I have always credited myself as the one blessed with a generous helping of patience. I have always seen it as a virtue passed on to me in the strands of DNA, I inherited from my mother. These were my usual claims till I got married.
That’s when, life gifted me a mirror and what I saw was nowhere close to my beliefs. This was mainly due to the fact, that I got married to someone who took life as it came, slathered with laziness, not bothered by failures and above all accepting failures with the same graciousness as he took success or rather, not being accountable for anything.
It was a way of life, I had never known to exist on the same planet where I had spent two decades of my existence. Not being disciplined, punctual or highly orderly in every aspect of life, was unseen, unheard and even unimaginable for me. This was despite having lived in a hostel with the craziest room-mates ever.
It felt like a reality show, I was stuck in. The onus to make my arranged marriage work, continents away from my family, overwhelmed me. I call it a reality show because the drama that followed was unlimited and the melodrama that unfolded could put any soap opera to shame. The sense of chaos my marriage triggered in my system, transformed me into a moody, hyperactive, over-reacting female who acted nothing short of a control-freak, lost temper at the drop of a hat and couldn’t believe in the possible practice of patience in any form.
This was life’s way of de-constructing my false beliefs and temper me in preparation for my future life. We all step into such transition zones when none of the pieces make any sense, yet we are forced to keep playing our cards, until one fine day, many years down the line, the complete picture will rise out of nowhere and everything will make perfect sense miraculously.
Ten years ago, I too was in a similar transition phase. It was more like an eruption of an active volcano, where my angry outbursts emptied me of my notions of who I thought I was. In the uncanny, rebellious, calm presence of my ex-husband, the lava cooled down.
At that point in time, I remember crying inconsolably, because my life felt to be slipping out of my control. I could sense laziness pump in my veins, I was seen taking an unkempt house as acceptable, sleeping way past dawn as normal and staying awake till twilight a fun thing to do. It was tough, but being madly in love helped me transform.
The madness of chasing the mirage of perfection soon dwindled in my new-found acknowledgement that life didn’t end if my kitchen wasn’t scrubbed to sparkling tiles, the earth didn’t stop rotating if I over-slept to wake up at 9 am instead of competing with the Sun and forever beating it, it was okay if freshly cooked food wasn’t eaten for dinner and an impromptu pizza order was placed at 9 pm. I learnt to go with the tide, enjoying whatever life threw my way and became a good sport in accepting offers in nano-seconds without stopping to ponder over ( like I always did before then).
It was a new way of life that I lived and gradually adopted. But when suddenly my marriage died, I was left in a conundrum. I wasn’t sure what was left of me and what all bearing my marriage had on me despite it wilting away.
Initially, I saw myself beating my soul for still being tinted in the colours I’d acquired in my married life. I used to punish myself for letting the fragrance of the habits I’d picked from my ex, still linger in my being. I was cruel on myself for no longer being the person I was, before I was married.
This phase of blind punishment for no wrong doing, continued sub consciously for a whole four years before acceptance dawned on me.
I was beating myself for something that was natural, normal and part of life. Change. Changes are inevitable, but I was grueling myself for having transformed into someone who still showed the impact of my ex’s company.
But, what was wrong in that?
Isn’t my child too an extension of my association with my ex-husband?
Isn’t she too genetically, temperamentally and almost 80% appearance wise startlingly similar to my ex-husband?
When I can love Pari so unconditionally, why can’t I do the same with myself?
The questions were difficult to answer. The quandary was a mere illusion, but nevertheless its existence wasn’t fictitious.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu
On scrutiny, I unearthed a fact that changed my life forever. My temper, my bouts of impatience, my rage that had been scalding my baby and feeding the guilt plaguing my peaceful existence had its origin in lack of acceptance of my past.
When I gently prodded myself to accept that change was natural and having changed over the past decade was nothing I should feel ashamed of, things began to look up.
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
I have now learnt to be at peace with who I have become. The undeniable impact of my ex on my life, is something I have come to terms with. Maybe, it is life’s gift to me to help me be both the mother and the father to Pari. Maybe it is life’s way of making Pari grow up with the best of both of her parents despite the physical presence of only one.
“What was lost was lost. There was no retrieving it, however you schemed, no returning to how things were, no going back.” ~ Haruki Murakami
The song on my mind: Mera chand mujhe aaya hai nazar ~ Mr. Aashiq