Rose on a cactus

Dear Mamma,

It is not good being away from you. But this place seems better than the place we were living. I get to run around and play. Most of all, I get good food. It seems like a celebration every day. But every time I eat, I think of you and the harsh days we got through after our lands were snatched. Some days I miss those open lands that my cousins and I would enjoy. We chased the winds and came back to some scrumptious food you made for us all. But, I’m thankful for this place. It is better than living cramped in one room with 10 others. I understand Ma, that with a heavy heart you had to let go of me. The image of your teary eyes at my departure is still very fresh in my mind. But Ma, you did the right thing. I’m happy but wishing you were here. I have found some nice people who play with me every day. They don’t leave me alone. Feel like a bride in a new house. They do not let me think of the bad times.

Choti( it’s funny, she is bigger than I but they still call her Choti) She takes good care of me. But seems very pessimistic. She tells me this isn’t a good place to be and pushes me to run away. Where would I go, Ma? These people feed me and I am happy. I do not even know my way back to you. She tells me they will feed me now but do horrible things to me later. But I don’t see them to be bad people. You wouldn’t let them take me if they were as bad as she claimed them to be, would you? Anyway, let’s forget Choti. She depresses me. I got a nice dress today. Uncle told me that I will be wearing it for the festival tomorrow. How exciting!

It is the big day, Ma. I woke up to the sounds of chickens and it felt like old times in the village. There were a lot of people and decoration. Dances going on. I felt something strange in my stomach but I think it was just the excitement. I stepped out and saw the dances, sweets. There were Camels, elephants, I wanted to ride them like we did in our village.  Choti came back and told me to run and this was the last time she could warn me. But I think she is just unhappy. Uncle gave me the dress and I looked really pretty. One lady helped me get dressed. She put some nice jewellery, I wish you were here.. Half hour later, he came back, he told me the time has come. I did not understand and suddenly, Choti’s words come back to me. What if she was right? Uncle assured me that my time has come and I will be doing the best thing of my life. I had no choice but walk along. He took me to the ground where everyone gathered. They were all cheering for me and clapping. I felt like a movie star. Everybody was cheering but I was scared something was wrong. At that moment, I wanted to run. But then, I guess it was too late. There were people around. They tied me to a pole in between. I felt so humiliated. I saw uncle’s eyes change. He wasn’t the same nice man. He seemed like he was enjoying it. He caught me by my legs and put me down with a great force; It almost broke my ribs. He tied me. I cried, Ma. Why would someone who hugged me do this to me? That too, in public. He went to the table and pulled out something. I closed my eyes so hard. I could not believe this was happening. Choti was right. I tried thinking of the nice things of life. Your words came back to me, “think of the good things, the bad will pass away”. But the sounds that I heard did not let me concentrate on my thoughts. They were chanting something and cheering for Uncle. I opened my eyes to peek, I saw Choti, full of tears and then saw uncle, he was holding a shining knife, a wicked smile as he approached towards me. I tried to break free, but I could not move much. He caught hold of me and pulled me towards him. It sent chills across my body. He caught my face and I opened my eyes, I saw death in his eyes. I closed them again and he yelled as he put me back to the ground. I dare not move this time. I had to give up. I could not believe, death was hovering around me for a week and I did not know it. Ma, the look in your eyes came back to me. I now understand that you knew what I was being taken for but you could not do anything. He lifted it high, Ma. The time has come. I see the sun smiling at me and the clouds opening its arms, the heavens opening the gates. Ma, I think it’s for the best that I got here. May be this is entry to a place without suffering….

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