“Guilt isn’t always a rational thing. Guilt is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not.”
These are not my words..But I guess it aptly describes Guilt…Guilt is something that comes back to haunt you; it licks and pokes the wounds that you had tried to bury deep within.I often wonder why I remember all those grey episodes of my life clearer than my tears or my laughter…I ruminate my happy moments;get over my grief..but Guilt is something that comes back and haunt me…as aptly said “whether I deserve it or not”
The very first time I felt really guilty was when I was 6 or 7 and the memory is still surprisingly fresh. It is not one of those petty crimes of childhood that ought to be buried as innocent misdeed , I still believe.It was not a harmless lie , a mighty fight or even an unacceptable deed of theft that could have been justified. This was something more.
I happened to over hear about one of my classmates father during some function.Somebody was talking and might not have cared about the petite creature eavesdropping .The gossip was about a man who had left his wife and the child, the latter being my classmate, and was living in with a woman, much younger that himself. It was all better for the woman and kid, they continued, considering how he used to beat them up after a generous gulp of alcohol.The piece of news shocked me, and was not something that I had heard before. The concept of a father leaving a family for another woman, beating his wife, would not have been that incomprehensible for today’s kids with television soaps and movies telling and re telling such stories. But this was a different world.The bit of news choked me and I couldn’t keep it to myself. I badly want to talk about it and I confided to another girl in my class.”Promise me you won’t tell anybody..” I had asked her , the hollow relief we all seek when we let out a forbidden secret out of your chest, a precaution to have others shoulder your guilt. As anyone could have guessed, by evening that day i had her confront me,surrounded with some 8 other girls, her eyes red and puffy – “Did you tell xx this?aa told me and bb told her and cc told her and in the the end xx told them and she says you told her” A chain of promises about not telling anyone had shoved the unpleasant truth at her, about her father, the one which she might have been trying to hide.I panicked. I did not know what to tell her. “I had lied…I just lied” was the only words I managed to say. All those pairs of eyes stared at me and in them I knew i saw understanding, about what was true and what was lie. Yet, they all pretended to accept it.I had lied.may be it was their remorse too, just like it was mine.” I will tell my papa..and he will complain to the teacher tomorrow”.I felt my chest constricting. What if it was a lie , a baseless gossip?. What if her father indeed came tomorrow?What would I tell my parents?
That day after the long bell, I was waiting for my mother to pick me up,brooding on the prospects of tomorrow , when somebody nudged me from behind.I looked back and it was her.”Who told you?” she asked me. I did not speak anything for a while..”I lied. I am sorry.please don’t tell your father..”I couldn’t look at her. She seemed to hesitate for a minute. Then she asked again..”Who told you?” and when I did not answer she added in a low whisper ‘Don’t tell anyone again…” and she hurried past and then I knew she wouldn’t tell anyone, there won’t be any complaints tomorrow.But I felt the crushing pain of guilt.I had seen the pain and the shame in her eyes and the realization that I had caused it came back to haunt me.
We were in the same school for more years. may be she forgot about it or may be not. I never knew for certain because we never became friends. But the incident still haunts me.The incident did not transform me into a goody goody angel.I did more vicious things(I will take the excuse of being human here), but the memory of this incident is surprisingly fresh and more troubling………….