I made one mistake in my life. At nineteen. An age when you cannot distinguish between right and wrong, correct and incorrect, the good and the bad.
It’s an age when there are no precedents, no events to base judgement on. You just do things. You are in the kindergarten of adulthood. When you still have to learn the alphabet, the vocabulary, the grammar to write a story for your life.
When you enter school, you start with pencils. And an eraser to wipe and correct mistakes. Unfortunately, you are only given pens with indelible ink in life. The slate cannot be wiped clean. What’s on it determines the course of all your future.
When I made the cardinal mistake at nineteen, I had no teachers to guide me. If there were any, I did not pay heed. Had I done so, or even listened to my own heart and soul, I would not have made the mistake at nineteen – and then another at twenty nine. Just when the marks of the first were fading into oblivion, I splattered ink all over my destiny.
And thus I need to narrate my story to myself. So I can reflect upon my life. And make another go of it.
Run Nikita, Run
Run Nikita, run.
I have been running. Ever since Radha didi, my elder sister, told me to. She had been to a hell one would not send their enemies to. And she did not want me to be forced to enter one too. She loved me, she cared for me. She was my mother since we lost ours when I was not even one.
Someone had cast a spell on our family. We were condemned without a trial for sins we were not even aware of. The punishment was serving term in hell. My sister urged me to run before the flames in that jail consumed me, before someone locked the gates and lost the keys.
I would, and sprint on the road to heaven, only to stumble into another hell. The curse would endure. I would be hurt, I would be in pain, I would cry. But I stayed defiant. And continue to.
I will enter the gates of the heaven I seek, I will build the utopia I dream. Hell be damned.
Nikita is Coming
Martyrdom is never a good idea. Not on a battlefield. Not at home. Every soldier lost means one man or woman less to fight another day. And every personal life ruined means continued distress for those you are trying to protect.
I allowed myself to get married at nineteen to gift a measure of peace to my father. His sufferings were not easy to bear for a child who loved him. My decision was only a placebo, not lasting longer than a flash in the pan. He could not have been blind to the misery I got trapped in – the resulting grief consumed him till his last days.
Of course, the new decade had started on a more cheerful note. The dreaded high school leaving exams, called the boards, were finally over. Symbolically, history was the last paper – and I was already doodling the personal history I was going to write in my future. I chose to walk back, rather hop and dance, from school to home – it was late March, and the afternoons were already very warm. The sun was harsh, but it was only brightening up the flower-laden streetscapes. The flaming oranges of palash, the lilacs of rosy trumpet, the reds of silk cotton and the deep pinks of kachnar – these are a few of my favourite things at this time of the year. Just as are raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens in The Sound of Music, perhaps my favourite movie of all time.
The protagonists sought a life rightfully theirs; I believed myself to be the eighth of the Trapp children, deserving of any life I could envision for myself. I did not need to escape to Switzerland like them, but I would catch a train to Delhi. To study further. To model. To party. And to get a man for myself; I was done with boys.
Hello world, Nikita is coming!
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