“Are you a lesbian?“, my teacher asked my buddy.
A day ago, we celebrated Teacher’s Day – the day when we shower gifts, cakes, and cards on our teachers, no matter how much we love or hate them. Nowadays it actually doesn’t matter if we even respect them. Once there were teachers who were respect-worthy and knew how to shape a child into responsible teenagers. Alas, while I grew up, I came across some very narrow-minded teachers who thought every student was gay. It’s been a very long time ago when I was just a 12-year-old kid when I was introduced to the term “lesbian” by my own school teachers. I think at times that they never thought how would this particular word affect the mind of a teenager.
During that phase, at school, everyone was so conscious about how they looked, the way they talked and behaved with their friends and the way they dressed so that they won’t be judged and talked about being someone they were not. (P.S. I come from a girls’ school. Being gay was a social shame during that time, in our society. Now though things have changed.) Being best friends at school meant we were in some kind of a dirty relationship. We were forced to worry about, “what will everyone think?” about us if we behaved like a best friend to our friends. Being tomboyish was out of the question. If some friends held hands while walking or playing, they were called to the teachers’ common room and scolded. If someone accidentally stared at a girl, then they were said to have some kind of secret dirty feelings for her. Well, no one elaborated it or explained to us or told us why and what these ‘dirty feeling or relationship‘ were, ever.
In those days, our school had become a place of scorn, a place where you are ridiculed and judged. Our school wasn’t anymore the place where you go to get educated, but the place where you are judged senselessly and are forced to think “what will all think about me?“. The school’s environment was very toxic and unhealthy for a good foundation for all the students. The day our Principal came to know about these acts of our beloved teachers, she herself stood against those teachers and made them change their attitude towards all the students.
Being there and having been through such situations, I often feel that, maybe our teachers were fed with wrong information or maybe some crime series aired during those times, which affected their thought processes adversely. Well, even such situations didn’t stop me from judging them or blaming them. Not only blaming such teachers but the entire society, who every now and then have set rules and regulations for some very basic things in life and have made situations worse for the whole society. So worse that the people would be forced to think about if/will/how/why would others judge them. Many times, things backfire and individuals go on to do what their hearts desire. Even then they are judged and pulled back by society, many still overcome such situations and go on to be the successful ones. They learn to live a happy and satisfying life but for others, things go bad and they fall prey to depression which is a result of the constant adjustments with the society.
I too judge people around me, and needless to say, it isn’t a good thing that I do. Neither am I very proud of it. But I have always realized that how I think and act are solely how I see and deal with situations. Others have their perspective and their own ways of handling that particular situation. Judging others or demeaning them, has never ever solved problems, instead, have increased the trouble. So, if we let people be as they are and just accept how things in this world work by not create unnecessary rules, we might pave the path in building a beautiful future where we do not have to think, “log kya kahenge!” (What would people say).
4 months ago:
The anesthesia had already started to work, when the doctor asked me, “Soumya, what do you want?” With a smile on my face, I replied, “Anything doctor.” My doctor asked me again, “Still, any preferences?”
Drifting into the world of my dreams for some seconds, I thought about the most beautiful relationship according to me. The relationship that the siblings share. I had always dreamt of a brother as a sibling. And I also had a wish that, if ever I am able to give my daughter a sibling, then it should be a boy so that she can feel and enjoy it as all my cousins did. I have always felt that the relation between a brother and a sister is very pure, strong and charismatic. I have seen and witnessed the love they share.
I answered, “Doctor, as you know, that I already have a daughter. It would be great if she has a brother to play with.“
The procedures had already begun. I drifted back to those painful 8 months. Those initial pains, series of blackouts due to hypoglycemia, premature tendencies, increased number of hospital visits, chances of miscarriage during the 6th month, admitted and being treated for the same. The many painful steroid injections and IV drips, giving way to many painful days and some very painful nights. The labor pains and the fear that we (mother and child) might not survive if things go otherwise. Emergency admission and surgery. I and my husband were both tensed for many such reasons. During my previous hospitalization, we had a mother who lost her 33 weeks baby to gestational diabetes. I also had gestational diabetes and endocrinologist had also warned us about stillbirths. My husband (who wasn’t in a good shape either) was waiting outside the OT for some news, hoping it to be good.
It took them 12 minutes to cut through, then they pushed my baby out. I was fervently praying that my baby should cry out loud when it comes out. Lo and behold, my baby cried. My doctor told me, it’s a boy. But I was so much happy that my baby cried that I couldn’t hear what she said. I asked again, “Doctor, is it a boy or a girl.” My anesthetist said, “you had made a deal from above, you couldn’t have got anything else, it’s a boy. Congratulations.” After giving him a wash, they brought him near my face. I could just see his small little nose, his beautiful eyes, and red lips. I was overwhelmed.
As soon as I was out of OT, my husband came to see me. I looked at him and cried. He reciprocated. It was a cry of happiness and victory. God had lead us through the valley of troubles and dangers into a beautiful life. Our family was now complete. Our second bundle of joy was here.
