One Summer Afternoon


Part I:The colloquy

“Have you ever heard of the Domino effect?”Baba asked.

“No.What is it?”

“It is where one decision leads to a series of events;like a chain reaction.”

“Just like when you and Ma got separated,I went into clinical depression and bhaiya ended up in the rehabilitation centre? Yeah,makes enough sense.”I said with a sardonic laugh but my voice cracked before I could complete the sentence.

One minute of silence and then Baba cleared his throat. “Can you ever think positive or have an optimistic outlook instead of whining all the time?”

“Not when you lie in bed awake,with memories to haunt you every night.”

Part II:Invisible energy with visible effects

It was a warm,summer afternoon.

I was lying in the hammock beside the swimming pool owned by my elegant,moderately rich,corporate father.As I looked up at the bright,cloudless sky,the dry hot breeze touched my cheeks reminding me of the tears that dried up in my eyes in a similar manner.It was a quiet,languid afternoon with no signs of life around. I felt lonelier than ever.I tried humming one of my favorite songs but my plaintive voice made it sound awful. Hating myself,I stood up and slowly walked towards the pool.

The water was cold and frigid but I continued to wade into the deep.As the liquid swept over my rough skin,my solitary veins started feeling a strange sensation.A strong sense of desire mixed with tranquility grew in my body.Like a man’s touch filled with wild love and passion mixed with the most gentle caress which reminds you of your family,parents or grandparents taking care of you  when you fell sick as a child,bedtime stories and the warm hugs and kisses which made you feel safe.It was surreal.

The wind grew hotter and the water was slowly turning into a monster.It was like the devil was pouring it’s hot,damp breath into my ear,kissing all over my constellation-like freckled skin. An unseen camera was rolling in my mind playing all the flashbacks I didn’t want to remember.

My happy childhood,first day of school,family albums with glowing faces and radiant smiles followed by the dreadful fights,the night Baba walked out angrily and never came back. Lost friends,broken family,sleepless nights…memories kept echoing through the forever expanding,gargantuan hollow space.

I was drowning.I felt like a brick in the ocean,falling now but someday I’ll hit the rock bottom.

I remembered when bhaiya went on drugs,how my dearest relatives and friends ostracized us.

Parents would not allow their children to play with us at school.People would call us names,parents would point us saying, “Look at those two spoilt kids”or “This is what happens to children with opulent fathers”or sometimes simply “bechare log”. Like a funhouse mirror our images were skewed beyond comprehension.We could do nothing but blame our poor mother  and cursed her for letting him go.

Then one day we grew up.We came to know that Baba had another family elsewhere.We started feeling sorry for Ma but it was too late.She was diagnosed with lung cancer,Stage III.I was in college and bhaiya was struggling at the rehabilitation centre. Therefore,I had no other way but to come begging to my wealthy,powerful father.And there I was,lying like a dead body in his mansion like house. Oh God,I felt so tiny and miserable! I remembered the day my boyfriend broke up with me because I belonged to a family with ‘impure’ blood. I felt like a black hole escalating into a cosmic cyclone.Where does all the love go,when you lose the one you love?

Part III:The realization

An hour later,I was feeling better. I cried my heart out and felt lighter.I realized I had been strong for a very long time and this was much needed.I watched Baba play cricket with my young stepbrother in their beautiful backyard.They looked so happy.I smiled to myself. I didn’t regret coming to his house. Maybe I was the one being selfish.Everyone has their own reasons and everyone deserves to be happy.I got out of the pool back into the hammock and dried myself. My skin didn’t feel so rough anymore.I looked at my freckles and scars and they did not make me feel nauseous. I was healing.I looked up in the sky.This time,I saw a single bird flying high with pride,spreading it’s wings wide and confident.I looked beneath and noticed one single flower in the garden swaying in the wind.I felt powerful. “Let the plastic outsiders with shedding skin and snake eyes stare at me,I’ll approach all the unpleasantness in a more positive way”,I thought to myself. Suddenly I started falling in love with the summer,the afternoon,the water,the moment I was living in and most importantly,myself. I wanted to hold on to this day,cherish every bit of it forever. One mysterious afternoon amidst nature had taught me everything that human words couldn’t.As I was lost in my thoughts,I heard someone,somewhere playing the same old favourite song of mine,

“If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you the day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
      I’d sing a song to make you feel this way…”

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