The worst thing about clichés is that they often restrict thought about the clichéd object in question to only one of its facets – the other sides of it tragically go forsaken.
For example, if I tell you I’ve spent the life of a marionette, the obvious implication would be a life of external dominance and manipulation. While in truth, I’m looking at another facet of it – the co-ordination. If you’ll forgive the dramatization, think of my puppeteer as a drunk whose hands just won’t stay still. But instead of in the corner of some carnival midway at the county fair, performing for mesmerized children, this act takes place in urban Lahore in the throes of young-adulthood.
And it’s not much of a case of tremulous puppeteer hands, as it is of stubborn, mutinous muscles of my right side and uncoordinated muscle movements caused by a potent case of muscle weakness due to a slight nerve damage, inflicted whilst I was still embraced in womb-folds. So the strings of marionette-me were tangled up like headphones on sabbatical. But as quoth by the Godfather, ‘Great men are not born great, they grow great’. So, in spite of this little inherent imperfection, I like to believe that I’ve bent down and picked up every gauntlet thrown regardless of my limb-woes.
I’ve been at the mercy of a scalpel and white-coat clad men twice now – which seems a fair price to pay for being able to sashay, saunter, stroll, run, or just walk with little pain. Even though the chink in my armour is far bigger, literally speaking, than Achilles’ heel, it has been the driving force behind my resolve. Instead of becoming a breach in my integrity, it has consolidated it. And despite my initial slur against clichés, what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. In the throes of this malady, I’ve learned to look at the glass half-full, to see this not as a reason to fall behind in life but just to use as a legitimate excuse in gym class.