Kasturba – Struggling with the consequences of love

by shalinijena

Yesterday they had a peaceful discussion – Kasturba, her Mom and her Dad.  That actually is a rare event. It is not like they are one of those psychotic families who are about to be divorced away and can’t stand each other too close or talking. They are just the tired, misunderstood ones. Each one is trying the best to please and make the other one  happy. The couple seem to manage it well, pulling it off with one another because of the new-found romance in their lives. But the technique is a great disaster when used upon their adolescent, rebellious daughter.

Yesterday as she came back back from her favourite place in the world – coffee cup. Not even a kilometre away from her place. She had lied to her parents that she was going to be there with a friend. She had no choice. If she tells she just wants to go there alone, they would end up calling her ‘mad’, ‘stupid’ and the way they say ‘You are completely gone!’ (Like I am a drug addict at the prime stage of my life) – all of this is something she certainly didn’t want to go through again. So she did the simplest thing – she lied. Now that was peaceful.

She came back late in the evening at around 8.30 and saw smiling, happy faces sitting on the couch of the living room. Even the faces looked fake. One looked exhilarated from good drinking and the other was a fascade of beauty. She just looked and knew there won’t be a fight today. They are good people actually. They don’t want to fight and in their own, shallow way, try to give her as much “freedom” as possible. After sometime she tells them the truth (because lies make her feel guilty). She tells them that she just wanted to be on her own and they smile and nod. She knew they will react later. She knew it was a big mistake (even though it seems small) and she was right – foolish to even think “they” would understand.

Today as she woke in the evening, at around 5.30 after watching a beautiful movie post-lunch, Kasturba is about to wash her face when the mother asks. Are you planning to out? Kasturba says yes. Where to? Coffee Cup. 

She knew she shouldn’t have. But she hoped that maybe by some faint possibility, her mother had understood or atleast was trying to. She turned around and she saw the same face that she has been seeing for 20 years of her life. The face that understood nothing – this was not a fascade of beauty, no. It was not a lie. It was her true self – the self that always tried to control everything, mould things for herself.

Everyday! She yelled again. The typical visage full of contempt took shape and Kasturba could stand no more. What the hell is your problem woman! Why can’t you just let me be! Do I question what you do, where you go? I don’t want to fight with you, but please just let me be!

You are just a show off. Why do you have to go there every day! To show off right? Stupid girl! 

There is no point, Kasturba tells herself. She walks to her room, away from the commotion which she knew God made just for her. Loving parents who care so much. So loving that she can stand them no more. Stop fucking around my life. Just go away. You want to go for a walk? Please go! Leave me alone, she yells at them.

Kasturba licks her tea. She is trying is control her anger. When you are angry, you are painfully honest, but no one sees that. They just see the mean side and later put all the blame of the world on you. Her mothers wants to control every aspect on her life. She doesn’t even see her struggling in it. Crying her eyes out, asking God if she could not bear the consequences of love, then why give them to her. She cries and cries but she knows no one is listening. They all pretend. They all think they know, but she knows no one does.

She finishes her tea. Places it on the table, getting ready for another attack, this time from the father. He doesn’t want to, she knows. But the mother controls his life too. What can she do? Actually, she doesn’t even want to. It is good for both of them. She wants them to be together, so that when she leaves, at least they both will be together, not blaming each other, but only the ‘crazy’ daughter for going astray in life.

The mother comes back, looks at her angrily, fuming, shouting – that Kasturba’s ears start to hurt now. She asks the mother to get lost. Now the mother’s ego is hurt. She is more angry. She says she wants to kick Kasturba. Kasturba ignores and the mother keeps repeating the words again and again. Still sitting in her favourite blue chair that the father gifted out of love, Kasturba turns suddenly on the casters and asks if she wants to slap her. The mother in rage says yes. Kasturba faces her and asks her to slap if she wants to. The mother is so angry and furious that she drops the cup (on the dressing table, the floor would have made it all sexier, but too careful to break those I think) and in less than 2 seconds she slaps Kasturba on each side of the cheek three times. Kasturba eyes start to well, but she doesn’t move. She lets the mother slap and stares at her, into those eyes that can’t even look at her now. The mother never breaks down, the strongest lady Kasturba might ever know.

It is hard to admire and hate someone at the same time. Kasturba choses to admire her mother, all the time – that fascade of beauty which has taught her so much in life.

The mother leaves. The father follows. Both walk out of  the house in sometime, for their daily walk. It wouldn’t be just another evening for them, Kasturba knew that. They were distressed and for the first time, Kasturba didn’t care.

She thinks of leaving right now. ‘Pack your bags – laptop, money, debit card, clothes and just move out. Go live your life, away from the love and pain of it. Do what you want to. Make yourself stand upto you. If you are wrong and they are right, then go see for yourself.’ She keeps repeating all of it in her head. And then she knows this is no America, where you move and its ok. This is India. And here anger is not the purest emotion. The instinct of survival is.

She pulls herself together, telling herself that she can go through this – but she promises not to give in this time. She is tired of trying to understand people, failing to and then being misunderstood all the time. She is tired because she can’t see where she is going and the anger doesn’t help. She wishes it would stay, she wishes to be perpetually angry but that fades with the dawn of understanding and the care for others. She wished she could be incapable of that – of the love and care. Life could be easier. But then no one’s life is.

Its all fair.