9 December 2012


One moved to a foreign land, and it was like being thrown to the sharks. The culture, the language, the people were different. There was no one I knew. There was nothing I knew. Basic functioning became a challenge. I did not know where to go to get food. I did not know how to make food. I did not know how to make conversation with people in that land. I felt naked. I felt as if everything I had done till that point was useless. Those people did not look at that. They did not know what a tabla was. They had no time for discussions on Indian politics. Instead they thought my accent was funny. I moved my hands a lot. I didn't know how to talk about the weather.

I had to become a different person. I had to learn to talk again. I stuttered. It took me twice as long to say something to an Englishman than to say it to an Indian. I had to constantly think about not just what I was saying, but whether I was pronouncing it correctly. 'Correctly' changed when I moved there. What was correct here is funny there. I had to learn how to stop being an open book. I had to learn how to cook food. I had to learn how to run a house. I had to learn how to make small talk about things people there knew something about. There was no support system. I was alone. I had to do it on my own.

And I did.

I changed.

When I left, I was a different person. Somewhat at peace with myself. My entire life there, all the trials and tribulations had led up to that moment. The moment I would move back and realise my dreams. It was to be my move back home, to the place that was mine. Back to my people. Back to where I could be myself. Back where I would not have to put up false accents in order to avoid ridicule.

But something wholly unexpected has happened.

I feel trapped.

When you read descriptions of 'being trapped', you look at it with amusement. Sometimes you get moved momentarily and call it great literature. Sometimes it becomes an intellectual exercise; 'oh look, that's an interesting metaphor he's used to try and convey what it must feel like'. Experiencing it is a whole different matter.

I now know what they mean when they say 'he was trapped like a bird in a cage'. I'm no writer, so excuse the cliches I'm going to put down here.

I feel like I'm in a glass box. Every time I try reaching out, my hand is blocked by the glass. Violently. I thump at it. I try barging into it. I try to break the glass. My hands go numb from the pain. They start to bleed. My shoulder goes sore from colliding with the glass. The pain becomes unbearable. Tears roll down my cheeks, and do not stop. My voice goes hoarse from my cries for help. They get desperate, but there is no one to listen, no one to help. I feel broken. The tears have stopped because the tear glands have nothing left to give, yet there is this sickening desperation. I continue to cry and to scream, even though my vocal chords have long given way. My cries, my actions, my tears are all useless. There is no one to listen to them, no one to understand them. What makes it worse that the avenues you first came to when you moved back are the ones that are sucking the life from you.

There is a sickening feeling inside me. It is as if there is actually a physical entity inside me, that is slowly gnawing away at my insides. It makes me want to vomit, but I cannot vomit even if I try to. It clouds my mind so that I cannot see things clearly. It makes me want to do unspeakable things.

I miss being free. I may have had to change my external face to fit in, but at the core of it, I was free. The freedom to take your own decisions. The freedom to think. The freedom to be alone. The freedom to make mistakes. And the freedom to learn from them. The freedom of not having to wage a mini war to justify each and every thing you think or do. The freedom of being responsible for your own actions. The freedom of not having anyone else be responsible for you.

The freedom, dare I say it, to be yourself.

I realise I was more myself in a foreign land with a strange accent than I am now.

I am lost, and trapped.

I did not return to live a captive life.


  1. Why do you feel trapped at home? I thought coming home is liberating, is it not?

  2. I know exactly what it is to be trapped. Sometimes I felt I lived in a 'trap' : Even ran away....but one cannot escape oneself...
    pain is the fuel of mind and creativity...with a happy content comes slothful complacency, a doleful domestic existence, in short hell.
    So its alright to be in pain....
    but why did it happen wen u returned.?

  3. Saattvik....i know this is late, but i think i know what u mean...being trapped...coz i'm trapped too...

    I'm coming to watch The Pad tonight in Dadar...maybe when i see u i will know...if we r trapped in the same boat...