I have a serious case of adjustment disorder. I had moved into a new town two months back and I am already fluctuating between paranoia and amazement. There is the excitement of discovering new mysterious roads, patches of wilderness that flourish occasionally, the perpetual rush of the sea breeze that leaves its salty stain on everything, the remains of the colonial past, the glorious growth and corrosion, the sepia colors broken by startling bursts of reds, blues and pinks and the creaking, rainy nights.
There is also that dreadful sameness, a flamboyant monotony here, beneath the flood of developments. Crowds rushed, always in a desperate hurry to reach somewhere as though the whole town has come under a mass attack of diarrhea, and the totally jobless ones mooching around sidewalks. There are a large number of sadly similar billboards and several blindly rushing buses.
But the worst are those eyes - those wretched eyes that follow me, when I say me, I mean us - the pathetic, deluded, frigid, half-dead cluster of female human beings living in this part of the country.
Those wretched eyes track each one of us, yes it does.
Until we are old and rotting those eyes won’t leave us alone - staring, angry, hungry, penetrating, curious, indifferent, amused, abusive, they dig us out and strip us ruthlessly each moment.
Eyes - an entity in itself, attached yet detached from the frustrated, desperate bodies on which they cling. They float upon their own invisible fluid made up of a million assumptions, dissatisfactions and presumptions painstakingly build up through generations of pointless moral rigidity.
Eyes like spheres, like clawing, crushing hands, like unpitying slaps – they are made not out of human tissue but something unspeakable and repulsive.
They have the power to tear you apart, hurt, make you flinch with shame for things that aren’t your fault, they can delve into your most commonplace thoughts, glances, and movements and give it new and horrifying meanings, they can molest you, rape you silently and kill you a million times. You cannot even scream or plead for mercy.
They trap you, them - eyes, in a helpless devastating eddy. And you slowly grow numb, the nauseating disgust you feel about them and yourself will be replaced by a hardened immobile face, a thick, heavy dupatta, a different longer route, the anonymity provided by the shadowy trees, a bland umbrella and eventually suspended animation. Then they find another happy spirit to maul, rape and kill with their eyes until she is reduced into a nervous, frantic bundle of unhappiness hiding under layers and layers of cloths that buries all mounds, curves, joy and smiles.
The situation might be different elsewhere, but under all the show of open-mindedness, freedom and modernity lies that twitching, angry, insecure monster waiting to pounce when the right chance comes.
It may not always come in the form of violent aggression, sometimes it happens in the form of continuous whining, complaining, mockery, subtle references, persuasions, verbal abuse, constant criticism, blaming oh…anything, even disguised as chivalry or love. Watch out, it would be so cleverly done that it would be years later when you even realize what was happening. Believe me.