ODD

I lie on the couch, in the factory which has become more familiar than my bed…peering outside at the tree. I toss and turn, unable to calm my nerves down. I pop another pill, thank God, they’re not yet sleep inducing or mind altering drugs. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since ten in the morning. There’s a dread that grips my heart, when the freaking thing starts off and it’s not regarding work or one of my usual friends who’ve kept a watch out for me.

‘Another round of bullshit is going to begin! This isn’t a coincidence, five calls in one day, from the same network.’ nags SB. ‘ Like this, you will not let me speak to anyone!’ complains SC, who feels trapped behind SB’s pokey exterior. She longs for the sun, a little warmth, some faith, a smile…just a bit of tenderness. The other one, who not only had her temper, vicious tongue and general pokiness, as a defense mechanism (what has been termed ‘anti social behaviour’) has developed better ‘walls’ ( they’ve been called my fortress), classic escapist, now hides behind work. Not the work, that has kept her (relatively) sane for two decades…but lets solve the financial mess before you get royally screwed kind of work! She’s a woman on a mission, with only herself to truly rely on. All the knives in the back, have triggered an obsession with the idea of financial security, absolute privacy, a legacy plan and adopting babies!

The internal dialogue goes on and on-

SC- let’s go to the Dargah. They even messaged to find out if everything is alright.

SB- Wait! I don’t need you to get all weepy and emotional. We got shit to do.

SC- But I have to shoot. If this carries on I won’t be able to create anything..

SB- Doesn’t matter.

SC- Stop getting anxious…nothing is happening.

SB- Haven’t you learnt anything from your mother’s life and your own? Something is freaking up, this is round three. Prepare for the onslaught!

SC- I just want to go home!

The End.

We hold on so tightly to something and then one day you wake up…see his picture with someone else and for the first time in almost two decades, magically it no longer hurts. I don’t have to tell myself ‘that boy doesn’t exist’…Nothing, zilch! Other than ‘glad he’s happy!’ ‘If only you let go of the four of them will you make space for someone new!’ You look at the tatoo on the arm and think, ‘one down, three to go! Could have given these two a little more thought!’ Nevertheless, a saying from the Granth Sahib and the Quran…sums up everything..but nothing to fret over…at least for me…for the future lovers…hmmm!!!The other ones will be a little tougher to get over…none of them were, cold! Guess, something is working! Getting rid of all my (real and imaginary) ghosts ….

Amma

It’s been two years since you left, to be with your favourite child. Please don’t bother to deny it, he was my favourite person, too. It’s been eventful…is that an understatement? Have you enjoyed the show from your vantage point? Me too, tortuous but come on! our love for the dramatics makes everything entertaining!

I sat across the doc at Kolmet, the other day and as he tried to figure out the root cause of my high diastolic levels…when I answered all his questions he looked at me in all seriousness and said, ‘ if after two years, just talking about your mother makes you this emotional, you require intervention!’ Cute, all the therapy in the world, ain’t fixing this head. You and my men would vouch for that, did you all not try every trick in the book to fix me? Some people aren’t fixable, they’re broken in a different way. ‘ I’m alright, plus I am in therapy!’ I replied. Of course, he tried to get me on a sedative, of course, no freaking chance in hell, one is getting on that.

But I thought about it later. Mourning is a privilege, that’s not really granted to us. It’s a gift we give ourselves, if we can take out time from our lives, away from the fear of death, pain and longing, to truly cry over someone. To grieve the part of us which has died with them. Like the part of me, which will never be able to smell that particular fragrance of yours (which has evaporated from your clothes, by the way) – a mix of talcum powder, pee, age and pears….there’ll be no stomach I can lie on for hours, doing nothing. Or the part which will never have anyone standing at the door, singing, ‘ oye meri Gudiya, oyee, oyee, oyee!’ and doing a silly little dance. The part which will not jump out of bed, hearing you yelling and abusing on top of your voice. The part which never be able to look at someone, in awe, disbelief, anger and adoration! So, its okay if I grieve but its really the softer side of me that I mourn, which was capable of feelings. It’s a bit complicated to make anyone understand that.

