I was brought to Chennai, and my mother did the trick again, this time she gave birth to a baby girl and left her in her mothers place when she was 4 months old. Meanwhile, my father’s career nosedived and he went from bad to worse. After completing an MA with good grades, he ended up being a security personnel for a few months. He then quit his job and was trying for a some other job.
We were residing in Tambaram then, and this is the time my life took a big U turn. Until then I was studying in a Tamil medium school, and when I was brought to Chennai, I was always made to study in the school in which my mother worked. Sadly for me, my mother changed her school every 8 months to one year. Here again, things may look grossly exaggerated, but the fact is I studied in 12 schools totally (of which I spent 4 years in a school called New Prince, the reason for which I will share later)
Now my father became a frustrated soul and my mother is a kind of person who want to fight with everyone, so in school she will pick up a fight with her collegue, and the issue generally gets escalated. She will either be chucked out or she herself will resign the job. There used to be fights every day when I was studying in my third standard. Both vent out their anger on me, but at this phase I liked my mom a little bit, as she will just hold my hair and slap me, and that pain I could tolerate and above all the frequency was much less when compared to my father. Getting hit by parents is one thing, and not knowing or understanding for what I am being hit is a difficult feeling to express.
This kind of environment created a change in my mindset, as my world is my school and my home, I will hardly interact with anyone else other than my parents and I was really scared of them. There used to be girl in my next house, her name was Srilaxmi. She used to come and talk to me in the evenings, and I really liked that change. Every evening I became happy as I could talk to her. She used to draw, sketch and paint well (I don’t know if those sketches were really beautiful as I was just 7 years old then but still it inspired me), and I made sketching as my first hobby in my life because of her inspiration.
I used to secretly draw some pictures at home not knowing that it would get me into trouble. I used to be a very good student until then, but changing to an english medium school from a tamil medium was a bit of a setback for me. It took time for me to get adapted. There was a girl called as Anandhi in my class, and she used to be excellent in her studies (Then again I was really young then and cannot give any certificates on her aptitude) and I found it very difficult to beat her. So, I got third rank (third rank by a distance). One good thing about my father is, he has never hit me for not getting good marks. For my mother though, my marks were always a prestige issue, as I always study in her school. She became so furious, and hit me and abused me so badly, that day she saw the sketches that I have made, and this became another reason for her to blame me for not studying and hitting me. So, I stopped sketching from that day on.
Srilaxmi and her parents knew that I will be beaten by my father regularly (my mother is very silent when she beats me), as our homes are pretty small, with just a hall with just a slab as kitchen. Since we both lived in the same compound her house was also of the same size, but she had a TV in her house. She took me to watch tv one day, and when my father came back I was not at home, he was looking for me to send me to a store to buy a few things. As I was not there, he sent my mom to bring me home. I reached home thinking that I will be sent to a store for buying something. Something else was awaiting me, one of the biggest horrors of my life. My father hit me so hard, that whenever I think about him his face never comes to my mind and only this incident comes as flashes. He slapped me hard and then grabbed me by my feet and lifted me upside down, and then rotated me like a merry-go-round and threw me on the walls. For some strange reason, I was not hurt badly at all, I don’t know how I landed on the walls, and how I escaped any injury I was not hurt badly. The real problem was it instilled a fear in me, a psychological scar which never vanishes. So from then on I stopped going to Srilaxmi’s house as well. Occasionally a few conversations with her will make me happy.
I regret these phases in my life, the phases where all my happiness returned to me. During vacations, I used to go back to my Grand Ma, with the kind of treatment that I was meted out in Chennai, my village Mayiladuthurai seemed like heaven for me. Both quarterly and half yearly holidays used to 10 – 11 days generally. I get everything which I did not get in Chennai, new dresses, good food, sweets, playing and above all tons of affection from my Grand ma. I thoroughly enjoy every bit of the trip, I will be the last person to sleep, as I never wanted the day to end. After 5th day a different kind of fear will start to engulf me, the fear of holidays ending and me returning back to Chennai. Everyday I will count and recount the number of days left for me to be happy. It is hard to explain that feeling, it can be equated to the fear, a person will have if he is aware of his death day. That day will eventually come.
