MIDWAY : Guilt trip

One nasty incident from childhood often throws me on a guilt trip. As a kid, I remember terrorising the world of a dove, the bird of peace. The dove, possibly female, was feeding her babies in her nest. I brutally pelted stones at her nest, before she fell down, all-smeared with blood, and died instantly. The baby birds were left alone.

Neighbourhood kids reported my crime to my parents whose telling-off is still fresh in my memory! And the guilt that followed gives me goose bumps even to this day. As living beings, we are ‘programmed’ for certain actions it seems. No matter how hard we try to restrain ourselves we, willy-nilly, end up doing them. At some point in time in the future though we wish parts of such actions, utterances and incidents had never taken place. But what happens most often is that it’s too late to rectify our faults and the whole episode sends us on an unending guilt trip.

‘I have been on a trip’ and ‘I have been on a guilt trip.’ What a glaring difference! While the former may uplift our spirits, cheer up our moods, relieve our tensions, enhance our creativity, make of us curious explorers, bring us face-to-face with different people, places and cultures, the latter inevitably lands us in the abyss of suffocation, frustration, agony and gloom. Hence, pertinently, one is better off examining the nature of any trip before venturing on it.

Guilt trip, unlike any other trip, is absolutely free of cost. Maybe one of the reasons it can be so miserable and never seems to end. It, therefore, allows us to take our time, delve into nit-picking details and end up feeling even guiltier and worn-out.

And as far as guilt trips are concerned, all of us have our points of origins we can go back to: quarrels with siblings, turning deaf ears to parents, teachers and other elders, ignoring ground realities, lying, pilfering, you name it! The list goes on and on.

One is constantly at war with his or her own self: I shouldn’t have done this, I better not have said that. As if that were not enough, our near and dear ones never get tired of rubbing salt into our wounds with their barrage of what ifs and if onlys... Guilt trip, I bet, is the worst among all trips. No takers here, I suppose.