So what scares you to hell? Probably a wrong question to ask at 1.00 am. Maybe it’s the mid-week crisis or maybe the mind playing things when things are changing around you. While still on bed, at 1.00 am in the morning, flashed through my mind the memories of the old winding road, the scary trees, and the long cycle journeys and thoughts about my childhood.
Childhood is a scary memory for many of us. For those of who have seen the Netflix series “The supernatural”, maybe our life is not that scary as theirs in the childhood, but then pretty much everyone has a memory from their childhood, that still brings a chill through the bones. For me today, it was the sound of drums from the temples nearby, the lonely cycle journeys through the unfamiliar roads near my house, it was the look on the face of some people who stood on the roadway.
So why am I thinking all that at such a late night. Not sure why. Maybe the sadness of life changing around us. Maybe the thought of growing up. Maybe, just maybe, I am still afraid of the things around me?
Being an adamant child, I fought with my parents in my 3rd grade to buy me a cycle. Despite all the issues they faced, they never said no to any of my wants; which ranged from the boat journeys from Chenganasseri to Alappuzha to my requests for hot fish curry at late nights when they were going to sleep to have with the loaf of bread I kept stocking at my house. I am sure, most of you who are reading this, have no clue what I am trying to convey. It’s just me recollecting the different memories of incidents where I pushed my parents to do things I wanted when they didn’t have the money/energy to get me those. But ya, in my 3rd grade, I got my own bicycle. I have a lot of memories about that cycle. All the long routes I took before reaching home everyday. All the roads I tried to explore in a 10 km radius from my school to house. How I reached school sweating every single day. And for all my seniors, it was a fun sight. A kid, who couldn’t even walk straight, coming to school in a kiddie cycle. Ha, memories.
So, when I got this cycle, I started going out a lot. Every evenings, every weekends, I used to just cycle. Hours at a stretch, through all the different roads I could find. That’s around the time I developed a fondness for reading. Read everything i could get hold of. From the old National Geographic magazines of my grandpa, to the novels I found on top of the wooden ceiling. I tried and read it all. And then I wanted to go to a library. I found one a couple of kilometers away from my house and used to cycle there every now and then. Was it the joy of cycling or the pleasure of reading? Perhaps the fun of adventure!
The rains in Kerala are very nostalgic. Beautiful. Oh, how I miss those days. I remember, riding to the old library on my kiddie bike. The old building near that big tree. Perfect setting for a movie I feel. The old librarian and the untouched books full of dust, I loved that place. But that day, it was cloudy. It was about to rain. Bit scared, worried about what mom is going to say, I started hurrying back home, but all of a sudden the rain started to fall. And looking back, probably that was the most scariest moment I ever had. I was lost, took a wrong turn somewhere and all of a sudden, I was drenched in rain, in the middle of a lot of rubber trees. It was getting dark and scary and I stood there.
Today, that’s all that I remember. I tried to recollect the road back. I tried to recollect the memories of that place. But this is all that I remember. Everything else is just blank!
Lets roll back up a bit. It was a cold Christmas evening. I was in my bed, all tucked up to sleep, and all of a sudden I could hear the sounds of drums in the background. I used to sleep in between my Pappa and mummy, but that night I was alone. The drums always scared me. I couldn’t find joy in the happy mask of the Santa Claus but i kept listening to the frightening sound of the drums. I ran to my parents room, kept my face closer to my dad’s chest and I could still remember that moment frozen in time.
But looking back, I see how much I have changed.
I have travelled across the country alone, through roads I never knew, with people I have never met, wandering. I am not scared now, I am thrilled every time I prepare for a journey. I love the roads, the rain, the feeling of being lost.
I run to hear “Chenda melam” when I hear one these days. I love the rhythm, I love how every one of them harmonies with each other. I love the loudness and I get lost in it.
So yes, I have changed. World that scared a boy who was nine-year old is not that scary anymore for a twenty-five year old Man(Well, “Man” sounds weird when I am referring to myself. Still a boy I guess). So what scares me now.
That is probably a question that no one wants to answer. Because for me, what scares me now is love. What scares me now is family. What scares me now is in a way, myself.
One late night, a month back, I got a call from my Mom. She crying. She disconnected the phone in a few seconds after telling me they had an accident. I still remember her voice breaking. And that moment scared me. Even when I think back, probably that moment scared me the most in my entire life. Now when I call them every time and if they don’t answer my call in a couple of bells, I start freaking out. Everytime my phone shows a phone call from my parents, I am scared. I am scared of taking a phone call.
I am scared of the moments that await me. Maybe it is the uncertainty in life that I am afraid about. Not being sure of what you are, where you are heading. I read people saying how to overcome the fear of uncertainty and how it is harming us, but what if it’s not. What if, it’s a good thing when you learn that when you are uncertain about something, we try harder. We try harder to spend quality time with our loved ones, we try harder to achieve something, when we can. We try harder to prove ourselves that we don’t have to be afraid of the uncertainties any more, because you can be in control. Maybe, uncertainty in life is the biggest advantage.
An hour into writing this, I am still wondering, why I wrote this. What is it that I wanted to convey. I am afraid. Maybe I just wanted to admit it to myself. I wonder what a psychologist might say when they read this. What would you label me as.
From the boy who was scared of darkness, sounds, loneliness and ghosts, I grew up to be scared of myself.
So what are you afraid of?