My mother told me an incident that happened in her life. I put myself in my mother’s shoes and felt the helplessness she went through. It begins with a death. An unlikely suicide, even before the bud could blossom, it’s petals burned to ashes. It happened in the summer of her 12th.
Numbness filled my heart when my eyes fell upon the picture on the front page. I was in shock and started shivering. Every moment I spent time with her flashed through my eyes in an instant. I couldn’t move for a while. Then I slowly strode towards the kitchen and between the sobs found my voice to tell my sister about her death.
I had come to my house for the summer holidays and was waiting for my results which was a week due. Her last words kept ringing in my ear. She hugged me and with a smile that showed her dimples she said “we will meet again, on the day of the results, love”
The actress, in the movie ‘A’ is there in my class. Like a butterfly, she flutters around the classroom, talking to everyone on the first day itself.
At a point she reached my bench. Her face smiled down upon me. Small round face, eyes of big brown copper coins, dimples as deep as a well, long black rooted hair; she is what you might say is the beauty of Kerala. She had a face that cheated her by showing too much innocence for a child in 11th, especially an actress.
“Hi V” said she and stretched out her hands. “R” I replied and shook it. We talked for a while; a lot of energy was piled up in her, down to earth and talked the entire while with a smile. We were free the entire day. Few girls including V were sitting in a circle behind the class and big fits of laughter could be heard from the group. V looked at the other students who longingly gazed in that direction, she called out to us to join them and asked the ones present there to widen the circle. I felt like I belong somewhere.
The past week, I have been going around with them, she gives back such witty answers to the teacher. Once they made her stand on the bench with her face between her legs. She comes into the class her arms wide open and a big ghostly laugh. She is such a drama queen, she calls me her darling and the other day proposed to me sitting on her knee. I didn’t want to come here, but now I don’t want to go from here
I took a pile of water in a cup and poured it down on me, it was not cold but yet it froze the blood in my veins. I couldn’t accept it. She was a bubble of joy, I cannot recall a day she has cried, and she filled people’s life with excitement, adventure and laughter. Her presence made the class alive and in her presence everyone felt accepted. She could easily cheer up anyone and never have I seen her angry. I pondered over the thought for long, what could have happened that bought this fate upon her.
I wrapped the towel around me and stepped out. I quickly dressed into something white but with an absent mind, I was not able to be that fast. I should go but I didn’t want to. If I go, then I will have no other choice but to accept it that she’s dead. If I didn’t, my last thoughts wouldn’t be of her body still and cold, covered in a white cloth and a face without a smile that showed dimples as deep as a well.
A bad incident happened a few days back, I will write it down to you word by word
“Hey V, your mom ran away with that guy to Chennai, so what does that make you, let me see, oh yes, you are a daughter of a b***h” a girl shouted from the back of the class.
The whole class hissed at them to shut up. But V didn’t seem hurt, she just laughed along with that girl’s cronies. She jumped up, on the top of the table and started narrating the incident about the divorce and the way her mom ran away right on that day when the court declared the result in such an amusing way. In the end people were teary eyed of laughing.
But I on the other hand am really happy, V has moved to the hostel. She moved after onam vacation and will be here till the end of 12th. Her mischief has brought upon herself days without dinner. One of us would try to sneak food for her and would end up sitting next to her, outside the head nun’s office, on our knees holding our ears. V’s arrival changed the time of darkness into sleepless nights. We would sit up nights and nights playing; cards under the bed sheet in torchlight, antashari (singing songs), pillow fights, chasing each other on corridors with screeches of different animals. Once we even threw a bucket of water through the window onto the head nun’s head. She’s not that close to me, so I cannot ask her to come home, also all of you will behave like a bunch of misfits. But I am part of her gang alright.
I came back when the bus shook because of a hump. We had reached her stop. My sister and I got down. Every step I took forward I felt like I am dragging a sack of bricks with my feet. I climbed the steps to her house and entered it.
There she lay, lifeless, soulless, without the twitch of a muscle in a deep sleep from which she can never be awaken. No more was she called by her name, she was mentioned as a dead body. Her mother sat there beside her dead body crying out loud, I could not hold it in any longer. I broke down and cried hanging on the iron bars of the wooden window. My sister stood behind me and rubbed my back trying to soothe me. There was a sudden burst of sound on the grounds. I could only see the blurred images, I wiped my tears, and then I saw her father on the ground on top of someone.
“You b*****d, you killed my daughter” he screamed. Lying under his grip, spitting blood from his mouth was her stepfather.
V has not been the same after Christmas. She had been to Chennai for the holidays; I hope she didn’t have a fight with her mom. She has lost her bounce to her walk. She smiles and laughs, but it does not reach her eyes. I hope she’s fine. I walked in on her conversation with her friend the other day. She was stammering and it seemed like she was choking back the tears. I could only catch a few phrases like ‘I hate it’, ‘looks so greedily’, ‘and tried to hurt me’, ‘scared’. It hurts me to see her in this state, hope god shows her a way out of her misery. Her academic performance has also gone down. She was supposed to be acting in ‘I’ but her mother forcefully took her from the set. She is an actress and now she is just acting in reality, keeping her life aside, she has become a fool in the court of our classroom. Around the clock she dances to bring us joy.
Later, when my mother went to get the results, she heard from her friends, the way V was mistreated. God took her out of her misery; he took her away from the pain and tears that is meant in this world. Just to see her, I tried to find her on the internet, but even the movie she has acted in is not present in those pages. Her memories have been erased from the history of the world, but her sufferings flow through the life of every girl in this world. Being born a women is a sin, or is it that born a men, an uncontrollable greedy beast a sin. A folktale once said to keep men away is the story about vagina dentate, teeth in the vagina. It has been said to discourage men from sexual intercourse. For years women have suffered, under their physical strength. The only strength we have is the power of tears and hope of sympathy. It’s long past for an evolution to occur in the body. Time has come for the teeth to be formed with the strength to rip their penis off. For the years of humiliation we have suffered, women should be in the power of strength, something equal to men. They must be afraid of the teeth.