18 October 2018
Remember that time when you grudged someone for not lending you an eraser? You possibly remember the situation but have lost context of the face associated with that incident. Remember how you grudged someone of asking your crush out despite knowing you wanted a shot? Thinking back, you are now probably glad it never worked out.
You don’t remember these incidents over the years, but more often than not, you remember having nurtured a grudge. How it crept into your mind and then so sneakily made its way deep down into your heart; and how it just settled there like an unwelcome guest in your house! You didn’t want it there but had the decency to wait out its departure. At times, the grudge just melted away, the years making it invalid. At other times, the grudge took priority, costing you a relation.
On my way back from office a few evenings ago, I instinctively took a turn into the lane that led to one of my childhood haunts. This was a place I frequented often during my pre – teens. It was a place I was in love with. Such was the pull that I kept going back, even after my teens were over.
But then, one day, something changed. The place I loved, betrayed me. Or so I thought. It was a moment in which the mask slipped on this place that I loved; when I saw the ugly face behind those kind eyes. It left me bewildered, confused and I made a run for it. Leaving that beloved place out of my thoughts, having vowed never to be back.
But you know how childhood memories have a magnetic pull on even the strongest of us. And so I often rode that way again, but taking care to pass by when I was sure of the place being deserted. A few evenings ago, when I made that turn, I forgot to time it right.
I passed by, seeing those familiar people hanging around at the gate which led to my childhood haunt. Despite my best intentions, I braked….and after a moment’s hesitation, walked in…
I was hoping to be washed over with tons of childhood memories; moments that I owed to this patch of land I had frequented so often. I was expecting to be greeted by ghosts of my past; infectious laughter that hasn’t crossed my lips since the last time I ran carefree here. I looked around, almost believing my two friends would run and catch up with me. But none of that happened. No burst of emotion, no thrill of having let my guard down. I walked in, calm and composed and stood there in the shadows.
Those familiar faces recognised me, greeted me, enquired about me. But as I stood there and looked around at how everyone had aged, I realised….so had I. At the exact moment when I braked so instinctively, something inside me had shifted. I had politely requested the grudge inside me to leave, and to never return. I had put aside all my hurt and decided to forgive. I had realised that growing up with a grudge simply resulted in not being able to relive my childhood memories wholeheartedly either.
I just knew, in that moment, that it was time to forgive and move on. And though walking in through that gate did not bring me the innate happiness I had hoped for, it did bring in something else….
A sense of relief.