Eight

Childhood was so perfect! Sometimes I wish I could be eight again, she said. More freedom.

Freedom from what? I asked, curious.

Freedom from having to think twice about everything I say or do, of course, she giggled. You know how it is with in laws – they find reasons to get offended. I would fight back, but my husband does not tolerate that kind of stuff. Plus I can’t wear what I want anymore – can’t just step out to go meet a friend when I feel like it.

I understood.

R came from the ideal family – doting parents, independent children, enough money to keep squabbles at bay. I was jealous of the way her parents spoke to her, always lovingly and with concern. She married her college sweetheart and has the most well-behaved children but the most boring life.

Me, I come from a far-less-than-ideal family that liked to pretend otherwise. My parents hated each other’s guts, and ours. We were the reason why they had to stay together – this was my mother’s ultimate sacrifice, and we were painfully aware of the burden our existence was for her. But if you were to look at our photographs from back then, you’d see only oblivious children with glazed, glassy eyeballs. You’d have no idea how fucked up we really were. I grew up to become a socially awkward person with the decision-making ability of a saucepan.

 

And now, in my thirties, I am finally discovering what it is like to think and feel like an eight year old – a luxury I didn’t have in 1990. (Because when I was eight, I was battling agony, indignation, confusion, self-loathing, betrayal; and a few years later, even arousal.)

I am filled to the brim with love and contentment. I am truly happy for the first time in my life. Not because I have a family that loves me – but because I am finally able to understand and love myself.

Maybe my childhood is only just beginning. Maybe I was meant to live my life in reverse.

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What about you? Are you happier now that you are an adult? Do you miss your carefree childhood? Did you have a carefree childhood?

 

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going bananas over oranges

These days, I find myself seeing orange everywhere. The color just seems to pop at me from everywhere, screaming adventure and happiness and confidence.

So it’s no surprise I went bananas over the latest photo challenge.

That's our letterbox.
That’s our letterbox.
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An old Contessa I clicked in Pondicherry
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a rusted water meter box in my building

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Btw, last year I was in love with green, and the year before that, my life was all about purples. Does that ever happen to you? Do you suddenly rediscover a new color and go crazy about it? What’s your favorite color? Do you believe in color therapy?

of depth

He sat at the edge and gazed at the ocean as the rest of us ran around in the water collecting seashells and laughing and talking.

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From time to time I turned around, waving at him and asking him to join us, but he’d just wave back and look half tired half thoughtful, so I decided to leave him alone. But at the back of my mind, I constantly worried about what he might be thinking. I couldn’t leave him alone.

I ran back to him, dripping with water and planted a sloppy, wet kiss on his cheek. He said nothing, just smiled. I waited for a few more seconds and then slowly walked back into the ocean, the salt from my tears dissolving into the abyss. What isn’t he telling me? I felt stupid for crying but cried anyway.

Later, we were walking on the shore hand in hand, when he suddenly stopped and kissed me. I know I’ve said this before, but I love you, Ana. More than I’ve ever loved anyone. I’m finally happy. 

It’s true. He has said it thousands of times before, but somehow, those words sounded different that night. It was almost as though he reached inside himself and fished out the words that he felt most deeply and laid them in front of me.

And I could think of nothing else to say other than ditto.

of memories and bitterness

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. Continue reading of memories and bitterness

of family

An ugly fight with your parents over their behavior with the fiancé is enough to thrust you back into the knowledge that no matter what you do or how hard you try, they’re going to remain strangers to you. You have nothing in common with them, except perhaps your surname.

They can’t seem to understand that your life is Continue reading of family