The Urge To Play an Escape Artist

For someone obsessed with having a perfect life, the idea of running away is tempting

Published: 17th September 2015 04:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2015 04:35 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Avoid. Delay. Procrastinate. Distract. Quit. Run. This is what I do when things don’t go my way. It’s always easier than confronting the problems. Or so I thought till I learned things the hard way.

I ran away to Pondicherry to do my MS thinking my problems would stay behind in Chennai. But they followed me like dark shadows, haunting me and threatening to suck all the joy out of my life. Soon, all these emotions got transferred to Pondicherry and things became as unbearable as ever. I wanted to quit. I wanted to go home. I ran back into the arms of my family. Things were okay for a while after that but soon, the good old problems reared their ugly heads again.

This time, there was nowhere to run and no place to hide. My thoughts began to consume me, and as they blotted out all the light, I pushed away the people I cared about. I also had nothing to do. It was mid-year and I had to wait another six months before I could enrol in any college or university. The only way to escape the pain and misery was to quit this life. As if a better one would be offered to me on a silver platter the moment I did! But I managed to wait it out and indeed, completed my Masters and got married to a good man.

With wedding bells came another chance to get out of Chennai and go to the United States. Life out there can be hard if you don’t know anyone and don’t have a career to drown yourself in. So the urge to return to India and to the life I knew grew stronger day by day. But the thought of whisking away my kids from the comforts of America kept me from acting on it. Also, my husband was not ready to move back yet. So I gritted my teeth and held on.

But old habits have a way of resurfacing and soon I wanted to escape the cold of Boston and go someplace warm. Like Florida. But again, things were not exactly as I wanted them to be in Florida either. My obsession with having a perfect life kept me unhappy no matter where I was or what the circumstances were. It was only in Seattle that I finally made peace with the fact that nobody has it perfect.

Now I am back and life in Chennai is very challenging given that we lived a pretty easy life in the States, all things considered. Yes, there were no maids there but I had appliances to do everything. The house never got this dusty or messy. The weather was good as opposed to the blistering heat here. These days, I want to run away to the States, like the escape artist that I am, but I can’t. Because deep inside I know the beauty lies within the shell.

However, I have to say if there is one thing about the US I really admire, it is the people’s never-say-die attitude. They don’t quit easy. They don’t ignore problems and actively seek solutions. So I feebly hold on to those lofty ideals from here.

It is tempting to run away and be rid of the mosquitoes, ants and heat waves. It looks like Chennai will be the ultimate test for me. Will I stay or will I escape? Only time will tell.

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