Sunday, July 31, 2005

I reached this new place where I was with my grandparents. They were with our would-be neighbours. We were supposed to eat there. I wondered where my other aunts and uncles were, but didn't ask. I was just going around the house and looking at strangers when i heard my uncle tell my grandpa that I always want to eat out and that my stomach growls automatically when i go out of the house. My grandpa just responded saying that I was a small child and he should just let it be. I remembered then that the food incident had occured twice before. But didnt his mouth water when he saw eatables? Then why was he blaming me?

Never mind. I met new people there. Here too, there were lots of kids, slightly older though. I played with them for a while and was a sitting with one of the boys when he said that my uncle told him that I was intelligent and he too finds me so. "What does that mean?", I asked. "Clever", he said. "Ohh, wise?" I asked. And then we just stared and changed the topic.

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This was the first time I felt humiliated. My uncle slapped me and i fell against the cupboard. It was really hard. It was my second day to school and I got off from the school bus at a stop before mine. When I realised that I started walking towards my stop. My uncle was waiting there for me. I reached there and i told him that i mistook the earlier one to be mine. He heard me and didnt say a word. I reached and I was just narrating the event to my grandparents when a huge hand just ran across my face and i fell down. I was shocked. My aunt told me that my uncle got worried when I didnt get off the bus and he slapped me because he was concerned. Really? But I returned, didn't I? Don't people mistake routes sometimes? And it was just my second day, I admitted my mistake. Who the hell was he to slap me? I didn't want anyone to be concerned about me. It is my life.
I somehow managed to secure a 96 or 98 pc in my first standard and my mom came to congratulate me. I didn't know what that word meant or why I should be wished for getting marks. My 'T-shirt' uncled then voiced my thoughts differently. He said that in this standard i ought to have gained a cent percent and didn't deserve any appreciation. I acceded to this statement openly. "Right", I said, "why should anyone give me chocolates for getting marks?" I thoought ovr what he said and then realised that he wasn't voicing my thoughts but disparaging my efforts. But I was happy with what I got, so why should he bother? Never mind, what does cent percent mean? I had no concept of percentages yet.

Soon I had to shift my home with my grandparents and my uncles and aunts to another home. I cried because I didn't want to leave the place. Was I attached to it, I didn't know. Tears just flowed and I cried. I had to travel by train with my 'T-shirt' uncle for seeking admission into another school. I didn't want to go and i said it. I was shouted at for voicing my thoughts and was dragged along. I got admission there, into a supposedly good school. But the journey by train to that place is what i want to describe. I had travelled by train before and was really enthralled by the stalls there. They had some interesting yellow balls, red buns and cloured liquids exhibited. I asked my uncle what they were and he gave me a few names. My mouth watered and i told him I was thirsty. He said I shouldn't eat from these places. "why", I asked. "Because they aren't good", he said. "But why aren't they good"?, I asked. "Because they aren't!" That was a harsh tone, so I realised that I shouldn't ask anymore. I was really hungry later, but never asked for food, I was too scared of being shouted at.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

This uncle had bought me a T-shirt when I was around two. It was a grey one with horizontal black stripes. That was the first time someone had gifted me. That was just for me. I was so excited that I put it in a cloth-bag i used to play with, so that it would be safe. Rather, I wanted to feel that it was always with me. I was warned by my aunt that cockroaches frequently visited that bag. So I resolved to guard the T- shirt from them. The next day I woke up to see that my favorite T-shirt had holes in it. I wanted to know how cockroaches bore holes in my T-shirt. My aunt held it up and said, "see this, just like this!" and pointed at the existing holes.

I thought this 'T-shirt' uncle was really nice and I liked him a lot but I didn't like taking permission from him or from anyone else.

I was at a new place with so many people around me. I was sent to a new school. There were a lot of kids around in our locality, so I found it a nice place. I am not sure I liked my school so much. It was nice, but I didn'd like studying. I only wanted to play or just sit gaping at something. My class teacher there chose me as one of the participants for a dance programme. But I couldn't dance then. She didn't select me as I was not as good as she wanted me to be. My aunt, lalitha had taken me there. She was my mentor in my formative years. She would teach me, bear my tantrums, scold me, love me and also play with me. I went back home crying as I was not chosen. But I felt I could dance.

