Destitute Soul

Uncle said he’ll buy me an ice-cream and be back in a jiff and let me play the merry-go-round. I love ice-cream. Mother wouldn’t buy me one from the ice-cream seller. She says if she buys, there won’t be enough money for vegetables. All my friends eat ice candy, once I had borrowed a half eaten candy from my friend and tasted. It was so cold my teeth froze, my tongue became numb and orange colored. I went home and showed my orange turned tongue to my two little brothers and scared hell out of them. I told them that Goddess was in me and hence my tongue was orange, and if they did any pranks, the Goddess in me would punish them, I couldn’t believe how silent they were for the rest of the day.

A banyan tree in rural Karnataka, India
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This merry-go-round reminds me of the funfair at our village. Every year there used to be a funfair with lot of games, toys shops for kids. My otherwise brave brothers were scared to sit in giant wheels and other rides unlike me! I was not easily scared. My grand mother who died last year narrated brave women queens, warriors and Goddesses stories everyday at bed time. Sometimes those stories came in my dream.There is a big banyan tree in our village, next to cemetery. Village folks say all dead people in our village are burnt in that cemetery and their soul lives in the big banyan tree. My friends even in day time hesitate to go there. Once we were playing hide and seek in the evening.I wanted to hide in a place where no body could catch me and searching for a spot to hide I got lost. After exploring for a long time, I ended up near the big banyan tree. It was moonless night and in distant forest I could hear wolves howling. The branches of the tree that were suspended looked ghastly. I remembered all the brave queens and warriors, mustered all my courage and ran towards the village.

Yesterday around this time, I was playing on the bank of the river Ganga with my usual friends. We make paper boats and leave it in the river to see whose boat comes first. Especially after a heavy rain when water flows with full force.We all loved rain and the smell of the earth just before the rain. We would get drenched in rain and run all around the village. Hills looked so fresh, as if they just had a bath! Rain water dripped from leaves of the tree, seemed as if God watered His plants!

In the  afternoon I went home for lunch. I heard a loud argument inside my house, I identified my father’s voice, mother’s voice and another one. My father has a very loud voice,he works all day and spends the day’s earning in drinks and gambling. I went inside to see a stranger who smiled at me.

That night my mother came to me and told me I would need to go with the stranger, for he would take good care of me. I was confused, my mother said the stranger was her brother. He would take me to city , give me good education, buy me nice dresses and food. I cried protesting for I wanted to stay here in this village, even if I had to wear torn dress, not go to school and had to fast. My father came to my room like a thunder and even before I could react, he slapped my face so hard that my cheeks turned crimson red , he hit me from behind, there was a sharp chill in my head. Words failed to come out of my mouth. Tears silently poured down my face, alone I slept thinking of brave queens and women warriors, thus consoling myself.

The next morning, my bag was packed. Not that I had many clothes, I collected my broken dolls, marbles and other playthings. The new uncle gave me a new shirt and pant to wear. It looked fancy. My mother sobbing, applied oil on my hair with deep affection, kissed my cheeks and hugged tightly and quickly ran inside. I told her I would soon come to visit her. She never came out again. I saw the uncle giving money to my father, suddenly his face bloomed with a big smile. My two little brothers stood in a corner in utter confusion. They waved at me, I smiled.

We boarded a train. I had never traveled in train before. We would all run towards the railway track in excitement, hearing the train’s whistle from distance, waving at the train.The train passed by the place where we usually played with paper boats. As the train moved, I bid a good bye to my world hoping to come back soon.

Ganga was as silent as ever. Ladies of the houses next to railway track, had just begun their morning chores. Uncle bought me tea and breakfast. He didn’t speak much. I didn’t either for my cheeks were swollen and still hurt.The train brought me to an unknown and crowded world. Everything  changed in one day. Yesterday I was playing with my friends and today I sit here awaiting for my destination.


Written for: Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words


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