Thursday, November 20, 2008

Half a life

Reading about the girl from meerut who killed her parents made Priyanka shiver. Not because of the sheer horror of it.
She felt like her namesake had lived out Priyanka’s secret fantasy and got caught.
Which was not fair. Priyanka could empathise with her, whatever the situation.
At 21, she had lost count of the number of times she had, while crying herself to sleep, wished they would just die in their sleep.
Whenever anyone assumed that being the only child she must lead a pampered existence, she wanted to scream. How easy it was to only see the surface and believe it.
Sure her parents love her. To the point of stifling her. She vaguely remembers her childhood when her father was not ill so often and her mother occasionally smiled.
They once went to India gate and had icecreams and they even bought her a pink dress with bows from connaught place.
What she remembers more vividly though, is her father being upset. And her mother telling her to be silent so that papa would not hit her. Like he hit ma after he was drunk.
Gradually(or was it suddenly?), things went from bad to worse. Money was less. The car got sold. She was not allowed to go on school trips out of town. Chicken wasn’t on the table everyday.
And the only answer she got from her mother was, when you’re older you will understand.
She grew older too soon. She understood a lot of things but what she could not understand is why her mother was so meek. Why didn’t she ever stand up for herself.
She came from a well to do family, she must have been pretty when she got married and she was educated. Yet she had no say in the house.
Her father decided what the mother and daughter would wear. Once she was 12 priyanka wore only dowdy salwar kurtas and was forbidden from talking to any boys.
Then her father fell ill. It was a rare neurological disorder and he just couldn’t walk.
He even stopped talking, once his best friend took over the business and her father was conveniently forgotten.
She wanted to fight with the “uncle” but her mother was horrified at the thought.
That’s when LKK began. How she hates those three words. Log kya kahenge.
They will still waste money out of their paltry savings to gift jewellery on relatives weddings “nahin to LKK”.
Or not let her take up a summer job at the mall. LKK.
Where the hell were all those fictitious people when her father was spending half the month in hospital. Or her mother going to her family to ask for money yet again for priyanka’s fees.

Yet priyanka had to put up a brave front. She had no friends since she could not contribute to conversations normal teenagers had. She didn’t wear those clothes or watch the same films. She wasn’t on orkut and without that there was no way anyone would be seen dead with her.
Death was something that was a mystery she had to unravel. Get her parents to understand that they were not yet dead so why did they always look like they were at a funeral.
Her father adored the sympathy people gave him.
Her mother reconciled to the fact that life had dealt her an awful lot of cards
Priyanka was sure she would run away
To hell with LKK
Yet she loved her parents enough to not want them to drag on with this sad morose life
She had to liberate them and get on with her life….

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