Prisoner of the Veil

Building houses by the sea has its advantages and disadvantages. Some love the scenic beauty others dread the unpredictable waves. Yet for some naive beings like her, it’s a feeling of bliss, an imaginary freedom from the four walls, the shackles that bind her soul.

Today, yet again she was staring out of the window, her sight fixed like a drug addict. Her thoughts floated like a gush of wind towards the mountains, they hit and bounced back- the heart ached again. Her eyes investigative as they always are, in search of her clipped wings, darted at the birds kissing the sky. Then her gaze moved to the sea, the ebbs and the tides, the swish and rustle- they say the wave returns back whatever it takes, she wondered which wave concealed her freedom. Children busy by the sea-shore collecting seashells and building sand castles reminded of her days of reverie- dreams, she dreamt of the prince in palomino, did it take a detour in the hazy maze?

Her mind took a stroll down the nostalgic lane- she remembered the flutist, her lover who sat under the shades of the banyan tree and whistled tunes to catch her fancy. Then suddenly she felt sick, stricken by the pain he must have gone through when his head was smashed in broad daylight, oblation she had been witness to. His face exuded a peculiar bliss, just before being put to rest. For a split moment he looked into her eyes and interpreted all the tales untold- of love, of longing, of miseries and sacrifices. What was his fault? Being a lover or being from the other caste? – A salty drop reached her tongue, the taste seemed familiar, accustomed to her taste buds. She wiped the droplet with the dead end of her sari then wrapped her head again.

She noticed the kites kissing the sky and kids running jubilantly after them – her eyes twinkled witnessing the ecstasy, like the kites her soul leapt to catch the sky. The sky seemed mauve today, not the usual kind- she sensed like the frogs did- it was about to rain. She loved rain as much as she feared lightning; while the former soothes the burning heart, the latter reveals the hidden wounds. A sudden reminder told her- she had to fetch her dry laundry, but she ignored her mind for once, choosing her heart instead. Her heart pleaded not to move, today is the day of laziness- it confided, a moments lull in the never-ending vale of life. Her nose smelt burnt food; her ears heard the rings of doorbell and the knocks on the door- still she held back adamant to move, like a body devoid of mobility.

Then lightning struck like an arch on the sky and flashed on her pallor revealing all yet again- the dark circles beneath the dreamy eyes; the charred hands, sculptor of the dreams; and the bruises all over the body, which had suddenly sprung to life. Shaken back to life as she was about to turn, she could sense the sand castles being washed away as water gushed over damning the estuary. Lastly as I do remember, she moved towards the dressing table, pulled open the drawer and put a tinge of vermilion in between the unruly hair, clinically parted by then.

Debojit Dutta

*This piece has been selected as the Winning Entry of the Day for the ‘Viewspaper Express Yourself Writing Competition’*