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Should I be the one, always adjusting and conforming to what is ‘Kosher’? Why can’t I be accepted and left alone? I am neither abnormal nor abominable. I just am!
I am Seshu. This is my story.
We are having our monthly picnic in the hills now, as I speak to you. I, Seshu, my twin sister Diya and her beau Raghu – Her Beau who is my best pal.
There they go again, hugging and kissing, right in front of me, as if I don’t exist, my views on this display of love, don’t matter! Anytime and anywhere is PDA time for these two love birds!
You must be wondering, why do I fret so. After all, these two are my sister and my best pal. What else one would ask?
Ha! Ha! You see, God( if he exists that is!) has been flagrantly unfair to me. My sister Diya, is youth and beauty personified with the grace of a gorgeous gazelle. And I? Bound to a wheelchair, because of my cerebral palsy. Even with this disease, I am an Einstein when compared to my sister. She is a bimbette, you know. You could say a kind one at that. She looks after me alright! There have been enough times when I have wondered, how does it feel to snap her delicate neck, whenever she came running to bestow upon me, her innate, albeit grating kindness! If only my hands could derive the requisite strength from my burning anger at the unfairness of it all – She being the destiny’s chosen one and I, it’s cruel joke! But then, almost immediately, I felt ashamed at my vile thoughts as Diya fussed over me, narrating her – as is usual a – spectacular day.
Oh! how I hate this see-saw of naked emotions! You can almost feel my blood boil when the public goes gaga over her! How often have I heard them whisper conspiratorially to my father, (an unfortunate widower, who has to bravely bear the vicissitudes of life!! )
“How beautiful and dutiful is Diya! So caring! Can’t believe these two, are twins! Tch Tch! Don’t worry, you poor man. Your darling daughter will be the pillar of strength to your handicapped son! He will not be left alone. All will be Ok!”
I’m not handicapped, dammit! I have a brain, I have feelings, my heart can feel love and conceal vitriolic hatred too, Thank you! Then, just to rub salt on my festering wounds, my father would come in and ruffle my hair, check the settings of my wheelchair! Eesh father! stop pitying me. They don’t make like you, even in the movies anymore!
To this saccharine sweet setting, to save me from further disaster entered Raghu, Diya’s classmate, as my savior. Raghu is virile, the quintessential Alpha-male. Raghu’s views and tastes match with mine. We would often chat about books, politics, events and he would read out to me, interesting excerpts. He was the first one to see a soul hidden deep inside my crippled and under developed body. He drew me out. I mattered to him, my opinions did.
Diya would often join us, not to contribute but to nod periodically and to eye her classmate.There were fireworks all around. Between Diya and Raghu and unknown to all, my heart beat violently for Raghu. I would wait for him to touch me, lift me, help me around. Those were electrifying moments. But sadly only to me. Raghu had no inkling whatsoever of how I felt. I couldn’t dare let Raghu or for that matter anyone else know.
This society wasn’t ready yet, for a brother and sister to have the same lover. But if my sexuality or my sexual preference made others uncomfortable or did not fit into the ‘usual’, is it my problem? Should I be the one, always adjusting and conforming to what is ‘Kosher’? Why can’t I be accepted and left alone? I am neither abnormal nor abominable. I just am!!
As I vacillated between these extreme thoughts, Raghu proposed to Diya. Everyone celebrated except me.
Why good lord? Why? To have your sister touch what was supposed to be mine…All mine. Can you imagine the choking ache that sat permanently in my chest, in my throat? And it was open season now. That open, anytime PDA was enough to pierce my heart. Incensed at this new betrayal by fate, I tried to hog Raghu’s time, whenever he came visiting us, often asking him to help me out with various activities. Seeing Diya get irritated at my being a nuisance, somehow satisfied me.
Father, though, encouraged my growing dependence on Raghu as it somehow comforted him that there would be someone who would look after me, after he was gone.
All was honky-dory, till yesterday. I asked Raghu to help me change my shirt. As his hands struggled with my body, my fingers grabbed his hand and…You should have seen the revulsion in his eyes. As if he had touched a snake. His mental rebuke, killed me on the spot. Wordlessly, he walked out, closing the door behind him, leaving me to battle with my darkness, my demons, my insecurities. The longest hours of my life!
Today was the scheduled day of our monthly picnic in the hills. I thought Raghu wouldn’t keep up with his date. Surprisingly, he did come but there has been no eye contact with me so far. Today Raghu seemed to hug Diya more, as if to drive home, the point.
I am elated nonetheless, just to feel his presence around. I turn my head away, lest someone sees my hot scalding tears. I vow that I will do whatever it takes, to get the status quo back. He is just too precious to let go.
Now, please don’t advise me to forget him, to move on and that there are other fish in the pond as I agree to these already. The heart always craves for what it wants, you see. I don’t think I have the strength to tell father the truth, or to start all over, with someone else. Maybe time will be the best healer.
I move to the edge of the cliff. I can see the valley deep down. I turn back to see them kissing…Raghu’s eyes meet mine. There is that searing hatred in those black orbs…I know it clearly then, that it will never be the same again, come what may!
In a flash, I Seshu, am flying. I can feel the wind in my arms, my legs are dancing, mother Earth is eagerly waiting to embrace me.
I am one with the approving universe, finally.
Editor’s note: This story had been shortlisted for the July 2017 Muse of the Month, but not among the top 5 winners.
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay
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Anupama Jain is the author of
* ‘When Padma Bani Paula', listed as 'One of the
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