Struggling through the entire pregnancy, being ill for almost 90% of times, I now have a chance to witness the bond I have had longed for my entire life. I can live the love and bond through my kids. To be a mother is a very intense feeling and to get your heart’s desire is another one. I had a combination of both at that time and it was a magical and emotional phenomenon. My son is now almost 4 months old and has already started looking at and following his “didi (sister)”. This is just the beginning of a happily ever after.
Sanika dialed the numbers and disconnected the call almost within a second. Her throat was dry, she was nervous, she thought, “how will I start? What to ask or tell him? Will Atul approve this idea? How will he react? Is discussion with Atul, an option?” She thought she should call Atul before calling Pranay. Before she could finish her thinking, her phone rang. It was Atul! She picked up his call saying, “Hi! I was just thinking about you and was wondering what you might be doing now? Have you had dinner? How are the kids? Have they taken their dinner? Are they in bed yet?”
“Slow down honey!“, Atul replied, “Yes, dinner done and kids are in bed now. They were sleepy and have gone to sleep.” Sanika asked, “So, what about you?”
“Me! Nothing, was finishing my chores and was getting ready to sleep,” replied Atul.
Sanika could feel that Atul was disturbed. She asked him, “Do you have something to tell me or ask me dear? Because I can feel that something is bothering you.“
Atul replied getting little frustrated, “You! You and your ex-boyfriend are bothering me. And this botheration has led me to call his house too. I know this is mad, but I am desperate here. I have no idea what is going on there. I have no clue about both of your feelings. I feel lost. Why now? Why he?” Atul gasped for breath and without even giving a chance to Sanika to speak, he continued. He heaved and said, “This is the first time you left me and went so far and somehow you met him. You tell me, how secure will I feel? You talk about me being supportive and caring, but when you are with me, near me or within my reach and I know you will be fine, then I can control things. Even my emotions have gone out of hand. Moreover you are so far away. And accidentally Pranay is there and then he… Listen! Hello…“
Sanika was shocked, dumbfounded and couldn’t even speak. For the first time, she saw Atul desperate and hyperactive. She never knew he was so emotional, when it comes to her. She said painfully, “Yes, yes, I am listening! But…!“
Atul continued, “One thing I am very clear about is, I love you and if I lose you I might give up everything I love. I hope no other love stands stronger than ours. Somehow, because, somehow I think, I am.. NO. I can’t bear the fact that, he has come back into our lives. Constructively or destructively, I have no idea. But, but it is killing me. Even a simple imagination of you both standing in one place gives me chills. This time, baby, I am unable to hold it together. I just want you to come back to me now. I want you here now. Please. I don’t want to see you with someone else, who has hold an important place in your past.”
Sanika was sobbing uncontrollably but silently by now. Atul’s words had flooded her emotions, so much that breathing wasn’t even possible. Too much suffocation, too much tension and too much to think. She then tried to calm herself first. She then replied, “Atul, please… please don’t be so hyper, don’t break as you alone are my strength. Everything I have done, do or will do is because my power comes from your trust and love. Trust me when I say, – I am blessed to have got you as my husband, my partner for life. I not only love you but respect you much. Our kids and our family is all that matters now to me Atul. No other person be it a stranger, friend or a popped up past, it will never affect our life adversely. You have been my support in this matter since you have known about it. It’s now my turn to remove this matter completely out of our lives. Maybe, to remove it, I would have to talk to him for one last time.”
“What…What more do you have to talk? Didn’t you shout at him?? Isn’t your anger over yet? Isn’t it enough to end it??” Asked Atul.
“It’s not about that Atul, it’s about not-being-affected by him anym….” Sanika could say this much when Atul interrupted and asked desperately, “Can I see you right now? I want to see you right now… wait I am calling you…”
Finally the tiredness seeps in, the body gives away and the mind stops its race. Sleeps takes over and into the world of dreams we enter. Forgetting the worries we had, all the hectic schedules, the numerous work and the never ending demands. Losing the track of time and regaining the energy and peace of mind. The ring of the alarm, wakes up the brain, to schedule the rest of the day. Thoughts of laziness, “Why should I wake up, this early?” and the small little sleeping baby’s smell. The love, the snuggle and the pain of waking up your household, just to start their day off. The push of the heart and mind, forcibly making the body awake, “Up, Up now mommy, the kid needs you for the rest of the day.”
This is how, my night ends and my day begins. It finishes off and begins, with the same motivation, that keeps me on my feet the whole day. The love for my kid and attending to the needs of my family. May be this is how every normal home maker would feel. Maybe it is the same motivation, which makes a home maker be the first to wake up and the last one to go to bed. Maybe this is the same love and worry of a home maker for her household and its members, that makes her do her job, wearing a smile on her face throughout the day. No matter how tired she is, how irritated she feels, how sick she is, or what she wants to do, she always keeps her family first. She finishes her chores and meets the need of her family, daily, without fail, and then if there is some time left to spend on her own, she does what she loves the most.
