Clipped Wings

Thursday, April 3, 2008

She looked out of the window. She saw the iron pole, rusted to the core, with a tiny bulb perched at the top and blinking against its wishes. A little girl was sleeping by the side of the pole over a torn blanket. With the dawn the vendors would soon be occupying the barren streets and the dead, dusty roadways would once again be revived. The town would go alive with the tinkles of the bells and the noises of people selling bananas and oranges and second hand clothes and synthetic ties at the price of silk. This chaos would help her live another day in confinement when she would just be a spectator to the general drama staged in the playground of this earth. She looked far into the distance and saw the sun rising from the dust. The sun was always the first victim of the miseries and tortures of this world. He had to be the first to wake up and then the barrenness of the streets made him blush. He went redder as he saw the beauty of the forests and the lakes and the birds in all its nakedness. This was the time when the masks were off and people and all things alive never bothered to hide their sins under the covers of fancy cars and expensive perfumes and the roue's forgot to conceal their drunkenness under the cover of sobriety.

This stark magnificence made him swirl and he went dizzy spiraling his way to the top. She had been leaning by the windowsill for a long time and suddenly a current of pain passed through her body. She thought it was probably because of the position she had been standing in that caused this swift pain. But she realized it was actually her soul that was aching. A terrible feeling got over her and she was scared. The fear was of the soul and of her existence. She wanted nothing from this world and she did not want to be born again.

She looked out of the window again and now the balloons were coloring the skies, the apples and the papayas were in their place, the men could be seen striving to earn their daily bread and the women were getting their children ready for school. The traffic had been let out. Cycles, scooters and cars were competing with the pedestrians and there was tremendous haste in the air. Airplanes could be heard leaving the air base every three minutes and as they flew, they trailed a blaze on the blank skies.

She looked around for the little baby that she had seen sleeping by the pole in the morning. But she could not find her. She remembered that this was how she had lost herself and she never came to know when. She looked far back in time and started searching for her lost self. But this had always been a futile attempt. The small girl that never wept even when she broke her foot or when she was alone at home or when she didn’t get the toy she wanted was dead. The laughter of the soul and the twinkling eyes had given way to a miserable spirit and moist eyes. She tried smiling but couldn’t. The little girl was lost and would never be found now. And she was determined that she would not be born again, so there was no way she would ever find her.

She turned around and faced the blank wall opposite the window. There was a wooden door on the wall on the left. She thought she would break her vow and let herself out of incarceration. The thought filled her with a joy unknown and she thought she had solved the mystery of the lost girl. She immediately combed her hair, sprinkled a few drops of water on her eyes and wrapped herself in her coarse, black shawl. She was finally prepared to be a part of that group waiting for her downstairs. She decided she would buy red earrings to match her skirt. She also thought she would buy those bright lemons and squeeze them into a glassful of water to make herself a lemonade. Today she would go and meet him who had often mesmerized her and left her heart aching.

She rushed to the door and turned the knob with a jerk. But before it could turn and before the door could open, she saw those words scribbled on the door. Somebody who had lived in this room before her had engraved those letters, it seemed with a nail. She stood reading those words. And time that had passed so quickly in her ecstasy came to a standstill. She touched that inscription with her pallid finger. And she smiled. This smile was different.

She unwrapped herself. She straightened her braided hair and walked back to the window. She stood leaning at the wooden windowsill and looked out of the void. She saw the sun red again, now preparing to go back to the dust from where it came. But he was not blushing now. It was the crimson of the eye that had wept, the red of the bleeding heart, the scarlet of the bruised skin. He seemed hurt and hopeless. The sky was dark and there were no stars. There was nothing. There was emptiness and the aching soul. She stood there waiting and she knew she would not be born again.


This story has been written by Ms. Shweta Gupta, Sub-Editor and Marketing Executive with DLA AM, an English Daily published from Agra. Shweta also shares our vision of reforming the social structure of India and is contributing significantly by penning down and subsequently publishing several articles on issues that need immediate action.



Posted by TS at 7:49 AM  
1 comments
kizza said...

"my heart is socked with pain in the run through of the story, but on the other hand, i stand tall with the fair treatment of life against all actions."

this piece is acure to society, with outlined ills of people.

it thumb prints, the idea of trusting no one and fearing everybody.

this prose,"is fertile land." just sow the seeds.

April 9, 2008 at 7:22 AM  

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