Gary Kemp once said ‘love is family, support, priority, and understanding’. After reading this I feel like a fish outside the pond.
I am an Indian who belongs to a slightly conservative but conservative family nonetheless. I am a free-spirited girl, I want to enjoy life and want to live life on my terms. But my family holds me back.
They don't quite understand me, they force their morals, religious beliefs, and decisions on me. They don't value my emotions either.
My parents forbid me from going out with my friends or staying out late. I sometimes ruminate and feel that they want me to be a puppet, a puppet who would obey them even if its freedom or happiness is at stake, but I have made up my mind. I will not let these narrow-minded people ruin my life.
“ Adira”, my mom's voice pulls me back to reality.
“What?”, I snap.
“ lunch is ready”, she says coldly and walks away.
I enter the dining room and here they are, those who inflict me with sorrow.
“How’s life going, Adira?”, my dad’s trying to make me open up.
As long as you are my father what makes you think that I’ll be enjoying life? I think but reply with a cold “fine”.
He makes a few more attempts to talk to me but stops after sensing that I’m not interested. “Why don't you ask your friends to pay you a visit?”.
What? Did he really say it or am I hearing things?
“Pardon?”I blurted out in disbelief.
My dad repeated his words and for a moment I’m overwhelmed, I want to dance, sing and hug everyone around me. This is the first time my father showed interest in my personal life.
Usually, the only thing he speaks about is how much parents love their children and how obeying them will assure you a place in heaven. Suddenly I find myself cocooned in ecstasy. My appetite has dissipated and I want to run into my room and dial my friends.
The day was painstakingly long, tomorrow seemed to be eluding me.
That night felt like an eternity, I tried to get some sleep but all in vain. My excitement knew no bounds.
At last, it was morning, my friends could be here any moment and there I saw it, at the end of the street, my friends are here. They ran up to me and we all hugged tightly.
“It seems your nosy and backward parents are changing”, says Manha teasingly.
“That is what it looks like”, I reply with a laugh.
We are a gang of five- Manha, Akriti, Sneha, Bhavna and me.
I introduced them to my parents. I presume my parents will be quite fond of Bhavna because she also hails from a conservative family but she is very different from me, she believes and obeys her parents.
Then we had a hell of a lot of fun.
Soon it was twilight so my friends left. I went back inside, sat beside my parents, and started chatting. I asked them if they liked my friends, they replied diplomatically which means my friends did not live up to their expectations, actually no one could. Then I asked if they liked Bhavna, again a diplomatic answer followed. Then my mum said, “ Listen, dear your friends are not trustworthy, in fact, no one is. So be wary and don’t let your guard down”.
I immediately stood up and went straight into my room. I was convinced that they wouldn't like Manha, Akriti, and Sneha because they are spoiled, wealthy kids but I was assured that they’d like Bhavna because she was like them. Suddenly I stop dead in my tracks and walk back into the living room.
“ Why don't you like Bhavna, she is religious and God-fearing?”.
“She is fake, she is not who she pretends to be”, said my mom without looking away from the television, and I went back inside my room.
I was confident that my parents were mistaken. All of us except Bhavna had been in a relationship, all of us had smoked but she had refused to even take a puff and she never lied.
The next day my mum told me that my dad and she are required to attend a wedding next week and they would be staying there for a week. I couldn’t be happier, I’ve always wanted to be left alone. I love it when no eyes are scanning my every move, no eyes that make me feel like a caged bird.
I told my friends about the wedding affair. Later in the day, during our video call, a brilliant idea struck Akriti.
“Adira, your parents will be gone for a week! That means there will be no one to keep an eye on you. Your movements are always restricted when your parents are around, so why should we waste this golden opportunity? They’ll leave on Friday, so on Saturday night let's go clubbing”.
I could cry out of joy, why hadn’t this idea struck me? Giddiness has crept into my mind. I’m blinded with joy.
As expected Bhavna dropped out of the plan, she said it is a sin to lie and added that the night we had chosen was ominous too. As usual, my partners in crime were Manha, Akriti, and Sneha.
The days passed agonizingly slow but things were going as planned. Finally, my parents left on Friday and soon it was Saturday evening. I got dressed in the mini skirt and blouse that I had borrowed from Manha. My parents never bought me such dresses, if they had seen me in this they would have probably fainted.
In no time I’m ready and waiting for my friends to pick me up. They arrive after a few minutes and after a thirty minutes drive, we arrive at our destination. I’m so excited, my heart is pounding against my chest. The building in front of me is lit up and makes me feel groovy. We step inside, at first the music is deafening but slowly my ears get used to it and now I’m relishing it. There are guys around, we dance and click pictures with each other.
We end up drinking a lot of alcohol, my vision becomes hazy and I don’t know what happened next.
The next day, I woke up in my bed, my girl gang was fast asleep beside me. My head’s still throbbing, hangover probably. I reach out for our mobile phones and have a look at our pictures we took yesterday.
In the pictures we took before consuming alcohol I looked very hot but the ones we took after drinking heavily, shocked me to the bones. There are pictures of me flashing at the guys and they flashing at me. I stripped down, there are my naked images. I woke my friends and showed them the images. They assured me that these pictures were only taken with our phones, that’s a little reassuring but still, I’m frightened.
Later we told Bhavna all this, she seemed to be shocked but genuinely concerned, she too tried to comfort me.
My parents came back home on Thursday, they briefed me about the wedding and the quality of the food. The normalcy of things seemed to calm me down. They are unaware of the things I’ve done and they’ll never know.
A week later, Sneha called and informed me that Bhavna had leaked my naked images online. My heart skipped a beat, my body felt numb. I dropped the phone, then instinctively picked it up and saw it for myself. My images are right there, public, for everyone to see.
My head started spinning, tears started spilling out, I started screaming “why did she do this to me?”. Then I passed out.
When I woke up I had a complete brain fade. Who am I? I am the girl, whose naked images are on the internet. What have I done? I took my parents for granted and trusted somebody I shouldn’t have.
Then the reality kicks in, I’m lying on my mum’s lap, she is caressing me. The moment she realizes I’m awake she gives me a cwtch.
“Mumma, you’ll disown me once you know what I’ve done”.
“I already know, sweetheart”.
I pull away, she looks at me and now I know, she has seen those images. She hugged me again and whispered, “Your father took legal action against Bhavna. She is accused of cyberbullying”. I broke down and cried my heart out. “I love you and I’m sorry for misbehaving.”
“It’s all right, kids do make mistakes and I hope you’ve learned your lesson”.
Since then the relationship I share with my parents has become stronger. Now I trust them wholly and I relate to what Gary Kemp once said.