If I Could Change Back Time

Graphic by Priyadharshan

Growing up, I’ve always been a girl who worries about the future instead of soaking up the present. I want to know who is the mastermind behind four brutal murders before I even watch the movie and I skip a few pages of my romance novel to see what happens next. I calculate my final marks as soon as the question paper falls in my hands and in the middle of the house parties, I wonder how monotonous my life will be once I get back home. For a person like me, the past is a myth and the present is a burden. But what if someday I bump into a wish granting witch and instead of peeping in the future she blesses me with a different superpower? The superpower of turning back the time! What would I do then? Where would I go ? What are the things about my past that I would change? Or would I go on a desperate search of finding her back and returning the power because the universe has its mysterious ways of working out things that are far beyond our control? We, the human beings, are blessed with our imaginary skills. To turn back time might be an impossible theory but there is no harm in dreaming about it, right?

If I could turn back time I would go back to my childhood just like every other person stuck in the hustle and bustle of life and responsibilities. I’ll go back to the peaceful days and to the city that raised me. I’ll walk down its narrow lanes and buy cheap candies from the old uncle who always gave me extra sweets. I’ll run my hands over the crayon painted walls of my old home and breath in the soil of our backyard before my parents handover the keys to new tenants. I’ll go on a long cycle trail with my friends and this time I’ll wait with Mannu until he fixes his broken chain. I’ll play late night badminton tournaments with kids in my locality without making any excuses and this time, I won’t mouth the alphabets to my teammates while playing dumb charades.

Being a Bollywood fan I have always been curious about how the movies during the early 90s era were made and how the women artists fought the social stigma attached to careers in the film industry. If I have a chance to turn back time I’ll visit every film stage and meet every artist who had a rough start in life. I’ll attend every concert of veteran Ghazal singers and let my subconscious mind fly, in the air of nothingness.

India has a rich heritage of culture and traditions. This culture reflects the roots of all the dynasties and sultanates that ruled India. If I have the power of turning back time, I’ll live in the modern era and learn how every empire rose to power. I’ll experience the wars unfolding and the warriors fighting sword battles. I’ll witness the royalty of the country and the beauty she possessed from the times unknown.

Few months back I had come across a quote that says what is done is done. We all have that unspeakable secret, irreversible regret and an unreachable dream. But with the ability to turn back time, I will change this narrative. In the second year of the pandemic, 3,582 cases of domestic violence were reported in India between April and June. Due to fear of the husband and society, these women silently suffer the pain and humiliation. If I had the power, I’d prevent these unfortunate events ruining the lives of countless women. I will knock every close door that has bloodstains of the woman of the house and I’ll stop every crime that has pushed thousands of families into a never-ending abyss of misery and grief. I’ll turn my regrets into memories and my unfinished dreams into reality. I’ll listen to my grandma’s stories and I’ll hug my childhood friend a bit longer before his parents move him to a different continent. I’ll thank the stranger who offered me a seat in the crowded local train and I’ll tell my grandpa how much he means to me before bidding him final adieu.

There are people, I have torn apart. There are friends, I have broken hearts of. There are moments when I wasn’t myself and in those moments of vulnerability, I have made some irreversible choices that have affected my close relations. If I could turn back time, I’ll make these things right. Not only for my near and dear ones but also for myself. I’ll return my third grade bestfriend’s pencil that I wrongfully claimed and I’ll praise my sister’s half burnt sabzi and her failed attempts at baking a perfect chocolate cupcake. I’ll take all the words I have thrown at my mother in the moment of rage and I’ll wear the dress my father bought me on my birthday instead of fussing over its colour combination. I’ll go back to the day where I chopped a handful of my hair because someone said they don’t look pretty and this time I’ll make a different choice. I’ll sit back and remind myself that I’m more than all the empty words and hollow remarks made on my physical appearance. I’ll love myself more on the days when I didn’t feel good enough and I’ll be easy on myself whenever I’ve become my own worst critic. I’ll become more vocal about my feelings whenever I haven’t and I will turn my forced eyes into firm ones. I’ll go to the people and places where I have left the bits of my heart and unreciprocated love and this time I will walk away, collecting everything that belongs to me. This time, I won’t look back and this time I will make myself whole again.

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