The fountain in front of my apartment has stopped working and the water in the manmade lake is still and calm. As I look into my reflection in the steady water, I go back to those moments in my life where the motor of my life’s waterfall too was broken and it seemed life had come to a standstill.
I was probably 6 years old, sitting alone at my home and peeking through my window at my friends playing below. They were so engrossed in their play of hide and seek that no one even seemed to be missing me. And me, I could not go out to play because I had this stupid chicken pox and thus was grounded at home by Mother Nature. My mom was pacifying me from the kitchen reassuring me that I will be able to join my friends soon. I was not sad that I was not being able to play, but at that tender age too – I was hurt deep within that none of my friends even subtly hinted or expressed that they missed me. They were having a great time sans me. The chicken pox seemed to have opened my eyes and life seemed to have come at a standstill for a moment.
And yet, my chicken pox got cured and I forgave my friends for their betrayal and joined them to play the next game of hide and seek.
I was in the 6th grade maybe and there was a heinous crime committed in my locality. A family was butchered by thugs just to get some money and jewels. The kids in that family studied in my school though I did not know them personally. We had a few minutes silence during our school assembly that day praying for the deceased family. I came home that day and just started crying incoherently. I cried till tears dried and my eyes puffed. My father kept on asking me what is wrong and yet I just could not tell him what exactly was wrong. I skipped school for 3 days. Everything was dark around and life seemed to have come to a standstill for a moment.
And yet, on the 4th day I could not take the darkness anymore and went to school leaving behind the blood and ash memories of the incident.
I was in my Senior High School. The seniors had picked up a few juniors from the class and had asked them to make a queue. Unfortunately, I was one of them. The seniors were having some fun at our expenses. Just then one of them commented, “It seems this girl isn’t being fed properly at home, look at her popping collar bones.” I was thin then, I am thin now. With this comment hurting like a scorpion sting, I was made to eat a piece of cake without touching it with my hands. I closed my eyes in shame and the time seemed to have come to a standstill then.
And yet, I did not let those nasty comments on my thin frame lose my confidence nor did I eat the cake as per the seniors’ instructions. I rebelled instead.
I was newly married and was at my new home. There was a lot of chaos going on with regards to the rituals of welcoming the new bride into the family. I was overwhelmed with the plethora of instructions being thrown at me. And at one moment, I did a grave mistake by not abiding to one of the ritual rules. The chaos was making me cringe with elderly women crying foul based on their beliefs. ‘Something unholy will happen to my husband and me’, was being echoed in my ears. I somehow mentally blocked out all the commotion, the time seemed to have come to a standstill for me.
And yet, I politely told the elderly that my husband and I will face the unholy.
And yet, I realized it is ‘me’ who has to reignite the motor of my life’s waterfall to ensure that the standstill moments are left behind. It is ‘me’ who is responsible for bringing the swing and motion back to my life. It has to be ‘me’ and no one else.