I was exhausted after walking all the way from my home to the school where my sisters study to fetch them and then walking back home. Amma was home when I came back from my school and she and Maria were already fighting when I left to fetch my sisters.
As I opened the metal main gate, I could see Maria waiting for me sitting on the step and leaning on the door frame.
“Nina, I decided to do medicine.” She announced loudly.
“Why, what happend?”
I saw Amma’s shadow moving across the room and I knew exactly what happend.
My sister is a wrong candidate for studying medicine. She didn’t even go to the hospital to visit Amma, when she gave birth to Sally. She is scared of the sight of the blood and everything associated with hospitals. Amma is making a sacrificial lamb out of my sister and I am not going to let her do it.
Maria showed me signs to hush and approach her.
“Nina, help me, I don’t want to do medicine”. She whispered in my ears.
“I will” I told my sister and I had no idea how to help my sister.
I went to the kitchen to have my tea. Amma was sitting at the dining table and reading the paper. she hasn’t changed her work clothes. Appa was very particular that we change the outside clothes as soon as we come home. My mother was very much enjoying my father’s absence.
I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to approach her. But I had to do it. I have to stand up for my sister.
“Amma, why did you tell Maria to do medicine.”
My mother lifted her head up and adjusted her glasses and I knew instantly i woke the lion and now there is no turning back .
“Who are you to tell me, what I should or shouldn’t do?” She yelled.
“Amma, Chechy wants to do engineering and she should be allowed to do what she wants to do. You are the one who taught us to follow our heart!”
“Follow your hear!, yes you can, the day you step outside my door. Till then you will do exactly what I tell you.”
“Amma let chechy do engineering”
How dare you tell me what I should do? If she had listened in the first time, your father wouldn’t have gone, now she will do what I tell her”.
“No Amma, she won’t”
“How dare you”. she got up from the chair and in an instant she slapped me. It was the first time someone ever slapped me. I felt 1000 bees humming in my ear. I tried to shake my head to hush the bees. My face was stinging.
I thought, my god, this woman is more vicious than my father. ‘wait till my father comes back and I will make sure he will slap you the same way you slapped me’ I promised myself.
By now my sisters were crying.
“Amma, please don’t hit Nina”. Sally and Liza was howling and Amma was going after them.
I jumped infront of my sisters and raised my hands to protect my sisters from Amma’s blows.
“You have something against me, take it on me. Not my sisters”. I pushed Amma away from us.
I stood between the living room and the kitchen door. Amma on one side and my sisters and Akkachi on the other side.
“How dare you raise your hand on me, you deaf and dumb and blind daughter”. Amma was enraged. She hit me till her own hands hurt
When she was satisfied hitting me, she took her handbag that was lying on the dining table and walked out.
I ran after her
“Where are you going?”
“Who are you to ask me where I go? I will go where ever I want!”.
“Amma please don’t go” Liza and Sally ran after her. they held her hand and she pushed them away and Liza fell down.
“Go inside both of you”. I screamed at my sisters. I didn’t want them to get hurt.

I followed quietly behind Amma all the way to the bus stop and watched her taking the bus to Kottayam town. I had no idea, where she went.
My sisters were waiting for me as I walked home.
“Where did Amma go?” They asked in unison
“She took the private bus to town”.
“Is she going to come back, Nina?” Sally asked me.
“yes, she will, she might have gone to town to buy something”. I consoled my sisters.
I knew, if she didn’t return, I will feed my sisters paraquat and end this nightmare once for all.

20 thoughts on “paraquat

  1. That was sad. Sometimes in a rage you dont know what you do.Parents before somehow thought they had to tell their children what to do. ONly now I know that children have a right to decide what they want to do in life and we can help guide them towards that goal.Parents felt that if u did not do what they told u to do then you were not a good child, and that is wrong.

  2. Its sad, when one is angry one idea waht they tend to do.. head stops from working.. But you storng to stand for every one!!!.. gret!!

  3. You know, in the old days, that’s the way it was–mata, pitha, guru, dev–i’m sure you’ve heard and parents felt that they were in some way less if they didn’t get ABSOLUTE obedience from their children.

