“I was told I had no more than a year to live, when I was seven. It was a serious ailment. Every day, I would write down my dreams in a journal. My parents and older brother were confident that they would outlive me. So, I got all the toys I’d want and get to do things that I would otherwise be yelled at for.
I lived my life in the hospital as my mother was a doctor. I learnt to skate on the ramp of a mortuary. The smell of the hospital always felt like home and waking up to screams of agony was normal.
My childhood was a dark, yet fun ride.
At the age of 15, I decided to live outside this net of safety. I got into college via the sports quota. I was 18 years old when I was selected as a delegate for YMCA and asked to go to the Westminster Abbey, where I met the Queen of England.
Guess I lived longer than the doctors had expected! But life cracked a cruel joke. My father ended up with a rare disease that the doctors couldn’t recognize. He was in a bad state. So much so, that he said he didn’t want to live with multiple heart attacks every day. So, I signed the document to pull him off life support. That was how some say I murdered my father. I lost him seven years ago.
November 13th was my parent’s marriage anniversary. I remember mum crying her heart out on the 12th of November, five years back, saying how much she misses him. She didn’t wake up the next day.
Another two years later, my brother slipped in the bathroom, hit the edge of his skull to the bathroom railing and went into a coma. He never came out.
I have lived through the hanging sword of death. The family that we all thought would outlive me, left me all by myself in this world. And turns out I had dreamt of how it would all take place and written it down in my journal, back at the hospital. Maybe Déjà vu is a real thing. Those stacks of papers hold the past, present and future for me.
I believe that through pain comes the truest art and the first story I performed on stage was titled “How I murdered my father”. I cried on the stage for 5 minutes straight, held up by friends. I now live two lives. One as a professor, educator and mental health professional and the other as a comedian, poet and storyteller – the latter being my release. I look for balance and somewhere in all the chaos, I have found it. Yet, every day, I come home to silence and wish that there would be someone who would ask me, “Beta, where were you?”, someone who would yell at me saying, “No! You can’t do this”, and all I can do now is keep wishing.”
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