I am three. We are taking a trip, the entire family packed into a minivan. There are no empty spaces in the vehicle: it is stuffed with adults, kids, bags of snacks both savoury and sweet. We aren’t going too far from home, just a little outside the parts of city we are familiar with, down the stretch of road along the beach. We are spending the day at an amusement park that promises to be fun for all ages.
My parents are discussing what ride to go on next.
“Everyone should be able to go,” my mother declares.
My father is still thinking.
“Okay, let’s go on the giant wheel.”
They stand around talking some more, but I don’t want to wait. I waddle off in search of the giant wheel, of course I know what it looks like. I stand in the queue, but when it’s my turn to go in, the man guarding the gate scoops me up.
“You’re too small, you can’t go.”
“But we are going on the giant wheel next.”
He wants me to wait.
“Where are your parents?”
He asks me my name and age, and proceeds to announce into the microphone. He says I’m lost.
My parents come running soon, others trailing behind.
“We were so scared!”
“Why did you go off like that?”
“You should wait for us.”
“But you said we are going on the giant wheel next,” I informed them.
Maybe I just couldn’t wait for them to get moving.
I am eighteen. We are having an argument, about a boy who likes me too much. He likes me enough to threaten to kill himself if I don’t agree to be his girlfriend.
My father is not buying it, he says I must have led the boy on, given him signals. My mother is crying, but also yelling. Everything is incomprehensible.
“You were too friendly, you didn’t know to draw the line,” they tell me.
I don’t want to stand there to hear more of this, so I leave the house, catch an auto-rickshaw. The driver doesn’t ask me questions because he can see the tears and phlegm on my face. He drops me off at my friend’s place, and from this friend I borrow money so I can pay him.
My parents ask me to come back.
“You shouldn’t have run off like that.”
Maybe I just couldn’t wait for them to understand.
I am twenty five. My parents and I, we are waging a long war, about love and arranged marriage, and a candidate they want me to consider. The war goes on for days and nights, months and years.
They don’t hear me, or even if they do, they like to believe logic has deserted me. We speak in silences.
One time, the noise is deafening, and I leave in the middle of night, without money or a change of clothes, with just my phone and nowhere to go. I don’t want to wait for them to come around.
My brother calls me.
“I’m waiting for you to come back, I’ve left the door open.”
I return. I am not told I shouldn’t have left.
Maybe they are used to it by now, maybe they imagine I know better.