‘…we were having a jashn-e-daawat kind of thing on the terrace (plums and mangoes and the like). I was eating a plum (delicious!) when I saw a bat. It flew to one of the trees and because of its weight, the branch kinda twisted backwards…and then, (hold your breath if you can), for the first time in my almost 15-year-old life, and this might be a surprise, I saw a bat hanging upside down, live!!!…
‘Also, there is like a stone…um…you can call it a slab. It is three feet from the terrace floor. I slept on it! Believe me, it is like the sky is about to fall on you and your hands have no support and it is just narrow enough for me to fit in. It’s a little scary, but also exhilarating! Since it was my second time doing it (sorry didn’t tell you before), I stayed there longer, with the sky pressing on me, almost like I was upside down, about five to ten minutes. Just thought, I should share these small, fulfilling moments…’
As I read my diary entries of yesteryear, I feel like I can give everything to go back to that blissful past. And this particular diary entry just matches my situation. Everything upside down, only much happier and fulfilling than present. A tiny, stifled laugh escapes me, then sadness suffuses through my mind.
Why did things have to go wrong for me and because of me? No answer. The only thing that remains is that ‘we’. I still have my family, all fine and fit. Not all, but most. I know, I should be grateful.
But no, to be honest. Those who are in debt seldom have much time to be grateful. Now 20 years old, I work hard in a factory as a labourer. I earn little from it, but I am trying to hold on to the corny quotes they used to teach us in school, ‘Boond boond se saagar bharta hai‘. But this river is large and drops would not help.
Once at home, I go to help my mother in the kitchen. My sister is already helping her. I ask her to rest while I work. That is the only way possible or mother’s asthma will worsen, working near the stove.
Our house is our last asset and we might loose it soon. I go out often to watch it. The rusty, metal gate that clangs every time it’s shut, the now untended garden with its tall weeds, the soft stone wall and of course, the dusty sign of Milind’s creations, lying upside down near the front gate.
Milind, that’s me. And that shop is the reason why father is no more. I am the reason why father is no more. If only I had not lost my head that day and he had not got a heart attack…things won’t have been upside down. And the others don’t know it. They had gone out.
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