Here is my story in short (I could not make it any shorter even after five rounds of editing, sorry for the long read! – If you want to get to the point, read from paragraph starting ‘few years went by’):
I belong to a poor Indian family and my parents barely met ends. I was born in 1988 and lived on the poverty line for 27 years. We were not on road but it was always just a stage before that. My father abandoned our family when I was 8 years old. My mother somehow got to know about his whereabouts and decided to meet him. I have one elder brother, but she took me with her (probably she knew that I wanted to live with my father more than anything else). My father was a home tutor, so we went to someone else’s house; he was angry to see us and my mother left me outside that house and went away. As far as I remember, I was so nervous but happy as well because I thought my father will finish his work and come out and take me with him. I hid behind a tree near a bush so no one can see me waiting there. My father came and rode his bike, I called him to let him know I was there waiting for him. The moment he saw me, he paddled his bike to get away from me and I ran after him on the road to tell him how much I want to live with him and do not want to go back. He was riding fast and I had to run faster, I was crying and screaming (papa) trying to stop him. He stopped! and told me to sit on his bike. I don’t remember what was I speaking while he was riding back to our home (where my mother and we lived) but I am sure I must be convincing him how silent and non-demanding I would be not to trouble him if he gives me a chance to live with him. He stopped the bike near our house and as soon as I got off and turned to speak with him face to face, he immediately pulled back and rode in opposite direction, running away again. This time I did not chase him because now I was very clear that he does not want to keep me with him (He died in 2012 and I was never able to see him ever again after that night). Nor did I want to go back to my mother’s place. I spoke with myself and saw my future if I do not return to my mother’s place V/s if I live with her. I couldn’t imagine how it would turn out if I live with her. But it was scary to imagine living on road, cleaning trucks or utensils on a roadside cheap eating place. Or probably join a little mob of bad kids who do all bad kind of things. I chose to go back to my mother’s place and grew up there.
My elder brother is hearing impaired and my mother can never decide what to do in a given situation, so she would either yell or abuse out loud or throw things at others to control the situation. She did fairly good in saving us from getting on roads (that’s only what she could do – she was unable to teach us how to be because she herself does not know that ! She was not capable of raising two boys but she was burdened with this responsibility because her life partner ran away). I don’t blame her for anything. I never got emotional support from anyone in my life because things were always falling apart around me.
I finished my studies in the cheapest way (burned my dream to be a pilot because that was expensive) and joined a call center when I was 19 (during studies). I got financial independence and contributed a little money at home towards my expenses. That brought some confidence because my mother won’t yell on me anymore like the way she used to. (My brother got employment with government due to his handicap and with the help of one good family who always took pity on us). I was in the air thinking I can do what I want because I now had a few hundred rupees in my pocket. By that time, I was indulged in all sorts of bad habits like smoking, drinking, watching porn, thinking bad about other people, smoking hashish, eating disorders, staying out at night etc etc… the list goes on and on. (One by one, I have replaced all those bad habits with good habits now.)
Few years went by and I started feeling malaise and thought that “I never do anything wrong; so why all the wrong happens to me?”. This question to myself bothered me a lot and I had to find an answer to it. In 2014, I took my first micro-step towards self-improvement: ‘stop abusing’. I did not express frustration or rage or anger in terms of abusive language anymore, that was a big relief to begin with. But then I got stuck with no further direction. As a next step, I made a promise to myself that I’ll not try to avoid/hide or run away from different life situations, rather I now will start living through them in the moment whether I like it or not (because running away was not helping either – it was like closing eyes to ignore, and that’s not the way to live). I read a few meaningful books and tried to utilize my time for productive activities. I later learnt how to swim a bit and quit watching television or movies and listening to endless music. And I am trying to fix my trauma so that I can be useful to others in the long run.
By throwing myself into more vulnerable situations and letting people step over me (while I helplessly saw them stepping over me – because I had no training on how to protect myself), I suddenly had my ‘wakeup call‘ one morning. Recently those days, I was introduced to a new perception: ‘see yourself as others see you’ by a book. The evening before the wakeup call, I saw a guy in the washroom talking to himself while peeing and behaving (re-living a certain moment where he wanted to respond to a situation in a different manner but due to lack of training or influential ways he lost hold of the situation and other people won the day) in a way exactly I used to do – he did not know that people around him could see what he was doing. That was like a mirror to me – I did similar things and thought that no one can see how I am conducting myself. That’s how lunatic I was!!! (I did not choose to be like that). I thought about it all night and next morning brought the first paradigm shift in my life (first so far). My brain suddenly re-integrated and now I could see things from a different lens altogether. It was like a new soul (consciousness) uncovered/fitted in me that’s going to drive me for rest of my life. It was a good feeling. At the same time, it shook me and removed the ground from below my feet because now I knew why everybody ridiculed me and nobody took me seriously – of course because I never took myself seriously. I got my answer – ‘most of the sufferings were happening because I was not behaving in a right manner’. What’s the right manner to behave is a question of months and years of debate. I am not close to right behavior but I am getting better and have a fair understanding what ‘behaving in a right manner’ means. It felt like the puzzle was solved and I devised a plan on how I am going to change myself to lead a life where I am the driver not the society or my circumstances.
I have a long way to go! Rome was not built in a day nor would I be! I have huge targets and big dreams in front of me that seem impossible. I am going to find a way to achieve those. There is no age to realize your dreams and start working on it; its never too late….!
On my next writing, I will try to explain how to see yourself as others see you!