Wednesday, June 4, 2008


There`s so much work at home. We haven’t yet unpacked. And it’s a little uneasy to be living out of suitcases and packed cardboard boxes. The Goltin as always has been terrific about this too. He`s patiently waiting for me to finally settle back in here,so we can pick up the threads of life from where we left.

The reason we haven’t unpacked as yet is because The Goltin has to attend the U – has a paper deadline on Friday. And I am too scared to stay at home alone. In broad daylight! If that seems a little peculiar, that’s because it is I guess!

So,the only time we have for unpacking are late evenings, by which time I`m dead tired –just by roaming around deserted university avenues and coffee shops and surfing the internet in an empty ,forsaken home for 9 hours at a stretch,waiting for The Goltin to finish work! And The Goltin,dead tired by the never-ending juggle between an over-committed work schedule and a nagging wife!


So, last night,The Goltin and me started talking and he asked me a question that set me thinking.

“ Since when did you start feeling scared of being alone? Was it since any particular phase in childhood? Or was it forever?”

He was probably trying to play Freud!

Well, I really cant seem to remember. Maybe since forever now. I have always been scared – really scared of being alone,on my own. And that ,coming from a doctor! Who served the Indian Army for the last 6 ½ years and who`s seen it all!! Believe me,I`ve really seen it all – from the underground bunkers at the Line of Control between Pak-occupied Kashmir and India. To cross-border firing between the two estranged nations before cease-fired kicked in. From inhuman living conditions without running water or electricity. To handling tons of battle casualties, regular as well as the fatal open gun-shot wounds in ambush encounters .And I`ve been alone. By myself. Without the luxury of cell phones or landlines. Without the luxury of a television to keep me company. Without the luxury of the internet. Without a home to go back to,at the end of another gruesome day.

Looking back, I wonder how I survived that phase.

Was I scared back then? Oh Yes! Ofcourse I was. But there in the wilderness, all of us, officers and troops alike, would huddle close - as if our togetherness could build a fortress of strength within each one of us out there. A fortress of strength and an unflinching will to go on existing and the hope that someday we will be living our lives and not just struggling to exist.

Those were amazing times. I`ll be eternally grateful for having had the priviledge to see this aspect of life and to know what 'living on the edge' really means. Not everyone gets that chance. But do I want to return back? Do I ever want to repeat the experience,just to remind myself that life has dealt me a great set of cards?

Well, lets see...uummm....NO?!!!!!!! NEVER AGAIN!

So,coming back to the point I was trying to make - Its strange that I should feel scared of being alone - scared to pathological proportions. Strange because I left home after high school and have been out there in the world, living on my own for the past 12 years now!! And yet, the thought of staying at home alone in the day time,when The Goltin goes to work, really scares me! Its not the fear of ghosts or lizards or any of the normal fears that normal people have. The fact that the backyard is lined with trees, so I really cant see beyond our own fence line, bothers me. The fact that the home is in a very quiet neighbourhood,with hardly any people walking by,bothers me.The Goltin says that here in the U.S, the sign of a safe and good neighbourhood is that there are no strangers loitering around. That is something I will have to learn to accept. Because, isnt that exactly the opposite of what I have always been trained to be aware of ,back home? Never to venture into quiet places alone. To always try and be near a crowd or a public place to avoid unnecessary hiccups? Well, whoever taught me that,obviously forgot to mention that it was only when I`m on the road. And not about residential neigbourhoods!

Amongst all the lessons driven home to me through kind words,yells and sometimes even brick-bats - this was obviously a lesson I never forgot! Its safe to be in a crowd - (even at home though???!!!)

Gotta run.. more tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nicely written! but again thinking back - you were even terrified of pigeons and sparrows and even the small chicks at Kokho's place :-))