Storms ruled the first thousand years of life.
By the time I claimed my room, I turned into a zombie...
Suspended somewhere between the worlds within and outside...
Vaguely aware of either...
But then, existence needs more meaning, and spectacles need a windowpane...
Right here, I found mine…

Who am I? An average woman - trying to work on my share of maze through layers of haze...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pipi's Summer (Part-I)

As some of you will remember, this chapter has already been published in the same blog in Mar'13. However, subsequent reads made me hate the original write-up to the point that I was driven to rewrite it.

When little Pipi finally saw a REAL train, she was so upset that she hardly wanted to travel to mamabari any longer.

Well, it was a chain of boxes alright - and that too with doors, windows and wheels which her matchbox-train didn’t have. But as luck would have it, they expected Pipi to sit IN a box, and not ON it!

Pipi went all grumpy while Papa carried her into one of the boxes and got her seated beside a window with rusty metal rods.  The scariest of beds, high and still higher, hung all around. One look at them, and she knew that the naughtiest of kids would be banished to the upmost beds. There they’d have to sit alone all through the night until the train reached mamabari, or worse, they fell down and broke their teeth!

The poor girl was so scared that her heart galloped like a race horse and her teeth began to chatter. All she could think of was to curl up in Papa’s lap and be the quietest little kid the world had ever known.

But to her utter surprise, Papa touched her chin, ran his hands through the curly mess of her hair, asked her to be a good girl and strode towards the door of the box. In the blink of an eye, he was standing on the other side of the window – waving goodbye to them! And the real shocker was the huge, unruffled yawn let out by Ma, following which she too waved back at Papa. No questions were asked. No eyebrows were raised. Poor Pipi finally realized that she had fallen prey to yet another hush-hush conspiracy of the grown-ups.

Now the box was full of huffing, puffing, sweating and jostling strangers Pipi had never met before. As tears swelled up in her eyes, Pipi could almost hear them whisper to each other – ‘Who’s this girl with a bird’s nest for hair? Now see what an annoying crybaby she’ll turn out to be!’ With her face pressed hard against the rusty rods, the girl whimpered as softly as she could; but Papa showed no sign of moving back inside. Rather the floor started swinging, there was a loud and very long whistle, and he just shifted slowly out of the window without moving his legs!

Pipi couldn’t believe that Papa had a real pair of roller shoes, and he’d never bothered to show them to her! How much more could she take in one single evening?

Decidedly, Pipi boohooed out - loud and louder. She had to have Papa back. What if she never saw Papa again? What would she do without Papa? How could she make the train move backwards so that her Papa could board it? Why did nobody listen to her?

Pipi decided she’d flood the entire train with her tears and drown all the staring, whispering strangers, unless they did something to bring her Papa back. And she’d definitely have tried it out hadn’t Ma wiped her tears away with a hanky that smelt of fresh jasmines. Pipi loved jasmines. Unlike the loud roses, the jasmines in the small grilled balcony of their apartment spoke to her with a warmth that smelt of truth. She chose to believe Ma when she told her that Papa would join them in a day or two – and right at her mamabari

Meanwhile, it was getting dark outside. Wind blew in through her window. Lights and giant shades of many a shape ran in a mad rush outside their box. “Has the train entered a magic tunnel?” – wondered Pipi. Initially she was excited and curious. But within an hour or so, her eagerness gave way to monotony. The tunnel grew dark and darker until all the shapes merged into each other – and all she could see was the strange assortment of tiny lights spread out high above and below.

“Who knew how far the tunnel stretches – may be right up to the land of the mama-s!” - She thought before she turned her attention to the many odd faces around. And for the first time, she felt somewhat sad that they’d all go away to their own mamabari-s, never to meet her again, once the train reached its station. 

Pipi decided to talk to them. 

Notes and Translations:

Mamabari: Mother’s home or maternal uncles’ place.
Dadu: Maternal grandpa
Dida: Maternal grandma
Mama: Maternal uncle (mother’s brother)
Mashi: Maternal auntie (mother’s sister)
Boro: Eldest
Mejo: Second eldest
Chhoto: Youngest
Didi:Elder sister or female cousin
Dada: Elder brother or male cousin


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