“Because I am a mother, I am capable of being shocked; as I never was when I was not one.” – Margaret Atwood, ‘Cat’s Eye’
We were the original rebels, or at least the ones who tried. We wanted to bake our cakes, feed our loved ones and sell some too. The mantra of our teenage lives was not why, but why not? If boys could, so could we. Then we became independent or whatever passed for that. And faced reality. We realized the warnings of our mothers were right; the world was filled with monsters. They brushed against you, pinched you, sneered at you, and even attacked you. A touch seared our skin and the scars remained, deep and raw. A look burnt our souls and charred, it remained. We remained silent, for we thought the fault was ours.
It took us years to know that it was never about us. Putrid eyes, slimy hands and decayed minds that saw us as easy prey, they were the ones to be blamed, hated and castigated. And we grew up, presuming we had conquered the demon. Then we grew up some more, got ourselves married. Willingly and unwillingly, planned and accidentally, we had babies, daughters and sons. Oh, they were cute, cuddly and at times frustrating too. We cooed, cajoled and capitulated in front of them. Hormones went on an over and under drive, emotions ran high, we shouted at each other, discussed in sobriety, made plans together, dreamed in the night and during daytime. We were adamant; our kids will have a life that is better than ours.
That is when Margaret Atwood struck us, across the face and at it. We started seeing them everywhere, lurking behind the corners, on deserted stairways, in empty lifts, protected school buses, neighbor’s houses, playgrounds, the possibilities were endless. We realized, the illusion of safety in our own homes was just that, an illusion. We wanted to insulate our little ones knowing very well how utopian those thoughts were.
We, who wanted to fly free, started thinking twice, thrice and many more times. As their wings grew stronger, we were caught in a paradox. We wanted them to conquer the skies, a sky where there were no dragons spitting fire and waiting to gobble them up. Alas, life had taught us better by then. Some dragons have to be slain, in order for us to soar. And the ones who fly, they had to do the slaying, on their own. So we started pushing them off, from the branches that they loved to perch on. They fell, fluttered, tried again, slowly the wings caught the wind and off they went, grinning from ear to ear, brushing against the clouds, faces shining as bright as the sun they faced.
With bated breath, we stood back, smiling at their feats and feeding them words of encouragement. Our eyes kept wavering though, looking out for those very same goblins, monsters and vampires, and ready to warn them at the first sight. Our mothers’ hearts kept guard more for their daughters. We knew better, it was not about whether the little ones were a she or he. The boys were equally, if not more vulnerable. The girls, they were warned from all sides, alright.
The world around us had scared us enough and then some more. We were wise enough to heed some warnings and some; we gulped it down with a more than a pinch of salt. We are the ones that were born in a cusp, we wanted more for ours. We tell ourselves to let them go, where they want, with whomsoever they chose or not. Yet, why the pangs of angst, why the catch in the throat, why that pull in the gut? Empty nest it is not, for we are a brood that keeps longing for that day, to go on our personal flight, at our own pace.
Is it that we are scared for them, you ask? We say, nay.
We are petrified,
We will not let them know, though.
We know some dragons have to be faced, fought and won,
For the wings, not to frail and fail…
Bindu Manoj dabbles in numbers for a living, dreaming of words all the while. A mother of two, wife to one, sister to four and friend to many, she hoards books by the score. An arm chair traveler who does some real life off roading now and then, she prefers the moves and shakes of jeeps and trucks to the cushy comfort of normal vehicles. Her wandering soul muses at http://ruminateatleisure.wordpress.com/ and she reminiscence her reads at http://wanderlustathome.wordpress.com/