Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Crisis Angel's story

MY CRISIS ANGEL                                

To understand my crisis and my angel you will have to understand the meaning of both and travel with me to my childhood to understand the turmoil and relief…
How do you define crisis? It is a situation in which all your coping skills are challenged and what skills you do have, fail to help you. You feel threatened and unable to manage and yet manage you must…
Who is an Angel? A person who loves you unconditionally regardless of who, what and how you are…allows you to exercise your free will…refrains from questioning your reasons…but still offers that guiding hand and helps you deal with your difficult situation. The sense of relief that you feel is tremendously releasing. You are left, feeling “What would I do without you?”
That established …now walk the path with me to when I was six…maybe five…
I was born in a typical Gujarati house hold…instead of A SON!!! Elder one followed by two daughters…limited income…orthodox maternal relatives, having heavy hold over what would and would not happen in my house…my father was well, shelved as a secondary decision maker. My poor mother saddled with household chores, three daughters. Her childhood ambitions all thwarted …stuck with a not so interesting existence, having no time to bond with me. She was a provider…cook…clean…comb our hair…dress us to the extent necessary…send us to school…more than that, was to ask for too much.
To hug her daughter and ask how was your day at school dear one? ...was alien to her. To find out why I was not copying the homework from board properly was not enlisted in her job duties. I was stark lazy or silly or something like that. Till one day a kind teacher pointed out to her that maybe your girl is not able to see clearly. They must consult an eye doctor.
Oh my God!!!! An EYE DOCTOR!!! CRISIS! For my mother atleast. In any other house hold, it would have been a simple matter of visiting a doctor and doing all that is needed. Not here.
I had to be taken to Surat where my maternal relatives lived and taken to an eye specialist at the civil hospital. Why did my father not take matters in his hands, I still have no answers…he never did …
There was a Room Table Conference on whose blame it was…Of course my father you see…he had brought television in my house for his girls to view…and I went very close to watch it…I  had Myopia Nerds.!!!!!
That is why…even before the teacher pointed it out it was a reality but anything to blame my father was sufficient.
Then second thing to blame was my reading habit…  I am ...I was…I will be …an avid reader and all my maternal relatives can do is frown on this natural habit. Girls??? Reading??? How unheard of????
If they could, they would have locked me up like a Rapunzel without books. I would have died for sure.
Then as if all the Bombay eye-specialist were cheats out to make money (poor things!!) it was decided to go to Surat at the end of the year…no one thought the myopia may worsen in that time period.
So I was in this Surat eye clinic. Thirty five years back doctors had a frame of alphabets written on a card board and they put glasses of various shapes to decide the extent of eye rescue required. So, I sat there, while my maternal uncle chatted and gave a long winding tale to this doc on how I fell into this abysmal well of misery!! Voracious reader that I was and having nothing else to do I memorised all the alphabets on that frame to check my vision damage right in front of the table where I was sitting!!!!
Then the doc put the first glass and asked…what can you see?? Lo!! And Behold!!! I promptly replied…I did not see them…I had mugged them!!!!
Great ...number decided...spectacles made.
When I wore those spectacles at six or maternal relatives treated it as a mourning day…all the ladies cried…I was doomed...who will marry me now??? Oh hell and damnation…!!!
No one actually asked me that, with the help of the specs “could I see now?”
No I could not if anything the vision doubled...I tripped...I goofed in school even more...but again I had to wait a year before our annual trip to Surat to fix it…by then the myopia must have worsened …-16 &-14 and I must have been only seven or eight…thick glasses...more crying...more mourning.
I was the classic trouble girl...ugly, soda bottle wali...chasmel chachhu biladi nu bachchu….was what I was called…blamed for my very passion for hero (then) my father hurled insults for not taking care of me…forbidden to watch movies…constantly reminded, No one will ever love me…will???? I needed to be loved then…future was far away…all because I had thick glasses for heaven’s sake.
