I was studying in the 9th standard. For some reason I happened to go to a classmate’s house along with her & 3 of her friends. Actually Libby & I were not bum-chums or anything but we were in good terms coz we used to go to the same church. She, even at that age, was very stylish & hung out with the ‘IN’ group. Her dad was abroad & she had the latest gadgets, clothes, make-up, etc
We reached her house(I have forgotten the reason why I had gone over to her house that day) and nobody was in. Her mom had gone out & her younger sister was in school. All the girls were giggling & 1 of them produced a VHS tape “Tada……….”.
All the rest crowded around her wanting a piece of action & ofcourse catch me being left behind. I too wriggled into the middle to find out what the excitement was all about.
It was an adult comedy tape…….nope don’t remember the name now. I found myself standing alone now while the girls were crowding around the VHS player. I didn’t know what to do…….the fact that I was the lone Middle-Class 'item number' among the Richie-Riches, was glaringly evident.
One of the girls caught sight of me dithering near the door & taunted “Wanna leave?”
“Ofcourse not, whatever gave you that idea” I scoffed and plonked myself down on to the nearest cushiony sofa. I never backed away from a challenge then.
“Hey, it’s just a comedy with a bit of thrills” comforted Libby sensing my uncertainty.
“Ofcourse I know” I waved off her gentle reassurance and my qualms.
The front door was locked, curtains were pulled, snacks were brought in & we all sat around in the dim daylight and stared intently into the TV screen. Caught up in the excitement, I too was one of the gang now.
Voices & moans from the TV screen were punctuated by the nervous giggles & unsynchronized crunching of chips.
Half an hour into the movie, the current goes……..
“SHIT……..” yells Libby & rushes to the VHS and tries to retrieve the tape.
The rest of us look at her in shock. Then another girl hurries to help her. No luck. Except for me, everybody has a go at the VHS recorder……I didn’t touch it coz I didn’t have one at home.
Half an hour later found us sitting around looking at eachother glumly. The seriousness of the situation had set in. Libby’s mother was coming back in an hour’s time, the electricity was not back and the blasted tape was stuck inside the VHS player.
In the next ½ an hour all the 3 of Libby’s BEST friends left stating some reason or the other. Libby begged me to stay & ofcourse I did. We sat together & frantically tossed around various ideas to retrieve the tape.
The mother came back from wherever she went & looked at both of us quizzically. I felt the guilt was written in capital letters on my forehead. She sat down in the living room to catch her breadth & the current came back just then.
Even now the remnants of fear & shame can be tasted in my mouth. Just imagine being caught watching porn(well adults are not going to differentiate between adult comedies and porn) and that too by an aunty from the SAME CHURCH. She’ll tell my parents & she’ll tell other members of the church. Everybody will find out Nancy was watching crappy stuff on video(not for 1 moment did I term the fact important that her daughter was the main culprit). And my parents, they would hang their heads in humiliation. Oh the shame!!!!!!!!!!
Libby was frantically gesturing with furtive movements of her hand & eyebrows “Remember our plan?” she reminds me through dumb charades.
“Can I have some water, aunty?” I croaked out timidly.
“Ofcourse my child. Infact you girls must be hungry also. Let me fry the fish and we can lunch together” echoes aunty’s voice as she goes towards the kitchen.
I never felt less like eating in my entire life but acted most enthusiastic & followed her into the kitchen. There, as per the plan I involved her in a detailed discussion about the different ways fish could be fried. The idea was not to let her go back to the living room where Libby was trying to retrieve & dispose the evidence of our shenanigans.
Libby walked into the kitchen after some eons which in reality was a mere 5 minutes & winked at me. I collapsed into the nearest chair in relief & aunty rushed to me in concern. She thought my legs gave out due to hunger & hurriedly made a tall glass of cool Tang for me(I still remember:-)).
Now for the life of me I can’t remember what happened after that.
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