My earliest memory was of a window that was in our bedroom. I used to gaze at the nature with all the curiosity of a child . I remember seeing the beautiful sky my window showed off on sunny mornings.
And in Monsoon, I used to have great time listening to the sound of rain.
I loved to watch the mighty thunderstorm followed by blinding light and the first bloom that sprouted in the garden in spring.
The world to me, was perfect! I decided not to change a thing.
That being said, I seldom ventured into thinking about my own life. Being a 10 years old, it was hard for me to understand the hollowness I felt terribly at times.I knew I was different. A different 10 year old. I lacked in something. And I was embarrassed to admit it. After all, I was cheated out of a crucial piece of my making- My Mom..
I knew it was not fair. Because, it is not fair to be denied of your own Mom. It’s not fair to miss her so much that it hurts. SO BAD! I would have given up anything to get my Mom back..
But don’t get me wrong, I was doing okay. Because I had a great Dad…And he did his best to make my pain go away…and he succeeded too..sometimes..
And did I tell you about my brother? He was the sweetest kid I knew. We had so much fun playing together and he was there for me, always. He was my best friend.
So, you see! My situation was not all that bad.
But the empty feeling was there.. in my wake. in my sleep..never leaving me alone for one second. Constantly reminding me that I am incomplete, my family was incomplete. That it cannot be fixed. And when I see Moms of my friends at school coming to pick them up, it just got worse.
Human beings naturally have a tendency to crave for what they cannot have, right?
When I was 12, I learned to take advantage of my plight. As in, I would make sure my teachers know I am that poor little kid, who is Momless and thus taunting them to give me special care. I was the unlucky one, the less fortunate, so it is their duty to provide me with what I need, otherwise they are guilty. I would tell stories (made up ones, of course!) to my friends about how my life is like living without my Mom. I guess I wanted their sympathy. And they gave it to me readily. I became a Martyr and I loved the attention that came with it.
The unlucky. But a brave one at that. Because, hey! I am surviving. My courage shone through my Momless stories as I told and retold the stories which were not true.
Like for example, how I took care of my little brother when he was down with flu. Dad was not around. ( It was not true. Dad never left us alone unless he send for our Grand Mother while he is away)
How I cooked delicious meal for my brother and Dad one night and how they praised me for my culinary skills. (This is BS too as I didn’t know the first thing about cooking, given I was only 10)
And how I took bus and went to town to get groceries ( this was the funniest of all) as I was so responsible for the well being of my family. Who cares if my Mom is not around? I have taken her place now and all is well!
I kept polishing and refining my stories as I grew old. My audience changed as I changed schools over the years. My stories changed too. I needed to make them more appealing by adding a little fluff here and there, stuffing it with fantasies and imagination which trust me, was at its best for a 14 year old!
The only thing that was hard to change was myself. I tried hard to come out of a shell I created as a shield against everything but it was literally impossible. I was so used to the shell and the warmth that it offered that I couldn’t be any other way…
We moved around a lot due to my Dad’s work so it was hard to feel belonged anywhere. I didn’t have best friends, confidantes. Other than my Dad and brother, the only other vivid character that comes to my mind from those times is my Grand Mother. The one who took care of us when Dad was away for work. She did a great job raising us. Even though, my uncles and aunts (Dad’s siblings) who were still young and living at the ancestral home didn’t approve of our barging into their life and home like this. The more they showed their disapproval, more love our Grandma showered on us.
I dunno why.. today I am thinking about her a lot. I got word that she is sick back home. She just turned 80 this month and her health is deteriorating steadily . My Grand Mother was a constant thing apart from my Dad those days. I am thankful to her for raising us when we were at the weakest. Now, she is weak and old and possibly dying. And I cannot be around. I haven’t talked to her in years due to some “incidents”, shall we say? But I was always abreast on her life.
Grand Ma, I know you wouldn’t read this, but I still want to say…
When no one was there, you were there..when on one would care, you did. Please know your smile has made differences in the darkest moments of my life. May be you are one of the reasons why I am where I am today.
So, if I am not able to say this again… let me say it now. Thank you for bringing what you brought to my life.
…a sense of hope.
It is still stronger than ever in me!