My Life My Rules

So, then why did you choose to live, I asked? Years ago, I was talking to my friend who said she had contemplated suicide after her failure in 12th grade.

She was a bright student. Strikingly beautiful, good in debates, good at sports and an overall popular student. Both, her teachers and classmates loved her. As the age old idiom goes - Life was a bed of roses. She could not actually pinpoint, but somewhere after her 10th grade, there were subtle changes at home and gradually her home became a battlefield.

Her parents had become very confrontational and at times the arguments were almost violent. Her father was going through major problems at his workplace. And her mother was going through a very difficult menopause period- of course my friend did not know about this until much later. Oh yes, it was around this time that the property disputes with her father’s relatives had started.

She was bewildered. She just could not understand what was happening or why. The quarrels seemed so meaningless and petty. Somehow or the other her relatives managed to make life even more toxic. Vultures, she called them. Her mother became more controlling and difficult. Nothing pleased her. It did not matter what she did, her mother found a way to be dissatisfied with her. And she was easily infuriated. My friend found herself talking back. The quarrels, tears, complaints increased. Her father was exasperated with her behaviour and lack of concern for her mother. Concern for what, she had then thought bitterly? Her grades dropped and then her mother stopped her from watching television, hanging out with friends and kept her on a strict schedule. How she hated her mother!!

They kept the best tutor for her. But never let her forget the cost. My friend said she felt miserable and guilty. She knew what her father was going through. Life became a drudge. She became gloomy, cranky and irritated. She hated studies. Hated to come back home. She would try and stay out at her school and at her tuitions as much as possible. Her mother thought she was studying. My friend thought she was being smart. She lied easily. At times she hated herself for lying. But she just wanted some peace.

She knew she was not studying. She was past caring. Relatives called, dropped in. Wishes and advice started pouring in. “Do well”. ‘You can do it”. “Don’t leave the exam hall early”. “Read and reread the question paper”. Until one day...... 12th board examination. Her father took leave for all the exam days. Both her parents would come and sit outside the school premise. She felt miserable. She knew once the exam was over, she had to meet them, see their eager faces and lie again and again and again. She knew she had studied nothing, knew nothing.

“How was it” “Ok” she would say. Careful not to raise their hopes or lie too blatantly. She wondered if she should tell them the truth – that she needed a miracle to pass. But she couldn’t.

The holidays went by in a blur. Till it was the day of the result. Those were the days when you had to go to your school to collect your mark sheet. No computers. She told her parents she would go alone. But they refused to entertain her. She shot a look at their eager faces. Her heart sank. She was filled with despair. Her feet felt like lead. It was like she was dragging a heavy weight. As she received her result from her teacher, he gave her a look of pity. And she knew without opening her mark sheet- there were no miracles for her.

My Life My Rules Part-2
My Life My Rules Part-3
My Life My Rules Part-4

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