Monday, 11 March 2013

Hide-And-Seek


Weddings are a particularly noisy affair. This one was no different. A large number of guests had congregated at the courtyard that overlooked the huge, well-lit, mansion. They congratulated the bride and groom, admired the decorations, criticized the food arrangements – everything was just the way typical weddings are!

The children were also decked up in the fanciest of attires. However, instead of joining the adults on the dance-floor, they were more interested in playing amongst themselves. The entire house was empty and it became the venue for the game that they were about to play – hide-and-seek. The seeker closed his eyes and began the count from 1 to 100 while the rest of the children ran helter-skelter trying to hide in a place where they would not be easily found.
She ran up the stairs until she reached the third floor that led to a room which opened up to the terrace. She was quite smart for a nine year old – she figured that by the time the seeker reached the last floor of the house, he would have already found her other friends and cousins, and she would be the winner. When she reached the room, it wasn’t empty. Her neighbour’s uncle was sitting there, with a glass of whiskey in his hand.

“What are you doing here, uncle?” she asked.
He explained that he was expecting an important call and, therefore, was in the house so that he would not miss hearing the phone ring. She heard the gleeful screams of a few children on the ground floor. “Quick! I don’t have much time,” she squealed. “I need to hide!” He told her to sit down quietly and make no noise. He, then, turned off the lights and carefully made his way back to the sofa. She had not caught his evil gleam in the darkness nor had she heard him silently bolt the door from inside. It was dark and she could not see a thing. “Don’t be scared,” he whispered. “I am here.” She merely nodded her head and sat still. Suddenly, she felt his hand on her mouth and in a soothing, hushed voice, he said, “Don’t worry. You will enjoy this game – it is called dark room.” Something about his syrupy-sweet voice spooked her but she just sighed in compliance – she loved playing games; after all she was just another child. The other children searched for her in the house but finding the door of the third floor locked, they went down to look for her in other spaces. Her choked voice gave no hint of her presence. As his fingers brushed through her entire body from under her clothes, she experienced shivers. She did not like what was happening but she did not cry for help. She could not. The brutal monster abused her body despite her silent, fervent, prayers begging him to stop.
Even when he, ultimately, stopped, she, still, did not feel the same. