Amma, you come back home after a long day in office and your papa makes a hot cup of coffee for you. I know you are his favorite, but can you see my heart breaking? You do share the chocolates that your papa gets for you, he buys me some as well, but why doesn’t it taste as good as the ones we used to have in our old home? Have you noticed, I’ve started to hate them off late?
You told me that some parents fight and I believed you. What you forgot or did not tell me was that there are parents who make up after fighting. No, don’t give me that exasperated look; I see naana and naani fight with each other over silly things. But I also see them going for a walk in the park in the evening, hand in hand, buying their customary pack of peanuts, talking to each other and to their friends on the way. Sometimes even they come back with big faces and muttering under their breath. That doesn’t stop them from sleeping in the same room though, ever. Yes, I am old enough to notice that, haven’t you realized? Have you seen the longing look in my eyes when the three of you sit around the dining table going over what happened each day? Some days, even you forget to ask me how my day went.
Do you know that I don’t watch stars anymore? Have my eyes popped off, you would ask. Did you ever know I could see them only from atop the strongest shoulders in the world? The other day, my friend asked me why I don’t laugh out loud anymore. If I told her that I miss the fingers that tickled me to death, the words would not have come out; I would have choked on them, instead.
You have told me stories of climbing hills and swimming in the sea with your father. Can I ask you who will come with me when I am going up my mountains? Who will wait for me with water to quench my thirst when I come down exhausted? Who will read me stories of adventures, wars and cars? How many times have I told you, I do not like dolls? No, I do not want to play with them, I want to build cities out of Legos and not some silly make believe stories with those lifeless beings. You tell me not to throw tantrums and to be happy with what you have. Well, why couldn’t you? Be happy that is, with who you had?
Why don’t I go to the park on Sundays, you ask? You tell me, why should I? Who will swing me high to catch the clouds? And who will sway me around his long legs? It’s not just the chocolates, even gol gappas have turned bitter these days, haven’t you noticed? The only music that I listen to these days are ghazals and bhajans, you never liked Justin Bieber anyway.
Even though I hate boys as a rule, some of them are really cute. I have decided never to get married, but if one of the cute ones really comes after me, I might relent. I remember all the stories that you told me long ago about how naana got you everything you wanted for your wedding day. The lovely red saree, the designer jewellery that looked like the ones that movie stars wear and even that lovely pair of golden chappals that was so frightfully expensive. Sometimes I used to dream of getting married like that. Not anymore. For, who will do all those for me?
When I fight with my love, who will I run back to, amma? Tell me please, will you?
Note: This is written from the perspective of a little girl who was deeply attached to her father and separated from him as the after effect of a bitter divorce. Some fact, more fiction. Not an attempt to judge anyone, just a gentle reminder of the eyes that well up without tears, of voices that cry out silently and of hearts that crumble without being seen. And yes, this could and do happen to a boy and his mother as well.
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/