It is important I write this today this very minute before I lose this moment. And I don’t wish to escape it anymore. Today, this very minute as I type this out around 3ish pm IST, exactly 19 years ago was the day I ran away from home and that was the reason I was brought to India – cause I was an embarrassment and ‘spoiled’ the family name. It wasn’t to understand the culture or have a different education or a happy change unlike what was disclosed. I had cycled it on my uber cool BMX to another state. This very minute as I remember it, it was scorching hot and I was exhausted since I left home at 6.30am. I had no food but a bottle of my favourite drink 100Plus. I had to ration the little I had but that very instant it poured. It rained. It stormed. There was lightning indeed. Every car slowed down – some stopped on the side as they simply could not see anything to drive through such a weather. Every motorist took shelter under a flyover. But since I loved the rain and I had a bike that was a stunt bike and not a racing bike, I ended being the only one on the road. Few cars passed by on the middle lane with head lights blinking away. All I had was a huge huge huge smile on my face and I screamed my lungs out cause I knew no one would have heard that. There I was zooming downhill with my hands in the air with absolute nothing to worry about cause 14 year old’s (especially the notorious kinds) don’t pay attention to what we have to lose. I felt my first sense of freedom (not because I ran away) but the price in which it came. It was also the first time I had begun hearing voices. I hitchhiked a truck. I had disguised myself as a boy to save myself from what I thought normally would happen to girls but it turned out girls weren’t the target in that particular town. That night I never slept. I couldn’t. Because by about 3.30 am (12th morning) my soul got shattered in various ways. I had my taste into a forbidden journey that left a part of me behind and another that is supposed to be undergoing therapy :). Memories even for that 14 year old is fuzzy as heroin was shot through my veins. That was the last thing I remembered and I continue remembering fragments of things every time I write a little more…another doorway opens even if I do not want to see it but it’s time to not escape it this time. (sorry can’t share more you’ll just have to wait for my book to get done) But all in all, nature was there and there came few kind strangers and animals. Whether it was tears, or blood, or grime, or dirt, or grease, or mud it just rained washing me in the process and nature helped take pieces of me that I was perhaps not equipped to understand at that point and gave me a different tool – that of dissociating. That is a price I had to pay for what I chose – a huge price and many more followed after that glimpse of freedom a 14 year old wanted. I know I would be told to not share this since it’s going to be in my book. This is just an excerpt of it and by the time the book is written I am not going to get this 2nd decade moment again to share on the precise date and time. Cause somewhere in many corners of the world, will be another 14 year old who won’t be reading this cause he or she might be going through what I did. And I can only hope that that 14 year old will be blessed by nature and have someone tell him or her that they are not alone in their journey. For when I was found and returned home, I looked back at my BMX being carried out from the trunk of the car and I wanted to run away again even though whatever that transpired should have killed me. I felt that way because when I looked at every possible person who were all at home I became many things to them by then. My siblings couldn’t do much or say much cause the adults were busy about how they felt. 14 years later I could say ‘yes’ when my older sister asked me if what she had intuited was right as she carried that feeling and tried conveying it to my parents but she too was not an ‘adult’ to have a say. But you know who really made life still worth every shot of enjoyment for that same 14 year old? Every bit of cheekiness and being a trouble…that didn’t change. There were these group of people alright. And they were confused no doubt, but when I walked in – given whatever might be running in their heads or the gossip there would have been, this group jumped at the sight of seeing me and every day after that was still about having fun, having friends, my crazy crew cut, fooling around and causing mischief and not to forget….being sent to study camps where we did still sit next to another when we felt vulnerable but couldn’t speak or share our fears. These were none other than other 14 year old’s. 14 year old girls in a girls school. It didn’t matter who said what or who did what – we were present in each other’s existence. What raises a question in my head at this juncture in my life is ‘Are 14 year old girls or just girls for that matter encouraged to talk about their feelings, fears and vulnerabilities. We lead to this belief that often girls talk and boys don’t. But as I recollect my past, none of us said a word about what happened. My friends were there to cheer me up when they caught me drifting away somewhere else. One or two did make an attempt to ask but they didn’t know how even though they were my closest of friends. We broke locks but we also fixed cupboards where we kept our heavy school books. I wonder if we were all using that cupboard far more than just storing our heavy books. Was it really the heavy burden of carrying books to school?