It was the beginning which stopped her. And it was from there that her story began. She had seen the seasons – the windy spring, the sweating summer, the autumnal trees and the onset of a fine winter, frosty and chilling. The early morning thick fog made everything flicker around her, just like the candle flame which we burn around in Diwali and Christmas, adding warmth to receding relations.
It was one such festivity when she saw a mother buying her daughter some chocolates. She wished to have some and couldn’t help but see. The thin layering of cloth only made her numb to her own self.
Meanwhile, a noise of the rumblings of the tracks transported her back home. It was nice to be around in the valley. She felt as if she could smell the sweet lavenders in the backyard. She planted them with her younger brother with much care, careful enough not to disrupt the long procession of ants carrying grains to their home. It was right there that both of them often talked about how one day they will live in a house made of candies and strawberries and some mellows. How she will marry the one who will take her away on a white horse, her prince charming – who would love her and accept her as his own. She must have been too young then to understand puberty.
She could see the dimming of lights of the vehicles passing by. It was one such vehicle which brought her to the city, a white box-like thing with shattered glasses and stained doors. She remembers sitting in all excitement along with her father for the ride. After all, it was hers first! She couldn’t call her brother, her very own. He was fast asleep as it was late at night. But she kept herself awake, waiting for her father to bake him some chapattis. He came in a hurry, dressing his only daughter in the best of clothes, took her for a long ride.
There were glimpses, as if it were some dream. She found herself in a small cubicle with cracked walls, a grilled window and a closed door. Father was nowhere to be seen around. She felt the breath of a man, may be in his middle ages, against her breast. The rays of the morning sun made their way through the fine iron pores of the window. She could smell the concrete. Perhaps it had rained the previous night. She remembers singing a lullaby to her brother who couldn’t sleep, afraid of the thunderstorms. This was a new world. Altogether.
She felt suffocated. She was gasping for breath. She could feel the wrenching of her stomach, the ache. There were drunken stupors around, sleeping under the bridge. The fog was tearing apart as the dawn broke. The first ray of the sun blinded her. She had yearned for this morning for years now.
She had escaped. It was the beginning.