Dating : The Colours are Within

h2>Dating : The Colours are Within

Her infectuous laughter, exuberant energy & unrestrained willingness to help lends her THAT rightful place in your heart. An ace singer, dancer, passionate educator, and a wing commander at the airforce . Amu was destiny’s favourite child.

‘Ammmaaa’ comes the sweet and elevated shrill from a distance as Amu makes a zealous run towards her and plunges into her arms to give her a gentle kiss on her cheeks. Gushing with love and indulgent affection Manju turns around and waves back at Amu to elegantly disappears into the misty air. This was a little ceremony the mother and daughter celebrated every single day.

Manju, was a quaint, hardworking, sincere woman who was the sole bread winner for her family of 5 sisters, brother, parents, husband and 3 children. From cooking meals to earning for the meal, she lived a life with no frills for herself.

It’s dawn and everyone is in deep slumber, when Amu sensed an unusual activity in another room. Rubbing the lingering residual sleep away from her eyes she moved in the direction of the sound, to see her mother looking into the vacant air around her. She was frantically shaking her head and hand hurling abuses ‘Move away, how dare you come here. Don’t you know my children are sleeping’?Amu is petrified at this bizarre site.

Her innocent eyes silently investigated the room, wondering who she was speaking to, when her father’s thundering voice interrupts the search, asking everyone to go back to their rooms.

‘Ammmaa’ comes yet another elevated shrill as Amu prepares to run towards Manju, waiting expectantly for her warm and indulgent look. After all, it was their special little ceremony. Manju stops for a moment, turns around, gives Amu an unmoving and numb look, turns back and walks away silently, leaving Amu teary eyed.

Unwilling to give up, Amu stood silently behind the grill of the veranda everyday, hoping against hope, that maybe Manju would remember their special ceremony. She yearned to plunge into her arms, kiss her, feel her warmth & indulgence. But in vain. Amu had lost access to the vulnerable place in Manju’s heart, who had now become stoic, matter of fact and unmoved by any of her childish shrills. Schizophrenia had loomed up menacingly into their lives and everything else faded into oblivion.

Everything changed. Religious ceremonies were held to ward off the evil. The priest, with vermilion etched stubbornly across his forehead, ranted hymns and mantras as the the rest of the family sat around him with their heads lowered. Not sure, in respect or in shame. The smoke, incense, chanting and her mother’s face kept reminding Amu of the frailty of her own life. Manju’s ‘shock treatment’ had shaken up little Amu.‘Why did this happen to me? What did I do? Why me?’ Were her only questions as she incessantly cried, trying to make sense of her own life.

From then on hell broke loose almost every other day.

Amu was in deep sleep when a loud, frantic &high pitched conversation of her mother, woke her up. Manju was tossing abuses at her ‘imaginary’ company as her husband, a silent bystander, heard this slanderous conversation. Unable to take it Amu’s dad clenched his teeth and beat her with a thrust that went hand in hand with the pitch of her revolt. Cringing in fear, Amu tucked herself under her quilt, shrunk her body and held it tight as she shivered and prayed for her life. As her dad walked into the room she could feel his body breath fire.

The next morning as Amu woke up and went up to her mother, she noticed the scars of the beating peeping apologetically from under the sleeves of her blouse. It agitated her. “How could he beat her? Why can’t she keep quiet?”

For Amu, her own home had now become a questionable abode. On days when both her parents were home, she would deliberate between staying in or going out to play. Insecure, she was torn between staying away from the gaze of neighbours who were privy to the deplorable soliloquies of her mother and roaring conversations between her parents.’What will they think of me? Maybe I should just stay back and not face them? But what if mumma and daddy fight again today?’Amu was embarrassed by her clan. She didn’t want to be known as ‘The mad woman’s daughter’. She didn’t want to be anywhere close to her.

Even joyous occasions like birthday parties reminded Amu of her misfortune of having an aberrant mother. Manju’s ‘non — standard’ behaviour of sitting aloof from all mothers and mumbling something to herself infuriated Amu. Enraged she would stomp towards her and blurt ‘Why don’t you just shut up’.

With time, her disdain for her mother grew in bounds. She wanted to get away from that house. Get away from both her parents. In local buses, train journeys Amu was often embarrassed by the judgemental gaze of those seeing her mother’s highly animated and involved conversations with herself. On most occasions, she pretended she had nothing to do with her. On other occasions, she would just stand beside her mother, pretend to respond to her mom’s mumbles to put all scrutiny to rest. Amu was ashamed.

Desperate for some anchor of sanity in her life, Amu found refuge in her father. This, despite his ills of a violent temper. But this too was on a slippery slopes. One day on her way back from school, Amu was abruptly asked by a friend ’Has your father lost his job because of forgery?’She was stumped. It stirred up a storm inside her. She tossed and turned all through the night thinking ‘This can’t be, dad was the only one…he too’. She needed closure. She relentlessly rummaged through all the papers, studied every little piece of information she got. All the while thinking ‘this can’t be? He can’t do this to me?’ It consumed her. But alas!

She had just gotten around this setback when a few days later, her classmate asked her the question she feared all along ‘Is your mother mad’. She was speechless. All she could think of was her mother’s pale face each time she came back from her shock therapy. Amu went back home infuriated only to watch yet another fight between her parents. ‘This is it’ she fumed as she threw her school bag on the bed, pulled out her math book, roughed up the pages and pinned the pencil heavily on the paper, almost tearing it as she wrote on it. It was late evening, when Amu woke up, almost lost. She hadn’t realised when her frenzy had lulled her to sleep. She stared at the ruffled-up pages, her incoherent writing and it’s strong imprints on the paper. And an uncomfortable realisation stared right back at her. She was capable of being in the same realm of insanity as her parents. And that her reality was there to stay. It was time for her to accept it.

Amu decided to confide in her close friends. Each time she spoke about it, she accepted it to herself. It liberated her from seeking validation from anyone, since it was now out there in the open. She began participating in dramatics, sports and public speaking and soon gained appreciation. She rejoiced in her talents that gave her a unique identity. All through her graduation she explored unabashedly & experimented with her strengths be it in academics, sports, literary art and just about everything. Strangely, it was only after her personal successes that she could see beyond herself to understand what her mother went through. Of course life’s inaccuracies continued to gape at her. But she sought refuge in a parallel world that she was creating for herself. A place that truly gave voice to everything positive in her life. She was creating that thing called CHOICE.

CHOICE, an acknowledgement of consequence of what you choose, even if it is helplessness.

Amu learnt to stand up for herself each time from then on. She stood up against the conservative stand of her father who was persistent on sending her to their hometown to pursue further education. She rebelled against her mother to be a part of the Indian airforce. She treaded on unchartered paths and succeeded.

When we tap into our STRENGTHS we are being truly fair to ourselves. It is only then, that we think beyond ourselves to forge an empathetic connection with others.

As time passed Amu got married to her college sweetheart, had 2 beautiful children and seemed to believe that she had serenity and stability in life that she always desired. When one day she got a call from her son ‘You ***, you control freak’. As his loud and thundering voice pounded on her ears Amu’s heart beat plummet and everything around her became listless. Life had come a full circle and this time it was her son. Schizophrenia was back !

Getting on with the same drill of life, Amu soon picked up the strewn pieces of her courage and grit blown apart by fate to prepare for yet another battle. Only this time with ‘conditions apply’.

This story has been written after months of interview with the individual involved. The names have been changed to respect the anonymity that subject of this story wishes to maintain.

Read also  Dating : ‘India Light’

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