My Life My Rules

We saw in the last article my friend's journey prior to her failure in the 12th board examinations. She had become suicidal, but then chose to live. This is an excerpt of my conversation with her.

Life became different now. The house had become death-like, no sound, no one talked. She noticed neighbours giving her odd looks. She saw them whispering and pointing towards her. They did not even pretend that they were not talking about her, she did not matter. They thought she was a fool. The world thought she was a dumb person. An ingrate. As days passed by, she found herself being treated shabbily by her relatives. Everyone felt sorry for her parents. They wondered why the daughter was so defiant and wayward!!! Wayward? What on earth did they mean?

My friend gave a sardonic laugh as she recalled those days. She said philosophically, “you know, when we fail, we do not just get the tag of a failure, somehow we also manage to be labelled many other unpalatable things”. She realized that people had now started casting doubts on her character.

And that hurt her deeply. She saw her parents simply keeping quiet, unable to protect her. She felt a wave of rage when she saw them being treated poorly on her account. She knew they had to listen to rotten comments on how their parenting had been flawed, how their internal quarrels were the likely cause of her failure. The blame and accusations were unceasing, relentless.

She hated herself. She did not know she was capable of so much anger and hate. And it was then that she first thought, “wouldn’t it be better if I died?” Her death would solve several problems, she thought. She need not take any exams, need not fail repeatedly, she need not see her parents hope and be crushed repeatedly. Her death would stop the pain, their sufferings, her suffering.

She began planning. What would be the most painless and quick way? What should she write in her note? She will tell them how much she loved her parents and why she did not want them to suffer. At least then they would know what they meant to her. And how sensitive she was in reality, to their pain. Because these days she was barely talking and if she did, it would be terse and perhaps disrespectful. Maybe when she died her parents would realize how their initial horrible behaviour had led to her downfall, she thought bitterly. They were the culprits. She was simply paying a price for their stupidity. They should suffer. They should know how much they hurt her. Maybe she should write how they hurt her. She imagined how they would cry on seeing her dead.

What did she want, she thought? Did she want them to suffer, or did she want them to know she loved them? She was confused. She just wanted others to know she was intelligent but could not study. She wanted them to know she cared for her parents. She wanted others to know her parents had quarrels but were not bad people. As she was toying with these thoughts, she suddenly remembered some anecdotes her parents had said about their life and their childhood. She remembered their struggles and their efforts to live with dignity.

My friend said she could not recollect what triggered these memories. Perhaps it was the poor, old, frail man cycling home daily. He looked so much like her father; she thought as she sat at her window facing the main road. Was it the fact that this man who could never hope for a better futureseemed happier than she could ever be? Perhaps, it was her fleeting sight of one of her silly ‘friends’ who had cleared the 12th. exams. If she could pass, couldn’t I? Perhaps it was the vision of her mother as she went about her morning chores, tired but uncomplaining, even when she was being blamed for her daughter’s failures. What did her parents want from her?To lead a happy, decent life? Was it too much to ask from her? Was she not half as capable as that silly classmate?

As she struggled with her conflicting thoughts, my friend got one thought, “what prevents me from clearing the 12th boards”? She knew it was not her parents. Not anymore. And with a strange clarity, she realized it was herself.

My Life My Rules Part-1
My Life My Rules Part-2
My Life My Rules Part-4

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