Teaching Yaya, life’s lessons.
Last Thursday, she went to school in the morning and didn’t tell me she will be late that evening. She didn’t come home till 8.45 pm and not once called me to let me know of her whereabouts.
Any sensible mother would call her daughter to find out what is going on. I didn’t, rather I couldn’t. This is one of those things from the past that I can’t escape from. My mother and my oldest sister tried their level best to control every move I made by checking on everything I do. ( Including coming to my hostel room while I am at the hospital doing the rounds, going through my personal belongings, taking negatives that I had in my cupboard without corresponding photos in the album, so they could take it to the nearest photo studio to make copies to ensure that I wasn’t up to any hanky panky, how stupid they ought to have been to even think that I would leave something incriminating in my room, so I could get in to trouble.)
I used to feel really annoyed with them mostly because I was an adult, old enough to vote in India at that time and the more they tried to control me, the more ways I found to break free.
So much as I wanted to call Yaya and find out where the hell is she, I didn’t because I didn’t want her to feel like I did.
At 8:30 pm, I heard my son’s phone ringing and I told my son not to answer and explained to him that. If she is old enough to be on her own until 8;30 pm, then she is old enough to walk in the dark from the bus stop to my house.
I must say, I was terrified of the decision I made by not sending my son to fetch his sister from the bus stop. She needs to walk through a deserted park with no lights and all sorts of wild animals ( esp snakes) and I wasn’t sure how I would have lived the rest of my life if anything happened to my precious child. However, I needed her to understand that if she is going to make certain decisions in her life, then she needs to see it through to the end and not expect her family to jump to her whims and fancy.
She was gasping for air by the time she reached home. Obviously she ran all the way from the bus stop.
“Why didn’t you pick up the phone?” She screamed at her brother.
“Why didn’t you let us know you will be late?” I asked her.
“You could have called” She told me
“So could you” I replied.
She went to her room and slammed the door.
I let her cool down a bit for I knew how terrified she would have been walking in the darkness to my home. I made her a cup of hot chocolate and went to her room and told her ” you know I come from a screwed up family. I do try my level best not to be anything like my mother ever was, but there are certain things that I can’t change. I will never call you to find out where you are not because I don’t care, but because when I was growing up, I felt my family’s interest in my personal life too restrictive. I will never stop you from going out, but you need to tell me where you are going and if you are going to be late, you need to call me and let me know” I then showed her my finger nails. I hadn’t bitten them for a long time and waiting for her phone call, I bit all my nails.
She said ” sorry mom”
The next day, there was a phone call from her on the dot of 5 pm to tell me that she was at the Vietnamese restaurant and will be home in an hour.