This happened to women you and I know. I am breaking their trust and narrating their secrets here because I don’t want this anger to die off. I want each one of us to stay angry.
Some stories have to be told.
I never feared the breeze. It was always a friend. I loved it even when it blew the flower in my hair in the wrong direction. I smiled at it even on the day when it took away my umbrella with it. I always tried to feel its rhythm and sing along. We were friends. We got along well on all days, in all seasons and at all turns. So why did it betray me? Why did it stand away from me, quiet and feeble. Why can’t it meet my eyes today? Why can’t I breathe in it anymore? Why did we stop being friends?
I loved that polka dotted skirt. It was a cheerful lime green with happy white dots. My mother had got it for me for my birthday. I had slipped into it, the moment she took it out from the brown paper bag. I still remember the giggly sound the bag made when I jumped and took it from her hands. It made me smile. I hopped around it till I fell asleep wearing it. I loved how it made me feel and look. I used to love the mirror. A year later, I grew an inch taller. It could still cover my knees. I wore it to a birthday party of a friend. We were neighbours. When I walked back home, the breeze made my skirt flutter. It couldn’t cover my knees anymore. It got tainted with a secret I guard. I still look into the mirror. I hope one day I will find myself there. Till then, I stare back at the stillness.
Some voices need to be heard.
It was a cosy winter night. My father had tucked us into bed. My mother was in the kitchen, warming up hot chocolate for me and my brother. We were laughing uncontrollably. My brother was five years elder to me. With pride he was showing us his young moustache. My father had then hugged him and called him a grown-up man. That night I dreamt of him, my handsome brother. I am sure I smiled in my dream. Next morning, my father taught him how to shave. I watched.
At the dinner table that night mom laid down a special meal. We were even allowed to eat two ice-creams. My father’s friend shared the dinner with us. He made me laugh. He tickled me when my brother teased me, and I laughed again. There was a lot of noise in the room. The pots and pans made a clanking sound when mother cleared the table. My father walked up to his room to play the radio. My brother ran up to our room to get his shaving kit. There was a lot of noise in the room. My voice got muffled. My father’s friend too had a moustache.
Some love stories need to end.
We were a bunch of six. We had all bunked our offices for two days to spend a chilly weekend on the hills. It was a lovely drive uphill. I felt the tiny raindrops on my hand when I rolled down the window. We stopped at a dhabha and ate ghee-drenched paranthas with daal. My friend burped out loud when we got back into the car. We laughed out loud. I was in love with him, even when he burped. We reached at three am. We were exhausted.
We rented two rooms, one for the girls and the other for the boys. My boyfriend had carried my bag. I went to their room to get it. He was alone. He smiled at me and pulled me towards him. It was a cold night. The sun would rise soon. Half an hour later, our friends returned. I went back to our room, without my bag. Next morning, we ordered more paranthas for breakfast. He loved paranthas. I heard him burp. I couldn’t laugh. My head was filled with loud cries.
Some shields should not guard.
It was a pale blue sheet. The walls were painted in stark white. My mother held my hands in hers. I could see my father standing outside. He looked forlorn and tired. I wanted to tell my mother to be with him. But she would not leave my side. She was my shield. I felt weak, I could not stay awake. I think I slept for a few hours. When I woke up, I saw my mother was shaky. She was trying to rest her head on the arm of the bed. My father was still outside. He needed some rest.Next morning, they took me home. On our way back they asked me if I was participating in the college fest this year. I was a runner. My room was full of my medals and trophies. I don’t remember if I replied. I stared outside the window. I saw people jogging, some were running. It was very early in the day. Every day I watch people run in the park. My mother still doesn’t sleep well. My father looks older. I smile at times. I have given up running.