  4. dont really know if anyone else can comment on this,it is so very personal and disturbing.your blog has made a very ‘serious’ turn and it requires a lot of fortitude to do so.keep going

  5. wats paraquat?
    And sometimes parents become really difficult to deal with.
    I remember having to go through a lot of torture as a child myself.It also means having to be at the bullying end of many a bad day of one’s parents.Sometimes they don’t realise that we are not mere punching bags of their frustrations.It leaves an emotional scar forever whether they realise that or not.
    Am sorry you had to face so much.Reading further is as difficult as the experience you had to go through.It’s like reliving somethings all over again.Just so vivid.

  6. Sarah,
    I think more than the kids,mom suffered a lot since the father left. It was an insult to her womanhood,motherhood and everything. You guys atleast had your mom and each other to cling on to I think, she didnt have anyone.

    I cant even imagine a 11 yr old kids having this much courage! I think certain things like this, make any kid grow a 10 years older.

  7. I can understand why your mom took it out on you kids; I think it was her way of dealing with a rough situation. It must have been a real shock having to deal with a husband and father who just quit on his family. It’s unfair but Asian society doesn’t look kindly on women in such circumstances; they usually get blamed. It must have been even worse all those years ago. Often times, the bitterness that results is like a cancer; it grows and grows until it takes over your whole life and the lives of those around you.

    It’s unfortunate that that often includes the innocent children. I’m so sorry that you had to go through such tough times. I don’t think the hurt really goes away – and your poems suggest that you’re also dealing with other hurts – but you have so much to be proud of. And your kids have a mom they can be proud of too.

  8. Dear Sarah,

    I have been a silent reader of all your entries. This is the first time, I’m commenting to let you know what a wonderful writer you are..
    I salute you for your courage and
    your levelheadedness. I really wish, I could you give you a bear hug and take all pain and burden away from that innocent 11 year old girl.

  9. Your Amma seems to be quite immature herself. Perhaps that’s why you took over the decision making unconsciously. Holding together the family must have been emotionally draining.
    I thouht your lil sis asking for a cream bun was very cute and innocent 🙂

  10. It is sad to read how your mom was reacting and by doing so, putting you in an almost unsolvable situation and under nuclear pressure! I’m sure she did all this out of despair, hurt and an utter feeling of helplessness – but that does of course not excuse what she had done. I absolutely agree that children should decide about their direction in life, but the best option – I feel – is, if there’s enough trust to be able to sit down and talk about everything together … which often doesn’t happen, I know.
    I do salute your incredible courage … and that at the tender age of eleven!!

  11. Starrynights:the problem with parents is that they forget that they too were kids once and hated it when their parents made decisions on their behalf.


    Suemamma: You know, amma always said that.. everytime I argued with her, she would go matha pitha guru daivam..


    Q8techdrive: !

    BVN: Reza wrote a nice poem abt I am clown..making everyone laugh while crying my heart out!!

    maya: paraquat is the choice for every single Malaysian estate worker, who had enough of life. It is easily available.. and so far I hvn’t seen even one person surviving after ingesting it. When we were kids, our amah’s sister and her entire family committed suicide by taking paraquat..because they couldn’t pay back the loan they took. So I was quite aware at the age of 11 the importance of Paraquat.

    lg: Amma for sure suffered, but somewhere along the line she also wanted her children to suffer. I never understood why.

    Ann: u undesrtood it all.. thanks

    jac: Thanks.. I write unique??

    Dew drops:don’t worry.. many a times I myself don’t know why it all happens like this

    Raji: thank you for leaving a comment.. and thank you for the hugs.. to know that others understand the pain i suffered is indeed a nice feeling.

    Silverine: Amma blamed everyone for her misfortune.. If I was a boy, then she didn’t hv to try another 2 times..etc..It is even harder, because I don’t know who is the lesser of the two evils.. Appa or Amma

    I love Munich: In India, children don’t alaways get a chance to decide..Everything is decided for them.. and some of us hd to fight our way through all the taboos..

    Jithu: !

  12. That was nice. The responsible elder sister, shielding the younger ones..
    YOur mother walking away, in a huff!
    Real Family Drama eh..!?

    But your mom also has her worries, I guess.


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