Pallavi Ghosh

The Secret Pact

Today is the day when I choose to talk about as many fears as I can recall and there are many. So I will need two things from you:

  1. The prime requirement for our project today is your patience and our time. So we need to concentrate on each other and guard ourselves against deception.
  2. Both of us are required to hide tonight’s revelations from each other. We might share it elsewhere though.

So shall we begin?

Back when I was not taller than two feet, I was locked in a bathroom trying to run away from a not-more-than three feet tall boy because I had refused to accept his money, which was somehow lost. Back then, when he said that I had to pay for what I had lost by satisfying him, I did not get much of it but understood that it was not something that was ‘good’ for me. For that is the only way I could understand the world then basing it entirely on two words- good and bad. But somehow I opened the bathroom and ran as fast as I could to my mother, to whom I did not share this because of some fear that somewhere I was wrong.

But even before that, may be a year ago…now memories mingle and exactness of time is unattainable… But some time before the bathroom incident, I was playing a game with two of my childhood friends- one was my brother’s age and one may be a year or some months older to me. The game was not ‘fun’ since when my brother entered with another person- my young friend’s sister, our game stopped and something on their faces told me that it was not something ‘good’ again. I was horrified and feared that I had done something wrong again and kept crying and pleading that he does not say anything to my parents. I was scared again that somehow I was wrong although I did not know how and why it was so.

But as my vocabulary grew along with my understanding of the world, I had other instances and other words for those instances. It was when we- my brother and I- were headed towards our school. We were travelling in a public bus and I was very lazy to stand throughout the journey. So despite my brother asking me not to go back, finding an empty seat I went and planted myself there. Slowly and more prominently the man, who was my father’s age, made his fingers be felt more against my adolescent breasts. I told him to stop; asked for help; sought for my brother, but he was too far; but all this to no avail. And so I stood and went where my brother was standing. I went up to him and told him what had happened and he said, “I told you not to go there.” Our stop had arrived and we deboarded the bus and the incident from our minds. I was wrong for my brother this time, but not for me and I had a single word for both of them and their actions- assault!

But the fear is not located in any of these incidents. You see, I had always a shield-like mechanism in front of my family and even today, somehow, I do not like feeling vulnerable in front of them. I go out of my way to assert my strength; my independence even at times when I am really shaking within and am just on the verge of delirium. So, it was some 20 years later when my mother was sharing similar childhood experiences that had been swiped off with disbelief and erased from memories and I had immediately shielded myself; I narrated everything in a matter-of-fact way while it churned my stomach and shook me to the core. I hated my brother’s friend, knowing in retrospect what game he played with me. Although I confess that I did not feel any hatred towards the other boy, because somewhere in my mind he was equally innocent since he was not that old and perhaps could not have made anything out of the entire incident other than a game, which is how it looked to me back then. But I was always curious if he remembered it later and if yes, what did he think? However, so all of this that made me feel vulnerable, I somehow kept away from my family and eventually I also kept myself away from family in general. The thought of their being a support mechanism somehow never occurred to me and this was only natural considering that we all had our own struggles to fight back then and even now. But again, this is still not the moment.

Here comes the moment and here comes the knife and blood shall spew out of it. It was at 4:15 am on a cold 16th December morning, on a Monday that I had shared everything with my mother. Every fear, every emotion. I felt vulnerable and I cried. It was for the first time that I cried because of the pain and anger from my past; from these very incidents; from these violations. At this time the body was bare but the knife was missing. And it here now that the knife pierced the bare body and blood sprung out of me in uncontrollable volumes when after a few years of the revelation, when nothing remained between us and what remained was nothing other than bitterness and hurt, she did not remember. She did not remember anything!

It was once again wiped off. The scratches on the walls of history were once again white-washed to look as clean as a blank slate. It was then that I began to die. I turned emotionally frigid over the years distancing myself from everyone in every way possible until I finally died a few years later. In those last years of fear, the more others tried to suggest anything close to the word love- friendship, family, flirting, romance, any kind of bond- the more fearful I became. The more they asked how I felt, the more speechless I became; the more they tried to soothe me, the more agitated I became; I was scared that I will be written off all too easily again and again and again.

Now that I have inscribed my fears and you are my confidante, I cannot be written off anymore. You have been patient and I will thank you for it. Remember, you can share it but I should not know. But even if I come to know the secret, I will keep mum and you can do the same and we can keep doing this forever and forever.

Pallavi Ghosh
Pallavi Ghosh

Word from the author: “The entry is written in first person, but is fuses fiction and reality. In short, it is a story.”

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