Every single minute of my childhood was spent in reminding me at every opportunity that I had incurred a useless existence…efforts made constantly to cure me...doctors ...ayurvedic remedies…all of my child hood  & adolescence it was a drama always played again and again. My dad was happy being passive. He did not mind my reading and watching TV …so I was free in Bombay to do my thing but the time in maternal zone was pure torture. My sisters were beautiful but I was Tch!! Tch!!! All the thousand weddings and other functions that keep happening in a typical Hindu household my maternal aunties and uncles would always keep popping remedies and showing ways...
What I will describe now is M.A. in HILARITY…I did it…I created a Crisis for patient and stay with me.
My maternal uncle came up with a super natural remedy. In this remote village of Gujarat, there was a lady who will flick her tongue in my eyes and the number will be gone!!! I was 17 ...just gave my 12th in Arts. Marriageable, according to a gujju household, that many years back!
We travelled for hours...waited in that village for hours…before that lady would come…there was a throng of people waiting to be cured…talks of miraculous recovery….how a snake had given her this boon…I sat there at having to endure all this for all these many years….at that age you want approval, love and you look at the world from the window your elders show you. After all, they all were going through so much trouble to cure me…I must be grateful. Somehow I was not feeling so grateful...but I COULD NOT WORD IT.
So the woman came, she took off my specs threw them at her altar and forbade me to ever wear it...kind of a forever vow...a spell…
In that one moment of trepidation and years and years of enduring humiliation…I LIED! I confirmed I can see…
Once again everyone was so over joyed at this miracle and sharing of it with the world…no one checked with me that could I really???
That day onwards my specs were a history and then I was able to see. When I went close to the mirror, I was fairly good looking. If I dress well…style my hair well...I was attractive. At 18 that is what a girl wants…but the Crisis that I created also plunged me into darkness…I could not read until I took something very close...I missed expressions of people who were far away...If I visited the theatre...the movie screen was a blur...maybe my dad realised it but faith in miracles cannot be questioned.
Had he ever hugged me and asked me “Girl can u really see? I do think you are having trouble with your vision.” He never did until a long long time. If he had, I would have owned up to the truth.
But I was smart at using my other senses so I travelled to college, read happily my books…books…books. College was good, for professors there lectured, hardly anyone ever wrote on boards so it was fun.
Travelling however was torture…and a comic hilarious course in human nature as well as my own frustration...sometimes I felt it would be better to have those sticks the visually challenged folks carry ...the types that would at least encourage others to help me for ...sometimes I would be lost for hours on roads I did not know...I had to ask…and walk…walk…and ask to find my way back…for I could not see beyond my own hand much less the sign boards…getting on right bus...imagine, standing there and asking...where is bus-stop of 365...and the perplexed woman who was asked would look over my head at the bus stop where the number was written and look at me as if I am making fun of her…
Destiny and me myself had chosen to fall in this situation...who could I go and tell...while my parents thought I was in training during my M.A. years I was lost on the Trombay highway or searching my way back to station from Nair Hospital...the agony and strife was my own…Slowly I also stopped making friends for explaining again and again the goofs that would invariably happen was soul wrenching…I immersed myself in Library and made books my friends for they share but do not question. They did not mind at whatever distance I read them. Being alone I did not have to answer questions with regards to holding the books very close…very very 40% eye sight it was natural…( later a doc mentioned that...much much later..)
I love the internet now because friends on net read your words…no need for eye contact there...I have so many of them and chat with all. Every single message I reply for it is so rare for me to have friends who solicit my matter how busy …I answer...I care…I have led such a lonely existence so far that internet gives wings to my thirst for friends…
Back then to my past...and something happened...
My grandma in Surat died…I rejoiced…sorry to be so cruel but all the disharmony of my existence all led to her and through her. She would not have such a stronghold on my mom, life could have been different.
IF Gods can be so ludicrous they are kind too. This crisis that I created was in May of that year and they sent this Angel in August of that year. My Crisis Angel who held my hand in this near blind state and made my life worth living...made me feel beautiful...made me feel loved...told me all those wonderful things that I read in books and I longed to hear. He affirmed my human NESS  ...never questioned at this hilarious story of my vision but simply went about making the necessary steps.
