Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Peripheral (Micro fiction 2)

 “You are the closest to me my girl, the only one in this world who has heard the sound of my heart from my inside!” Rupika shifted weight on her aching legs. Her twenty five year old daughter Maira was walking away into the international terminal to check in for an outbound flight to New Jersey and the parents were merely awaiting her security clearance now. There was no place to sit it out; the only bench in the vicinity was loaded with Canadian Sikhs. “She has checked in Rupi, shall we start back for home, she has her cell phone in case she needs us?” the father asked tentatively. He knew his wife would not only wait for as long as feasible, she would be on edge for the entire duration of the flight, tracking it online and constantly checking for word on Maira’s safe arrival. Her protective antenna stopped quivering only when Maira confirmed she was safe and sound in her American apartment.

“Mum, you have to stop imagining the worst, it is bad energy,” Maira would often explode with annoyance at her mother. “Fear is a terribly low emotion; you attract disaster when you rehearse tragedies like this!” Rupika usually reacted to these outbursts with silence. She knew of no words to describe the debilitating singeing that happened to her innards at the thought of Maira leaving her side. How do you explain the urge to reach out and grab her back? What cursed emotions were these that caused her knees to dissolve at the very thought of her child being in any kind of peril? Was it nature’s way of ensuring the survival and continued protection of the species? Or was it a cultural conditioning? She did not care. It was alright so long as she knew where Maira was and her voice sounded cheerful on the phone.

“This has to be the most non-reciprocal love affair in the world,” Rupika laughed at herself with her husband. “I see you bleeding for her Rupi, you have to step back a bit, start taking care of yourself,” he would often advise his wife. “Let her be, she has to live her own life, make her own mistakes and grow. You cannot “fashion” her after your own heart. She too is a guided soul who has come with her own destiny. You have done your bit by raising her with values and giving her a good chance with stellar education. You need to disengage a little now. Give her space!”

“I would dive under a car for her, I could give her any of my organs
if she needed, I would fight any force for her survival, I would never ever give up on her,” Rupika talked to herself. Vignettes flashed through her mind’s eye of the hospital stay during Maira’s birth, the sleepless nights, the inoculations, the school years, Maira’s High School angst, the pressure of her own vision for her daughter, “Don’t try to live your life through Maira!” she had heard that over and over. “You are obsessed, you are taking her around to too many classes, she needs a break Rupi, this rushing around is hampering her creativity. Let her taste the world at her own pace!” there were so many well-wishing friends.

The world, it was a toxic place! The environment was anything but enabling. Eve teasing on the roads, bullying in the cyber space, a nasty competitiveness inside the workforce, ideas of sexual revolution and myopic feminism on the TV, any number of video games and interactive fora in her digital vicinity, easy access to alcohol and marijuana and friends that were all too often, fair weather creatures. “I must be a low, malevolent creature to have such pessimistic views,” Rupika berated herself. She had instead driven Maira around from one stadium to another dance studio to a music centre hoping that she would grow up with life affirming values of discipline, inspiration, skills and human interactions based on awe and admiration.

She dialed her mother’s mobile standing there, “Yes Mum, Maira has checked in, I don’t know when I will see her again. She never calls on her own. She is forthcoming on the logistical front but as soon as I begin to ask more, she says she is very busy! You know, we were driving past the stadium last evening where I have spent hours in the parking whilst she trained inside. I would carry all kinds of nutrition for her, don’t know what she fills up her stomach with now.”

“I am listening!” Rupika’s mother was soft.

“It’s funny how I have avoided calling her in the past just so she does not get homesick for us! I have told myself it is better for her not to go close to those feelings even though I would love to know what is going on in her life.”

There was a long sigh at the other end, “Don’t take it personally Rupi! Maira is central to your life but you are only peripheral to hers. You are navigating a painful separation; let her take the lead I would suggest. She has to extend into her future…without you Rupi! Just as you did!"

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