August 15th , 2017. “Dry day in all senses — blistering weather outside and no scope of buying my booze for the night. How will I live through another night without my placebo boosters? Why did I not think of stocking up?”, thought Aman — furious at his own callousness.
He looked at his watch — FitBit Charge — given by his sister on Rakhi, to mark yet another year of the virtuous cycle of sibling rivalry. Aman’s sister, Preeti, of a calm mind and a calmer disposition — had got it together early in life. Signs of her life’s stability, had been evidenced early in their teenage years, through the cleverly organized desk. Her life redefined and justified her nomenclature.
On the other hand, Aman’s life was very distant from the true meaning of his name. “How ironic!” he used to think, sarcastically to himself — on moments when after 3 pegs of his favorite Scotch liquor, he allowed himself to wallow in self-pity. He did so, also to escape the daily nightmares of murder and deceit that he kept seeing — of faceless strangers, yet so familiar.
It was 5 mins past 6 am, when Aman had looked into his watch and thought that surprisingly he had woken up before his alarm, scheduled at 6.30 am. Nowadays, he had a motivational podcast as his alarm. His FitBit flashed a notification of the workshop he was due to attend — Family Constellation — as suggested by one of his office peers, to bring some “aman” into his life.
When Aman walked into the workshop venue, he was greeted by an eclectic mix of attendees. All seemed nervous — as if scared about what could be revealed. More women than men — not surprising again, Aman thought. Men may think this is too sissy.
The moderators had arrived and were helping to introduce the group to one another. That done, the overarching premise of Family Constellation was explained graphically and the possible impact discussed at great length.
Volunteers were called forth. Aman raised his hand — he liked being the first at most things in his life.
Confident in his stride, he walked over to the moderators and articulated his ‘issue’.
“I am here as I seek to understand how to belong. I often find myself misplaced — or as a misfit in my family. Sometimes not loved enough, not respected enough or seen as a black sheep for the anarchic choices I may have made that had caused a rift in my family. Today, I want to understand what really has triggered this slight animosity towards me by my family members — for no fault of mine. Even though I am unfailingly courteous to everyone — even Tiny the Shi Tzu pup that my sister has adopted!”
Moderator 1 — “Aman, pick people whom you feel, can best represent you and your family members”
Aman selected 3 amongst the audience. The role play began — with dialogues flying back and forth.
Aman was close to his father but felt neglected by his mother. His parents’ perfect harmony served as an anxiety to him — as it was unveiled that he himself wasnt able to hang on to his partner.
Aman sat at the corner — watching the role-play. His curiosity was abound — his eyes had a peculiar look. Suddenly from the audience, a woman stood up — “I feel wronged. I belong here. But I have been abused. I feel wronged. I need my justice!”
Silence descended in the room — like a heavy drape that dumbfounded the passive spectators. The woman got up — she was one among the group attending the workshop — however, the energy shift in the room affected her to play a different persona.
Moderator 2 asked her to take a position in the constellation formed. She went behind the man playing Aman and stood — clutching on to him. “This boy is mine!” she proclaimed. He gives me voice. He will avenge me.
Stunned, the real Aman looked on. “What was this folklore unfolding? Who is she?” he thought. Exact thoughts percolated the mind-spaces of all involved.
The woman then dragged the man playing Aman to behind his ‘parents’ — indicating that she was from a generation too many apart.
“I was abused here. No-one gave me my right. No-one claimed me. No-one made me feel belonged. I was murdered. I was hidden. My child taken away. My body thrown into the sea.” the woman continued in a ghostly whisper — while the on-lookers peered on, at the spectacle unfolding — aghast at the possibility of a ghost’s voice descending in the room.
It was spooky and yet riveting. It was like a Bollywood film — only too real to be ignored. Aman was stricken as a horrible thought struck him. “Is it…?” he kept thinking, frantically.
Suddenly another gentleman of medium build and a red face with teary eyes stood up. His tears streaked down his salt and pepper beard and matted the hair that lay plastered to his cheeks. He gave loud sniffs and quietly stole up beside the woman — again generations beyond.
“I am sorry. I had wronged you. I had to let you go. No-one knew about us. Yet I had so wanted others to know our love story.” the sobbing man continued.
“Why?!” the woman screamed out. “Why was I the victim of your hypocrisy then? Why not Sharda? Why not your younger brother, Suman?” she railed.
“Oh my god. It’s true!” Aman thought. “The family folklore was true. There really was a second marriage and a murder in my family!”
The sobbing man continued to beg forgiveness. “I am sorry, my love. It wasn’t meant to be this way. I had to keep you a secret. We married when we were young and then you had a bonny boy. But I never had the courage to defy my Babuji, who already had selected a bride for me. I had to marry her. Sharda was very innocent. Your boy..our boy .. now is a grown up man with his own family. A grandfather too. I watch over him…he had to go.. he was the symbol of our secret..”
“Why did you murder me? Why did you take my child away?” the woman screamed — her agony apparent.
The real Aman, sitting in the audience, marveled at the participant’s enactment. It wasn’t acting — he was sure. These were quiet and buried family secrets — never to see the daylight.
“I did not. My brother did… he had to protect the family honor..” the man, whispered.
Moderator 1 stepped in. “I think its clear what is happening..her soul needs to be honored.. “ So let’s all pray ….
“Wow” thought Aman. “What was she trying to tell me all this while then? She was then never truly at peace. She wanted me to enable her to hear a confession — that she deserved. Did she get her peace? The adage is so true — “age deserves honor!” …
And suddenly Aman felt that a great weight shifted from his shoulders. He felt lighter — the everyday headache that he grown immune too — suddenly disappeared. He felt a hand caress his head lovingly — and the woman beside him enacting the aggrieved soul — whispering to him -”darling boy.. thank-you. I had known that you would help me. You are free now. Go live your life. I’ll watch over you..”