Author : GOVIND RADHAKRISHNAN
Company : IBS SOFTWARE SERVICES Pvt Ltd
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
AS WE TRAVEL WITH LOLITA…
‘Oh boy…’ was the first set of words she uttered on that crispy, refreshing morning when she immersed herself into the leaky tub of warm water with her veins slit open. The pain was feeble and thanks to the fresh blade. But the burning sensation slowly crawled over her sliced veins, tissues, fibres and tendons. Oozing warm blood dyed the ivory tub in crimson. Repositioning herself, she took the deepest breath she ever took in her two decades long sorry years of existence. She pampered herself with a giant slice of molten brownie which she peacefully gnawed and in regular intervals washing down the contents in her mouth with a jug full of cold coffee, both placed tactfully near her unharmed limb. She leisurely welcomed the boarding call for her new adventure.
As the walls went wobble and persistence of her vision started playing hide and seek, with all what was left of her consciousness she gazed lazily towards a faded reek of light. Expecting it to be her destination, she took another deep breathe; the only activity she excelled during this agonizing session of seclusion. She was surrounded by voices; often noises. Some shrieked, some yelled, some started pulling her limbs, and a few others just stood dumbstruck. Somebody from the crowd who managed to drag her limping body to the veranda of the dilapidated apartment heard the faintest of a murmur, “wake me up… later…”
III. Story lost in between
Meet Lolita, young, sad, kind and hapless. She was made up as a perfect concoction of naiveté characteristics to live through processions of heartbreaks, a handful of emotional traumas and psychological set-backs; topped with a minor dash of trust issues. Either being a born fighter or of being incredibly submissive, the kid managed to conquer almost all phases of her teenage with only minor bruises.
Normally someone who survives the horrors of growing up in hostile environments would leave behind the anxieties and inhibitions encountered so far, but for Lolita they just stayed close along like her shadow. Lolita had some major pet demons which slowly ate considerable portion of her each day. They were born out of an unholy trail of unfortunate events over the years, moulding her into an embodiment of all those vices; namely; anxiety clubbed with ever haunting torment of self loathe, writhing solitude and a bite of self-confidence which was nothing but a perverted cruel humour.
Part-A: Lessons of Pain
It all began right from her childhood as she was regularly and systematically snubbed and emotionally tormented by her wildest horror; her mother. Born to well-educated parents is still a dream of millions of under-privileged children in our country but for Lola it was a nightmare in disguise. Like any other child with incredible absent mindedness and absolute disregard for responsibilities, Lola was no different. From the age of seven she was treated for her so called curses by her mother through multifaceted ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ measures of ear-piercing screaming sessions and occasional thrashing ceremonies. But that was not a big deal for young tomboyish Lola until her mother finally tested the wickedest penal strategy of demoralizing her and attacking her personality. The test dose was fired on her 13th birthday when she failed to coordinate one of many chores of her mother when, he, in a mad fit of rage screamed at Lola for being an ‘idiot’ and the worst ‘ugly’. The effect of the new entitlement was profound as the incident occurred amidst a few guests who unfortunately to witness this fresh coronation upon her. She prayed for the ground upon which she stood over to tear open and swallow her till infinity and beyond. With a meek weep she camouflaged into the crowd. That night her eyes had a prolonged session of cleaning as she cried her hearts content in darkness and solitude. However later that night she made a fantastic discovery of her penchant for conversing with the faceless almighty she always worshipped. Narrating the pain and miseries till late night to her, Lola slowly slipped into slumber.
Discovering the veracity of this new mode of attack, it look less than a week for her mother to master it by earnest practise with constant test-dosing. The next level of attack included a combo package of demoralising coupled with a robust chunk of public shaming. Being a carefree chatterbox, one day Lola overestimated the volume of her home’s doorbell when the newspaper agent was trying the same to meet her mother for his payment for the month. She was just chatting outside with her friends in neighbourhood. After almost a while her mother on a cursory glance saw someone impatiently waiting outside the door, slowly muttering something under his breath. Before she could realise what was happening Lola was woken with a shock from her marathon chat with a ground breaking yell, “Lola… here… now”! Her ensuing actions spoke louder than her verbal threat. The punishment for her immediate disobedience or irresponsibility, was swift and painfully disgraceful. Lola’s ears were twisted with utmost precision mimicking the turn of a doorknob and upon release the poor thing resembled a tiny red orchid. The physical pain was bearable but the humiliation was bottomless. The newspaper agent, with a crass sneer, collected the money from mother and evicted the execution ground and her friends, the terrified little doves, fled the scene instantly. The warmth of the flooding tears charred her intelligence, life and spirit. That night she escalated her grievance redress mechanism to another level. When first spoke to her God she begged to save her off from any future embarrassments and it was absolutely not working. Later only she realised the lacunae in her approach. One cannot change the future without no knowledge of what was in store. Memories or occasions cannot be judged good or bad unless the same is experienced. The sediment of mascara stained tears on Lola’s cheeks over the years were too rusty to be wiped off without the use of some external force. And then came the solution of ‘time travel’!
The time travel solution worked on a simple game-plan. Whenever Lola felt abused/ harassed/ broken or shattered she just took her time, wept out loud, mocked herself and cursed herself mercilessly to the point where she recreated the whole situation of the embarrassing scenario in her head again. As she pushed herself into the darker pits of emotional and psychological self-abuse, her time machine revved up for the journey she planned. Then she walked through the scene of action, handpicked each and every failure and tailored them by replacing the embarrassing moments with flashes of her intelligence or valour as the scene demanded and ended up winning the day. Her sole idea behind this whole charade was to find peace and to boost her confidence to live a life she dreamt. At first her mind rejected the whole idea of time travel as ludicrous and forced to end this idiocy. But since she was incapable of rectifying her flaws the normal way and as she ended up more and more dejected, the only silver-lining was narrowing down to the current solution. As she was already a master of her past, what actions might happen or what fiery verbal exchange might ensue, she brilliantly dodged each one of them without even a single scratch and conquered many occasions. Initially she just escaped the moments of embarrassment but by repeated trials she not only succeeded in arguments but even went further in crushing here opponents and winning over them.
