Calling all poets. Submissins are open for Wingword Poetry Competition!

DYSFUNCTIONAL NORMALITY

Priya Modi

Pam and Ro were nonchalant girls born in two contrasting worlds. Pam was born in an educated and well-settled family in an urban city whereas Ro was born to a conservative and simple family with economic hardships in the same city. Pam and Ro have never met each other. This is a parallel story of how the two, being born in the same planet, same country, with same religion, same gender, caste and creed, and brought up in the same cultural environment have faced unbelievably converse life experiences.

Pam was brought up in a family with less familial pressures and restrictions. She had freedom to explore the world and not be judged. Pam’s parents paid little heed to what the society or their extended family members lamented about their daughter as they trusted her upbringing and moral values.

However, Ro’s family was skeptical about Ro and her sisters throughout their lifetime. They lived under constant fear and uncertainty of what the effects of their daughter’s actions would entail on the society members. They were always worried that someday or the other there could be complaints about their daughter Ro from the neighbors or other societal folk. Ro was a red head and highly volatile. She grew up rebellious and dejected her parents for holding the outsiders of the family a more reliable source of what their daughter had been up to rather than confiding in her and trusting her. Apparently their peers and colleagues in the society have nothing better to do than to degrade and pass horrendous comments on other people’s children in order to satisfy their innate greedy and brute nature or sometimes only to reflect their own children as better. Cruel but sadly very much true, this is the society Pam and Ro were brought up in and where we talk about liberation, this happened without their consent.

Although Pam’s parents trusted her and allowed her the freedom Ro was denied. The urban class was never devoid of its own high societal problems. Conspiracies and deception take a greater turn at this junction as the powerful and the elite tussle with the middle class in gruesome conspiracies and unending virtual competitions. Pam was a victim of sexual abuse by her neighbor and a family member. She had tried to talk about it to her parents however they refused to take action due to the subsequent embarrassment and humiliation they’d have to face at both home and work place. They consoled their daughter and supported her sincerely yet whenever she asked them to confront the abusers, they’d compensate by telling her that it was of no use as it would only harm Pam’s reputation and words spread quicker than a fire in the forest where they lived, Pam had to resort to forgiving the abusers and continuing life as if nothing happened.

One day Ro had been home from school when her male classmate visited to grab a copy of her notebook. The next day some of the neighbors complained of Ro’s maneuvers with the city’s immature boys and that her character does not come out well being engaged with them at such a young age, all on the pretext of that one time a boy visited her home. So hysterical went Ro’s mother that she beat Ro that night with a coat hanger until she promised not do that which she wasn’t even aware of doing in the first place. Such was the impression of society on Ro’s parents that they would believe anything an outsider would say about their daughters instead of hearing her out first. Ro was never given a chance to justify or advocate for herself. Such is the irony both Pam and Ro shared as even Pam’s parents, howsoever educated, in the end believed that societal image was everything.

So when we say that education uplifts, the same cannot be true as it only makes us contemptuous. Pam couldn’t comprehend why her parents won’t step up for her. Her mother reasoned one day that the family member who assaulted her was a rich businessmen and highly influential for her father’s job. Provoking the man would lead to her father lose his job. So if the man was confronted, her dad would be fired? Pam could become the reason behind her father’s expulsion and she didn’t have the heart to do that. So then she found herself under a moral dilemma, has anybody tried to grasp that? If the man is not confronted, what about Pam? Her feelings, her emotions; should it all just be drowned in the drain? Pam often wonders why it was so hard to punish a man for his crimes in a world which had advanced miraculously with technological innovation. The world that visions to make living more comfortable and peaceful has left the lives of these two innocent young souls tarnished and without justice.

Ro’s parents were not so educated but never objected to their daughters’ studies and ensured every possible way to educate the girls. Ro was very intelligent and a bookworm. She read philosophy, fiction and motivational literature whenever she could get the time. She would help people and excel in her studies. Somehow all of these aspects about Ro go unnoticed due to a simple spark of false rumor spread by their daughters’ haters. Acts done out of jealousy to get back at Ro are often severe and Ro’s parents despise them but blame Ro after all. Ro sustained huge difficulties in adjusting with her parents as she grew older and realized how small the world was where she lived in as compared to life on the five other continents. She learnt how wrongly her parents lived their way of life, succumbing to the jealousy and torment of outsiders and not relishing in the warmth of their own home created by their daughters. Ro knew she had to help her parents no matter how unjustly rude they behaved towards her because she was more matured and well read than them and it was only because of them that she was where she stood. With little hope, Ro had to accept the bitter truth which felt like taking poison and bear her family’s bizarre attitude throughout her life. In the world Ro’s parents had created for her, there was no freedom to speak, dress, move or behave in any way unaccepted by the society, not even her parents. She had to please not just her parents but even the outsiders. She wasn’t allowed to deviate from such environment nor dream big. Her thoughts brewed in a short boundary and there she was left to dwell on her own. Simply asking, why? Why in the world should that girl live up to the expectations of others who can be mind-numbingly dumb and uncivilized themselves and be forced to give up on her aspirations because of them?

On the other hand, Pam would encounter the neighbor and the family member on countless occasions and every time she’d be coerced by her parents to put up a good girl show however reluctant and uncomfortable she felt on the inside. For things can never go back to the way it were before. As the encounters increased, Pam isolated from people around her and welcomed the silence of her room quite often. With the passing of time, there seemed like an invisible distance brooding between Pam and her parents as she grew older. This distance was only bound to grow as the menaces of the abusers continued until Pam got totally dejected from everyone.
A world where Pam and Ro were taught about justice, freedom and less expectations from foreign literature, the real life never ceases to hit them hard in a totally different manner. They get lost in the books that talk about right to make your own decisions and live on your own terms like getting drowned in the deep sea or lost into a fantasy. ‘Could this all be true’ the two girls would wonder in the night before sleep? For such is the acidic reality they are forced to live out with a thousand words left unspoken inside them which shall never come out. It is the gravity of such words that make us aware that something is severely wrong happening to humanity. However, we will never be able to know those words now.

When they think about what it would feel like if things were normal, none could come up with a plausible explanation of normality. In chemistry, a formula has been derived in order to achieve normality.

“It is the concentration of a gram equivalent weight of solute per liter of solution”

This chemical solution is most potent at equilibrium when the gram weight is equivalent to the solute in which it is added. To achieve one normality, we need to convert the atomic mass of a molecule into its equivalent gram weight and add it to the solution. However, if the molecule consists of isotopes, the weight of the solute increases. Humanity functions around this formula unconsciously. The formula consists of three components, a solution, a gram equivalent weight and a solute. The main point of this experiment is to manifest that to achieve one normality, the gram weight should be equivalent to the solute taken. Pam and Ro play the part of the solution; their emotions and reactions are gram equivalent weights which respond to the quantity of the solute which can be regarded as societal stimulation. When the stimulation leads to excessive release or suppression of emotions, there is chemical imbalance just like the difference in weight due to the presence of isotopes. What makes isotopes so heavy are the extra neutrons present in them reflecting the scorned memories of these girls. Pam and Ro faced harsh realities from society but were unable to act upon it. The solute added was little meaning a simple instigation like the act of sexual advance or starting false rumor but its effect on the gram weight or their emotions was highly penetrating and downsizing. Maybe it is time to question such abnormal stimulation or allow such dysfunctional normality to continue to exist.


1 comment

  • Worth every second invested in reading it… Marvelous 😊

    Firoz

Leave a comment