Being completely devoid of emotion is an accusation that is frequently thrown at me by friends and foes alike. I agree with it to the extent that I am not emotionally expressive, but then I feel emotions just as much if not more, than any of my more 'humane' critics. And I still have a clear and not so pleasant memory of the first time I felt fear.
"I will tell Dad and then you know what will happen!" was a frequently cited threat by my Mom to stop my sister and me from whatever disastrous activity we were upto all through our early childhood. But with age, (i.e by the time we reached the age which has been rather fashionably named 'Tweens') we began to realize that this threat was hollow. Dad being the most benevolent and kindly gentleman he is, was hardly to take up a sudden liking for corporal punishment. In fact, the threat was always from Mom; with reflexes faster than Kung-fu Masters when it came to a quick twist of the ear or a painful chop in between the shoulder blades. So comfortable in the knowledge where the real danger lay, we carried on in our merry tantrum filled ways.
One day in a fit of false rage, over some highly irrelevant hurt, I kicked off both my slippers in the drawing room lauching them in an ideal trajectory for projectile motion. As fate would have it, the end point of one of my innocuous projectiles doing multiple loops in the air was my Dad's cool-as-cucumber head as he sat peacefully watching TV, oblivious to all the chaos around him. The situation was undeniably comic and I allowed myself a giggle! Then I saw the look in my Dad's eyes...
My blood ran cold, a shiver ran down my spine, my life flashed before my eyes and all those literary cliches were reality for me in that split second. So the moment of judgement had come, out of the blue and I was just into double figures as far as my age was concerned. What ensued was one of the two times that my Dad actually gave me a beating (The second one I'll save for another day). It wasn't pleasant and the necessary effect has shaped my wayward life from that point in time. Needless to say, the much ridiculed threat was no longer hollow. I daresay my Mom indulged herself in a beaming smile for the manner in which my Dad finally got the message that it was high time. Well, all's well that ends well, I got to see the next day and many days since. But it's unlikely that I'll ever have a closer acquaintance with that emotion called fear!