It was not the failures alone but even some moments of joy too were revisited; like her days with grandparents when she was treated none less than a princess, Saturday nights watching Hindi movies aired in Doordarsan during primary school days, the day she realised she was no more a kid, the kiss under the botany lab staircase, plus two board exam results etc. It was all a joy ride dodging the pains and inhibitions till she faced the fear of all fears.
Part-B: A Chapter on Abandonment
It was late summer and puberty struck hard like a lightening during spring time upon Lola. A little sparkle of Cinderella dust and there she was; an infinite quotient of beauty, grace, elegance and charm. Cupid’s arrows grazed past her on a routine but she never tripped a foot to fall for any. Lola was altogether a different person when she was in college. She had a bunch of seriously retarded friends whom she loved madly. Not a single day was left without giggling and snuggling with them and they knew her way too much. The friendship circle made Lola so much preoccupied that she never had to look around for her time machine for the past couple of years. The relationship she had with her merry band was based on a give and take of unbridled love and loyalty. Absolute disclosure of who they were and what they will be was practised religiously between them, which at times, bordered insanity. The group acted as an insulation for Lola from all her worldly troubles. If there was a mistake from her they would cover up the same, if she a hard time from someone the gang knew perfectly well how to handle the trouble maker, and over and above Lola was near perfectly cut off from her mother. Lola soared high and far in the limitless skies independently like a kite but was secretly tied to an iron chord which she was unaware of.
However, life cannot flow freely, without any roadblocks like some graceful mountain stream. The single greatest roadblock which shook the foundations of the gang’s harmony came with a name, Naveen. He was just another boy from her batch who swept Lola off her feet during one fateful humid afternoon of the hottest year of her bliss filled college life. A gust of wicked heat-wave forced a drop of sweat from his temple. All it took was a casual deep breathe from Lola, who was sitting next to him and at that moment she knew love! Irrespective of her prior fooling around with a few guys over the years, this feeling she suddenly had was something hitherto unknown. The smell drove her uncomfortable, let alone crazy! She glanced over him slyly but casual enough not to be creepy and at that moment he wiped off the sweat off his brows with the back of his hand. “Here, use me… I mean… take mine”, a mechanical Lola handed over her hankie to him. From that night, sleep divorced Lola for quite a few nights to come ahead. Winter internship, group projects, combined studies and what not; in a few months, all those sweat pores which embodied into Naveen was seized and sealed by Lola for her exclusive private amuse.
Lola knew her friends like the back of her hand or at least she thought so. Even the slightest tremor within the gang was within her sensory perceptions. But she gradually felt the presence of an elephant in the room. It all suddenly became visible the night when she bought a cake to celebrate her anniversary when Malini, her closest friend sneered at the design of the cake followed by a few sassy remarks. When Lola inquired whether everything was cool all she could remember was some blabbers, blast of words and a truck load of indifference. The parade of attitude was topped with insensitive remarks amidst the whole gang, along with a few invited guests. Lola was caught unawares in this unexpected tide of event. It was after a few years Lola had the visions of her forgettable past, almost like a déjà vu. Lola adopted an ancient healing method of forgetting that ugly incident and pretending as if nothing had happened. But she very well knew it was just a temporary relief. Gradually the indifference spread like a gangrene and fed on all her friends. From simple difference of opinions, the battle within the gang blew out of proportion to a full-fledged war of outright verbal violence and anathema. After a long period of joy and togetherness Lola tasted the bitterness of solitude in years. Fear of failure and nihility haunted her day and night. She knocked each and every door to seek a panacea for her salvation but all in vain. She prayed to her God for solutions but all she could hear was the echoes of her own lament. The situation of pity soon paved way for blind rage and she opened the final form of her persona. She yelled at him, then begged to him to forgive her, made him swear not to abandon her and madly loved him; and all these happened on a daily basis and continued for months. He was getting tired of her and she was growing weak. He tried understanding her problems, offered solutions and prayed her to approach her devils within with reason. But little did he know that reason had left Lola’s little head long ago. She knew absolutely well that everyone loathed her by now; but she could never figure out what her crime was. The hunt for a remedy finally took her to her trusted time-machine. She tried running the machine for days and weeks but only with little success. Since she never knew the root cause which prompted this whole avalanche of miseries, she was unable to travel back and nip it from the bud.
As days passed, the windows for settling the issues and saving herself from the gloom was closing out. Fathoming in the pits of pain and madness, one fine morning a bolt of consciousness suddenly struck Lola. If the time-machine cannot be ignited by the emotional pain alone, maybe she could introduce physical pain to sober-up the memories. It was the season of internships and off she went to Chennai. The thought of multiple pains; physical burning sensation, emotional pain of loneliness, psychological pain of the realisation of ending up as a rotting corpse at a godforsaken apartment in some abandoned neighbourhood in a strange city gave her a ray of hope. It was easy for a damaged mind to be shrouded under the blanket of fake delight. Taking a day off from her internship, she planned for the travel; one final attempt. She wanted an utmost relaxed itinerary on a special day and so did she chose her birthday. Lola called up his long abandoned mobile number and had an amazing conversation with him for almost an hour, which comprised of the perfect fabrication of laughter, love, tears and passion. All alone in the rustic apartment, she tested the polish of her blade.
One last ride to leave all behind, one last ride to reset everything….