Of socks and shoes, and shoes and socks

When I was 10, a doctor made me my school shoes. They were like Charlie Chaplin’s. Rounded at the tip and the heaviest I have worn. Mum was taken to the hospital that year.I once wore wet socks to school, the maid forgot to dry them. Wet socks, heavy shoes. Children only laughed at the shoes. When mummy came back, they gave me my light school shoes back. I was light-headed at losing the weight. Elated at something commonplace.

6 days and I have not written a word, I am reminded. That only happens when things are either too good or I, too bad. Cozy shoes or wet socks. I cannot decide which one it is this time.

I am playing Blind man’s buff, spinning fast, facing South, facing north, and all four sometimes.

I had the best birthday. It went on for 13 days; longer than Navratri, Durga Pooja, Ganesh Chaturthi. I feel like one of the more consequential gods. I did not cry. I accepted gifts. Travel pillows, lamps, watches, anklets, books, tea pots, solo trips. With love. Not guilt. Rain boots and water puddles.

Yesterday, I ate the best food. I ate so much of it, my stomach hurt and head spun. Long walks, tight shoes.

I decided that I want to, for the next one year, work on being less thankful, accept things rightfully, and not just out of gratitude. To act, not react to situations. To make things with beads. I decided these things for myself with the confidence of a man yelling instructions at the Indian Cricket team in his TV. Like I, the girl who is 3 doses of skipped medicines away from having an emotional breakdown, should know what is good for a 26 year old Prachi of the future. And I did, by the way, miss medicines, till I had a spinning head-ache, then slept a bad sleep. Wet shoes, crumpled socks. This was a deep, layered dream sleep, one of the worst kinds, where you are jumping from one layer to other in search of the exit door. Mine had clowns in it, people from the past mixing with people in the present. It was very unlike the dreams I had after I ate brownies of a questionable kind.

I woke up from both. Eventually. My body was tired like I had swum a mile against the current. No shoes, white socks.

But I have never been better in my mind. For the first time I have internalized the idea that good things will happen and happiness is inevitable. Once when I was a 7, the children I played with, made me seek at Hide and Seek. They were older than me and I was not taught the word ‘no’. I counted till 50. I seek-ed for an hour, in the increasing heaviness of the evening. They had gone home.
I am used to feeling unwanted, feeling of home is new.
I hear “You are home. I go where you go” and I do not feel jealous. I look at it as a goal now. I do not look at anxiety as burden, I look at it as a bundle to be undone. For the first time in my life. I have shed the finality that was sewn into my skin. I know I make people, habits, feelings.

I am still affected by people. But I stand in the shower and have a woman-to-woman with myself. I remind me why I do what I do, make photos, write, work, play, love. So I try to better myself at ‘that was insensitive’, and at ‘that haircut makes you look thinner’, I do not even blink.

I am, fuller, than I was ever in the last 25 years. There is no other way of explaining it, except saying it in other inexplicable ways. I feel like my being is denser, in a good way. Made of more things. In it, not all goes. From it, not all is deflected.

Dirty shoes, white socks.


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