Ok so let me go right ahead and let the world know about my little vulnerabilities.
Everyone I know knows (you know) that I have epic perfect nails that I am very finicky about. I have been getting them professionally done for the last ten years or so.
Usually, I tell people I have bad short nails (which I do have) and getting them done gives me a lot of confidence.
What I don’t say is that I lost a piece of my thumb as a child running away from an unwanted circumstance. I wanted to reach the car I could hear pulling into the drive away. It was when mommy got home. I tried to grab a door to open it and it slammed shut closing in on my thumb. The door was big thick made of solid wood, traditional Indian darwaza or kabat, and I was small and weak (that did not last long ha!). To add to my woes our house help who was on the other side of the door thought I was again running for the car and decided to close the chitkini aka latch.
I remember my mother and my uncle running with me. I remember being shuffled into the car. The rest is all hazy. As though I am seeing things through a gelatinous substance that will not part irrespective of how hard I try.
I am told that Dr Ali who stitched my thumb back together had to refresh his learning from an anatomy book. Maybe it was the Perils of being a small town surgeon, maybe the thumb was too little.
When I awoke from the anesthetized slumber I asked for the ayah and not my mother.
It broke my mother’s heart.
That would not be the last time I broke my mother’s heart.
The weird thumb ached and throbbed not persistently, but at odd moments. Often it had its own being with a beating heart. I struggled to write long papers. I so wish we had these wonderful gadgets we have now back then. I started timing my exams, succinctly making my point so I would stop before the aching started. I thought of shifting to writing with my left hand. It was deeply discouraged.
With the quarantine, the solar nails have worn off exposing my scar and stub. I look at it fondly these days. We don’t have heavy doors. I type long winded sentences that often make my teachers annoyed. My mother barely recalls that she wears spectacles.
I can no longer break her heart.