His name is Nozzer Pardiwala. This gentle angel became my armour and protection. He was there to compliment me on my woman hood. He was there in the mornings when we travelled to college. He was there to wake me up for my exams and take me on those various centres of exams on his bike…once he had one...he was there to get me back home after the exams...outside the centre waiting patiently to finish my three hours papers...encouraging me to go forward...whether giving an exam…crossing a road…
So many times in his young ardour he must have sent me love torn looks, knowing fully well I missed them all…all the ardour of his youth wasted because the lady he chose to love simply was short sighted. He shielded me from his family members never even letting them know about my drawback...never leaving me alone for anyone to discover the truth...constantly by my side to fill in any gaps my vision may bring or any goof ups...and there were so many.
Many times I simply could not wave out to his relatives from far...I could not see them…they did not know it...he could not tell them.
So many times the dust and dirt in our house was left on him to clean for I plain could not see it. The art of cooking I had mastered with the help of my other senses and sense of organisation. But cleanliness went in his department as I could not clean what I cannot see.
I missed seeing our own kids first ever so many moments…so my crisis angel my husband who goes by the name -Nozzer Pardiwala bought in a Camcorder and captured those moments…
Movies were a blur for me…so at least that I can enjoy he took tickets in front rows, the ticket vendors marvelled and found him weird, people prefer the back rows to enjoy a movie better…my angel sat in front rows with me to let me enjoy.
He took up chores of veggie shopping for I could be cheated...after all I cannot possibly hold every veggie close to examine its freshness.
Wordlessly he demonstrated what deep love... unconditional and binding is... so he is precious to me …for every hurt I forgive... for every harsh word I overlook .He has endured a life ...a difficult life when he could have chosen otherwise.
He chose to love…offer unparalleled generosity to a lost woman. He could have questioned ...why not lenses if your vow says you will never wear specs???
He could have thundered I am your husband go get yourself a proper eye fix!!!
He could have chosen to tie his life with another one …we were so young when we met…he could have.
He returned love for love...Angels do that...they keep your free will intact and provide guidance as per your wish.
He used to proclaim himself as JO HUKUM MERE AAKA…He really was my GENIE…fulfilling long held wishes buried underneath in this humble hurt girl...he washed away all the humiliation and consternation from my heart with his gentle ways …did he  ever ask anything in return…other than that I love him right back???
Inspired by him, his devotion and unquestioning attitude my father did take one of those rare initiative in the best interest of his daughter, twenty years after this drama…to speak to an eye doctor who was removing his cataract. Doctor, too, bless his soul…non challantly gave the simplest of solutions any any any Idiot should have thought plausible…no specs she can wear as a religious vow...why not lenses???
My husband again encouraged as much as I was willing to...he refrained for he never wanted to question my Faith???? Call it love…
It took every ounce of courage in my body and mind...for to question long held faith is tough...I may go blind...gods would do that?? Really?????
I went for the check up… -18 &-21
No miracle had eye sight had worsened…but for some reason also stabilised at that...doc trained me into lenses and a whole new world opened...I really saw…SAW MY angel for the first sons for the first time...I could read from afar...I could enjoy every nuance of movie and tele shows….I could see the dust n dirt in my house...the food colours...the bed sheet patterns…the tear...the colour of people and their eyes...the various greens of husband’s honey dewy much I had kids on stage…these words on much I had denied and deprived myself of???
I want to live this life to the fullest now...and I am offering my gratitude to my angel of a husband...for everything...the 42 inch TV in a tiny flat so I could see the faces at least…
The hordes of books you let me read
The dust you cleared…
The roads you help me cross literally and figuratively…
The untold silent cover up of goofs of a lifetime…you know about them more than I never openly complained or mentioned...Angels never do never did that.
For being my genie, for a life time and creating solutions for every issue that was created…
All I can say is were born four days after me…Gods send you to guide a little thing like me… wipe my tears and add smiles… cover my follies and create a kind of love that is rare...not only of this life time but many…I am lucky I found and have known an Individual from ethers who can define a TRUE CRISIS ANGEL…

