I've always dreamed of writing short stories - that is, being a writer. My mom used to tell us stories when we were young. My dad still does, especially for my youngest sister and I always complain that he doesn't tell me. So, it is in me I guess because of my parents. And then, my supervisor is into writing poems. So, no lack of motivation. And finally, got down to writing one.
This is my first story. In the university, road widening work was going on. One morning, I found this girl of around 7 or 8, watching wide eyed students passing by and thought, 'She should be going to school'. Instead, she had a kid in her hand. The elders, daily wage labourers, were working nearby. The next few days, as I passed by, riding my cycle, I saw her looking at the students walking by. This story is inspired by her, those eyes.
Lying down after the meagre dinner, Rupali asked her mother, 'What's a university ?'. The contractor had informed them that evening about their shifting work to the university. 'It's a place where children go to study. You'll see tomorrow', answered her mother. Rupali couldn't sleep for long with excitement.
With sunrise, Rupali woke up, finished off the small chores and was ready to set off to the University. Walking through the gates, she was amazed to find the greenery, unseen in the city. She breathed every breath as though it were her first, taken in the smells. Her eyes were her camera. They had reached the construction site. But she hadn't seen students yet.
She found a shady tree, put the lunch basket down, helped her mother tie a cradle and put her brother in the cradle. As she rocked the cradle, she kept watching the road to see students. After a long time, she heard the sounds of laughter and the ring of cycle bells. She knew then that the students were coming.
Dressed in lovely colours, bangles, earings, watches they passed by her walking and cycling. She stood there mesimerized by the sight of them. They passed by again during lunch time and in the evening. Each time she stood there, watching their every move, their laughter making her laugh. That night she dreamed of the students.
The next day, she waited to see the students pass by. One of them, fair, beautiful, with long black hair came walking. She had blackened her eyes, and worn a red dress. Rupali had never seen a smile as beautiful before. She had never seen someone as beautiful in her village, which they left after her father's death, nor in the city. Her mother had told her once about pari's, the fairies. She felt she had finally seen one. Afternoon and evening, Rupali waited for her fairy to pass by.
Day after day, Rupali now waited. Not for the students, but for one student, the fairy. She noticed her every move, the movement of her hand, how she moved the strand of hair from her face, how she waved to friends passing bye. She noticed the fairy's bindis, nail colour, shoes and bags. She stood close by so that she could smell the wiff of the air as her fairy passed by. One evening, their eyes met. The fairy smiled at her as she walked by. Rupali felt over the world.
When she was alone, Rupali dreamt of talking to the fairy, of touching her, of feeling her wonderful clothes. She dreamt of herself going to the university one day. Yet, when the fairy walked by, she could only look at her in awe.
Days went by till one day afternoon, the contractor informed them that the next day, work is scheduled back in the city. Rupali was drowned in sadness. She knew that she wouldn'e be able to see fairy anymore. Oh how much she wanted to talk to her fairy, to touch her once. When the time came, she stood there waiting. As the fairy passed by, she could only stand there and stare. Legs failed to move, same with her mouth. She couldn't even bring on a smile. She went back to the shade under the tree, sad and forlorn. She sat there and felt like there was no tomorrow. She resolved then, that come evening, she would talk to her fairy, atleast touch her. She only hoped that her fairy would talk to her a little. And she wouldn't ask for more.
In the evening, she took her place on the road, long before time. She saw the fairy from a long distance. She could hear her heart beat for the first time. And as the fairy came close, she smiled. The dupatta of the fairy whizzed by in the breeze over her face. She touched it and held the soft cloth. She didn't know how long until, the cloth was pulled from her hand. She looked up to see her fairy, but now, those soft eyes were blazing fire. What the fairy told her she did not know. All she knew was that suddenly, the fairy had turned into a demon.