Free Barbie

What do you think of me huh? 
A puppet, a doll? 
Or even worse, a ping-pong ball?

Barbie was disappointed with her parents. Her mother Piya, one fine morning, just went absconding… until, two days later, later she was found safe in her grandpa’s place. 

Domestic violence? Yes she agrees, but who would abandon her only child to seek refuge like this? She was only 12 when this happened to her! Angry, violent, withdrawn, she felt rejected by her own mom! 

Not one day did she call her up to find out how she was! So cruel? 

She needed her the most during her teens. She isn’t able to take it anymore when elders of her family advise her now to go to her mom? Isn’t she a monster why should she go to her at all? She feels blessed to have her Bomma (big mother, her father’s elder brother’s wife) by her side when she needed a mother figure to fall back on, especially when she suffered acute chest pain, fever, or migraine, or when she was unsure of falling in and out of love. 

In all these seven years, she tried hard, at least for the first few months, to see that her Mom came back and settled their differences, but what do you do when adults mess up with their lives? Their children suffer… but does it bother them at all? She gave up on her Mom and concentrated on her studies. She somehow survived her school days withstanding immense verbal torture from her schoolmates, their parents, from friends in her neighborhood.

‘Hey where’s your Mom? She just disappeared? How’s this possible!’

If only her father could forgive her Mom, Barbie wondered at nights. But life is never a fairy tale! What if Barbie died? She attempted once, wasn’t successful cutting the veins from her left wrist. Even then her mom didn’t come. She doesn’t matter to her at all???

And now after all this, elders of her family, except her Bomma, are asking her to go her Mom? Why should she? No, never.

It’s not that she likes staying with her father and his family either; staying here with Bomma is also insulting in a way, she has to be obliged to her all the time. She hated the word ‘sacrifice’… the word got the better of her. Then there’s this ‘who called, did they call, why, no you won’t go alone, wait I’m coming with you’… it feels as though she’s under lock and key, she wants to be on the lose! But how she wouldn’t know!

‘Bomma, why didn’t you have your own child?’

‘I wasn’t capable Barbie. Also I stopped trying after Piya abandoned you.’

Where should she go? She’s determined to crack the CAT exam and make it to the IIM, Ahmedabad and build a world of her own. She’s thankful to have a handful of friends who don’t judge her; they accept her as she is…why wouldn’t they, what’s her fault? Yes one fault was to be born into this family, or to be born at all? One thing is sure, she will never ever get married. That’s final.

Barbie is just nineteen. As she grows up she’ll understand that nothing is final.

She’ll also understand that it was because of her Mom she got to see the light of the world; her IIM exams, her friends, her Bomma wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The realisation that her Mom could leave because she was sure of Barbie’s well-being? Piya after all came from a rich family, both her parents being doctors, with many domestic help. Piya couldn’t take it any more when she was asked to cook for the entire family; she wasn’t given anything to eat because she didn’t cook. Could be her Mom tried to take her along; the other day she received 13 missed calls from an unknown number in her Bomma’s mobile, she never got a convincing reply from her when she asked who the caller was! 

‘Some stupid telemarketing executive’, she snapped. Indian mothers go through situations that are unpredictable and baffling… most of the time it’s not within the box! So it could be that her Mom thought what was really good for her, even though it meant giving away her priceless possession? Asking her legally could make Barbie feel like a puppet? Or worse, like a ping-pong ball? Maybe she let go of her. And what if her mom’s father wouldn’t accept her? When Barbie grows up she’ll perhaps find answers to these questions?

And these answers could
fill her with gratitude;
it could liberate her for good,
she could be a free Barbie.

This is based on a true story. Barbie is a third-year student of a reputed college in Kolkata. She studies BBA. Let us pray for her so she gets the very best in life she truly deserves.

© supratik 2023
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It’s hard to overcome such painful experiences and I join you in praying she is able to overcome and prosper. Giving voice to those who are downtrodden is admirable, Supratik. Well done.


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