There is a nine-year-old girl sleeping on the floor of the living room, awaiting the morning rays when it will be time for her to get ready to wash windows and mop the floors. Surely she misses her mother’s warm hands and wonders when she will be able to see her again.
Then again, where would she get the chance to watch television and all its glittery characters every night? Actresses in all their glamour and false tears, with heroes striving to save their damsels in distress, with real time contests turning music into a car race and, with the police using their batons to beat up the protestors (the real stuff of course, no dramatisation needed here) and the occasional scenes of stolen kisses and dripping desire.
Three meals a day, that’s something! Lau kumra bhaji, ilish macha bhaja and chicken as well. Sometimes even ice-cream!
But, something stays missing. At night when she goes to bed, it feels as if the woes of the whole world just fall upon her little shoulders. Her tears wet the pillow covers. She hurries to dry them. She tries to dream of a little garden, where she and her cousins are running around and playing. She sees her mother and her father and her brothers as well, without the usual strain or marks of worry on their face. She dreams of clean water, where she can see her own reflection and makes little boats. How she would like to sail on those boats and go to all the places she had heard her father talk about! It was probably the only one good memory of her father that she likes to run in her mind. She was almost four when her father was telling her about the ships that sail to the other lands and of aeroplanes that move in air. Her father’s eyes were twinkling with excitement and he was eagerly relating these faraway stories to her with quite a bit of interest. Other than this one time, he would either beat her or never be around to take care of her. It was always her mother.
But why did she send her away? Maybe it was getting a little difficult to mahange two meals a day for the family, but she could do with a less rice and she really didn’t need the bits of fish that they have sometimes, or the left over spinach from next doors either.
There goes the alarm. Time to get up and face reality.