Memoirs of a broken lock

“How do you turn this rusty broken lock into a story?” he asked her. She smiled to herself and said, “Ah, yes. I thought you’d never ask.”

This story, my dear, is a series of relentlessly unfortunate events that snowballed into breaking of a seemingly ordinary lock. It dates back to when she was 16, growing up in a world that was harsher than her wildest nightmare. What she desired most was to escape into a wilderness, a place where promises were kept by all of their makers. She craved to be understood and accepted for being who she was. She loved people in a crazy, stupidly intense way. Her world was so surreal that the romantics would have been proud. But what she didn’t know was that the society around her wasn’t ready for her desires.

She was not aware of the depth of these societal traps. She didn’t know what patriarchy meant and how it would change her entire life. Being 16 in this world isn’t easy. It’s that time when you have you magical firsts like she had hers. The kiss that stole her naïve heart away, the boy who made her nervous, the friends who were to last forever, all those promises that were made. You guessed it right, the magic faded away just a little before her friends did. But her world came crashing down when she came home and saw the broken lock on her bedroom door. Her parents had fallen prey to a society that demanded for girls to get their wings clipped, so they wouldn’t fly.

So what did she do when all her secrets lay nakedly around her bedroom floor, with the open pages of her personal diaries? She cried, until there was nothing left to cry about. She looked at the broken lock everyday hoping it would fix itself. But when it didn’t, she knew what she had to do. She registered that sight in her mind and liberated herself the way that lock had. She decided to live her life unapologetically, to keep people at a safe distance, to not let romanticism control her anymore and most importantly, to love herself like no one had ever loved her.

“Wow. That’s quite a story, but didn’t she face more problems going against her parents?” He asked.

“Why of course she did, and that’s what made her so strong. She learnt to save herself before letting anyone else try and fail. She also had dark phases, some darker than most, but you see, some people are just so irrationally stubborn about being okay that their paths always lead them back to themselves. She was one of those.”

He looked like he was in a state of trance. He took a pause and said, “So where is she now? How is she?”

I can’t help but smile at this boy before I continue, “Well she’s within all of us, isn’t she? You know the feeling that nudges you to go on? That’s her. The broken lock signifies that you’re not bound to anything. Everything is so susceptible to breaking hon, don’t you think? We’re so fragile with all our egos and charades that we so proudly flaunt around. We need her to keep us sane, to feel the hurt and keep moving forward. So the next time someone breaks the lock to your personal door, thank them, think of her and walk right through it. Her 16 year old self would be so proud of you.”

Stop planning every goddamn second of you life!

“All those who claim to have set a goal and achieved it without any distractions in their path, always skip a good amount of chunks from their story. You have got to remember that”- Papa

One of the most enlightening car rides I’ve ever had was perhaps today when I was on my way to the airport with dad dropping me. He and I have had a strange relationship, to be honest. Maybe it’s the way stereotypical Indian families work, with moms being the emotional parent and dads being more of the “tough” ones. This set up is so wrong, I see that now. It’s also dysfunctional. The moment we are confined to a certain set of “gender” norms in accordance with our society, a part of that child is forcefully killed. Girls need to be a certain way, wear certain types of clothing, talk in a certain manner, posses a certain set of skills while boys have their own problems to deal with. It is perhaps because of this that I never really got a chance to open up to my own father. I wanted to, on several occasions, but I was always scared of letting him down.

Now why was that the case? Because I broke all the norms that tried to govern my lifestyle. I went “rogue” as a teenager. I had pre-marital sex, lots of it and loved it. I had multiple sexual partners, dated multiple boys and used more profanity in my day to day life than what a lot of people do over their life time. I wore and still wear revealing clothes, because goddamn Indian summers. I’ve even enjoyed alcohol and weed whenever I felt like it and I’m a 21 year old woman. To the upper middle class kids from my generation (People in their early and mid 20s), these things aren’t as shocking, but look around and ask yourselves, how many of these things can you talk to your parents about?

While I realize that after a point, parents do start letting go and aren’t as rigid anymore, but what we see growing up become our mental blocks. Papa admitted to not being able to pass on positivity to his kids because he was so caught up in trying to better himself. What he achieved at the age of 55 is what he wants me to get at 21. My dad’s pretty awesome and I’m fighting back tears as I think about it. He’s had a tough childhood, filled with so much hatred and negativity. He wasn’t a bad parent to me, but he did have temper issues and he did pass on anxiety to his son, his first child who absorbed it so I didn’t have to. Parents aren’t perfect, just like us. But they do try to work in our best interest. They try to make the best of what they perhaps had at the time and by the time they are actually ready to raise a kid reeking of positivity, the kid’s already in his/her 20s.

Something about dad shows me so much vulnerability. He told me that it’s completely okay to not be okay. I haven’t been okay for a bit now and that’s alright. Because like he said, you can’t foresee what will happen. Trading in creativity, spontaneity, and excitement for job security just isn’t the kind of life he’d want his kids to have. He did it, so his kids didn’t have to and that to me, is the biggest sacrifice a parent can make. So maybe it is time to stop worrying so much about grades and fighting this internal battle of self loathe. It’s time to just be happy, you know. Life’s so much more than a pay-check. I also understand the position of privilege I stand at, but there shouldn’t be guilt attached to it. Because that’s only going to bring you down.

The moment you believe you can do it, there’s a bloody good chance at real success. It is so very important to break through any kind of inhibitions that you have put on yourself since when you were a kid. That kid needs to be happier, and since that kid is still you (just in a bigger body), you can make her/him understand. It’s never too late. My dad’s a 55 year old child who just learnt to walk through life without feeling like he needs to know exactly where he’s stepping next. If he can do it, so can you. Never restrict your intellect to one stream or constrict your thinking. Mundane life just isn’t fun. And if you’re only getting one shot at life, why worry it away to death?

So promise yourself this: Never let anyone tell you that you aren’t enough, because you are. You are nobody’s, you are yours; You don’t owe anything to anyone, yes, not even that boy you’re so in love with or that girl who makes you feel so alive; Don’t wait for people to save you from yourself, it’s time you took some responsibility too; Don’t let past rule over you; Or people in your present bring you down; Don’t expect people to keep their word, majority won’t; Avoid everything negative, everything hypocritical; Have the courage to drop all that you know and start over; Keep going on; Stop setting one goal, there’s so much more to look forward to; Nobody makes it without failure, NOBODY; and most importantly, be proud, be arrogant and love yourself before you do anything else, you’re fucking precious!