Monday, September 1, 2008

the blue chappals

A peacock feather was stuck in the right strap of a pair of blue chappals of the girl.
The blue chappals lay outside the wedding hall. It was her brother’s wedding day. A large air conditioned hall booked by the bride’s father stood poised on the main street on a dusty sultry May afternoon , like a class bully striving for his teacher’s attention.
There was nothing much left to do for the girl but to sit in the front row , on one of those milky cream coloured plastic chairs, and wait for the entire ordeal to get over with. Her brother; she had long lost to anger and bitterness. To be present today ,was a mere necessity , an obligation. It was her blue chappals that she was more worried about. They lay outside, orphaned and helpless amidst huge monstrous suede dons and taunting shiny silvery step sisters with endless straps starting and ending at unassuming points. Hers was the only one of the ‘blue’ kind. A simple flat sole that still held the weighted impressions of her soul and two straps that challenged anybody to wear it with the same delicacy like she did.
It was her first independently decided choice, after hours of deep discussion with her friend , scanning up and down a local shopping complex. The blue chappals she adored so much that she wouldn’t wear it fearing it would wear out too soon.
It will wear out one day, silly girl, but try telling that to her.
Their maid had dressed up specially for her chotu baba’s wedding . The maid’s daughter had come too, with her new born boy, who seemed to seal her fate to a resigned life of servitude with a smile. Although the same age as the bridegroom’s sister( who was , as you can guess, nicknamed, choti baby) this young mother had wrinkles on her palms and feet. Each wrinkle yearning to be filled up ,like hunger graphs of the third word etched onto her skin.She hated everything about the ‘choti baby’ that her mother adored her for. But she always smiled it away. That was then ; before her boy was born. Her boy now seemed to take all of her smiles for himself. His radiance irked her, his tantrums angered her, his baby tricks irritated her. To look at him , forced her to look at herself and she dint like one bit of what she saw.
The ceremonial chores having been done, she had to take leave of the wedding crowd. She had to be home before her husband. She smiled and congratulated the ‘choti baby’ for the ‘chotu baba’ and quickly sneaked a scan from top to toe. Silly girl. One day she will have a little one like mine. Will she still be smiling then? Though she knew the answer she consoled herself with a wretched forced ignorance.
Outside the wedding hall , her torn brown sandals lay two pairs away from the blue chappals. Clean and plain, they smiled at her . She smiled back.
She looked around to see if any body was watching.
Shifting two paces to her side.. she slipped in her feet , as gently as Cinderella into her glass slippers, right foot first , then the left.
Bending down , she removed the peacock feather stuck into the right strap and deftly stuck it onto her brown sandal.
It was just a temporary borrowing . She would return it some day.
But today the blue chappals were hers.
They had made her smile.
The owner would understand.
She was sure of it.


swetha said...

Mesmerising .. enjoyed it completely .. good going !! :-)

Prateek said...

Very nice. For some strange reason, it reminds me of De Sica's enchanting movie 'The Bicycle Thief'... :)