14th August 2000
“The stars shine soundlessly upon the moonlit sky.Each shimmering as a child’s exaggerated teardrop a pearl against the sunlight as they cry. There is vivid,carefree laughter and an unbelievable cloud of memories that still hover in moist air,as two little girls skip throught the puddles. “Pttchh – Patch- Haha” on a rainy day without a care. The rain falss gently upon the ground as flowers bloom and the child cries,the very first sound comes to his ear. The sky darkens as the children rest their heads,silence takes over aas they lie in their beds.Their beds , safe and secure.The raindrops are now music to him,every raindrop contains a single beat ,each of it making up for the children;s melodyfor their sleep.Each drop,each drop transports them gradually to a faraway land,where possibly fiery,friendly dragons exist and princes on a beautiful unicorn always fantasized of ask for their hands.His little girls dance throught the fields of dreams of light ,sing the most melodious and enchanting songs deeper and deeper , do they fall with their smiles so pure and bright – virgin. The whispers of the dreamland call them girls .Unaccountedly closer and closer they drift and on reaching their destination,gradually reality shifts for them. He sees his two little girls lie in their beds and smiles,smiles on what all glorious sights they will see, what the real world awaits them , awaits them with something else. “
He put his pen down.
This had been enough amount of writing for a rainy Friday evening.He took a deep breath, looked at the wall clock hung inanimately yet animatedly moving into the warp of time.The clock read , six twenty two pm. He moved his head , took a gulp of air and realized it had been only thirty eight minutes of a trip to his parallel universe of thoughts,stories,quills,pens and back.When he pushes his chair back , it lets out a little squeak amidst the moist silence of the evening and proceeds towards the magnificent French Window that perimeters a side of his room on the first floor of his modest bungalow.He stood there , stood there past the window , watch the rain go past and the melodious thud thud of the water falling on the false extensions of the French Window.
For all he lived in this lifetime were the two little girls he was spared with after his wife’s death .He saw the world in those sparkly eyes and hope meandering in those grins , so carefree and innocent when life took a backseat and something like living life alone as an experience came into existence. He saw the neighbour’s tender little girls hopping in the little dirty water puddles and knew in his head that it was time for his little girls to come home.It was almost a daily household activity on a whole to let his beautiful petals out to play, know the world and to admire it.
Twelve and eight – of age were his two little dolls . she was eight and bright . She loved barbies and had eleven of them . It was his utmost joy to see her hop around the house in glee with the best pink frock she had ,the room echoing with the sounds of her laughter. The twelve year old was a subdued self proclaimed geek , she loved her books and rarely set out to play like other bright kids. He thought she was the closest he could get one of this daughters to become a writer. He looked at that wall clock again , it had gone past seven . He still didn’t hear the carefree chirps of his little bird home . It had already gone dark. He was a father , that feeling hurt him , he reassured himself that his kid was safe . He went down to his living room , opened the front door only to welcome the rain in and out and wetting his pretty jute foot mat. He closed the door and sat on his cosy tapestered couch , grabbed tight of the mushion that lay on the couch in anxiety and waited . This time again , he sensed someone at the door. He looked through the keyhole in the excitement of seeing his little girl smile. The elder daughter he saw in a raincoat with her hair sticking to her face and trembling in cold of the rain. He opened the door in joy to greet his child and waited two seconds after she entered at the very doorstep if she had brought her sister along as well .”Rena ,Where is your sister ?” , he asked in worriment. She removed her raincoat and replied , “ No Papa. I got late from the class.” Wiped her head with the towel he had left by the side table , picked up her books and set upstairs to her room for her daily routine of Physics, chemistry and Maths.
The rain had mellowed down by then , the door still lay open in wait of the little sister , too tense he was to even let out a sigh. That pensive walk of wait was tracing the corridor to the hallway. The hallway to the door . The door to the hallway . The clock had now gone past eight and a quarter . He somewhere knew at the back of his mind , after all that reassuring done he would see his little girl set into the house tonight itself. He closed the door , wiped his head and took a deep breath and buried himself in the phone , reconsidering options as to whom to call and enquire about his little girl.This is when he heard a little knock on the door. A little knock yes. An effortless little knock. He sprung up from the couch in immediate reflex and went for the door to see his little girl standing there in the rain , drenched and expressionless. Where had that laughter from her face palely disappeared. He had a thousand questions swirling in his mind , but he controlled himself let her in and shut the door by .
