In exactly an hour, I’ll be onboard a train to Kolkata with my mom and my little brother. (I have to give him a name one of these days!)
I’m unusually calm today. I thought I’d be excited, nervous, or some such, but my hand is steady and my voice unperturbed. Which works really well for me, because I have a whole lot of typing to do before I leave.
As my mom and I packed up the last of the things to take with us this morning, we talked about how much things had changed since I was a baby.
Dad didn’t go to office for a whole month after I was born just so he could be around me. He would stay up all night looking at me. Nobody was allowed to touch me. He used to rush home just to see my face. When I was old enough to stand up on my own, he’d hold my finger and try to make me walk. I started walking at a really early age, and he was a proud father.
When I started walking, I basically just followed him around and wouldn’t let him go to office. I’d scream and cry and clutch at him as he tried to leave. Mom had to distract me; she often sat me down in the loo. But as soon as I heard the scooter start, I’d get up and start to run, leaving my mom to clean up the poop still coming out of my ass.
In the evening, I would wait for him at the window. Mom would carefully perch me up on the ledge and stand behind me for support. My dad would see his little girl at the window, legs dangling from between the gaps in the bars, clapping my hands together and saying “Namaste Papa!”
And then it struck me, like a hard slap in the face. My father’s not going to be there for the wedding. More than anything else, it made me angry.
I always knew he wasn’t happy about my divorce. He always thought (and let go of no opportunity to mention) that I should never have left the man he gave me away to. He was always clear about that. And if you’re Indian, you’ll understand what I mean. After all, an Indian daughter is supposed to go to her in-laws’ house in a doli and come back on an arthi, no matter how sucky her marriage is.
Being married to the ex was great at first. It made me more confident and more self-reliant. I started doing things on my own. But soon I crossed over into that zone where my ability to trust people and depend on them sorta died. I was so used to being on my own, I didn’t need anyone else. Not even my husband.
It took me a long time to be able to trust Mister. To really need him in my life. But when it happened, my father took to sulking, much like Suresh Oberoi walking with his head bent low and a shawl on his shoulder and a grimace on his face.
While his discomfort with my living in with Mister was not exactly a secret, I expected him to stop scowling once we gave in to his demands and decided to marry. But I was wrong. Every time I brought Mister home, he was rude and cold. In fact, he could’ve won the nobel prize for frigidity if we’d known how to enter him in the contest.
Despite all of that, I didn’t think it would come to this. Even though he said, several times, that he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make it, I never believed him. In my head, he was only in denial and would want nothing more than to see me happy.
But I guess I was wrong. So much for all the memories.