I was watching ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ with my little one and I didn’t even know when I started weeping. Was it the perpetual look of hope in Charlie’s eyes, was it the bonding and sharing in the impoverished family, was it the ramshackle house …. I don’t know what triggered off my sobs, but I just couldn’t hold myself.
It began as a few drops reluctant to leave the rims of my eyes which soon turned to a gushing waterfall. I could feel a lump in my throat and I was afraid to talk, lest I end up embarrassing myself as always.
My son rolled his eyes at me ‘You must be the only adult, who can cry watching this movie’. He remarked and gave me a hug. No, son. There are scores others who cry for whatever reason or even for no reason.
When my son was a toddler, he just couldn’t stand seeing me in tears! Once when he was around three years old, we were at the movies and as is my wont, I started shedding tears along with the characters in the movie. He was so distressed to see me cry that he announced in his loudest voice.
‘Papa, Mama is crying’ and he too started to cry as loud as he could. His voice rang across the quiet theatre and after a moment of shocked silence, many in the audience burst out laughing forgetting their own tears while I was trying to melt into my seat.
There are times when I feel like crying! Once when my kid was very small I was shortlisted to attend a one-day workshop at a distant venue. I am all for learning new things but that day I decided to say ‘no’ as the little one was feeling under the weather and I wanted to stay with him.
So off I marched into the office, greeted the person, took my seat and burst into tears! The poor man was so alarmed that he dropped the tissue box twice across a 1m distance, as he tried to pass it to me.
‘All well at home?’ he asked me in his kindest voice. I didn’t dare to talk as I would be incomprehensible if I did, so I nodded feebly. I myself didn’t know why I was crying and had never felt so foolish.
He wisely let me cry my heart out and finish off half the tissues. Finally, I calmed down enough to tell him that I was not in a position to attend the workshop the next day. He roared with laughter and relief and I too joined in for good measure.
I have laughed over this with many of my friends and still do but to this day, I do not know what came over me on that occasion, that sent my lacrimal glands into a tizzy.
The word ‘workshop’ brings a conspirational smile on many familiar and beloved faces around me, even after many years.
The journey of my life is punctuated with such embarrassing bouts of unwarranted crying!
So I go about life with a box of tissues handy.
Often, acts of kindness, generosity and humanity, stories of resilience, courage, beating the odds et al, shared over social media move me to tears. Over the years, I’ve learnt to be unabashed about this quirk in my persona and I tell myself it’s fine to live this life feelingly though I might put the people around me into utter confusion as to how to respond!
Nature too seems to have a way of balancing out as most people who cry easily also have the boon to laugh easily and find humour in most situations.
I know I am not alone, there are many among us who can cry at the drop of a hat. Though it can be embarrassing at times, a good cry is good for the heart after all!
Annie Mathew is an educator and writer based in Dubai