I, am a very lazy, easy going and not-too-excited-to-do-much-work type of a person. I love to finish my tasks early, so as to do things I like. I sometimes feel, its totally unnecessary to go into household work for a long time. Days as such, I get thinking about how events in life, has led me into such situations. But, at the same time, smile and the satisfied look, on my husband’s and my daughter’s face gives me all the strength that I need to do the days work. This is just an example of one kind of motivation in my life.
There are many a times when my heart hurts and pains by the words spoken to me. Feelings of me letting down the hopes of others, tears me down and with a heavy heart, I call my mother. I tell her how I feel or I think that I have let down someone very close to me. How rude I was, or how my words pained them. I pour out my heart in front of her. She tries to motivate, inspire me and she points out my mistakes and tells me how to rectify it. She gives instances and examples from our time together, to explain me things. She brings me out of my misery. Not only she, but my father also tries to light the fire of humility and meekness in me, by lovingly pointing out how one should surrender to strong feelings and ultimately do what is right. They have helped me, be the person I am today.
The biggest and the most important motivation that I get in life is from my Lord, my Saviour. Every day in the morning, getting up and surrendering the entire day to Him by studying the Bible, I feel His peace and satisfaction in my heart. Whenever I feel troubled, I simply pray to Him, asking Him to pave my path, to show me ways, to handle everything that comes my way as His word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
He has not only made all things wonderful in my life, but also have given me the perfect amount of motivation, to do many things in life. Willingly or unwillingly, even keeping my own respect at stake, later saving it. He has held me through troubled waters and quick sands, saved me from dangerous situations and people, has lifted me from a level zero, to where I am now. He has always been there for me, whenever I am at my low or I am in an excited state. He has always given me reasons, good enough to do things that matter, that are necessary to me or are important for my family. There were times when I was in desperate need of motivation, guidance and advice and there! He was right there. Holding all the necessary information, relevant conversations, very apt reasons, modified statements and even moral policies, in case I drift to the other end. He has always answered my, “why’s” and “What for’s”. He has pulled me out of pain, reasoning with the situation, in turn motivating me further. He takes the side of the other person always and has always pushed me to become myself after a very bad, or painful situation. He is the main source of my motivation and an unending and unfailing one.
These are my daily potions of motivations…
Binoy’s heart skipped a beat. “Are they inside Aru di and bhaiya’s room?“, he panicked. “No, no. They are very good people. I don’t want them to suffer because of me. I don’t want to take their wealth. I can’t let it happen“, he thought. “I have to check, where they are.” He tip-toed to the door. His hand were shaking and he was sweating profusely. He didn’t want Bablu and his friends to be inside and was praying for the same. He gave the door a slight push, just to have a clear view. He could see Aru Di and bhaiya sleeping peacefully. But, he couldn’t get the full view of the room. So, he pushed the door a little more. He saw some flash lights inside. “Oh My! They are inside! What can be done now? What if, bhaiya finds out about this? Will he trust me again? What if, i break my friends trust? Will they accept me ever again? How will I bring them out of that room, without making noise? What if, didi saw me calling them? What ever I do, I have to do it quick. Either I have to send them away, or will go off with them and would take their things. What will I do? Should I stay or go? What will my Maa would wanted me to do? Study or steal? I have to get them out anyways.” These thoughts raced again and again in his mind making him panic and feel tensed. He was more agitated and sloppy.
Before he could give the door a little more push, he lost balance, his hand hit the door hard. He fell and the door opened fully with a loud noise. Arunima and Arnab woke up with a jolt. Binoy was petrified and he froze. He could not even move his eyes to see where his friends were? Arunima hit the lights on. The room was lit and she saw Binoy at the door and asked him, “What happened? What are you doing here? Do you want something? How did you open the door ”
Binoy quickly looked around to locate his friends. He fumbled, “N n nno noo!” He could not see his friends in the room and gave a sigh of relief. He explained that he was returning from the bathroom and he was feeling restless and when he saw the door was open he thought of just knocking at their door to feel safe but he slipped and fell down.
Arunima smiled gently and asked, “Oh! Are you hurt? Did you hit anything?”
Binoy said, “Yes didi! Just my hand. But I am okay.” He added, “I will now go to my room didi. I am sorry for the noise. You both please go back to sleep.“
Arunima nodded and asked him to close the door while going back and they both wished him Good Night. He wished them back and bent a little to get the knob. Before his eyes could reach the knob, it fell on the feet hiding behind the curtains. He stopped. He started panicking. He couldn’t think what he was going to do or what would happen if they came out. His brain was failing to give him any good ideas. He then stood there.
Arnab asked, “What happened Binoy? You want to tell us something?”
Binoy didn’t have the courage to look at Arnab and reply him back. He didn’t know what to answer.
“Dear, are you scared?” asked Arunima.
“Yes didi, I am“, Binoy said.
He then thought about his mother and her humility, love and her lessons. He looked at Arnab and said, “Bhaiya, I want to tell you something.“