Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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“3 Stories”: A Chilling Tale of Mental Illness — Part-2

Part-II

THE ASCENT

Dated the 15th December 2090

Dear Diary,

Hello !!!

After so long, your little princess is back with new words to jot down in this all too familiar pages. The last page was all about the tantrum of the little girl. Now that little girl has grown up. I am big girl now. And big girls don’t cry. Big girls also don’t throw tantrums anymore. Dreams of cheap make-up and lipsticks have faded away. I now reveled in dreams of being a woman of substance, of those glorious magazines.

Today is already the 15th of December. My 16th birthday is up in two months time. All the plans I have, all the dreams I have; and hopefully grandpa will agree to all of it. Even though he claims himself to be hipster still, he belongs to the 2040s and not now. That’s that anyways.

I dream to be that woman, in those fancy power suits with those dark shades. I want to ride in the biggest baddest black car in town. I want to take grandpa out, and show how much the world has changed, how much it has evolved from the times of Mercedes Benz and gobermint mania of the 2040s. I want to tell grandpa that somehow his much hated Tik Tok has survived the onslaught of the new age, and the rest have withered away. The look on his face would have worth it but I didn’t fancy myself being thrown out of the house.

Grandpa’s stories of the fallout of the gobermint days, beginning from the late 60s were like part and parcel of my daily life. Stories of guns and bombs, abject surrender and ukulele torture, of protests and mushrooming of rent-a-cause, were all part of those strange days. Stories which hardly made any sense to me but I know almost all of it by-heart. Till now, I am not even sure what does gobermint, rent-a-cause and ukulele means. Another thing which I have not fully understood is Grandpa’s aversion to “3-stories” anthem song. It bellows almost everywhere and it’s a damn good number, and I always sing-a-long to its lyrics –

“But looking beyond this distorted reign
You see not everyone is in chains and reins
One fights as a prisoner of conscience
While twelve others are rebels of their own design
Sacrificing everything, even their own modesty
To free us from this monstrosity
Leading way by treading through the fire
Carving their footsteps in stones of fire…”

But as Grandpa used to say, it doesn’t matter what you think now, it will all matter when you have learnt how to feel. Okays, I will wait for it. I am waiting still since the past fifteen years of my life anyway. Will my moment of truth ever come? Hopefully tomorrow will be my day of reckoning; the day I will finally learn to feel, dear diary.

Let’s see, tomorrow, what plans do I have? Will there be time enough for me to learn how to feel. LOL. I am sounding so sarcastic. Grandpa will be so pissed, if he hears my thoughts right now. But Grandpa is grandpa, always doing grandpa things. And I loved him for that, eeni mmiiiniiii, soooooo much.

Today itself, Grandpa told me a new story. Strange, it was a love story during the fallout of the gobermint days. I have never thought it possible, the way he used to narrate stories of the fallout days. I always believed that children fell from the sky or were made from the batteries or something during those times. Such was the way he told stories.

Actually, it was a pretty boring story. It was about a good for nothing, ugly boy trying to woo a pretty girl, from a respectable family. How the father of the pretty girl opposed tooth and nail to the proposition of the good for nothing, ugly boy. The way he reminisces back, with an incredulous look spreading over his face, I was having doubts over the genuineness of the story. Although, it may be that he still finds it difficult to believe such normalcy existed during those times. As a living proof of such normalcy, the boy managed to woo the girl successfully and they are living happily ever after, with two kids, in the house next door to us. Of course, Uncle T is not a good looking guy by conventional standards. Aunty S is much prettier than usual standards. Probably, this is how love stories usually pan out – ugly boy marrying pretty girl. The rumour before was that one fine rainy day, Uncle T endured ukulele torture for Aunty S and her younger brother; and that is how Aunty S fell in love with Uncle T. However, Grandpa assured me nothing of that sort happened. Aunty S got tired of the daily antics of Uncle T and agreed to his proposal out of exasperation. Persistence was the key in love, it seems.

Uncle T, however, did recount from time to time the ordeals, the trials and tribulations he has been through. He still walks with a slight limp, as a reminder of the times which have passed hopefully. Rest of the times, he is cheerful enough and is always around, helping grandpa no matter what grandpa says about him.

Growing up, Uncle T and Aunty S were always around. Truthfully, I have never felt that deeply how it feels to grow up as an orphan. Aunty S did tell me how Uncle T was like a big brother to my mother, and was always protective of her. Sometimes, I feel curious as to how my mother and father were like, and how life would have been if they had been around. But till now, I have never ever felt the things they show in the movies, of how orphans tend to feel depressed as they have no clue about the love of the parents. I have never felt that vacuum in my life, that I am missing out on something. Funny though sometimes; but I keep most of these stuff to myself lest people will think of me as abnormal or some freak of nature. Dear Diary, please do keep quiet about this, shhhhh; but I do play-act and tried to emote and act normal most of the times. But honestly, my father pre-deceased my mother and my mother died, soon after I was born in an unfortunate incident. For me, they are non-existent; and hence I somehow cannot muster the same degree of affection towards them in the same manner I have towards grandpa and uncle T and aunty S. God forbid, if something happens to them, I will be devastated. So I no think about that.

Maybe, it was grandpa’s plan all along — to steel me by telling such gruesome stories of post gobermint fallout days. If you think about it, which grandpa in his right mind would tell such stories to his grandkid, who is growing up without her parents. Truth be told, grandpa’s stories of how we became refugees in our own lands, how we got entangled in some macabre clash of ideals, and how we have to leave our homes, always gives me chills, anytime. I don’t think I can muster up enough courage in my life to visit our native places. They seem so distant now; they no longer are our homes. We have moved on.

Yes, moving on, what plans do I have for tomorrow really. Hmmm, nothing much it seems. I have to go for that stupid tuitions in the evening, and to pick up grocery supplies while coming back. Probably, I will also meet that strange crazy boy, who always seem like he has peed in his pants whenever he sees me. I think he is after me, the way he keeps popping up always. I think I once caught him following me also. Can’t forget that scene though. Haha. When I gave him a stern smile, the way he acted – a bizarre look on his face and the way he took off. It was a quite a sight. Such antique pieces still exist. Not that bad looking, but pretty much a coward. Story of my life, sigh!!!

Grandpa is bellowing from downstairs. I think dinner is ready. Tonight, Grandpa took over the reins of the kitchen. He said he will be cooking something special. He alleged he is tired of my cooking and eating out of tin cans. What to do, I am a poor girl, who has not learnt anything, and I do deserve all the sympathies by default. I think tonight, I will tell him about my dreams – of becoming that woman in power suit in black shades and driving the biggest baddest black car in town. Maybe this time, he won’t shoo me away, like last time when I said it is still a work in progress. This time, I have a plan. And a very good plan at that. I have charted it out. And I will tell you all about it tomorrow. Goodnight dear diary. Wish me luck. I am off. Loves and bambulas!!!

Next week concluding part THE ABYSS

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