You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?
Thursday, July 11, 1985. Grade VII. It’s noon. The bell had rung for the Angelus prayers. We say our Hail Mary’s and sit down. I am summoned by our Headmistress, the formidable Sr. Teresa Lonan. What have I done to warrant that call? I was the ‘good girl’, after all?
She mutters just two words. ‘Go home!’ I don’t ask her why. I am too scared. Of her and why I had to go home. I step outside the school and hail a cycle rickshaw. He asks for four rupees to drop me, 4 km away. I tell him I will pay once I reach home. I have no money with me.
This is perhaps the longest journey I’ve undertaken in my life. Had something happened to Amma? No. I tried to convince myself… nothing would have happened. A 11-year-old is always optimistic… I was too. Especially when I decided to go to school that day against my Appa’s wishes because I had a Chemistry exam. And Sr. Rose was my favourite!
With every bump on the road, the pain in my mind doubled. And so did the panic. As I neared my destination, my reassurances to myself increased manifold. I berated myself for thinking too much.
The outer gate was open and so was the grilled door. My brother took one look at me… and said, ‘Amma is no more’.
And nothing was ever the same again!
Erasure… closure… is impossible. You don’t move on… You just learn to cope!