Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ouija board - Part 3

(You can read  Part 1 and Part 2 here.) 


Her name was Shalini. I still remember the first time I saw her. She had come to our house holding her father's hand. A child. No more than four or five years old. Sucking her thumb and clinging behind her father. I still remember it so well. And her eyes. Taking everything in. So eager and full of life. That was the first thing that I noticed about her. 

She came from a poor family. Maybe that was one reason for her life to be doomed. Her mother passed away when she was ten years old. I remember her looking at me beseechingly at the funeral. She was so young, hardly a few years older than your mother. It broke my heart to see her mourn death at such a young age. The hands of death first touched her then. But her bad luck was just beginning.

A few months after her mother's death, her father remarried. The reason he told everyone was that Shalini needed a mother. She was a growing girl who needs a mother more than her father. The woman looked harmless enough, the few times I saw her. But there was something about her that made her seem like a threat in Shalini's eyes. Who could blame her? She had just lost her mother. And slowly, she felt her father was slipping away from her hands too.

Those days she used to come over here and play. Sometimes with your mother, sharing our meals and your grandmother treated her just like she did her own daughter. She loved listening to my stories. Begging me for more even when it was time for her to go home. She was reluctant to go home. Always. 

I saw a new emotion in her eyes then. Fear. Though I tried to reassure her that it was all in her head, that her step mother was only trying to help her, she never said anything. Neither agreeing nor disagreeing with me. She would just watch me. 


Once I strung a swing on ropes on this Pala tree, a swing that went to a great height. Your mother was scared initially. But I still remember how Shalini stood fascinated by it. She would wait patiently for her turn and would urge me to push her higher and higher. Till her laughter echoed in our courtyard.  

As she grew older, her visits to our house dwindled. She would come once in a while, talk to your mother and grandmother and leave. It was as though she trod around me carefully, now that she was a young woman. I heard that she was still sent to school, but her grades began to suffer. She was a bright girl but there was something that was bothering her. 

And that was when the wretched thing happened. 

I can still see that day folding in front of my eyes. It still remains fresh in my memory. If only I had another chance to do things differently, I would. I curse myself thinking back. How could I have been so stupid and naive? 


It was a cold windy evening, clouds hovering in a grey sky that threatened to fall any moment. That was when Shalini came running to our home. Eyes distraught, her clothes astray, the skin on her hands and legs bruised. She was fifteen years old now, not a mere child who could be punished physically, for whatever the mistakes she must have done. Sobbing down by my feet, she told me everything. The physical abuse that she was subject to by her step mother. How her father was merely a puppet in her hands, that he had no voice anymore in things. The mental torment she was put to, all these years.

And that evening, she had had enough. She didn't want to go back anymore. She feared she would lose her mind. Or do something which she would regret later on. I should have listened to her then. But all I did was ask her to go back home. She was not a child anymore. And I couldn't keep her here, without her father's permission. No matter how hard the decision was for me to take, she would have to go back. 

I remember how she turned to look back at me reproachfully one last time before walking home. And that was the last I saw her alive. The night was heavy with rain and thunder. The next morning, the news spread like wildfire. That Shalini was found hanging from a tree in the field. 



Some say it was suicide. That she ended her own life because she couldn't take the torture any more. Others say she was killed and hung up. The tree was too tall for her to have climbed it herself. What was the truth? I did not know, my child. I was baffled. But what I knew was this, that I gave her the final push towards her death. Yes, maybe I did not know it that evening. But I will never forget the look she gave me before she left, for as long as I live. It was hurt; that I did not believe her. Or maybe it was regret. For trusting me...

... To be continued.

This post is written for Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo


22 comments:

  1. Aathira :D:D wanna tell ya 1 thing, you teach me a very important lesson that simplicity is the best virtue. Ur writings r simple still they r engaging and sooo well written. U surely have a way with words. Every time I drop by ur blog I feel honoured to have discovered ur blog:):D
    Just keep on writing. Lots of luv♥

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    1. Juhi, you have just made my day with your comment :) Thank so much, Love :) I'm glad that you enjoy my posts! I try to do justice to the stories I tell.. :) xoxo

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  2. Aathira, this is too sad. I felt a lump in my throat. You write very well.

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    1. Thank you soo much, Usha Ma'am! Means so much to me.

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  3. such a wretched thing to happen to a child..waiting for the conclusion now :-)

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    1. Indeed, a childhood which ended before its time. The final part shall be coming up shortly :)

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  4. "But what I knew was this, that I gave her the final push towards her death." - The line just pinched me. God, the poor child. The suffering. I wish someone had taken her under their wing. Alas!

    Beautiful as always, Aathira :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Dear :) Such stories happened long back. Some of them still do. It is a tragic end to a young life :(

      xoxo

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  5. That is not a feeling anyone would want to live with :( waiting to see where it goes next :)

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    1. A guilty conscience is not something which lets you go freely... :( Next part shall be up soon, Seeta :)

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  6. Like Juhi said, simple writing, but very effective.

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  7. Aathira everyday I begin to love your blog more. Your stories are so awesome. Sad that the girl died. Waiting to read the next part.

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    1. Thanks so much Reema! Your comment is precious. Made my day! The next part shall be up shortly :)

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  8. Your narration made me tear up. Very provoking..
    Poor girl :(

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    1. Thank you, Red. But such is life :(

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  9. :O

    Poor girl. I'm waiting to know what happens next. Wonderfully gripping tale :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Soumya! The next part coming right up :)

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  10. What a tragic story Aathira?! Love your simple and straight narration. Waiting for the next part :)

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    1. Thanks a lot, Vinodini! Just published the next part :) Hope you enjoy it!

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  11. That was sad but what awaits next was what on my mind and I read it before leaving a comment here. Couldn't wait :D

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    1. Thank you, Shanx :) I'm like you when it comes to suspense. I like to read it at one stretch and then comment :)

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