I was looking around my journal and I found this and I thought I should share it. It isn’t very old, just a few months older. Consider it as a work of fiction. Cheers!
One Thursday morning, contrary to my daily rituals, I found myself restless for a brief walk. It had been a stormy night and clouds were still concealing the azure sky. Air was crisp. Branches of trees, whipped overnight by the winds, were dancing like ghosts in the gentle breeze. Walking along I noticed the usual velvet soft grass on the sidewalks, no longer velvety, dirty in a dressing of mud. Water-logged pavements were making me feel sick. Just like my mood, everything was a mess.
As I walked alone I could feel the lightness of environment wrapping around me, but my air seemed to say something else. A gnawing ache of mind and soul was absorbing me like a sponge in water. Outside it couldn’t seem lighter, inside it was slowly turning onerous. I kept on walking, each step bathing me with more emotional and spiritual somberness.
If you have ever been to my town you’ll know how much of a sad place it is. Roads are dusty and when the wind blows in summer you can see clouds of dust burying houses and tress like monsters engulfing their prays. Dust hanging around like fog, dust blanketing the roof-tops, dust covering up books, beds and everything you see. Every unoccupied piece of land is used as a private or common garbage dump. Flies buzz around excitedly. Houses are built so closely together that you can jump off from one roof to another without breaking your bones. I hated that place. It had defined the way I was. I was a daughter, and a student, I had no identity of my own. I was an ornament, a tool used to protect the honour of my family, its dignity, and its respect. Moral codes and conducts had molded me. I was to behave like a role model to my younger siblings, to the older ones too. I was expected to merge in the surrounding environment the way yellow and orange and red of an evening sky mingle into darkness, slowly and steadily.
I had never questioned this hierarchy of social structure which demanded a certain goal from me and decided what was I supposed to do, and more importantly what I couldn’t do if I had wanted to remain a part of this personality that prized social acceptance. When I look back now I can distinctly see why I, an educated and so called modern liberal feminist, had never questioned these norms that not only expected me to behave in a certain defined way but also rejected the very concept of liberalism. I had no desire. I thought I was free. I was allowed to breath without any fear. I was allowed, in fact encouraged, to study, to go out with friends, to wear what I wanted. What more I needed? My parents had given me so much freedom and I was not to break their trust, why would’ve I? It was my duty not to shun them. I was a free young modern Indian woman and that was it. And yet there I was, walking alone in the woods adjoining my university, questioning the very matter I was made up of.
I sat down on a bench under a willow tree. Sun was now peaking a little through a veil of white foamy clouds, too shy to come out in full splendor. I do not know how many minutes I sat there, looking into the space as if trying to solve the mystery of infinite. I did not think of anything. I did not know where I was. Slowly I lost the sense of reality and my surrounding started to melt like a scoop of butter my mother heats for the cake. Drop by drop the entire universe was succumbing into me. Or, I was succumbing into it. In some distant alternate reality a bird crowed. Things started becoming vivid once again. I was there. I was alive. It was not too late. I needed to question. Not the world or the piousness of the society, no. I needed to question myself, the very existence of me. Was I living or was I merely a puppet whose strings were in the hands of some hypocritical social standards? Before being honest to my parents and the society beyond, was I honest to myself?
What had stopped me last night? Was it the fear of the world, a world which did not offer me a shoulder to lean upon when I cried, a world which wasn’t at the side of my bed when I was so sick I felt like dying? If the world didn’t care for me why was I to care about what it thought of me. Or was it the loyalty to my former boyfriend that had stopped me? The person who had once made me feel loved but wasn’t the same person now whom I loved back. Why had I restricted myself from letting go of something that had died years ago! Wasn’t it because I was a woman and I needed to preserve a respect and a sense of devotion in myself, not only to show the world but also in my own eyes? Oh how much of a hypocrite was I! Or was it the years old molestation, by someone very close to me by blood, the reason I had said no to Ayan the previous night? Was I trying not to impure him with my dirtiness when I already knew it wasn’t actually me who was dirty in the first place but my molester(s). Or was it the so called religious obligations? Wasn’t it a sin? I did not want to be sinner, did I? I knew the answers.
Standing up from that bench under that willow tree, my soul felt a tinge of rejuvenation. I knew I wasn’t confused anymore, which I had been my entire life. I knew I wasn’t a mere object, that I didn’t fell in the category of damaged goods which I had long considered myself as. I was a human. I had fears but I also had desires. Most importantly I had a conscience and my conscience knew what I had to do next. And It knew where I belonged that day. It was with Ayan.