She Learnt As She Grew

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She remembered being a little kid. She remembered thinking that her tooth was taken by the fairy God mother while she was asleep. She remembered falling off to sleep to not be taken away by the watchman. Her memory was as clear as day and the open books still remind her of the evil spirits she used to visualise entering the pages. She would look at sit in the washroom and wonder how on Earth could her pee ever come out because of some eternal sound. She stared at her reflection in the mirror and tries to conjure up the same fascination that she would feel when she would believe in the existence of another one like her. She tried to scare herself by repeating that touching the switch would send a current through her body. She walked into stores and walked around till she found a spot for fragile not-to-touch items and wait for herself to get careless and drop something. She tried creating scenes in the middle of the street, throwing fits, being dramatic and everything that sounded even close to unreasonable.

little girl in make up

But she failed every time. She was a grown woman now. No matter how hard she tried, her subconscious alertness would bring her back to her senses and she would be in control. Senselessness, she realised was tough to attain, and even tougher to keep. It was something to do with the all those years that had been spent by family and friend and society in her upbringing. Every lesson, every teaching was aimed at instilling morals and ethics of behaviour into her head. It was like a drill they ran. There was an expected, normative, decent behaviour and every effort was made to hammer it into her brains; table manners while you’re eating, respectability while you’re speaking, dignity in your walking and honour in your dressing. Today she was a grown woman. She had been through her stage of childhood, adolescence and mid-age. She knew how world would come to an end to have a bruised knee and not be allowed to go out to play for a week. She had learnt pain and love and happiness and loss. She was forced to bear heartbreaks and make sacrifices. She was taught to prioritize and willingly or unwillingly, she understood that her first duty is to serve. Serve the father, the mother, the brother, the aunt, the uncle, the grandmother, the grandfather, the husband, the mother-in-law, father-in-law and every other relation that she was enmeshed in. She believed in herself and she observed how essential it was to never stop believing in oneself. She also saw that the light that she held her family in was not wrong. But her assumptions of a world led by notions that her family held, were wrong. She learned that man is a social being. Woman is a social captive. Society guides the way and every mind follows the herd. She could comprehend the bottomless difference between the practical and the rational. She was how easy it was to oppress and how easy it was to let oneself be oppressed and how easy it was to watch the oppressed be oppressed. She saw what happened to those who did not oppress, did not let oneself be oppressed and refused to just watch the oppressed be oppressed.

Bridie-1

She understood now. Her tooth was broken or she had had a root canal. Either way, it was aching and there came no fairy God mother as she waited for her when she stayed up at night screaming with pain instead of sleeping. Sleep came only when it wanted to, only when there was nothing to worry about. The watchman whistled and stamped his stick every night but he was just a sweet smiling poor man. She gave him his pay every month; he was not the monster he was supposed to be. Her books sat open as she got up again and again to tend to her family’s needs. No spirits came to strengthen or weaken her mission t complete her degree even after getting married. Her bladders told her it was time to go to the washroom and she could hold it if she wished to. Sounds were irrelevant. The mirror just reflected a tired saggy face and she prayed that there did not exist another one like her. Her body wouldn’t ever let touch a switch with bare feet and wet hands, eliminating all possibilities of a current and of a scare. Shopping wasn’t even a task. Sales agents and shopkeepers were kind enough to not require you to touch anything. Dramatic purchases thus, didn’t happen. Bargaining was shameful, never on the cards.

With everything else, she had learnt that as we grow and learn the ways of the world, life does not remain simple anymore. Growing up is beautiful, logic sets your mind right and reason satisfies you. But simplicity does not always stay. No matter how hard you try, old clothes fade away. The more you wash them, the more the colour erodes. Simple no-brainers also go down the drain. With every passing year, life gets a tad bit more complicated and you don’t realise till you’ve come such a long way that you cannot connect to the effortless living anymore.

She had grown from a little girl to a grown woman and she had one piece of advice to every girl out there.

Do not forget the girl you’ve taken birth from. You are who you are because of that girl, her simplicity, her eagerness to learn and her thirst for knowledge and learning.

 

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