A diagnosis of a complex character…

It takes no real genius to say that all of us are bits and pieces of the shit we’ve been or going through. Each experience we’ve had has hit us like shrapnels of a powerful bomb — imprinting themselves on our bodies, never to leave and too complex to surgically remove.

And whether you’re beaming with joy all day, an outstanding boss, a horrible friend, a good son/ daughter, an okay boyfriend… there are reasons that led you to be like that. This article is an attempt at embracing the little shrapnels that are still living and shaping us till date — whether their effects are bad/ good/ ugly is besides the point. Hopefully, it’ll open us up to understanding someone’s standing in life a little more.

Stage 1: Getting dressed for school. Uniform, hair, glasses, backpack — perfect. Just about to step out when mother shouts from behind. “How can you wear your hair like that? People will see your face! Cover it up”

Stage 2: Playing at dusk. Chai and snacks were served and we were simply chit chatting. Dad walks in and says “Who wants to go for a ride?” All of us jump up but my brother gets picked — “Girls shouldn’t go riding on bikes…”

Stage 3: Sitting at the family shop. I was drawing on the blank cash memo pages. I was in the early days of pubescence and didn’t know what was going on with my body. The shop help at the time sat next to me and slipped his hand on my bare thigh. My skin began to crawl and I jammed the pen I was holding in my hand into his. He still smiled. I ran away and after about half a month I told my mother. She told my grandma who was managing the store at the time… her response — “Your daughter must’ve done something to invite it.”

Stage 4: New/ first boyfriend wants to get married. “Don’t you want a peaceful life… away from all this.. near your parents.. I mean what great work are you gonna do outside of Manipur anyway?” — he said.

When I said no… we fought. He called me a whore, a slut and more.

Stage 5: Working professional at a reputed ad agency. I have bouts where I second guess myself — because you know, life & people. I start to have complicated work relationships too. During one of the many tiffs, I was told: “You’ve come this far only based on the fact that you have breasts, nothing else.”

Stage 6: No replies to text messages, no call backs.

Stage 7: Crippling awkwardness, social anxiety, incessant need to be left alone, inability to make small talk or any talk.

Result: Signed. Sealed. Labelled: Complicated.

These are my personal experiences and I’ve penned them with a sole purpose of showing that a person is not what they are on the surface. There’s so much that goes into making them who they are. You might hate them, love them, be indifferent towards them but you can’t deny someone’s journey and what they’ve been through to become who they are. So next time we look at people, we don’t necessarily have to peel back the layers.. but at least be in a place where you are ready to accept and listen. After all, that’s what most people want — to be heard. The question is… Are you ready to listen?