Sunday, October 25, 2009


She stepped into my life all of a sudden, stepping into the emptiness of my world one dark night, and there was light. Her beauty illumined the darkness, overwhelming me. She bore dignity ; i could clearly see the marks of violence on her...she must have been a sufferer. Her soft brown eyes spoke of pain so deep of agony, so intense wrung my heart to see her cry. A drop of tear rolled down gently as it caught the crimson streaks of the halogen lights on the dark street outside; and the tear glistened. I could see the streets wear a canopy of clouds overhead... and the tear gleamed, for a moment shredding the darkness. She had uttered no word, yet the tear said it all. Her silent words were familiar, and yet I could not fathom its meaning. In all these years within this car, I have reflected upon many faces: some pretty, some pale; some bright, some brutal. In all these years within this car: I have seen it all...and yet perhaps... I felt I could see in her a rebellion, an insurrection (?). As we moved through the serpentine roads, the driver deftly winding round deserted corners and burning kiosks: my thoughts too veered --before finally halting at the thought of the deaths that were strewn on the streets without. My mind was tormented with myriad questions, but I had no answer...The driver did not know...and nor did she. I was looking at the roads that were leaving us behind; it was my way of life. But she too was looking back. I was a little surprised...but I had no voice to ask. Suddenly, her fair face was turned towards me, glancing at me a moment to tidy a disheveled hair, we were now fast nearing the station. In that fraction of moment, I read her mind: she was only sixteen, and was leaving home, probably, never to return.

Suddenly a pistol crackled somewhere in the dark, a scream rent the still night air, and the girl shrieked. Footsteps could be heard outside, approaching our car, and before I knew what was happening, there was light—the light of a hundred flickering flames. The driver was hauled out by a pair of scarred hands; I could see nothing. The girl had left the car, but I could hear her cry “S-- , S-- ... please leave him brother; I beg of you, please leave him for the Almighty’s sake. It’s not his fault...I persuaded him to come, not he; please don’t kill..............” her voice became fainter. Other voices came wafting across. Hurriedly the ones around me dissolved into the dark night. The driver, beaten mercilessly was groaning outside. The girl was no longer to be heard; while S--, whosoever he was, was probably no more. I felt sorry: but worse was to follow. I could sense a commotion behind me. And suddenly there was light again. I could see the flicker of a hundred flaming torches . A voice was heard: “S--, my brother, what has become of you, O Lord, give me the strength to demolish those infidels. Brothers, I vow hereby, I will not rest until those murderers are killed….” Somebody said, “Hey L--, this is the car which that wench had come, to entice your brother away...And, and that is that driver. You sinner, being one amongst us, you helped the enemy. You scoundrel...” the voice trailed off, but now I could hear fresh sounds of blows, and the driver’s futile cry for mercy….Suddenly there was a large thud,... (ah!) A club fell heavily onto the car. A strong hand, another scarred one, clutched me hard, and with one surge of fury, tore me away from the car, my home....and threw me onto the green grass, now splattered with a bright red ….In a matter of minutes, they had set fire onto the car. Once again, I could do nothing as the bellowing flames glinted on my glassy eye.

Soon it was all over. But would anyone listen ? I had no voice... a mere rearview mirror, I could merely reflect , not speak .

Broken to pieces, I went on reflecting the darkness...

Stuti Goswami