©Sonnal Pardiwala                                                   


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ajeeb Daastaan hai ye…

As I saw the first episode roll, and saw a happier than thou family –two kids, rich house-hold, ma-in-law & daughter –in-law planning hubby dear’s birthday party ...Well!!! I did begin guessing where this could go!!!

Then enters Harsh Chhaya  (as Samar) a brilliant actorall lovey dovey and romantic and obedient …now I wondered… “Surely there is a mistress somewhere” But before I could switch my tele set to another channel, I also had to concede the presence of Sonali Bendre(as Shobha) If she was in, well maybe this saga can be a little different. I then waited to see how this tried and tested drama will play out. It does make a sensitive drama if in dignified hands.

It is tough to portray how a woman feels when she uncovers her husband in somebody else’s arms…much is written and spoken about it but only a woman who goes through it knows how her world comes crashing down. Only she knows the inner shame of this sacred violation of intimacy …Only she can feel that tearing apart of an existence she build around this man she calls her husband. Only she would know the sense of denial ...This feeling to rewind and reverse the fate as if it never happened or at least no one should ever know…more than the man she stands EXPOSED!!! Much later much much later the strands of this hurt will keep coming back to taunt her in her nights even when she thinks she has moved on…

Shobha stands there looking around. A friend expects her to see the truth as it is…but for her she is still his still has to fully dawn on her that she has to face this bitter truth of her marriage. Her husband is far from being Apologetic ...Men never are. They knew what they were doing and what they could get away with. It is only the woman who needs to single handedly guard and defend her fort. No one ...I think no one can wipe her tears and rebuild her tattered dignity back with a soothing word. In this she exists alone with her misery and with herself as her only counsellor. She has children she has to look around and act normal for their sake. Her children would never ever understand and how do you tell your kids your father prefers another woman and not your mommy…She cannot tell that to herself how would she even dare to do that with her kids? She cannot even so much as raise her eyes and cry, much less tell anything…

Then there is this taking of Sides ...your own people standing and telling you ...OVERLOOK THIS!!!

She realises some already knew it before she did ...even were allies into it. Some after knowing would shrug their shoulder and tell her to hide it…forget it so as not to shake the apple cart... Economics you see…Social prestige you see...

If he is the earning member, he knows she cannot go far away…the others in family do not wish to create a if one has not been created already…

What does a woman do, lament over her state of affairs?? Ask for mercy….cry over someone’s shoulder –none is forthcoming-
Who can she go and tell her insides just shattered …she felt insulted at her intimacy being compromised? People-relatives and friend blame and take sides and give strong opinions…
Where are the answers??? Is another Man an answer???
Is Economic independence the answer???Is Divorce an answer??How can you now explain the kids that their perfect existence is ruined for your father does not prefer your mother??Now things are not the same between your dad and mommy???
Is it the kids fault? Can she take on the mantle of responsibility of kid’s mental health? Who do they choose to live with? Who do they choose to love? For them father is the hero of their existence and mom the ultimate heroine? How and why will they take sides? 

What about the family existence…festivals...anniversaries…outings…which were a source of gaining happiness ...would they not become tug of war???

So, Yes, I am avidly following the show to see how they play up the dynamics  ...How they deal with each aspect ...Do they give justice to this inner turmoil of the woman or will it be another titillating drama of Indi serials garnering TRP’s and following whichever trend that gets them reviews?

©Sonnal Pardiwala