For some reason, my father found great amusement in me. I was often made the butt of his jokes. He got a kick out of humiliating me in front of others, be it friends, family or even total strangers. Anything to make him look like a big man.
“Oh, that’s so typical of Roshni!” he would say.
He would expect me to appreciate the joke too. I was to laugh at my humiliation. If I didn’t, I lacked a sense of humour.
On one occasion, at the bank, my father decided to humiliate me to the point of tears.
At a meeting with a bank manager to set up an ISA account, my father crossed several lines. I wanted to attend the meeting alone but he insisted on being there. It was only a first meeting, an enquiry if you like. I was not going there out of choice, but out of pressure from my father. He controlled every aspect of my money.
As we sat down, I already felt humiliated. I was a twenty two year old woman sitting beside my father, opening a bank account. It just did not feel right. He was in his element. Control and money: the two things he was an expert at.
The bank manager began going through some forms and looking at the files on the computer. I was staring out the window and thinking about anything else other than being where I was. I caught my father’s eye, he was beginning to look annoyed, it was clear I was not paying attention. I changed my focus back to the woman behind the computer.
After what felt like forever, the bank manager spoke,
“It seems you already have an account with us”
“Oh, do I?”
“Yes. Although there is not much money in it!” she joked and looked at my father.
He burst into laughter at her comment, taking her by surprise a little.
“Yes, yes, that sounds like my daughter! A real money waster! She has been a very naughty, little girl, haven’t you?”
The bank manager stared at him in shock by his answer and then turned at me. I could not look at her in the eyes and could not control the tears building. I felt disgusted. It was the most inappropriate thing he could’ve said. He continued to find it hilarious even though the reaction from the both of us was horror and silence.
I never went to that bank again.
‘So I’ll be your clown
behind the glass
go ‘head and laugh ’cause it’s funny
I would too
if I saw me’
Emeli Sande – Clown