The town vendors pack up their bags as they start off trotting towards greener pastures
and the rain showers down washing away the muck on the pavements and lanes.The birds fly
frantically looking for a refuge as the shower destroyes their homes, their cherished
straw-woven homes that are left hanging and jutted out of the branches of the olive trees.
They return to find their homes destroyed as they are left feeling deep morose, nay, new
and nascent hopes as they wait for a new dawn.Thus, a new journey begins yet again but
more determined and concrete this time round.
This is the dawn of munpur.As the chilling wind subsides,
the cattle gaze on the steeps of hills with lazy unintented eyes from up there while the
market place lights up with fervour and bubbling energy.
Reeva ambles out into the her balcony still feeling smug about the imaginary castles
she had got out after a night's sound sleep.Their balcony overlooked Fifi hills - the house
was planned thus for little Reeva whom her uncle and aunty adored.Suddenly brought down to
earth , she trotted off to answer a knock on the door, it was Pearl carrying her coffee
tray and lemonade which Reeva relished for breakfast. Pearl was Padma's
daughter - they were such faithful caretakers that the mansion could be trusted to them
when aunt Sally and uncle Kenan embarked on their charity missions.
Pearl is all of twenty three years old , looks older than she is but not to a keen
observer, who wouldn't fail to notice her restless mannerisms. She is rather shabbily
dressed with a long dusty robe. Her locks kept falling back on her forehead each time, she
corrected them ,almost dutifully. She added a certain kind of joie de vivre to the home that
was noticeable yet unbrusive. She is beautiful in a subdued way, with no gloss - a little
strain on the eye is worth it for anyone who claims to have an average aesthetic sense,
but once her charm strikes you, it'll forever remain in your emotional memory.
It's a fine sunday noon, she was busily trotting to the general stores, down their lane
to fix a meal for the lunch and the sun was shimmering overhead warming up her features
and tanning her skin only to create a thin brown film asentuating her warmth that she had
in herself. Almost involantarily her eyes settled on the compact cottage at the end of
the lane as visions flashed on her mind like a keleidoscope switching to varied formations
at the slightest tilt.
" Pearl!", yelled Padma from the kitchen as Pearl hurried from the court yard.
And the very next moment she saw herself as a cute juvenile girl hopping around.....then the
lovely orchids where she and her sister played hide and seek.....a few masked men approaching her
her with an unearthy weird kind of malice, swords in hand.....minty and papa being slaughtered
to death... their bleeding faces screaming at hers. She shrieked with horror, as panicky
petrified- looking people gathered around her . Just then she could feel something
chill splash on her face and the visions dispersed like fog. As she came back to her
senses, people slowly pushed off remainded of their mundane routines,except Chetan and Ronak,
her friends in the neighbourhood who stood supporting her frame on either side
preventing her from fainting, looking reassuringly at her like they truly knew what all
this was about unlike the other folks. They headed straight home.
"Oh! dear where have you been dear, you look so worn out " aunt Sally came rushing to her as uncle
Kenan came trotting quickly from the study room sensing the apprehension in aunty's voice.
"Nothing to fret aunty , it's just one of those mild strokes, she's feeling a little better
now and she'll be fine after a while." Ronak said quietly knowing that she has lied well enough.
And Pearl went off to stretch and chill her head off.
Pearl had often wondered if memories are a part of the person or a part of the past or
are they a part of the mind or are a part of an illusionary network - a network like a
spider's web that once a section of the web is slashed, what remains is a huge lump of mess
with tangled fine threads, that neither show where they end nor where they begin? The more you try to
destroy them the more they reinforce in complexity. So, the best would be to destroy them as
a single unit. Now, how was she to do that with uncle and aunty around, who were in
themselves a part of a sweet reality that pertains to her past that she would what to
forget? Inspite of all the mess, she knew that at the end of the day, life is about
happiness and is a journey where we get off a several halts to meet new folks and
see several people do the same as you bade good bye to them or a stage where characters
enter , play their part and leave and the screen is drawn up again to let
in new fresh faces to cast their spell of evil or good or ugly or just blindly seduce.
Thus , she flowed with the ebb and tide of life. Her father and sister minty had been
killed in the communal riots. Once sat down to llok back her memories would come on
to flow like clear water from a valley that very frequetly came up with a blot of foam
or a bunch of reed that had to be pushed down a little laboriously. Many a times she had
tried to let go of the past only to realise that one can never let go of the past but
can only but can only negotiate, make peace with and then keep it anchored so that it does
not go haphard haunting every moment .But then, she could see the horizon broadening and
from yonder would come a ray of hope gleaming and bordering her youthful silhoutte
unleashing the energy within.
Uncle Kenan and his family had given her a lovely home she adored .
There, she found a nice friend in Reeva whom she thought reflected a part of her
inner self little realising that she was Reeva herself.