Soon there came up a Ganapathi festival in our area. They had a mandap and ten days of programmes. I would diligently complete my homework on those days and go to watch the programme. My grandmom loved it. There were Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Carnatic music performances. I found them beautiful. I loved the make-up on the dancers' faces and enjoyed watching their eye movements. I was wonder-struck. Could I move my eyes like that?

There was a strange thing about me. I always wanted to do everything in my way, even if I was found to be bad at something. I was terrible at drawing. I could never fill colours in the given area. But I wanted to paint in my school drawing books. My aunts would want to do it for me as there were some marks reserved for this subject. But I would insist on doing it myself as I didn't care about marks. Actually then, I didnt even know what marks meant. I used to study as i was forced to do so and didn't have any other option. Whenever I refused to study, my aunt would complain to the 'T-shirt' uncle and then they threatened to send me back to my parents. I would occassionally get beaten for not studying. One day the argument heightened so much that my uncle threw my books away and told me in anger that I need not study anymore. And I got up and happily walked towards the door to go out and play. His anger just risened, when my grandparents came to my rescue. I didn't know what I did wrong. I thought my uncle had got me right for the first time, I didn't want to study!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Everyone was so huge as compared to me. I was scared of losing them due to my height. I was quite dispensable. But I knew that my grandparents would find me among any crowd in the universe. "Kozhandai" (little one) is what i am called. My grandpa's voice was firm, yet it oozed love. My grandmom had the voice of a very mature person. There was loads of love in it but it was a little controlled, as if she knew-it-all. Then when you looked at her face, you realised that there could be no face more pious and more loving than that. Her eyes spoke volumes. All her apprehensions were hidden there. She held them all close to her heart. My grandfather had a fatherly air. You would just want to go and sit on his lap to feel comforted. When he laughed he just opened his heart out. That laughter is resounding and really melodious.

I just wanted to be with these two wonderful people around me. I never wanted to see them cry. I hated all those who hurt them in any way. I really consider myself blessed for having known these great beings. But yes, there were my two uncles, four aunts and my grandpa's sister with us here, in Mumbai. I really can't define what it was, but it definitely can be categorized as some sort of a power-struggle, which my uncles, aunts and I experienced. They all were much older to me. The eldest being ten years elder to me. I was around four. I could never understand their urge to discipline me. My grandfather never disciplined me. Or may be he did, but I never felt like i was being disciplined. My grandmom too, never said anything. I have never heard a 'no' from them! It was never 'no' because they knew better than i did. They just told me sometimes, that I needed to wait to get there or wait to get whatever I wanted. My grandmom always felt that her son would object, so she always told me to restrict my demands.

But who is my uncle? My grandfather is the only one who can tell me anything at all. Only he needs to consent. When did the power equations change?
Someone else held my hand, that was my mother, as i was told. But I didn't like it. I ran to my Grandpa. I saw he was carrying too many things. So I went to my aunt whom i knew for three years now. My mother just smiled and came close to me. I held my aunt's arm tightly. Luckily my grandmom came to my rescue and started talking to my mom. She liked my grandmom. Oh yes! my grandmom was her mother. She liked her. They seemed to have a very affectionate conversation. I held my grandmom's hand and slowly brought a smile on my face. That was for my mother. She was probably nice, if she was so nice to my grandmom, my ammama.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I was holding a water-bottle in my right-hand. The strong hold of my grandpa's hand left my left-hand. I shivered. There were a whole lot of people around me - my uncles, my aunts and someone I knew as my mother. She smiled. I looked at my grandpa. He was busy talking to my uncle. They were trying to gather our luggage. My grandma was with my aunt. I pulled at my grandpa's sleeve as far as my hand could reach. He gave a smile. And I smiled at my mother.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hunger rules! Hunger gets you everything from food to riches. Go hungry, Be hungry,stay hungry and look for means to satisfy it permanently. And then you shouldn't be hungry again, ever!Hungry attracts Hungry and Hungry is what hungry does. Hungry me, hungry you, hungry all.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

