She lived an ordinary life. She did. She took care of the house and had an uninspiring monotonous job. Day-in and day-out, she lived as dictated by the society around her. Twice a year, she along with her family went for a holiday. She seemed happy enough, content enough. From the outside, she was like any other person. But, she had a secret… not a terrible one, but a magnificent one… at least for her.
A secret no one knew, not her friends, not her family. A secret that made her extraordinary, at least, in her own eyes. You see, she had unlimited access to an alternate world… a world of immense possibilities, of great romances, of mysterious adventures. A world that she had created… A universe she could control. When the real world didn’t make sense, she would step into this alternate one… the one where she could weave words, where she could alter destinies, where she could change the ending.
People found her looking intently at nothing, and they thought she was daydreaming. She is not focused, they whispered behind her back. There were times when she could be found murmuring to herself. She is a little off, they commented. ‘You should stop daydreaming and concentrate on your career.’ ‘Stop wasting time.’ But, what they didn’t know was that at those times she was visiting her private world. Her sanctuary that sparkled, where magic happened, where dreams came true, where people triumphed against all odds… Her universe where people had the option of a do-over, where destiny and fate had no hand to play, where Cinderella didn’t need a Prince Charming to rescue her, where Romeo and Juliet didn’t die.
At times, the two worlds would collide, the real and the clandestine. The actual world and the feelings associated with it would impose themselves into her fantastical realm. The times when her secret haven would be tormented with guilt, and sadness, and hopelessness, and agony. But, still she preferred it over the real, any day. After all, it was her own… her personal heaven, her private hell. She nurtured it lovingly, pouring in words, weaving stories, creating characters, forming plots. Did she feel Godlike? Sometimes. Did it give her a sense of importance? Maybe.
People said she was a great listener. You give great advice, they complimented. She could be found nodding along, listening to people discuss their problem and observing them, silently. How they sat, how they talked. She would scrutinize their gestures, study their nuances. And when she retreated into her personal asylum, she would recreate them. She would give A’s habit of brushing the hair out of her eye to B. She would give B’s nose twitching laugh to C. She would see a couple fighting and her mind would erupt with questions. Who are they? Why are they fighting? Maybe he cheated on her? Maybe she broke his favorite watch? She would see a man playing with a baby, and she would think up a back story. Is he the father? Is he an uncle? Her mind was always at work. Her words were always arranging and rearranging themselves. She was always making up stories, always. It was not a conscious effort. The stories would just gush out of her like a spring of water and they would spread all over her soaking her dull existence. The words rained down on her dry parched days and enveloped her with their sweet perfumed petrichor.
There were times when she saw people close to her willingly make unhealthy decisions, she would stop them… she tried to show them the mirror, tried to point them in a different direction. But, all in vain. She realized, soon enough, that people didn’t like to be told what to do. Hell, she didn’t like to be told what to do. At those times, she withdrew into her world. She made them choose a different path. She made them happy. When she saw circumstances in the real world taking away the will and hope from people she cared about, she changed those situations in her fantastical world. She made them succeed. When she herself felt trapped, she gave herself options that were not available in reality. Her inner chamber was her refuge where anything was possible. It was an outlet that made life a little less challenging. The powerlessness of the real transformed into a mighty force in secret. Was it escapist? Absolutely.
Eventually, she longed to take someone with her to her safe haven. She wanted to see how they would react when they saw her creations. Will they like it, will they hate it? These questions kept her awake at night, sometimes. She wanted to give people hope. She wished to tell them, ‘you are not alone’. She longed for them to see that there was another way, always. She craved for them to see what she could… to know what she knew. She yearned to share her special habitat. She didn’t want to be famous or make money; she just wanted to be heard. She knew there were these stories inside her… The stories which sometimes burst out of her like overripe peas from a pod. There were times she thought she would come apart at her seams and all her words would tumble out and she would be empty… she would once again become ordinary. The thought scared her, petrified her.
It was then, she decided to write… She wrote to let go, she wrote to hold on. She wrote...