at May 16, 2013 Posted by Kusum Rohra
I was 5, standing outside our home and weeping, I was terrified at the idea of going in. At our school we were given a set of workbooks for all subjects that cost Rs.50 which I had left behind at school on the very first day. We never had much money, and 50 bucks was a lot, my mother had been beating me for days about not finding those damn books. Every day after I returned from school, she’d beat me with the rolling pin, slap me around and pinch me hard but mostly it was the rolling pin. She would ask repeatedly if I checked with the housekeeping and the teachers about the workbooks and why didn’t I find them if I left them behind at school. I don’t remember if I found the workbooks, all I remember is standing outside our door and weeping uncontrollably knowing fully well what waited for me at the other side.
I was 7, sitting on the kitchen floor, sipping on water and weeping. I had a terrible tooth ache and it never occurred to me that I could wake up my parents and ask them to do something about it. I wouldn’t dare to wake my mom up. My father woke up in the middle of the night, I am no sure why, maybe he heard me crying. He gave me a sip of Whiskey and asked me to hold it in my mouth and spit it out after a bit, that did dull the pain. I don’t remember if they took me to the dentist the next day, all I remember was weeping alone on the kitchen floor not knowing what to do about the pain.
I was 11, sitting on the steps to the terrace of our apartment. A neighbor spotted me there as asked me what was I doing sitting all alone on the steps in the dark. I told her the truth, that my mom had beaten me up, and I had taken off from home and was waiting for my father to return, for she would never beat me when he was around. She took me to her home, gave me dinner and then she asked me something very strange. She asked me if my mother ever hugged me or kissed me. I don’t remember what I replied, I remember that was the first time I consciously thought about it, realized that my mom never did hug me, that the neighbor asked me that question in a way that sounded like that was grossly wrong and almost pitied me. I started lying from then on about my mother. I’d tell exaggerated stories about my mother caring and loving me. A very few handful friends knew that in reality my mother beat me regularly and never cared for me.
I was 13, locked in my room, I had no water, I hadn’t eaten the whole day, I would anxiously look outside the balcony to see if my father was returning from work, he would let me out, I could drink water. My mother beating me and locking me up and my father letting me out had become a common occurrence in my house. My mother would beat me up and lock me. My brothers sometimes would open the door and sneak in some water and food and lock me back so that my mother didn’t find out, but she did find out, then she started using a lock and key, instead of the plain door lock that could be opened easily. I started stocking food and water in my room knowing I’d be locked in my room. This was an ongoing circus for many of my teenage years, my mother would beat me, lock me up. My brothers would find the key, sneak in water and food. I started locking her up too, I would make her promise that she wouldn’t beat me if I let her out. She’d promised, sometimes she’d keep her promise, sometimes she’d beat the living day lights out of me, I went to school the next day and would tell my friends about how my mom wanted me to do well in the Social Sciences since she knew I loved studying history and civics.
I was 15, I had recently started eating lunch with a new group of friends. One of them told me her mother had woke up late that day and would be bringing lunch during recess. This is back in 1995 Ulhasnagar. Her mother drove from Ulhasnagar to Kalyan (which was a big deal in those days) to make sure her daughter had her lunch. This surprised me a lot. I couldn’t understand it, why didn’t her mother just give her lunch money instead of driving all the way. My mother never packed me lunch, but she gave me lunch money and wasn’t that good enough? If it wasn’t then why didn’t my mother pack me lunch?
I was 17, I was staying with my aunt, I overheard a telephonic conversation where my aunt was complaining about how it was going to be impossible for her to let me stay any longer since she didn’t want the hassle of a young girl staying with her. Every once in a while my mother would tire of beating me up and would throw me out. I’d stay with my granny, my aunts being passed from one family to the other, never realizing they wanted nothing to do with my mom and me. I hated having to stay with others, I felt like a burden, I did my best, but I never knew why my mom beat me so I didn’t know what I had to stop doing for her to not throw me out on the streets again. I thought that dying would be the best.
When I was 5 I never knew that mothers shouldn’t beat up their little kids for losing a set of books, when I was 7 I never knew that I could go to my parents if I was in pain, when I was 17 I didn’t know that committing suicide was not the only solution. It’s not been easy putting all that behind me but now in a few days I’ll be 33, I no longer am beaten up, uncared for and thrown out to live with unwelcoming relatives and I most definitely do not want to die.
I have someone I can wake up in the middle of the night if I am in pain, someone I know will stand by me through thick and thin. That for me has been the biggest joy of my life.
P.S: Upon turning 33, I wanted to write a post about how wonderful things are, about how I can now drive, I've started playing TT and gotten very competitive about it, about how I have quit my job which was getting very boring and have become an entrepreneur, but some ghosts come back and need to be dealt with. I have spent years trying to hide all of this from friends and family so I decided it’s time I stopped hiding or being ashamed. It was never my fault and I have suffered enough. If you are a friend and are reading this, then you know I am a happy go lucky kind of loony person, I am doing great, but some wounds hurt even if they have healed.
My mother married young and had me when she was just 17. According to doctors she suffers from a rare form of dementia. My family has had a very tough time living with it. We didn’t know that it was a mental disorder and maybe it could have been treated. For most days she is okay, but my father still has a very tough life living with her, in my case I am in a caring and nurturing relationship but in his case he will never have that kind of support and love which only a spouse can provide. All that pain from my childhood will hopefully fade away, but he has no such hope and he will stand by her no matter what.
If you know of a family member with similar problems I urge you to take them to a specialist and get a diagnosis/treatment.