Monday, April 13, 2009

Twenty.

"Arrrgghh. Damn those dickheads!"

Subodh was sowing a few seeds in the backyard of the garden when the usual irritating bullies came running towards him with big balloons and water-shooters. There were still a good old 6 days left for holi but the usual "celebrations" of urine-filled balloons, smashed eggs and oil paint water-shooters had started with a new vigour and enthusiasm in those 15 year old teenagers. They never left Subodh alone at any times thus sadistically enjoying this opportunity of bullying him. They were hurling abuses at him when he tried to escape their pleasurable act and tracked him down near the building elavator, splashing him with eggs and and only eggs this time. Him being a twelve year old was even more funny for the big boys to tease him for having a name of a middle-aged man. He wasnt any Rocky, Sid or Rahul. He was named Subodh by his extremely cautious, concerned and conservative family. Not just the parents, but the entire family.

He cleared his face from the egg getting scared to death about going home now because he was a pure brahmin vegetarian who hadn't even touched an egg in his life. His Mom was going to kill him. He went home to find his mom in her room changing. He ran to the bathroom cursing himself for not knocking the door before he had entered her room. Why was she changing with the door open anyway?
He had a bath and used fragrant soaps to get the smell off him and came out of the bathroom with a towel on. His mom heard him coming out and entered his room with a scared expression on her face.

"Weren't you supposed to be planting and watering in the garden?" she asked a little sternly.
"Those boys came after me again so I ran back home"
"when did you come?"
"10 minutes back"
"why didnt you call me?"
"er...amma..i thought you maybe busy, and i wanted to have a bath..."
She eyed him carefully though he could see that she looked tired and hurt. He thought she might just cry any second. She left the room without saying anything else and Subodh knew there was something wrong.


He was coming back from school a few days later when he thought about his life. how everybody made fun of him and his glasses, said that he was a grown up jerk. He couldn't understand why wasn't he like the others? why did he not feel aroused looking at girls like the other boys? why didnt his family go on vacations? why didnt his parents go out like the others? why?
He had a half day and his mom had still packed a tiny lunch for him. Maybe she had forgotten that it was half day in school. he thought about his mother and how much she was lonely without daddy. daddy always came late and slept in the guest room. Amma would sleep way before in the bedroom next to his without even saying goodnight to him. his childhood with his parents was a blur. They hardly interacted and his Amma was the only verbal communication he had at home.

The door was open and Subodh wondered if dadi had come, because she usually kept the door open for more ventilation whenever she came. He went inside and was about to call for Amma when he heard a few voices.

" You live across our house, we have to be more careful"
"why cant you just come clean with your husband about us. its not just about the sex! you dont share a marriage with him Neeta, its just a liability because of that boy!"
"Don't say that. I gave birth to him! However he is, I cant do this to him!" his Amma cried.
"But don't you need to have your desires fulfilled? you haven't slept with your husband after subodh's birth!"
"we don't share that anymore, he hates me for bringing subodh in this life, you know that"
"it's not your fault that he is like that! its his 20th birthday tomorrow! and that boy still thinks he is 12!
"you should go, I think I left the door open"

Subodh heard them coming towards the door and he ran away from that house, that pain, that humiliation, that bondage.
He was choking every time he thought about his Amma sleeping with the neighbor. this couldn't happen. It was all because of him. Is this why he was so taller to the other guys? what was going on? he was sitting on the rocks near the sea shore his eyes burning with hate and anger towards him. he started climbing the rocks towards the edge. he had seen this in the movies. he was scared of doing this. he thought of changing his mind, but he couldn't stop walking. His eyes were filled with tears and the sun was scorching down his body. All he could see was black spots ahead of him.

And then he slipped.

His Amma was at that moment sitting on the window sill sucking on a cigarette looking at subodh's picture. She was feeling the pain. That dizziness. It could happen any moment. The bottle said "hazardous" with a skull on the top. She started choking on the cigarette. All that was left now, was froth in her mouth and her disdain.