It has been a night as long as I remember.
I am on the better side of the half-broken roof of my house. lt feels like I have been here forever now.
I fought with my mother. It was more like she yelling and me bowing my head down with my tightly closed fist and clenched teeth, holding back the tears that had formed as a result of my repressed anger towards her. Towards everyone.
I lived in a one bedroom-kitchen-bathroom home whose roof had fallen amid the havoc of Mumbai monsoons with my elder brother, who was mostly out and my mother who worked in some rich business man’s home. She worked so much that her hands didn’t look like hands now.
They were more like the roads of Mumbai with cracks and holes in them. She was always agitated and angry. At me. At every one, but mostly at my dad, who had gone missing when I was 5. The rumor was that he joined some gang and was now behind bars for selling drugs to rich school children.
I studied in the 10th class. Well, you can’t call it studying. I go to the building with no plaster and algae-covered bricks in Dharavi once a month, sometimes two. Last, when I went there, they were teaching something about energy.
The old lady with no black hair said that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to another. I heard this one sentence and then drifted away into the Mayanagri’s charms.
I often dream about becoming a Bollywood star someday, and dance to those tacky songs and wear those gaudy clothes.
Those thoughts were far from me at this time.
I was thinking of my anger being converted to helplessness and melancholy. I was hearing everything my mother said to me.
About me. About my dad. About the world being cruel to her. About everything.
To silence the voices in my head I put my earphones in (of which only one side was working) and plugged it into an old broken phone my brother gave me when he was last home. And I listened to the 4-5 songs it had in it over and over again, but I didn’t hear any words, all I heard was loud screaming noise inside my head.
As far as I looked I could see the houses, the slum area. Today it felt like the neverending sea of thoughts that were storming up in my head.
“What did I do wrong? Why does she hate me so much? Does she see my dad in me? Then too, how is it my fault?”
The night was so long and it was passing slowly. I don’t remember when I drifted off to sleep on the roof.
I woke up with her voice, ” Manu, come breakfast is ready. I made maalpudas for you. They’re your favorite na?”
I saw my phone, it had turned off. The sun had risen and it was bright everywhere.
I climbed down, washed my face and looked in the mirror, my mother was standing behind me, smiling.
No matter how long the night is, the sun will always shine, and the night will always come, but it’ll end again.
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