour later the cops and the fire brigade land up.