I promised myself that I wouldn’t be writing about him anymore.. It was my new year’s resolution (Ok, I can’t really say that it was a new year’s resolution ..it was after I wrote the post Satori..)
I got a mail this morning and the need to write overwhelms my need to keep my promises!
The mail I got was a link to Meena Kandasamy’s article..
And I felt I must write, things that I thought I kept aside..but I know are very much there..
I have a selection of books that I keep aside to read while I am on vacation..Those are the books, I want to read, but there is no real time limit and I know in my heart I won’t regret not reading them in the event something happened to me and I died!!!
I don’t hoard books. I give them away after I finished reading them.. ( Can you imagine how much space I would need to store the books if I read a book a day on an average? and the shipping costs each time I move from one place to another?)
When I travel, I leave the books at the hotel’s where I stay. (Basically, I would have bought new books already from the airport book shops and the law of excess baggage dictates that I really must leave the books I read behind, because I hate to pay money for excess baggage!)
When I went to Malaysia, I took 15 books with me. One was Hosseini’s A thousand splendid suns. I am not a big fan of Hoseeini..nevertheless I decided to read it for the sake of reading..because it was in my collection of “travelling books series”.
I didn’t leave that book behind in Malaysia..because there was one paragraph..that I felt was speaking to me..
page 190 to 191
Later, Mariam was in the kitchen, soaking dishes in the soapy water, a tightly wound knot in her belly.
It wasn’t so much what he said, the blatant lies,the contrived empathy or even the fact that he had not raised a hand to her…,……….It was the staged delivery. Like a performance. An attempt on his part, both sly and pathetic, to impress. To charm.
When I read it, I felt I was being hit on my head with a thousand hands..that I, a strong, intelligent, well travelled woman walked head on in to a staged play..
An absolutely well planned, well played drama..
All those loving words, keeping awake to talk to me, those million texts, those love letters, those words spoken with so much care and consideration..they were all part of a well rehearsed play titled “Chase is better than the catch”
Play that was played in front of parents, friends and relatives..handosme, charming hero and intelligent beautful heroine..
Two things were wrong in the play. One, I didn’t know I was acting the lead role, two, the abuse ( there are more to abuse than physical punishments) was exclusively reserved for me..
I was the cow..with the rope around my neck, herded to the abattoir..happily walking, trusting the man who held the end of the rope in his hand.
I loved him..beyond any words could ever describe.. with my love came the absolute trust..the trust every women before me told me not to give freely..
My grandmother did that..
My mother did that..
May be it was the need to feel that connection..of being wanted..being loved..being cared..
May be it is there in the genetic fiber..the essence of being a woman..that makes her trust the idiot..even if he is holding the noose, the whip or the knife..
Even when the noose around my neck was tightened and all those warning signs flashed right in front of my eyes…. I kept walking..because for me trust was everything..
The biggest battle my mother had to face was the fact that no one, not even her children would badmouth her husband, my father.
Yes, My father used to hit and kick my mother. I have seen him dragging my mother across the room, holding her hair..
But it is the same man who told me countless stories about Greek heroes.. It is the same man who bought me 5 star chocolates and poppins..It is the same man who carried me on his shoulder when I was too tired to walk, it is the same man who rushed me to the hospital each time I was sick.
It is the same man, all our relatives and friends worshipped and adored..
So what if he hit my mother? So what if he dragged her across the room holding her hair.. She deserved it, didn’t she? If she didn’t make him angry, then it wouldn’t have happened..
When people came to our house and when Amma served them coffee, surely they would have seen her black eye..No, Amma didn’t go out when the injury was very visible, she waited till it really didn’t look like a black eye, but if you look, you could see the discolourations.. the redness progressively changing in to yellow..But they didn’t..they wouldn’t..My father’s heroism overshadowed my mother’s black eye..for surely she must have got the black eye from walking in to the kattala..
When the lights, costumes and the stage was removed from the play that I unwittingly was acting in..and the name of the play was changed to “caught, now you listen, I am the master”
I thought I was the one who caused it.. How could it not be me??
He has a million friends who worshipped the ground he walked..Would they ever see beyond his halo..and I felt all those million hands were pointing at me..
I was the culprit..and desperately I tried to fix the holes in the tapestry with more colours..more love..I was willing to go to the end of earth.. for him..
I had to fix it.. I couldn’t fail..I must not fail..
Yet a part of me wanted to scream and tell the world that it isn’t me.. there is a monster underneath the halo..
But I knew, just as my mother knew..just as my grandmother knew..the society..it will always blame me..the woman..
Like a compass needle that always points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always..
It is not just the man.. it is the society.. .with the accusing pointed finger..that prevents a woman from walking away..
And even without reading the comments to Kandasamy’s article.. I can assure you.. that 8 out 10 would blame her..like I blamed my mother..like I blamed myself.. even when I knew the truth..