This is a continuation from the first two posts on this series:
It all started, the slide down the path of loss, when the older girl next door asked, “Can we all play together, You me and Babuji?”.
I said “Yes” when something in me , which I would later find out is instinct, screamed ‘No’.
We sat at the stairs and played with Babuji. Babuji let her do whatever she wanted with him. It was as if I didn’t exist. Did I say he was fickle already?
Next she declared, “Babuji has a tumor in his stomach. Let’s operate on him. Can I cut him open?” and brought out a blade. I shouldn’t have said ‘Yes’. She took one deep cut in his abdomen. I watched transfixed, unable to move,caught up in her perversion. His skin was too tough for the blunt blade and it took several cuts to get through to his hollow centre. She wasn’t satisfied. She wanted a wider cut to be able to put fingers through the cut. I woke up from my apathy then and said I was done playing.
I walked away with the damaged Babuji , something stuck in my throat. A bundle of emotions that I didn’t know to name or spell. It took many years, several other losses and serious soul searching to recognize and untangle them: regret, shame, anger and pride. Shame that I let someone’s perversion, consciously or unconsciously, destroy something beautiful.
Babuji and I still were together most of the time, bound by that tangle of guilt and shame. You see, guilt is one thing that’s not very easy to lose. You can turn it into resentment to protect your precious ego. You can turn it into blame and find faults like ‘Babuji was Fickle’ to justify your inadequacy. But it will always be there, if there is no proper atonement. I shouldn’t have said ‘Yes’. Period.
“You are too old to be playing with dolls. Let a smaller child play with them. Can I send these toys to your cousin?”, mother said. She bundled all , including the damaged Babuji and sent it over. I shouldn’t have said ‘Yes’. The last ‘Yes’ that I thought was the decision point….but by now you all know that it was those smaller ‘yes’s along the way.
That was the last time I saw him. I looked for him at my aunt’s place..a week later.”Where is Babuji?”, I asked. “It was damaged and we threw it away”, my cousin said.
Richard Bach is not right all the time. If you love something, hold on to it tight. Protect it. Not everyone will value it the same.
And don’t say ‘Yes’ when every bone in you screams ‘NO’.