She stood lifeless of the two steps she took in the hall . He went close to her , kneeled down on his knees and gave her that tight fatherly hug to share with her how happy he was to see her . He hugged her , but all he felt in return was her skin ice cold and the warm tears flowing down her cheeks down to his shoulders. He knew there was something she had to tell.He wouldn’t ask, he was not a very questioning person at heart. He trusted his girls a little too much and knew she would tell him what happened.She grabbed the towel he handed her in reflex ,tears still flowing down her cheeks , face pale as anything and ran upstairs in her wet bellies , frilly socks and that blue frock hugging her body due to the rain.He did not question. He did not. He knew she would talk. He was not too much a father to his kids than he was a friend. He was a friend , a confidante. She would trust in him ,He gave her time , time enough to calm down and speak leaving her in aloof in her room. She shut the door in disappointment and went for the door lock, spun it round to lock herself in solitude. Opening the cold water tap in the bathroom , she put her head underneath , with flowing cold water touching the scalp of her head and her thick long hair.
A day passed , a two passed , days, weeks ,years , things came back to normal. He still never questioned her . He still never asked. When you bank on things called hope in life , this is the limit. There was no possible void left in their family , he still read them girls out fancy stories and they cooked lovely meals together. They were a family , bonded and had enough love for each other enviable for the others. He wrote books and books as a writer and then won accolades and accolades as the same. He had lived his dream as a writer over the years , accomplished it and things felt just complete. He was a good friend, a successful man , a good father but there was this little itch somewhere at the back of his mind as to what had happened years ago.
His two little girls were exposed to literature , and writing ever since the very childhood . They had now undertaken his dream of them becoming accomplished writers . They were ambitious aspirants and enthusiasts of the progression . The Young Writer’s Summit every year held in Mumbai was an event more prestigious than any for all novices or aspiring ambitious writers. His little daughter was taking part in this for a first time. Eleven years down , the line , she had grown into a charming lady of nineteen , long velvet hair flowing down her tusser silk kurta and a neat black rimmed plastic nerd glass framing her clean and rounded face . She had grown to be the youngest entry this year at the Young Writer’s Summit. He was a proud father , a proud proud father and a mentor for his daughter . He had waited for this fortunate day for years to see one of his girls on the podium doing a recital.
He put up his neatest black suit, neatly folded a scarf across his throat covering the collar of his shirt , shiny black shoes and he tiptoed across the colossal Mayo Hall like a king crusading a red carpet . The waiters in a neat tuxedo pulled out a chair for him in respect.Rena followed and sat beside him. He let out a little smile that he couldn’t control , looked at Rena , she reciprocated the smile and they took a sip of the sparkling white wine together burying their nose in the wine glass . He licked his lips in content and put the glass down in satisfaction. They say there is no better feeling in this world than living to see your dream come alive.The lights , the black , the bonhomie – he was on a stage other than all. All he saw was the podium and the wait of seeing his daughter on the stage haunted him.
Time and again he came to realise his unending love for his daughters , they had never left a void unopen , never let him down . Never. He saw aspiring writers come and go on the stage narrating their best story forward at the Summit.Them writers came , some stumbled , some had moist tears in their eyes, some spoke with all their zest and some just spoke and left.An echo of applause faded out in the room after every recital . He was sitting at the edge of his chair after every performance waiting for the recital of his lifetime, it was a lot more than a matter if pride for him. His bright dilly dally candy loving ever energetic gudiya had now become a writer. The emcee got onto the stage and announced what was the last recital of the day. The lights fell on a young bright girl standing at the podium , who animatedly patted into the mike testing the modulation. There was something about her , she was firm and had something to say, she knew what she wanted. Firm and animate , she grabbed instant attention . It was her. His , His very daughter.
A tear dropped down his cheeks , warm and fulfilling . He turned his body towards the stage and sat to listen in rapt attention . She started off with a cold verse and then went on to explain a cold chilly rainy night , a rainy night like every other night when the protagonist set out to play. She hopped and jumped through dirty water puddles in her favorite frilled socks and a blue puffed frock.Not realizing in the impulse of the moment , she went a little too far down the street – yet dedicated to her immense row with the rain , she punched the rain , the rain punched her back, she threatened the rain , the rain let out a rigorous thunder in terror of her cute threatens to defeat the rain. She was carefree , she was pure and virgin . There were eyes prying her , there were eyes looking at her. She stood at the podium and in the same firm animated manner went on to narrate the tale of how the protagonist was molested by a group of vandals . Her tears did not fall , her tears had dried over the years . She was a woman of substance – quite literally. She fearlessly told a tale of a woman in this country , a little girl being molested out of her sheer innocence and chastity. She had spoken. A huge applause faded out in the Mayo Hall after her recital .
The day at the summit had ended with stories that spoke millions . This man in a grey safari and a stout appearance approached his table where he and Rena had been seated through the evening .”Rajan , your daughter won. She weaved words so beautiful that it pierced our hearts .” He let out a tight small smile and waited for the man in the grey safari to leave. Rajan now knew what had happened years ago , he looked at Rena , his face firm and animated , yes the very same expression as his daughter – and walked out of the hallway of the majestic Mayo hall .- only to find his daughter standing still by the car . He stepped forward and hugged her tight. Tears dropped down her cheeks to his shoulder like that very night . Silence had spoken.
Silence had spoken.