BY PRADIPTA DUTTA (COPYRIGHTS 2017)
I left my stones under the water today,
Where Alaknanda unites with Bhagirathi
I remember the purple dress I wore as a child…
It had beautiful ribbons and stars designed on it.
That dress became torn one day, when I fell into thorns.
I remember the stones I collected as a child…
I remember the boys whom I inspired,
I taught them that they were more than what their Mothers believed they were…
They insulted my friendship.
They should not have said things that opened old wounds…
When I was brushed by their bodies,
They should not have done those things to my soul,
They opened old wounds.
I have been ravaged by my own blood…
And my trust in humanity became broken.
Because if a human being can touch a child,
Against her will,
They are capable of anything,
Every kind of murder.
I was a beautiful child,
Who once only knew to love people and spread laughter everywhere she went…
And he had no right to ravage my soul…
But all these stones I want to leave them under these waters today,
Where Alaknanda meets Bhagirathi…
Let me weep, oh Ganga,
Let me bleed into your waters…
Cleanse me today,
Haven’t I suffered enough?
I too want to laugh again,
And I wish very much to dance again.
With all my love…
Cleanse me, Ganga.
My wounds are too heavy to carry forward,
And I have a long journey to make.”
– Excerpt from Josephine’s Diary
My days were spent in constant worry and my nights had become sleepless. What was Josephine doing in those mountains?
Apparently, Rachneet, her friend had not gone with her and she had been on this crazy expedition all by herself.
“I tried to stop Josephine. I told her many times that she was far too fragile emotionally to be travelling alone. I told her that we could have a wonderful time in Delhi. Party. Meet boys. Have fun. But, she is so obstinate. It is so scary to even look into her eyes. She is acting like a woman possessed by an uncontrollable rage – or is it sadness? I don’t know.”
These were Rachneet’s words for my daughter, Josephine.
I worried for her because she had now become a child of desperation.
I tried to tell her many times that this fire that she holds in her mind, will one day end up destroying her.
Women must be brave but they should not be so desperate.
My Daughter was not courageous, she was desperate – and that was where the problem was.
Courage involves being practical in a difficult situation, to think wisely and take a calculated risk. Desperation however is motivated by an underlying non-healing wound, in the hope that freedom can be achieved by behaving in an insane manner.
Nobody knows what her wounds are, and she doesn’t think it important to discuss it with other people.
She has trust issues, a Psychologist told me , but why?
Why these feelings of not being loved enough?
Perhaps we have weighed her down, with our expectations.
Her Father always asked her to become an independent woman, and all these years she had done everything by virtue of own caliber. We played very little part when it came to her achievements.
She had been successful so far but we never told her we were proud of her, always asking her to do more. But we did this only to ensure that she does not become complacent and proud.
As parents, we know how children must be grounded and made to go beyond themselves.
That sometimes, we bury their dreams under promises of material security is also because we have seen what poverty is like and that they should never see dark times.
Dreams promise very much and offer very little.
That is what poverty taught us.
Hunger taught us not to dream but to satiate our hunger by finding three meals a day and be able to buy blankets to sleep under.
And that is what we wanted to ensure for her. We wanted her to eventually find a Husband and do what she wanted to do with her life after she settled down – but being a woman I had known that even that was a lie.
Eventually she would become so busy with her married life, that her dreams would be forgotten and she would learn to live a mediocre life.
And what if her Husband turned out to be an evil man?
This is what we had to foresee as parents. As parents, we wanted to make sure she was adept at dealing with every kind of situation that presented itself.
But had we become too harsh?
We had friends that never cared too much about the wishes of their children. They married their daughters away, without considering what they really wanted to do with their lives because they believed a Husband could provide for her social security.
Compared to them, we gave very different values to our Daughter.
If she could fend for herself, she did not have to depend on anyone and that would have helped her to eventually find stability in her life.
But we did not think that she would misuse all this freedom and become a Musafer.
We did not imagine that she would become an Idealist – a Dreamer.
That she repeatedly called herself a homeless Musafer, was beyond our comprehension.
They displayed posters of women traveling far and wide but it was socially unacceptable to have a woman around who was homeless and had nobody to belong with – a woman of no loyalties -who only knew the spark of her soul that had lighted the madness of her dreams – and had created a strange light in her eyes – which inspired sane people to leave the luxury of their homes and step into her realm – a realm where every bit of existence was God, and there was no sorrow – because everything was God, even nothingness and emptiness.
My Daughter was a vain Idealist and I knew for certain that she would suffer very much in her life.
Why don’t you travel with me?
Mother, today I am spending my night by the fire…
The Moon shines like a billion galaxies contained in a lantern.
From the brink of this mountain,
I see the twinkling lights of Bhatwari village!
How rapturous is this solitude!
Mother! Behold, I am a child not borne from you.
I am Nature’s only, tonight.
I raise my arms to the skies,
And close my eyes…
The winds caress my body,
I have fallen in love with the Wind.
I feel a thousand sparkles in my heart,
And nothing remains from the distant past,
Alaknanda swallowed away my hurts,
Bhagirathi drowned all my tears…
I feel so beautiful,
Oh these cold mountain winds,
Your Musafer child has fallen in love,
With the Wind.
And with everything that she now is.
– An Excerpt from Josephine’s Diary
I could not believe my eyes when Josephine came home and embraced us the way she did as a child.
It was so beautiful to have seen her become her old self again.
After she came back, she joined her Ballet classes once more – that she had left owing to her college education and her Depression.
A year later she was invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London on an eve that showcased Ballet from all over the globe.
Josephine was indeed a reverie that lifted up the spirits of all people who watched her dance that evening in London, because each one of them, had tears in their eyes.
And as she made her bow, she was received with a thundering applause – and a standing ovation.
And spread upon her face, I saw the same saintly aura that I often saw, when she entertained her audience at the Club.
My Daughter had finally become free again.
These days, they say she is somewhere in Somalia serving the International Medical Corps, mending wounds and broken bodies.
Always was and will be a Healer.
Her laughter is her instrument, as was of her Brother’s.
Both my children were made out of Love and Light.
I have accepted Josephine now.
She is a Musafer.
And a Musafer’s Mother must never fear.