Chapter Thirty Seven: Diary Days

Dear Diary,

Why am I so annoyed? I can’t believe Pa. What has gotten into him? Wonder why he’s acting so like other people. It worries me, why is he suddenly just another common father? It’s keeping me awake all night, and I am not liking it.

What’s wrong with wanting to help people? Why does Pa suddenly hate people addicted to drugs? I wish I knew. And why is he conforming to pressure? I know for a fact that Aunt Kameela tried her best to convince Pa that I am a freak, but it seems to me like he has given in to those foolhardy thoughts. He’s worried about my marriage all of a sudden. Does he want me out of his hands? It’s so obvious that he thinks following my interest and starting a help group would be a huge barrier for my marriage. But I don’t care about it; why does he then?

I know, I know. He’s a father and he has his responsibilities. But why should he force his duties on me when I don’t even feel like bearing them?

This is insane. Pa cannot be so weak as to give up on his principles just because society doesn’t agree with it.

Why doesn’t he live by his beliefs, strong, and uninfluenced by explicit forces?

Diary, why do I get the feeling that Pa has become different now? He’s not the same person who told me to take my own decisions in life. He’s changed and wants me to follow in his wake. And I don’t want to.

I can’t hurt him by telling him he’s acting foolish. But that’s exactly what he is doing. I want him to believe in his own decisions.

He has begun to doubt that the freedom he gave me was a big mistake. I should show him that it is not so. But if I should do that, I have no choice but to get married. And even if I said ok, he would want me to marry Prem, because Aunt Kameela was the first one to suggest this whole marriage thing. And I will ever hate her for contaminating Pa’s mind. I can’t describe the hatred that ebbs through my veins even as I write this.

Pa is in an internal crisis just like I am. I understand that, but he doesn’t. Worst thing is, he thinks talking about it would hurt me. And I don’t want to hurt him either. It’s such a pointy knife and I don’t know which side I’m pointing at Pa. It scares me.

I so badly wish I had a clear view of things. I want to help Pa clear his conscience but I can’t figure out how. That’s bad. I know, I need sleep.

Talk later.

Dear Diary,

I don’t know how to explain it to Praveena, so I chose you instead. I love her more than anything, and I don’t know how to tell her that without feeling stupid.

Kameela was so annoyed. She chided me for not raising Praveena well, she told me I had given her stupid fancies and that I have encouraged her to question elders. I didn’t know that questioning adults was such a bad thing, I mean, we did it; Geetha and I. We rebelled against our families to get married. We tried explaining, and when they didn’t listen, we questioned their authority. And until recently, I believed Praveena had the right to do the same. I allowed her to do what she wanted in her life. That’s her right, right?

Kameela disagrees. I don’t care much about her, but my mother called the other day. She hadn’t spoken to me since Geetha and I got married. I was shocked when she called. And I didn’t like what she told me.

She told me I had destroyed Praveena’s life, just like I had destroyed Geetha’s. I was shocked. I didn’t destroy Geetha’s life; we were happy together. But she told me of I don’t controll Praveena, she would grow to question me someday. That’s when it stuck me.

I don’t mind her choosing her own path in life, it’s what others will name her. My mother thinks she’s out of control. My sister-in-law thinks she’s out of control. These are people who don’t even know her. What would the society speak of Praveena if she begins a drug addicts help centre? They would blame her, they would despise her. And I can’t see my daughter cowering in shame. What if she asks me why I hadn’t warned her earlier? How will I handle that?

I’m her father, I should have the responsibility to stop her when she’s on the wrong path.

But what pains me most is that I’m denying her the pleasure of doing something good. She is not doing the wrong thing; she only wants to do something that people would interpret wrongly. I am only worried for her future.

Geetha and I have long lived away from family and the prying eyes of society. I am worried that Praveena would go the same path. She is about to defy our family and friends. And if I stand by and watch, I’m thrusting her into the same future Geetha and I faced. And I don’t think she can take it.

But I can’t tell her that. She would argue, just as we did. And she would be right. But I have a feeling she would later regret her decisions; when she wants family she’d have no one. After all, we did it. But Geetha and I had each other and we didn’t regret because were happy together. But Praveena would be alone. If all fails, she would have no one but me. And our family — I hate every one of them, yes — will blame me for ruining a girl’s life, again. I just hope Praveena understands without hating me.
I’ve lost sleep.



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