I was at home today, working on my photography while hours of SSR’s videos played in the background. My obsession with him is not voyeuristic, it’s very personal. As I mentioned before, my mum suffered from Bipolar Disorder. She was diagnosed after her first suicide attempt, when I was around nine. In those days people were given electric shocks, kept in psychiatrist’s make shift rehabs and given lots and lots of pills.
In her case, akin to what we hear about SSR’s she also had an addiction, to cough syrups. So we rarely saw her awake growing up. When we did, like it is the case with patients of BPD, there were extreme highs and extreme lows, with multiple suicide attempts over the years. Her husband and sister played Rhea’s part in my mum’s story and took her to the doctors and gave the pills. My aunt mostly sent the servants too and kept a tab on mum by calling them up, to find out what she was upto. The analogy is true, only if this lady is telling the truth.
But like all relationships, the one’s you have with people with mental illnesses, still work on barters. My Amma, played the ‘bad guy’ as beautifully as I do and my aunt, played her rescuer, while my father was free to do as he pleased, since he was such a ‘good guy’ for providing for this wasteful woman. For the longest time, i thought, my dad’s alcoholism was triggered by my mum’s illness, to only realise later, that my uncle too, was one, so who knows how that would have played out, under different circumstances?
Anyhow, I grew up to be like my mum, passionate, crazy and unsurprisingly suicidal. In forty one years, there have been four attempts, which lead to three hospitalisations, where my stomach was pumped for the pills I had popped; all three between the ages of 15-18. And the last one one at the age of 31 or was it 32? I’ll have to ask the person who saved me. That one would be have been worth, recording, for how filmy it was! So, I had been under tremendous pressure, since the brother’s death to get married and bring my father, a male heir, by marrying one! One has always been very stubborn, so no one could actually ‘ make me’ do anything. But there was this thing hanging over my head all the time. The relationship which I was in or not, no one can say, was on or off at any given time other than the first two years, was not going anywhere and was never going to lead to anything.
There were no promises, no commitments, not even a ‘this is my girl friend’, kind of an introduction to any of his friends. There were never any public displays of affection and he’s probably the only person, who I ever seriously dated, I have no ‘couple type’ pics with. Someone said to me the other day ‘but you know that’s the way he is’. Yet there are enough images on fb, that prove otherwise. Anyway, we would speak to each other everyday, hang out once a week and make out a few times in a year at that point ( he wasn’t particularly attracted towards me). Now I realise, it was a replica of my parent’s marriage! But we had the same friend circle and we were great friends. We both also had other people in our life at that moment in time ( mine was more public and something I had told him about, his was a big secret, which was denied till the end but like I say, you can vilify a woman but there’s no fooling karma) but for neither of us, at that moment, it seemed those were serious, either.
When I look back, I know, it would have fizzled out much sooner, had I not clung to it for dear life. He was my closest friend and probably the only man I never tried to guard myself against. He was generous to a fault, stable, raw, so kind, absolutely hilarious, he was everything I wasn’t and hoped to be but he looked at me like my dad does, with the same kind of indifference, like it wouldn’t matter if I existed or not. The masochist in me was hooked and how! There was this constant pressure at home, to marry him. He was perfect- a nice, younger, good looking Sikh boy. ‘ How had this crazy girl found such a boy?’ my relatives would wonder. ‘It’s because of the family, due to us, where she comes from, that he’s with her!’ they would say. I can’t count the number of times, I would hear my dad telling, someone or the other, ‘the boy is not agreeing to marry her!’ and then these conversations would be repeated to me, over and over again. Till I snapped! I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I sent my assistant, who was working in our company, back to Kashmir and I cracked. At some hour like now, I was restless, like today and I started planning how to kill myself. I wasn’t going to od on my mum’s pills again, since all my previous attempts had failed, so I took a plastic bag and tied it around my neck. I’d read, it would do the deed in my sleep. Unfortunately, God has put someone in my life, who has taken it upon himself to save me from, myself! So, my assistant who was on his way to Kashmir, thought there was something odd about the way I was speaking, when he had called. Since, he was the only one, who had witnessed how, I was coming apart at the seems and he had a hunch. The pressure was driving me crazy. I knew, what I knew and it turns out so did God. So my assistant came back that night and sat outside my house, till sunrise and then rang the bell. Long story short, he saved me. He says till today, that sight when he found me, scares him.
If you see my pictures from that time, no one will be able to guess that, I was going through anything. I was exhibiting, traveling, working, going out, meeting friends and loosing my shit completely, all at the same time. Other, than my assistant and this boy, I could fake being fine in front of everyone. It’s only if you ever read my messages, which never got answered, that you will realise, the level of desperation and hopelessness, I felt at that time. When people show SSR’s pics where he’s smiling and ask how a person who looks happy, would want to kill themselves, I wonder how dumb they are!
Now, as I type this, I worry, what if someday, someone throws me from the terrace or strangulates me and then uses the preexisting marks on my body or this post as evidence to call it a suicide? Why would such an absurd thought enter my mind, you ask? Well, till I was twenty seven it seems I was me- Saadiya. The men I met saw some version of me. Then my brother died and I suddenly became, my parents ‘only child’ and suddenly there was a shift in the way men looked at me. I can’t really put a finger on it but something was different, that maybe why I wanted to cling to someone who knew me from before. You will call it my paranoia ( which is the only thing that I don’t suffer from) but something’s changed more drastically, since mum’s passing. Maybe it’s my dad’s voice which plays in my head, all the time or if you hear, ‘anyone who will be with you, will be with you because of all this and men are really bad, they can do anything’ , enough times, you start to believe that or maybe you actually start to realise that money does make the mare to go and actually people can do anything for it. ‘ By the way, we don’t have that much money in the first place’, is what I would tell my dad, until SSR and mum. To only realise, it ain’t about how much you have, it’s about being a little frail and coming with an exceptional amount of baggage.
P.S- This fearfully, the chances of finding someone look rather bleak. Blast from the past, someone from my teenage years messaged, today. When I tried to turn down the proposition politely, by saying ‘sorry, you’re married!’ I was asked, ‘are you that righteous?’.’ No just too lazy! Married men require too much work!’ I replied. ‘ I guess they all also assume different versions of me.