I was a little girl in early 1990s, as most of the females are at some point in their life ... I was terrified of the dark. I couldn't walk past the veranda of my grandparent's house without being accompanied by an adult during night time. Clutching the big adult hand with my little hands, sometimes my nails dabbed with nail enamel if I was lucky enough to convince my Mum to let me try it. Darkness was dreadful to me in that era, so were Cats, darkness signified to me that some monster is lurking in it to get me. Well, err my prime concern was not just the villainous monsters but also the great God above.
I remember those religious/ mythological shows on telly that implied that God was watching every action from above the clouds and commenting about stuff to his female companion. They, God and his lady, were mostly teasing each other in their cloud living room with a gaudy furnishing and a serpent couch. On a second thought, I liked the furnishing and the dresses and the tiaras ... I remember not being able to understand the premise of the show or what was going on in the show. All I knew was that at some points God often formed stairs of clouds (well-decorated stairs with carpet!) and walked down the stairs stunned the mortal he was watching over and made him so happy and fortunate. Sometimes the cloud stair was replaced by smoke! And puff! Came the God guy or Goddess lady. Or seldom the lightning in the sky ... and God yelling at the corrupt mortal, from the clouds in a hologram form. So I was convinced that it was the casual way of God's conversing with us mortals. Being a young mortal myself it terrified me.
I didn't want God to startle me with his ways I was just not ready for that kind of excitement. I often prayed to God "Please don't show up! Please don't show up!" ... I never told the grown-ups about my concern related to God showing up, but I asked them, how will they feel if God came to them. The Grown-ups often seemed indifferent and/or unconcern by the matter. Thus I never showed my weakness by telling them that it was scary to me. I was a big and strong girl! duh!
One person who wanted me to be unafraid of the dark was my Grandpa. Now, as an adult, I like darker and quieter time of the day the most. I often think about the time when he would help me practice facing my fears. On the windy and soothing nights of the 1990s, after we had dinner my grandpa use to take me to the veranda and tell me, patiently, how it was all the same as daytime. He would explain to me, our veranda was still the same the other end led to the little garden with flowers, where I played in evening. I image of that garden is still so fresh in my mind, the beautiful Hibiscus, Rangoon Creeper, Golden trumpet and some occasional roses and tiny white flowers with strong fragrance. There was a black and white Gate next to the garden. I swung on that gate every evening... My Grandpa eventually convinced me of the fact that it was all the same just with no light to help us see. After a few days of this routine of explaining, he asked me do I want to test it? After a little reluctance, I agreed and I was set on the biggest adventure of my life till that day. I was to go and touch the trunk of the Hibiscus tree, all by myself, in the dark of night. I did it and while I was running in the veranda towards the tree and back, all the while my grandpa's voice from the other side of the veranda was comforting me. "I am right here, it is all the same as it is in the evening..." I ran back to him after touching the tree and being assured that it was same in the dark only I couldn't see it. I swear I felt a little bit grown-up that day.
As for the telly shows on mythology were concerned, I was soon barred from watching them as I cried my heart out after watching an episode in witch, a woman drowned her newborn baby in a river. What Evil! I had a little baby sister and babies meant my little sister, whom I loved so much. Yup, I was one of those siblings who love their younger siblings and never feel a hint of jealousy towards the new member. I kid you not that is a rare thing and it is kind of a window to the future relationship of the siblings in question.
I didn't mind being barred from that Sunday Morning Doordarshan's mythological show, that was the best thing that happened to me! I was busy stealing milk powder and Bon-vita from the kitchen while adults were occupied with their "Main samay hun!" telly show!
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