Dear Nature – as I choose to see you by Shilpa Mukherjee
In the midst of the dense forest with thick sharp undergrowth,with tall green trees canopying the sky with an olive hue,she stands lost.With eyes flickering in awe,she looks around and senses the predatory presence lurking around.Suddenly she starts running,she runs for her life.The sound of heavy footsteps is heard behind.It almost closes in on her,and with one go,rips off her clothes.She slips on the mossy green ground and falls down…
I wake up in a cold sweat and palpitate for a long time.Several years have passed,but time has not been my panacea.
How hard is it to forget clumsy incidents which have tormented a part of our childhoods?Incidents long past,well negotiated with,long time ago?Why do they regularly haunt us?The more we try to recede from the root of our malaise,the more it permeates our beings.
A nine year old girl goes to one of those “exotic” beaches,south of the Vindhyas(apparently offering a” serene and tranquil” holiday spot for families willing to stretch their pockets a bit).
It is quite a regular day,the parents have a fight early in the morning,over some trivial matter.
“…look at the sun outside.I can’t go out without an umbrella”
“…yes you very well can.Did you see any one carrying an umbrella?”
“…Oh!They are those blondes…what have they got to losing the sun?For them,a tan line skirting their breasts is a dream come true.But me?I’ll become…”
“…do whatever you feel like.But don’t tag along with me,with that hideous red umbrella.”
“Oh you never want me…”
The over-taxed balloon of his anger being burst,dad storms out of the room,shutting the door behind him with a bang.
Had this scene not been made,the girl would have found it quite eerie,out of the ordinary.
At twelve o’clock in the noon, the merciless sun,brimming full with evil designs is high up in the sky.Dad is getting ready for a scuba dive with a group of German tourists,too engrossed in his own sport,hence no time to play with the child.He shoos her away saying “Swim forward, Darla…do swim forward…beyond the point where the waves hurtle,rise up and then crash down into the more or less even tenor of the sea water.Dont linger at the beach,it’s only sand out here…”
With her little knowledge in swimming,the girl starts floating along the waves,going up and down with the crests and troughs.As soon as the cool water caresses her sun burnt body,she closes her eyes in sheer pleasure.She feels as if she is almost gliding over the water.With the lids of her myopic eyes dropped down,she could see the world around her turning turquoise.The moment made her forget all the caustic experiences with her parents.She perceives a lamp of happiness,burning inside her stomach,illuminating her interior self in two strands,one going up,another going down,right up to the toes off her feet.
And then a drop of black descends on her idyllic blue world.
The stench of stale beer enters her nostrils.She opens her eyes in shock and for a moment she sees all black around her.Somebody was out on a foray and has ambushed her, who now feels her(his catch)up, gropes her,and gropes her hard.She writhes in pain and anguish.She now shuts her eyes tight,like an helpless child caught amidst a violent torch procession.Only this time,the burning torches are massacring her,between her thighs.
The lamp is still burning inside her.Now,it is a lamp which radiates blackness thoughout her body,in several strands,in all directions.She tries hard to fight,but fails and abandons the futile attempt of dominating the hitherto unfelt emotions of guiltless shame,helpless rage and the fires of self consuming and devastating implosion surging past her body,along with the blue waves.The deafening silence of her protest,her muffled sobs shroud her surroundings.But perhaps,the world around her has become too opaque and too black,to allow her father(just twenty feet away)to see the coastguard…
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