Anyhow, like we are supposed to think uniformly so are we meant to feel, like everyone else. Sometimes, I want to yell, ‘ I’m sorry…I wasn’t made at the same production plant as you! Don’t use your manual to understand me!’ but why upset the apple cart more than I usually, do? So, I nod my head in agreement to most things or just use my classic ‘ I’m too dumb to get your point’ expression! It always worked like a freaking charm, has kept me from getting into many unnecessary altercations, over the years.

I wish I could say everything is as controlled as my expressions, though. Honestly, as I age and I yell at everyone, ‘ don’t think I’m my mother!’ the more I realize, how much I truly am! Not as nice but as cuckoo as you could be on your worst days…okay, not…almost…there. Thankfully, I’m yet to find ( and hopefully shall never find) a love I can’t live without…go nuts over and a daughter I I can beat up ( oh don’t feel bad honey you were really sick). But I feel so scared of myself, Amma, as the mood swings get really bad, I find myself yelling at someone or the other and in the midst I remember you and I tell myself I can’t go down that road. The good days are so freaking good…totally charged and meglomaniacal to the point where I feel totally invincible. Like I am going to take on the whole world and its mother on that particular day….work…work..party…party!!! The bad ones are getting terrible, hours and hours of crying, total lethargy, the worst flashes. It suddenly catches me from my flight and buries me right under the ground.

One does feel really feel sorry for you, as one struggles, oneself. You must have been terrified, overturning cars, not having control over yourself and getting violent. Those electric shocks, I know scared the crap out of you, for years to come, as they do me. Unlike, what I thought, you were good for my sanity. There was at least some grounding, especially in the last few years. Plus, you were so loud and dramatic all the time, Amma, that there was always something going on. Now, there’s an eerie silence, in this house and in life.

When I went to Kashmir last, the hotel staff got totally freaked out and entered my room one evening because I was just having one of those days, when I don’t eat, lie in bed and cry all the time. Like you tried with all the pills in the world, I too try with books, shares, music, smoking ( yup that’s back) endless binging on videos of gay couples just being so crazily in love with each other (don’t know why but that calms me down..still in love with…..love) but I don’t know how long it will work.

My assessment stated- my state is deteriorating! Sometimes, I wonder. Maybe its not…maybe I’m just too painfully aware of myself, every single thought and feeling gets exaggerated because of fear. Maybe because I saw you, I’m more conscious or I’m slowly tumbling down the road, each freaking psychological assessment, astrological chart, boyfriend or doctor predicted. Who knows? But I ain’t going down without a fight, that’s for sure. On days when I can’t, I remember you biting, clawing, abusing three to four people, trying to hold you down in a hospital room and think ha! I came out of that four feet, seven inches tall, fierceness. I can’t give up! Who would have thought, something that embarrassed me so much, would become inspirational and help me through my struggles?

Your husband misses you, more with each passing day. The initial partying, ‘ I’m going to remarry, yeah!’and euphoria, to deal with your loss has worn off. Thank God! I was so freaking pissed, I’m telling you, it took every fibre in my being to control not breaking every single thing in this house! Especially the first two months. But I understand, a little now. Forgive, I don’t know but I’m trying. It’s hard because I was grieving and it looked like for everybody else, the best thing had just happened. I’m a judgemental shit, though. I look at him, now and I realize, everybody copes with loss differently and denial is as good as wrath! Now, when I look back, I think I behaved exactly like him after Dustu passed. I immediately went back to work, I had an exhibition after a little more than a month. I travelled like crazy and in fact, one of Dustu’s girlfriend’s commented-‘it looks like a party!’ So, what a freaking hypocrite one is, to get mad! God knows what’s going on in his heart and head? Things are never what they seem and I’m sure they’re tougher than he shows. You loved him so much and that’s truly the worst addiction. I think it’s easier to get over someone you love more because that’s all you, a person can snap out it whenever they really want but when you get used to being looked at like you’re the centre of someone’s life, if their eyes light up when they see you and they worry about you all the time, it plays on your narcissism! That’s not easy to live, without! It’s dawning on him l think, that no one will love him like you did, with all his flaws and weaknesses. That’s tough, he struggles with that. You don’t visit me in my dreams, you should meet him in his. Poor Dad, misses being loved by you!