saata VOL: 1, ISSUE: 1 - Dec 2021 facebook

Creative Corner

The Collector of Stamps


Perhaps I was about two or three;
I was free as the wind; nothing to hide.
I shone like the sun, they worshipped me so
I was magic, joy; their undisguised pride.

It mattered not if I wanted this or that
Nor did it matter that I screamed or spat
My smile was precious, as were my tears
They were embraced equally, no one judged;

…and how I basked in all that Unconditional Love!

In fact, I remember, I distinctly do
I’ve an album full of pictures too;
Paint on my face, tantrum on the floor,
I was even amusing twirling on my toes!

Look at this child, they said, this Child so Free!
She’s such an absolute delight to be!

One day, (I’ve heard), I asked for a balloon;
They got me hundreds to fill up the room!
Bedtime stories went on for hours and hours;
Only so we could cuddle under the covers. 

Then sadly one day it stopped at that.
Was it because I stopped shining somehow?
or because the new baby had come to stay?
My arms reached out for a pick-me-up
but looks like I was all out of luck;
their hands were full with baby and laundry
and I was asked to stop being a whiny baby. 

I remember how cold the tears felt on my face
When they dried up sooner than they possibly could.
  Filled with shame, but not knowing why,
It didn’t seem ok to want to cry.

Stroke me, I silently pleaded, I’m still here
- your magic, your joy, your undisguised pride.

I was forgotten like the Sun, in a corner of the room
All warmth and light, but never looked at too.
Curled up into a tight little ball,
Would I just shrivel up and die?

Days went by in a little blur,
Bedtime stories replaced by silence stern,
The squeals and delight were no longer for me
I often felt like a non-entity. 

(How I made up this Game it’s hard to recollect…),
But if I wanted a hug, I gave the baby a kick
They’d descend on me - like screaming banshees,
But, well, if not a hug, they at least looked at me!

The hug that I needed pushed deeper inside
The sadness I felt was no longer required. 
The Racket I made – the anger worked perfectly fine;
At last, I was seen, heard and looked squarely in the eye!

This Racket worked somehow, I don’t know how
But their Negative Strokes were better than no Strokes at all!
I made peace with their anger, disappointment, sighs,
At least I could be seen; there was no need to hide.

And so it went; on and on,
Till I started to believe I was never wanted at all,
There’s something wrong, I’m not Ok,
And look! - they prove it to me every single day.

I became a collector, a collector of Stamps,
And pasted it in my book of grand life plans. 
I’ll never be important, no one will care,
I’m not important; can’t be happy and I shouldn’t dare!

I chose a partner, strong and stern,
Who didn’t like his wife so bold;
If It Wasn’t for You, I often said, and furiously so,
I would be right up there dancing on stage. 

In therapy I often puzzled
Of how my conversations were all the same,
Why Don’t You…they’d say, and offer help,
Yes, but…I’d fume, that’s really no good!

I despair of how I kept circling back
To the Racket of anger, and being a collector of Stamps.
Now I’m tired of playing the Game;
Of my relationships all ending the same,
The answer I know is somehow to find
That Free Child I left far behind,
And let her come out of her dark little corner,
And be the magic she always was. 

Krithika Akkaraju.


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