Relationships are fragile, more so in these dynamic times, where nothing seems to be what it is. There are countless advices that float around, but at the end of the day, each relationship is our very own experiment.
I remember this particular journey, simply because it has been special in so many ways. The journey together has been a long one. A trying one. I am sure it was meant to be this way. Lessons had to be learnt – some successfully, and some not so successfully. But then, who determines the definition of success? Now, when I watch you walk around - more of a hobble than the stride I once drew confidence from – when I listen to words struggling to fit together into a meaningful sentence or when I watch the feeble body collect itself, proudly going about day-to-day chores, I ascertain in my mind that time is, indeed, cruel. It excuses no one. I am still your child, but feel more like a single parent. Donning your role, I nag and scold, and boss and coax, understanding, thereby, the reasons you did the same, but perhaps a wee bit too late; but then better late than never. Life teaches many lessons.
One lesson I had to learn was patience. Still learning, in fact. A bitter lesson. Patience when I have to repeat my sentences ‘n’ number of times or when I have to listen to the same health complaint at least five times a day if not more, or when I have to slow down my pace to match yours, frustration does creep in. I am human. I do not identify, yet, with this side of yours. Where has that tough cookie, my anchor, disappeared to? The one who patiently heard my woes umpteen times a day without getting irritated, the one who reassured by obsessive self untiringly, the one who balanced hundreds of things to give me that one thing I wanted, the one who was always there no matter what. I wonder why, despite numerous efforts, I can’t match up to you. Parents are unmatchable. Once they are no more is, actually, when you truly become an adult, irrespective of age. I try to hold on to them, but then I realize the futility of it all. Unfortunately, or fortunately, their lives are their own, as are their journeys, but what I can hope for is a reunion, in some life, in some form. Till then, I live in the present.
Your birth brought a sense of freshness in my otherwise rather drab school life. Board exams meant studies and no respite from the ‘grind’. Being a single child was not easy, contrary to popular belief. I longed for someone who could be a confidante, a buddy, a ‘partner-in-crime’. You were all that and more. You were my soul mate. I do not know why I am using the past tense? Perhaps, because you are, today, embarking on a new journey of your own, on your own. A journey with your own soul mate. I struggle to comprehend whereto the time has flown. I escape down memory lane, but find no respite there. The present glares me in the face. Will I see you again? More than physical distances, will the distance of the mind creep in? Out of sight, out of mind, someone once said. I beg to differ. Time can be cruel, but it also heals. You may not have been a blood relation, but you have been more than that. I bid you adieu for now. Till we meet again. Till then, I live in the present.
Marriage was a rash decision. Perhaps, a spur-of-the-moment catastrophe waiting to happen. The question “When are you, finally, getting married?” got the better of my rationale side. Having said that, it was my decision, all said and done. It does teach the woman one thing though: adaptation, come what may. I can never grasp why women want to marry. Security could be the answer. Love? Family? Why do these aspects influence this decision anyway? Society? I was proud to be a feminist, thinking that I understood the word in the true sense of its meaning. How wrong I was.
Where is it written or said that abuse of any kind should be borne silently just because of society? But then I did also realize that you have to be your own voice.
No one can take this responsibility and this right away from you, or assume this role for you. It is your journey, your experience and your decision. Of course, we learn from every person, ever connect, every relationship and every experience, and thank God for that, because without this, I would not have been what I am today. Having said this, I still wonder about the true meaning of feminism. This is still something I have not understood. Is it remaining quiet when a blood relation is harassed for dowry in today’s world? Is it when a girl, despite all her degrees does not have the choice of staying blissfully single? Is it when a mother of four does not have the right to contraception, if she so chooses, because her own mother hopes for a male child? Or is it when a woman has to use her charm to extract a favour from a powerful man? I found my way, still coping, still exploring and still accepting. I still look for love despite disappointments. Don’t we all? This is my journey, but I still choose to live life as it comes, to still live in the present.
I was born a girl, but I thank God for being born this gender. My childhood saw its strives. I distinctly remember my dresses, for the dearth of them had them clearly engraved in my head. I remember the survival on filtered acts of kindness by others. I remember the ambition to study hard and be something, despite the lack of amenities. I remember the health issues of parents and the desperation of failing finances and ill health. There are, however, no regrets. Why should there be? After all, this is me today. I believe in ‘me’. I try and live in the present, no matter what. Relationships are important, but more than anything else, the relationship with the self is of utmost importance. This is the relationship of each breath, each heart beat with the present.