Long time ago I heard about certain type of moths who are very much aware of the fact that the fire kills them yet they leap into fire. The attraction of fire is so ultimately relentless that it surmounts their natural fear of something that is so endearing to all of us- Life.
I have read that Piranhas travel all the way to other part of world through oceans only to mate, give eggs and then perish as their anatomy fails to adapt to the new environmental surroundings. We are not fire-moths neither are we piranhas! Then why do we succumb to such self-destructive impulses? We have all given-up on the front of our own desires which often end up in a not so desirable outcome.
For years I have been watching my dutiful mother undertake loads of work, toil in office, slog in the kitchen and then face the court martial squad ( making faces at dhudhi bhoplyachi bhaji and cribbing about going to a restaurant). We have undermined all her efforts and even insulted her kindness (I regret it now). I saw her upset at times even uttering a sentence or two about leaving all this and being happy if she was alone. And after this entire ruckus getting up again next morning (forgetting our shameful acts) and gathering up again for yet another painstakingly tedious day.
This would be more of a confession, but I realize how she is attached to all this – all of us. She likes being treated as a punch bag but still wants to know what’s happening in our personal and professional lives. In sadness or health, in happiness or wealth: She lives every moment- and loves it too. She always spoke of getting her own life someday but she is somehow tied down (and as I surmise to some extent enjoys) by all the house-hold chores and us
She frets over her lack of independence but depends on us for all her choices (from curry to sari). On a dull day she is in agreement of the fact that she is unhappy, but the next day she jump-starts her routine life as this is all she ever wants.
What a self-destructive attitude I used to think to myself. Are we all Kadaklakshmi’s who willingly give a nod to the pact of hitting ourselves all our life?
It is only 7 months down since I got married that I realize how tantalizing all this is worldly charm is. Sometimes I feel like fleeing from all this and going back home- to where I belong. A fear being out-of-place grips me and I search for a shelter. But then this is my shelter- and I have no where to go. Sometimes I get a craving to be with my people who didn’t judge me as good and as bad. I get angry when I am not spoken to the way I wanted, when I am not cared for the way I was and when my favorite eatables take a back-seat in front of my husbands culinary demands. All I want is a respite: a sole piece of me doing just what pleases myself. Then I remember all the difficult times my mother faced with us Hitler’s( we troubled her no less that what he did to the Jews). I go silent; think to myself as this just a phase and a small speed-breaker in my way. Shed a tear or two and then do what I do best- Moving on! Presumably I have surrendered to the fetish of getting married, now I will have to survive, pelting all the impediments behind, putting my opinions on a back burner and flashing a fake yet hopeful smile at tomorrow. I have not achieved it completely yet-perhaps over the time my defenses will get seasoned into throwing myself back and bringing us in front.
I mock at myself for falling prey to a self-spoiling impulse and trying hard, harder, hardest for survival. Are my prerogatives going to make me another Kadaklakshmi? All I can end with is its like having a ship wreck an setting sails for a new journey all over again and enjoying its perils to the hilt.