Friday, February 10, 2006

Pakistani Drama

I feel like shit this week. I wonder why to myself. And then my weekend comes back to me.

Last week I had told my mother I was planning to move out. Her initial reaction was to say, “fine” as she walked away in a huff. Then on the weekend she comes and sits herself down on the edge of my bed, and pleads to understand why I wanted to move out.

“Why would you want to move out? Why would you give up the comfort of your home and the happiness you have with your family?” She asks her eyes big and doe like.

“If you have to ask these questions, then I can’t answer them for you.”

I feel the answer is self-evident. My father and I have not exchanged a single word in almost a year. My brother and I barley speak for more than five-minutes. And, since my mother implicitly sides with my father and does not see any wrong in his treatment of me, I avoid her. A few weeks ago, I came into the kitchen to eat dinner. My father who was already eating, got-up took his plate, and continued to eat in the living-room. I sat down at the kitchen table, and my mother gaily continued some story. I can’t live in this insanity, this pretend happy family.

She sits there demanding an answer, for understanding as to why I want to leave. And, I don’t want to get into it with her. Partly because I know she is incapable of understanding, she has proven that far to many times in the past. I keep answering that I don’t want to get into it with her, and that really she should already know the answer. She keeps denying any knowledge of any sort of problem in our family.

“What problem do you have with your father?” She finally asks. It’s a grudging question, forcing her to reveals cracks underneath the veneer. “He leaves you alone. After that day you were so rude to him, he stays out of your way.”

Fire courses through my veins and my heart seems to be beating fast enough to support another two people. I can’t believe that is her interpretation of events.

“I don’t have a father.”

“How can you say that?” Her face is wide with horror.

“Anyone can put there thing in a woman and make children. But to be a father is something else entirely. And that man is no father. He has disrespected you and this family. If you want to ignore that and live in your make-believe world go right ahead, I can’t help you. But I don’t want to have anything to do with it.” She is speechless. I soften my voice. “Listen, just because I want to move out, doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I love you very much, I just can’t live here anymore.”

“I understand everything now.” Her voice is rising in crescendo as tears well up in her eyes. “You want to divorce yourself from your family, your parents. You want to go and live in sin and engage in evil.”

I am now speechless. I get up and open the room to my door.

“Please leave. Because if you don’t leave right now, I am going to say something that is very rude.”

“This is how you talk to your mother? See this is what happens when you befriend black people.”

“Please leave.” She remains firmly planted on my bed.

“Fine stay in my room.”

I exit my room and go into my sisters room. I make a weak smile at her, and she gives me a look of understanding.

“But why do you have to say your opinions?” She asks. I glare at her. She withdraws the question, and we watch Sex in the City in silence. About ten minutes pass and my mother comes into my sisters room to deliver her climax performance.

She is fully weeping now, and can’t talk without hiccupping from her crying. There was once a time that this would move me, and make me reverse all the things I had said. Now I sit and stare at her, my heart like a stone.

“Fine, if you want to move out, move out. You can leave right now. I won’t stop you.”

“That’s good.” I respond back.

“You can break your mothers heart. You don’t care anymore.”

“You’ve watched too many Pakistani dramas. This is not a drama.”

“So you think your mother is a drama now?” This brings a new onslaught of tears.

“If this isn’t a drama, I don’t know what is. There isn’t music playing in the background.”

“You don’t care about your family anymore. You want to go live in sin.”

“I don’t fucking care about my family?” I have snapped. I stand up. “Fucking….”

Bhaijan, please, don’t start,” my sister pleads. “Don’t start. Your going to say something you’ll regret.” I take a deep breath, and bite my tongue. I go into my room, slam the door, and play the last song I downloaded, Dum Maro Dum by Asha Bhosle with the Kronos Quartet. Ironically the lyrics seem appropriate as Asha seems to be singing personally to me,

Duniya ne hum ko diya kya? (What has the world given us?)
Duniya se hum ne liya kya? (What have we taken from the world?)
Hum sub ki parva kare kyun? (Why should we care about everyone else?)
Sub ne humara kiya kya? (What has everyone else done for us?)

Chaho jiyenge, marenge (Whether we live or die)
Hum na kisi se darenge (We won’t fear anyone)
Hum ko na roke zamana (This age will not stop us)
Jo chahenge hum karenge (We’ll do whatever we want)

Of course as a family we all are currently acting like the weekend blow-up didn’t happen. It’s funny how strong the contagious the power of delusion is, I kept wondering why I felt depressed of sorts this week. The events some what being forgotten in my own memory. And then when I remembered this weekend, I think to myself, who wouldn’t feel like shit after that?