Sunday, August 29, 2010


It has been a long time since I have been here. I have lost count of days. I had tried, initially, to escape. But they put me back in. To punish me, they starved me for days, and then, when I could not stand, for hunger had weakened my legs, they let HIM into the room. He whipped me. He whipped me till I was hoarse from crying. Then He left. I cowered in a corner for fear of Him coming back with the whip. They fed me the day after. It was a frugal meal that hardly appeased my stomach. But I gnawed at it as if it were a banquet. They starved me again after that. I learnt soon enough that it would become a ritual to feed me and starve me alternately. I knew they would not be able to keep me imprisoned if I was strong. This damned hunger had caused me to lose everything in life.

My memory is sharp. I remember everything. I remember how they caught me, as clear as daylight, although it was a dark night when it happened. It was hunger that drove me to steal. We did not go into the village usually. It was an unspoken rule among our kind. The villagers were the enemy. Together, they were stronger and more cunning than we could ever be. But my children had starved for a week. It was the villagers’ fault that had happened. They were taking over our territory. I remember how I crept around the cottage, a black night hiding me from sight. But I was wrong. They had kept watch. They were upon me like a wave breaks upon a boulder. I had nowhere to run. The villagers surrounded me, taunting me with their flaming torches. I shrank back. Hunger had left me weak.

“Witch!” she called me, a woman in the background, “these Godforsaken creatures have wreaked havoc on us!” was what she exclaimed, to no one in particular. I could see her, framed in a doorway. Maybe she had children too. Why did she not understand my plight? My babies, starving, left alone. I had to get back to them. But the villagers would not let me. Someone fired at me.

I woke up in this room. Tired, hungry, scared. I ached for my babies. There is a window in this room. I spent days crying through it, for my children. Hoping they would hear. I gave up after a while. They were better off wherever they were, away from this hellhole.

The man with the whip comes to my room every night. I am scared of him. I do as I am told, or else He whips me. He is here now. He cracks the whip. I stand quickly and walk out the door. I walk onto the stage to jump on stools and wave at cheering crowds. It is another regular night for me, performing for the ‘Bagher Khela’ at the Minerva Circus.

Diya Sinha

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