The Exit

“My mother was a prostitute. But she found a man so smitten with her, that he decided to marry her. The man was my father.
Theirs was a love story filled with acceptance and new beginnings. Until there came a day when I was born. I had a name that my mother had given me, but I have forgotten what it was because I came to be known as a ‘liability’ by my father. I grew up hearing that more than my own name. Of course I later christened myself as Victor, after my mother, Victoria.

Truth is, father never wanted kids. Mother had already done four abortions. So she didn’t tell him when she got pregnant a fifth time.
And hence started all the abuse, towards her and me. He would beat us, call us names, humiliate us in front of his friends and shout as loud as he could to intimidate us.

I had always been an obedient child.
Somehow that was never enough for my father.
I remember one evening when I saw my mother weeping in her bedroom. Father was screaming out in the hall and hurling verbal abuses at her. I’d never seen her cry, it was perhaps because she never let me see her vulnerability.
But what happened next, changed my life forever. With utmost assertion, emphasising every word like she meant it, she said,
‘I hate people who shout.’
She looked up at herself in the mirror. Her eyes bloodshot and fiery, her posture beginning to straighten and her expression turning into something harsh. Something cruel. I’d never seen this part of my mother.
Within the blink of an eye she got up from the chair, and scurried off to the hall.
By the time I ran and reached the edge of our hall, I could see a butler’s knife stabbed fully into my father’s back and mother holding it. I don’t know what sound he made or did he even plead for his life; but I do remember her – stabbing him continuously after he lay dead on the floor, motionless.
‘I hate people who shout’, she repeated with the same assertion.

She killed herself the next day, out of guilt. And wrote a note to me which said that she didn’t have the courage to look me in the eye again.
And just like that, I lost a world of my own overnight.

Although, It’s all in the past now! I have learnt a lot from it.”

The bonfire was beginning to light out, the moon was right above our heads as I finished telling him my story. He wasn’t mocking me now, shaming me on being a prostitute’s son. He was alert now, rather emotional. Guilty of bullying me, humiliating me. His eyes were sorry for what he had done.

“This is my favourite place you know, this part of the woods. It’s quiet, subtle”, I said contently and looked up at him.
“I did not know-”
I cut him off, “that’s alright. That’s why I wanted to share my story. It feels lighter now, doesn’t it?”
“Yes. You are a survivor!”, he said, visibly proud of me.

“I will collect some more wood for the bonfire then”, I told him while I got up from the rock I was seated on, “it’s burning out.”
He nodded and I headed off.

I came back to find him seated exactly where he was, fidgeting with his walkman. He faced his back towards me. So I approached him without making a sound; and stabbed him exactly where my mother stabbed my father 20 years ago.

“You are a twat. A prostitute’s son. I bet if she were alive today, I’d be her customer”, he’d say that to me everyday. In front of everyone. He’d send me notes that said horrible things about my mother.
So I sent him a note one day, asking him to meet me at the end of Exit-7 of the woods, lured him with the idea of telling him my ‘real story’.

I dragged his body to a nearby spot and piled it upon the others I had stabbed over the years.
I walked on to the side of the pile of corpses to a tree that held a tombstone in front of it – my mother’s burial.
I looked down at my bloodied hands that held the same butler’s knife my mother held in hers that day, and sat down on my knees.
“I hate people who shout”, I heard myself resonate my mother’s words. Assertive and emphatic.
This was in her honour. You see, there was a part of her note written to me that I’d always omit while telling them my story. It said, ‘Do yourself justice. Do not tolerate abuse.’

And I had always been an obedient child.


The Scent of a Woman

A whiff of her stung like a thousand knives,
edges so sharp, they penetrate every pore of your being.
And yet, and yet, “killing me softly” would be an understatement!

Another whiff is the closest call,
almost willing you into choosing
whether to back off, or fall;
back off because there is a thin line between adrenaline and addiction,
Or fall because there is nothing to lose.

Whiff no. 3, oh it sets you free,
no difference between
delusion and reality.
You stay stuck to your seat for hours on par,
yet whiff after whiff takes you places afar.

If there is time travel
it lies in the scent;
the scent of pretty orchids and old books,
hoodies, coffee beans or the soil drenched in rain.

Albeit, for me it lies
in the scent of her-
stronger than the scents of my many a lover.

Intoxication, the sane world calls it
I call it meditation.
‘Cannabis’, they term it;
Medicine of Euphoria, I say.