Grow up, they said.
Fake a facade of normalcy, they didn’t say.
By Krithika K S (M.Sc Software Engineering, 2011-2016)
It is raining craziness everywhere. Embrace or brace, she now gives you a choice. The metaphorical words that she splashed above and across now will carry an analogous story behind. Being one other survivor of the brutal storm she was pushed into, she writes. She writes for the soul that pretended very well to be a rebel. And to the soul that repeatedly believed to have had the courage to tackle those voices on its own, like her. Because what they were failing to see as victims, the voices knew. She.. now knew.
They are all aging.
To yet another existing soul she didn’t know, here’s the story. HER story.
Millions of droplets freed themselves from a heavy cloud wanting to hit the bull’s eye down the place they were initially destined to fall. Whether or not they hit what they thought was drawn out for them.. Whether or not they vanished/shattered after having hatched from the cloud.. is not what She was after.
The sound those droplets made altogether was annoyingly immense. The mercy they had over the soul that they ruffled through, right from their start, was beyond her realization levels. Then again, she was neither after the soul that succumbed to the unsettling noise.. nor after the soul that retreated to its own shell, pretending it’s dark.
To them with all the strength she had gathered, she managed to utter a word. ‘Seek’. Seek out to that one another comforting soul before it’s too late, she should have said. But she didn’t. She believed they will figure them out themselves. They had time to rejoice, unlike her. She was at her furious self. It had rained to storm along with daylight all over her place. She moved out to fight a battle. Plain fair truth, she would dare any day. She set out to know what really caused her thought-cloud to break. And what she figured made her unhappy. She was the next victim.
The thought that she was the next victim to the phrase, set her off. The phrase had echoed through and out from her free-and-easy, happy-go-lucky walls. The echoes of it faded only after threatening to take her along and away. The last inch of resistance she had safeguarded, do you know? She put up a valiant fight until she saw the voices boil it all down to nothing. The voices had reappeared. She closed her eyes. In her ears now,
‘Grow up’ the voices had hissed THE phrase.
The smirking joy in its tone, “have you heard?” took a heavy toll on her nerves every time she recalled. She had lost, lost having fought against the phrase which originally was one consequence that time had invited, against her will. She was washed away.
It has been that one untiring stream that she swam across before she survived. The storm had washed away millions, even the pleading ones that held on to the planks. After having lost the grip to the swirling storm, she fell deep down. Yet another fool like Alice, she was lured into thinking that the fall ahead was going to be endless. But Alice did hit the ground, dint she? The fact she didn’t realize when falling. Her senses betrayed her. The force, with which she’d been pushed by the voices into the void, turned her numb.
She didn’t quite know how long she’d traveled before saturation. What she knew was something she will take a while to realize but never get used to. Yes, there was no way back. The realization didn’t deter her. The voices had now stretched their hand out to help. She pushed them away angrily when she felt the ground. She stood up. She saw the place the voices had put her in. She saw many others falling and feeling the same. Some seemed happier aftermath the jump, as if they were waiting to come and visit the place. To them, this side of the world meant home.
Though she is new like them, she was blank. She saw few whining people, some complaining souls and old, wrinkled, nonchalant faces. From where she came, these people did not exist. She was sabotaged from there. She has to change herself to learn the ways of this world and become one among them, she thought. In a split second she spotted familiarity in the voices that had at first led her here. The voices had been from her family and all the people she knew back there in her world. She recognized them. This was their home. She never knew a world apart from hers even existed.
When she tried to follow them hoping that she will be okay, they stopped her. Her quizzical looks carried invisible questions. They pointed above her, so she could look up and discern a distant plank. The wooden plank had a 9-letter word inscribed in it. It being the welcome board to her, now seemed to unfold the answers as she read.. ‘Adulthood’.
Change is the test she had to take to enter, the voices insisted. She raged. She had questions they knew the answer for but refused to let her know. She was alone. She is not going to let this place take away and change her child self. ‘Easy.. easy..’ the voice that sneered first, now soothed. After a while she realized it was pointless to flare up. She winded up the tantrum she was throwing. She walked away from the voices to look around.
She saw a barricaded exit to the place where she came from- the place she thought she belonged, the place that ditched her, the childhood. “Not many chose to return”, said an old one guarding the barricade. A gang of survivors who also took the fall not very long before her time, shouted,“Practicality would call you a ‘quitter’” at her. Then they broke into laughter afterwards. She wasn’t a quitter, she knew. She walked. She resolved to fight, learn and do whatever it took to fulfill the cause of her fall.
She knew she’d come back, time and again, to not run away through the exit but just to storm her mind with the past. She watched it happen. She knew the world other side was nowhere close to a dream nor myth. She has been there. She knew what it was like. The thoughts gave her what she needed to survive. She chose to keep a few from what she fell along with. She treasured them. She decided to use them for a basement.
She remembered the voice that assured when she was fighting a lost battle back then. ‘Hold on till you can’ it had said. As she walked in the filming shadows of the past, she knew the voice was right. It was worth staying the other side, every second. Even though it meant she had no point to fight back a little stronger against time, this was her present. She had to take the test. She sensibly resolved to build a change that her inner self agreed to. She strongly believed that it will get her to the place where the voices were.
While she was stuck at this so called wrecked place, she learnt the art of living. Her happiness, she doubled. In her doubts, she wandered alone. To her sadness she turned others an alien. Her basement showed some improvement. Her thoughts seemed to have taken a liking towards her company, more than what it did earlier. She never ran out of them. She didn’t care to slip by a clue even to the clueless, as to what she was becoming. She no longer dreamed. She slept when her thoughts pleaded some rest. The other few times, she chiseled a shape that looked nothing like the ones around.
She built it slow. She built it right. She saw the caged ones that locked themselves up, waiting for a prince to come by. She knew what exactly she had to brew to be admitted inside this side of the world. As she etched the ends of her last day, she witnessed completion. The voices were proud of her even though they dint recognize what she built. All they knew was that she had built what she can use to enter their world. She marveled at the unique beauty she had chiseled. The shape that came out of the blitz was her façade, a facade using the art of normalcy.
She taught herself to put that on when time demanded her and off when she was her lone self. Like a mask, it helped her fake a low light. People appreciated it.The face behind the mask smirked now and then. What happens to the radiating beam she hid behind the facade? Will the way of life tip another soul to go explore the burning true light? Will she herself redefine the way of life?
The questions that proclaim in you now were buried with time.
She tuned herself into a fine actor. “She has a perfect life”, the others would remark. She alone knew she basked in falsehood until she saw the fine line she had to cross to experience the perks of being an adult. She fixed her walls, her boundaries that you have to cross to know. ‘To the world she is one.. unto her, a lot more.’ And then it dawned to her inner self. She had survived the ride and now she is ready. Herself, she thanked to have fought against the struggle. She’d made her life up in the new world. She’d groomed herself to mingle among the voices and guide the next victim. The signs of a true smile for having accomplished what she was set out for crossed her masked face. The familiar voices now breathed warmth when it said..
‘Now that you have grown up, welcome to adulthood.’
And from now on, this.. was her home.
KRITHIKA K S (M.Sc Software Engineering, 2011-2016) is a library patron, a literary critic, and can be very fickle when it comes to being a fanatic while being typically insouciant. A neophyte coder now, she is considering it seriously for a profession.
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