If I have to write, I cant write when I feel like. I have to write everyday as a matter of habit. Right? yes, I read that Joyce used to write almost 200 pages everyday! Well, that makes Joyce, not me:).
I am trying but I just dont know what to write about. Let me try- can i write about my existence? My world right now, at this point of time in front of the comp or can i write about the myriads of thoughts in my head...? Let me start with right now- My fingers touch the key board, writing. My legs are twitching each other, in one of my legs efforts to scratch the other. My body itches in places, my hand leaves the key board to scratch it. "Oh what a treachery!", says the key board. "Of course not", says the part that itches, "I need it". Any which way, my fingers would be the treacherers. What is to be done? My legs shake on their own, My mind tries to control that movement, they stop. My mind wonders what next - where is the person I want to talk to? My legs shake again a bit, my mind notices, they stop. Why am I wrting, wonders the mind. I am actually waiting for somebody. Is it to kill time? May be, but I am enjoying this. I am enjoying this process of observation. How do I smell? I have a human smell. What does that mean? Where is the person? Oh yes, the smell. I am thinking - my mind is. My legs twitch again. My smell - the Megha smell? My hands go to itch again. What do I smell like? I smell of sweat and some perfume that I wore last night. The itching doesn't stop. My hands dont stop either. It is different part each time.

Where is the person? Is he coming? I want to speak to him. How do I smell? Different from your smell? most definitely. I have a warm smell, a beautiful smell. My sweat smells good to me, it smells warm to me, I dont know what else. My legs twitch again. I am thinking. I scratch. I suddenly think of Shakuntala. Should I write that, rather than this? Well no, I am doing this now. I remove some dirt from my hair - time for a wash. I click my fingers. well, I am sleepy again. Too many numbers i dealt with, last night. I scratch my eyes this time. I shake my legs again and my mind notices. My hair floats in front of my eyes. The position of my legs have changed. I scratch my ears. I stare. Where is the person? I want to talk. God, call him. I dont know why I want to talk, but here I am, waiting. I stare. I have to leave. I shall lie down for a while. I have to go out today. Oh, I have a class today. I need to run. I stare. I dont know what next. I am off to sleep.
Little things make me happy, like a knowing-smile, a phone call, a touch, a sneeze from a baby, the look of a child's fingers, children's giggles, their smell, their babble. They just transfer me to an unknown, yet a known world of innocence, of freedom, of unconditional love.
Their little nose invites me to grab them and kiss it, their touch is soothing, soothes away all pain, I learn to laugh again when i am with them, their sweet pranks, their indulgence all yell to us, telling us that they have come into this world just to be loved and to love all. Taking a child's call is like talking to sounds, the very sounds that reprsent certain alphabets today. We seem to think they are babbling, but they are not. Just that we aren't good enough to make sense of their words. They think, they feel, they understand.

Then why do we as if omnescient beings,try to manouver them into our 'ways of seeing'? They see and that is all they want to see. They have a mind of their own, they dont need any tutoring. First we kill all their intellect and teach them a methodical way of seeing and then after they are grown-up, ask them to think 'out of the box', as if we do! For us thinking different means thinking in accordance with our individual belief systems, that is what we teach them too. How do we think? Do we tell them let your mind feel? Do we tell them monitor your thoughts? We tell them, Think like I do, for I know what is best for you! Why do we know best, just because we were born before them? Well, if that is the case, we are all supposedly mature beings. But our actions speak differently.

When we aren't mature enough how do we tell them what to do? It is all because we can bully them with our sizes for a while. Is that the way of bringing up children? Shouldn't we let them fly on their own and just provide them with wings, if they need? Definitely not like Icarus's wax-wings that burnt him. Let them make their own wings! Just smile with them and may be we shall grow-up then!