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A Note To My Therapist

By Surumi

I was at peace everyday from 2pm – 6pm. At 6 o’clock, I would hear his keys, and fear would ensue. If I didn’t behave the way he wanted, he would hit me or worse shout at me. They got married when she was 21 and he was 29. I was ashamed of the age gap. It was arranged for them. I don’t know if there was any romance involved. They never spoke about it. And I never witnessed any love for each other growing up. All I know for sure is that, they weren’t meant to be parents .

But they do like each other now. I doubt if it’s love or she has just accepted defeat.

My earliest memory is her raising both of her hands to curse me. I was 5 or 6. She said “ nee mudinjupo vala. “ Nee thulanjupokum vala” She often said this to me, when my sister and I had any fights or I was a bad child.

My parents weren’t proud of me. They must have loved me. But sure as hell, didn’t like me. I was unlikeable. I was a problem child.

He took me to school once and on the way, I vomited and he took me back home. So maybe he was nice

I was topper in LKG. I didn’t do well in UKG. I don’t remember what happened.

When he lost his job when I was seven, we came to India. I have a distinct memory of him chastising me, when I fought with my cousin for a night dress. He took me aside to a room and screamed at me. I felt scared and bad. I think I gave the night dress to her.

When I was seven, people would come to my grandma’s house for taking injection cz she was a nurse. All the women would sit and talk. I would sit too. But she would insult me in front of them saying I don’t act like a child and wants to listen to adult stories. I remember one grandma defending me saying it’s because I was a girl. I heard she passed away. Her saying that was a good memory in my childhood.

They took me back to UAE. That is when I realised that he refuses to touch me. He wouldn’t sit next to me. He wouldn’t let me touch him. Won’t lie down next to me. Will hug my sister. Will let her put her legs over his body. I would try to do that and he would shove me away. I would cry and long to put my legs on his body. But he wouldn’t touch me. Once, to retaliate because I didn’t feel like he was a good father, I refused to call him “papa” and said “ iyalu” instead. He got violent and abused me. I began calling him pappa again. But he didn’t feel like one. I once, read on the newspaper about a father who raped his daughter. I reasoned that the reason he refused to touch me was because he was afraid he would rape me. I felt sympathy for me. I justified his behaviour. I was 12.

Back in UAE, she also began to realise that I wasn’t the daughter she wanted. My sister was. She was calm and polished and intelligent. I was a menace and often did not have brains or good social conduct. Most often I looked for the attention that I lacked at home, and it came out horribly. She was ashamed of who I was. She always acknowledge my social ineptitude though. Called me pottan all the time. To the extent that every other couple or family they hung out with, called me a pottan too. I overheard her telling kochatha and ansamma that I was a pottan and that my sister was good. They agreed. Everyone around me agreed that I was dumber than all the kids in the room anywhere. I think I was too. I think I was stupider than most kids. But she didn’t protect me. I think I was so annoying a kid that a woman they shared flat with, slapped me once. I don’t remember this. I just think I heard them talk and that they had problems. I remember I used to steal from that couple when I was 3 or 4. My point is, I can’t blame her. I was difficult to raise. I cried a lot because of her though. Because of him too. Not because they disciplined.

Oh, she wouldn’t touch me either . But not as bad as him. She would hug my sister in bed. And when I hugged her, she would get angry and push me away because my arms were too heavy. I was 10.

They controlled everything I wore. When he bought clothes, he would examine for holes or anything that was covering up my whole body. I never bought anything I liked. I was allowed to wear jeans. All of my peers wore jeans. My sister was allowed. I just wasn’t because I shouldn’t. I wanted to wear pants badly that I would go to school wearing boys pants under my wrap around skirt uniform. They allowed me to do that cz it covered everything. But I looked ridiculous. But I was so happy because I got to wear pants. Later he let me wear jeans with long tope covering my knee. If the top was above knee, he would get angry and scream. He often broke glasses . But cleaned it up himself. He was very clean. He wouldn’t let me wear jeans with different shades of color on though. When I was 14 he told me that I can’t wear it cz it was enticing. I hadnt heard that work before but I knew what he meant. I always knew what he meant. There was something wrong with me.

They cooked for me

Bought anything they wanted

I protected them loved them believed I should always say only good about them. So I told everyone they are good parents.

In 6th standard, I was the only one wearing a head scarf in class. The kids made fun of me. So I wanted to stop wearing. I came home, and refused to wear it anymore. He beat me for a hour. She cried cz I was being heavily abused. She said he had accused that he wasn’t the father. They never spoke of that again.

School was bad. I had lice. Always had. She never helped with it. I didn’t either. So I was the kid with lice people didn’t like.

I number myself to everything because thing were bad. I was a happy kid. Nothing affected me cz I was so numb.

I came to India to leave abuse I guess. I broke down

22 slapped his face

24 began abusing in college

26 left home

Estranged. Going to therapy

By Surumi

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