Ma’s birthday

How rapidly things change! Within fourteen years, one’s lost three family members. First Dustu, then Raahat, now Mom and one’s left with just the one, who is hell bent on drinking himself to death. The one whose left, said to me, today, he thinks I’m strong enough to take it. Apparently, my tongue fools everyone that I can take all of it, without cracking.

Strength! What is it? ‘ You’re so brave, so strong,’ SB hears this, all the time. ‘Sher aaya, Sher!’, the men in the house chant in unison as I walk down the stairs ( I ain’t making it up). SC looks at SB, quizzically, ‘Are they talking about US?’ ‘Yup, that’s because I’m in charge!’ she replies. ‘Why don’t you start playing the song from, Gully Boy, when I come downstairs?’ SB asks them, cheekily. The Sher notices the excessive drinking, that makes her the natural enemy.

SC retreats back in to her shell. After the events of the past month, she knows she’s too much like her mum, to be able to survive the world, in one piece. The other day, while chatting with an acquaintance at half twelve, she realised going forward, the dominant personality will have to be the more aggressive one. ‘You care too much about what people think about you!’ says the acquaintance. ‘ People have been talking about me, since I was nine! But I do feel terribly hurt when they choose your weakest moments to wag their tongues knowing fully well that you are vulnerable in that moment. Next time, I will expect it.’ she replies. There won’t be any ‘Et Tu Brute’, moments!

‘This is all your fault!’, SB tells SC. ‘Have you not learnt, anything?’ ‘I don’t want to be a machine like you, always analysing.’ snaps back SC, knowing fully well, it’s a long way home. She just wants her lah, lah, land…her spot on the side of the Boulevard, a tazbi in one hand, staring into nothingness, away from prying eyes. But at the moment paradise is too far away.