I wanted to start this with- “the Oxford Dictionary defines escape as-“ but I think we all know what it means so let’s cut the formalities and get right into it shall we. What I really want to dedicate this article to, is how we’ve played such a massive game of Chinese Whispers with this word, that we’ve managed to alter its meaning completely. Es-cape. These two syllables have somehow become synonymous with running away. Thinking escape is the same as running away is just as contrasting as pushing a door hat says ‘pull’. For me, escape is a rather abstract concept, neither good nor bad; neither brave nor cowardly; just breaking free. Like a lot of other words, ‘escape’ also resides in an intricate palace of complexity but to avoid digging in, we’ve plastered it with this concept of cowardice called running away.
Growing up we’ve always been told- “Don’t escape from your problems, face them.” However, just like all the lies we’ve been fed since childhood such as the infamous, “When Mommy and I got married, God dropped a baby at our footsteps and that’s how you were born,” you’ll soon discover that “don’t escape problems” turns out to be a law with a lot of exceptions.
What do you do when you’re on that ventilator, writhing in pain, waiting to be freed from mortality? What do you do when your high paying job requires you to trade every ounce of your living for that money? Do you really want to “face it”? Do you really want to “face” the unending suffering of your illness, “face” all that exertion for a 7 digit bank balance while wiping off every hint of a smile in the process? You’ve got to be kidding me if you think you’ve got it in you to do this. So obviously, in dire situations like these, you escape; you break free from these shackles, if not for happiness then at least for survival. And who says escaping is just as simple as turning around and walking away. You may truly love your family but if they believe in confining you within those kitchen walls, you know you’ll have to break free some day; you may love the way your partner smiles at you but you’d know you can’t hold on any longer as your tears wash off those lipstick marks off his shirt for the third time this week; you may love waking up every morning for your daily namaz but when you see your father’s frown yet again because of a job rejection based solely on his religion, I bet you’d wish “If only I could escape…”. The point is, sometimes freeing yourself from the inevitable toxicity is just as painful as being caught up in it. The weight of severing bonds you’ve grown to love breaks you but knowing it’s inescapable, you do it, you escape!
They say holding on does more damage than letting go. I’m only 17 but I’ll pretend to be entitled to this next statement and say, FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I’ve always found myself in situations where escaping felt a lot more liberating than staying back and enduring it. I can’t put into words but I’ll paint you a picture- To me escape feels like standing on a beach, let’s name it Beach Risotto (clearly I’m famished while writing this). I can feel the warm sand comforting my feet, the pleasant twilight soothing my soul and the fickle sky changing from orange to red, red to purple and then finally settling with its favourite blue blanket with the stars on it. Of course I forgot the most important details, I have an unending supply of anime and I’m wearing a bikini because what is a beach scene without a bikini).
So after iterating the word 'escape' 16 times now, I finally want to end this with: Hi, whoever’s reading this, you are already strong but if you find yourself enduring something that’s just not worth it, I think it’s time you let go. Find your escape. I know it’ll hurt but you’re not alone, I’ll be waiting there for you at the Beach Risotto ;)
Author ~ Anushka Bamnikar Editor ~ Akanksha Makhija