Many of the columns I write for Mint Lounge are difficult to write. I stay up nights. I sleep a lot. I wake up with sentences and connections in my head. I quickly write lines on the iPhone and put them away for weeks.
Sometimes tears well up while I am writing. I cried a lot when I wrote on Geet. After it was published, apparently Reena cried for a full day. Zara would come up to her, see her boo-hoo-hooing and ask, “Are you still crying over the same thing?”
I had a theory that day. We were crying for their father. The father they had lost, and been so brave about losing. As one must. One of the first things Geet would do when she made a new friend in college was to make a joke about having lost her father before she was 5 years old. “Look, its no big deal,” was her attitude. “Mera baap,” she would say, when referring to him.
Another friend would speak the same way later. He was barely a teenager when his father killed himself. There’s a time to laugh and there’s a time to cry. Both need us to be strong. Very strong.
So here’s a new one from last week’s Mint Lounge. I wrote about Mum and me. This one was not so difficult to write, but has been very difficult to read.
I sent the first draft of it…the stream of consciousness version to my secret personal Editor for approval. I couldn’t read it after writing it. I couldn’t read it in the newspaper either. I was travelling when it was published so I didn’t really have to deal with it on the weekend when the feedback was pouring in. There must be something between the lines that needs it’s space in the sun now.
Apoorva asked me on twitter: Why did you have to write this?
I’m tired of fighting with Bhai for my share of Mom, I thought. I want to stop. Only I can stop this game, this racket.
Bhai lives in San Francisco. He is visiting this week. In India for a conference in Chennai.
Something horrible must have happened for us to have become so bitter and strange with each other. What was it? How can we undo it?
How can we heal so that we don’t repeat the same version of family all over again?
Healing is easy. We are designed to heal. We have to want it first. Stop scratching phantom wounds.
Sometimes, I see a flash of Bhai and me in Sahar and Aliza.
Sahar was narrating a story from Secret Seven yesterday. Aliza corrected her pronunciation of ‘caravan.’
“How does she know it already?” asked Sahar.
Aliza reads and draws as well and as fast as Sahar. Sahar sometimes takes away her books from Ali.
There’s enough for everyone in this world. Certainly in this family. This cycle of emotional deprivation is stupid. I won’t pass it on.
That’s why I write about things we have long forgotten.