It feels great when your child shares your passion. I am lucky that my girl is keen on books and enjoys writing fiction.
This is one of her stories that I have shamelessly copied here.
"With the one, Medusa, dark-maned Poseidon lay in a soft meadow and amid the spring flowers”
“Ssh, keep quiet! It’s Don!”
A group of giggling girls scrambled past Mimi as she was on her way to class with her best friend Henna.
“Mimi, did you hear what Don did this time?”
“What? Got elected to run the state?”
“Haha, no, he got awarded the student of the year award. Pretty impressive for a new student, right?”
“Hmm yeah, I’ve seen him around but don’t know him very well.”
“Oooh, I would love to get to know him. He looks delightful. And his voice...oh my god would you look at the time! I’m late for class! See you at tonight’s New Years Party?”
With that, Henna took a left and disappeared from Mimi’s sight leaving the girl to her own thoughts.
LOUD -There was no other word to describe the rowdy scene in front of Mimi’s eyes. The music was overpowering and the leers from the guys in the crowd made her skin crawl. She tried searching for Henna but to no avail.
“Hey, you’re Mimi right?”
She jumped and turned around to see Don standing behind her with a beer in his left hand and his other outstretched towards her.
“The music is deafening in here, want to ditch and drive around the city instead?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess. Sure. Don, yeah?”
“Yep, don’t worry. You’re in safe hands.”
Don chuckled and they walked out of the venue hand-in-hand and moved towards Don’s bike.
“Wow, fancy stuff.” , Mimi whistled.
“Well, being the minister’s son does have it’s advantages”, said Don winking, “ Now, where can I take you?”
“Wherever”, smiled Mimi.
They zipped down the Marine Drive with bright lights flashing in their eyes and laughter playing on their lips. The city of dreams had gained another dimension of beauty, anything seemed possible. It was 11:45 - 15 minutes till the fireworks.
Don pulled up near an old, crumbling church and got off his bike.
“If we climb to the top there’s a room where we can watch the fireworks from. No one else knows about it - no one will see us.”, Don said while helping Mimi get off the bike. She nodded in reply and began to scale the staircases to the top of the church until they reached a dimly lit room at the top. The room itself was nothing fancy, a plain door, large stained glass windows and a small altar by the side of the room. The most spectacular feature however was the view. The city looked dazzling and the uproar of the roads became a distant hum. Don brought out two bottles of beer and laid out a mat.
“Five more minutes, jaaneman.”, Don whispered, “ What do you want right now?”
“To rule the world”, grinned Mimi, “And you?”
With a single syllable Don closed the gap between the two of them and forced his lips on hers. His heavy breathing suffocated Mimi but there was no one she could call out for. That’s when the slow throng of a city counting down the minute to a new year began.
“59, 58, 57…”
Don’s hands were snaking behind her back to unbutton her top.
“45, 44, 43…”
Kicking and screaming, Mimi tried to escape but she was only gagged in response.
“32, 31, 30…”
The rip of fabric echoed through the room.
“24, 23, 22…”
Her cries for help turned to whispers to a god, any god, for mercy.
“12, 11, 10…”
Mimi could not see anything anymore, hot tears blurred her vision.
“3, 2, 1…”
Fireworks exploded in the distance as Mimi shrieked in agony. Her cries for help were muffled by Don’s sick grunts and the cheers of Mumbai. The last thing she remembered was hot, white pain and the monstrous look on Don’s face.
A door creaking open woke Mimi up the next morning. She sat up immediately and grabbed the closest thing to her - a delicate dupatta. Tears welled in her eyes as reality hit her. She, Mimi Das, the pride and joy of her family, had been raped.
“Hookers these days! “, a voice cried sharply, “Do you have no shame? Committing such atrocities in the house of god! Leave immediately!”
Mimi staggered to her feet clinging onto her dupatta. Mumbling something incoherent she tried to run away as fast as her frail body would permit. Not a single vehicle on the busy road outside stopped to offer help and so she walked back to the hostel, flinching with every step as the events of last night replayed in her head. She finally reached her hostel and was greeted by friends rushing towards her with questions in their eyes.
She could not do this right now, she wasn’t even ready to accept sympathy. Her protection was her dupatta and with that as armour she walked on.
“Mimi! We’ve been looking for you! Even Don said he had no clue as to where you could be!”
At the sound of that vile beast’s name, fresh tears filled her eyes and she pushed through her friends to run to her room. Switching the heater on, she stepped into the scalding water intent on scrubbing off the filth that seemed stuck to her body. Like thick, black tar it refused to be wiped off by any amount of cleansers. After two hours, she walked out of her room in a fresh set of clothes and a blanket wrapped tightly around her to be greeted by Henna.
“Oi, why didn’t you allow me in? I’ve been waiting forhours.” Henna teased, “Arrey, now don’t cry. Sit, sit. Do you want some tea? What’s up?”
“Henna he - he to- touched me. It was - he - midnight - at the church. Henna he - he ra- “
“Oh my god, Mimi, no! Don? He would never! Anyways, do you know how many girls would die to be in your place? What are you even crying about? Look, you just need some rest. Probably just a hangover, it’ll pass.”
Time and tide wait for no man and they certainly didn’t for the girl who refused to let go. She used the same dupatta to shroud her face, trying to protect an already infiltrated fort. She had tried to fight for herself, even file a case against Don but he had been right - being the minister’s son did have its advantages.
Mimi’s father refused to look at her and barred her from the house. Don’s popularity in the college had blinded her friends as well. They refused to believe that such a genuine, charismatic person could have any hint of a venomous spirit. The lack of support from friends, family and society pushed Mimi to the brink and led to many a sleepless night and hallucinations. She woke up screaming, sensing snakes slithering over her body whispering obscenities into her ears.
Society is not kind to a rape victim, and even less to a pregnant rape victim. So Mimi went to the only person who would have to listen to her - her mother.
“Maa, I have something to tell -”
“How dare you even come here? How dare you step into this house? Have you not shamed us enough?”
“Maa, please. Maa no one speaks to me anymore, even the nuns don’t allow me in to pray. I have to tell someone otherwise I might just die.”
“Die? Would that even be the worst of it? What do you have to say that could shock me anymore?”
“After that night...I am pregnant, Maa. With his child.”
“You are WHAT?”
“I don’t want it. I want no part of it growing in me. I tried distancing myself from him for three months only to find that I still have a part of him inside me.”
“Well, I’m not letting you go to the doctor for this. The Das family has already became the joke of the city. I refuse to be humiliated even more.”
“I can’t keep him, Maa. Not even for these 9 months. I cannot, I cannot - “
“Fine, then. I’ll do it myself. Although remember Mimi, this child might be the only thing that loves you.”
“Perhaps, but I could never love it back. It’s every breath would be a painful reminder of him.”
Her mother called her up a few days later informing her that the supplies were ready. Mimi was nervous, but what was the worst that could come out of this? She walked into a dark room and laid down on the bed.
“I hope this works out for you.”, her mother whispered while sterilizing a scalpel, “It might cut the strings holding you back.”
“Thank you,” Mimi smiled softly, “Maybe there still is hope.”
Mimi sat up to hug her mother but failed to see the scalpel. There was an audible gasp and the metallic smell of blood filled the room.
“Oh god, what have I done!”
“It’s ok Maa” , responded Mimi weakly, “Isn’t this what you wanted?” With those words she sagged in her mother’s arms and breathed her last.
It is said that when people die, their life flashes before their eyes. However, all Mimi saw was tragedy and punishment. Perhaps that’s what you deserve for being born a woman in today’s world.
By Toshali, grade 10