Another turn in my life:
After going back to chennai, we shifted our home, and short and sweet friendship with Srilaxmi came to an end. I don’t know where she lives now and what she is doing, I am sure she would have been married and have kids now. I would just like to thank her for being of support when I really needed it. She was like a God sent Angel to help me cross a difficult part of my life.
We shifted to a new place called as Tambaram Sanatorium. My mother joined a new school so did I. Here again my nemesis continued. I became an eternal second ranker, no matter how hard I tried I could not get that first rank. Getting the first rank became all the more difficult because, my mother would have quarreled with all my class teachers, so in return they will take their revenge by cutting on my marks. Our classes used to get over by 4 : 30, as my mother was a Physical Education teacher, she will finish of her work only at 5: 30 in the evening. This helped me in way as I used to play football with a few kids in the school. A senior of mine, his name was Xavier. I fondly used to call him Xavier anna, he was studying in 6th standard then. He helped me in getting in to a new hobby – Playing football. I used to be clueless while playing with him, he was extremely agile and taught me how to play. I enjoyed that one hour of the day. While my mother duly fulfilled her weekly quota of hitting me, my father too was extremely regular in fulfilling his daily quota of hitting me. By God’s grace, occasionally on a few days I escape from being hit by my father.
While ramayan resulted in terror:
During our football sessions, a guy called srivatsan gave me a comic book, an animated ramayan book. In that story, ravan after deep penance will start cutting down his heads and give it as a sacrifice to Brahma finally to get great boons. This story inspired me a lot, while at home instead of studying, keeping my book in front of me I started saying “Om Brahmaya Namaha” silently without moving my lips. I did this for a few days, assuming that I will get some powers. Nothing of that sort happened, fortunately for me my mother went out with a friend of her leaving me alone at home and my father generally came back late, so I decided that I would also sacrifice some blood to him. So, I took a brand new shaving blade from my father’s razor kit, and switched on the gas stove. I was not scared at all (I can never do this now), I cut my left fore finger. The blade was brand new and it was too sharp and the cut was very deep. I started to bleed profusely, but I became all the more happy, because I was sure that such an act would give me enormous power and that I can retaliate my father. I was sure of becoming more powerful and crushing my father and my mother at once.
The bleeding did not stop at all, I was scared that my blood might spill in the floor and I might be caught for doing it. Unable to stop the oozing blood, I started sucking it out and then puked it. Somehow before my parents came back, I stopped the bleeding. My father came back. I was really worried about being caught. My finger was too swollen and found that out. He asked me how I got my finger cut, since I did not plan well for facing his questions, I told a lie that while sharpening my pencil I got my finger cut. He then asked me where I got a blade to sharpen my pencil. Without thinking i told him that I used his blade. Gone!!!! I was trashed for using a fresh unused blade. It was half a rupee then, and I was trashed for wasting a blade. That day I felt very weak as well, so could not handle all the thrashings. I cursed Brahma the whole night and vowed not to worship him at any cost.
That year my biggest happiness was watching the Jackie Chan movie, Armour of God in my house owners place while my parents were away. I went to my native again for the summer holidays. Summer holidays were always special for me, as my birthday falls during that holidays, and my grandma celebrate it in a big way by giving a feast for all my relatives and my neighbours in the street.
With all my friends, I learnt almost all the games that are played in the villages from marbles, to gilli, kabaddi and different dice games. I used to boast off to my friends about chennai and the city life, (bag full of lies as I ve never went around chennai) I tell about my schools and I used to use a few English words. My friends Ramesh, Venkatesh, Muttai and Prabhakar were all so much impressed with my stories, that they would always treat me differently, and I sort of liked it. As, for major part of year, I would be ill treated, so I started enjoying this special treatment. I started looking forward to this experience every year.
Though I was pretty happy during the holidays, it affected me indirectly. I started having twin personalities. I will either be the happiest or the saddest. I will either be very affectionate or very arrogant, I will either be the best or the worst. My life made me as a person with twin personalities and I started lacking linear behavior.
Darkness continues … meet you in Chapter – 3