Caught between the devil and the deep sea- my current condition! As the expression suggests, having just either one in your life isnt a problem… but having both… switching between them… being caught between them is what makes all the difference.
To understand my current condition better, I shall start from the very beginning.
I come from a nuclear family with 4 members. Growing up, my elder brother and I were quite close. When and how we slowly but surely drifted apart, I dont know. My parents were unofficially separated, which meant they stayed in the same house but upstairs and downstairs, since time immemorial. I remember finding it quite normal as a kid and infact feeling a little embarrassed while visiting friends whose parents shared a room.
I was 9 when I realised that things at home were not normal. The tension in the air was palpable. Dad would sleep, mom would try to be a super woman and bro would go out to play. I used to dream. Of being a grown up… of being alone… of being surrounded by unconditional love. Dont get me wrong… I was surrounded by love. And loads of it. Infact there is more love in my family despite it being dysfunctional than in most normal families. But there was also a lot of stress and tension and sadness and hurt and so much emotional baggage that there was no need for a carpet. This thick layer was good enough.
Initially I used to pray. My granny (being a Brahman and a religious one at that) told me that god always listens to children. Especially Shiva, if you recite his prayers religiously. I remember trying that for a while before I gave up in vain. Then I just used my small puja space as a corner where I could go and cry and beg and pray for things to become ok at home. I dont know why every small fight affected me the way it did. I just know that it did. I dreamt a lot. Lived in a parallel universe. Had friends for a while. Stayed alone for a while. Learnt dance and a percussion instrument for a long while. Everything gave me temporary happiness. Nothing lasted. Nothing made anything better. Life sucked and felt like it would suck forever!
Around this time, I befriended a neighbour’s uncle. He was young (late 20s), cool and loads of fun. I called him Joker and I introduced him to my folks. Slowly but surely everyone took to him. Adored him, loved him. He became more a part of my family than the neighbour’s. He hung out with us, cheered everyone up, took us all out. There was a brief stint when things felt like they might just get better. But guess some part of this improvement existed only in my mind. Either way, things soon went back to their normal fucked up state. Joker however continued being our family friend. He became progressively closer to mom. And one night he decided to stay back coz it was too late to drive back.
With mom in the room downstairs, dad and bro in one room each upstairs… mine was the only room big enough and with a spare bed. Considering I was young and he was MY friend, without much thought he was assigned there. We were watching a movie at the comp before we all went to bed. Dad retired early, bro next… leaving mom, me and him. He was sitting on a chair and I was on a step next to him. As the night progressed, I dozed off leaning against his chair. I remember waking up much later to a feeling that wasnt very alien to me. My heart was beating faster, my breath shorter and there was something… something that I couldnt really put my finger on… a feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something I have felt before when a certain someone used to wrestle with me. Or start wrestling with me and then …
Sleeping arrangements fixed, I was taken up and put to bed. I tried wiping off the feeling and tried my best to behave normally. But I looked at him differently. And I knew he could tell. He was just playing with my lips… but that was all that was needed. My lips were responding. On bed, I calmed down and tried to fall asleep. But there was one part of me that was craving… for that feeling once more. I counted sheep, I tossed around and finally dozed off realising nothing was going to happen and he was probably just patting my face and I misunderstood it. A while later I wake up feeling his breath near me. He was trying to feel me under the pretext of massaging me. I acted asleep. He would keep massaging and then let his hand slightly wander. Guess he couldnt muster up the courage to try on anything full fledged. Since I continued pretending to be asleep, I had my eyes shut and like any kid I kept dozing off with sheer fatigue. This went on almost through the night till I woke up once with my heart pounding really hard. I could feel my bp rise and my breathing hastening… and suddenly my body relaxed. I didnt know what had happened. I just knew I felt disgusted and tired and extremely violated. I pushed his hands away a few times till he got the hint and then silently cried myself to sleep.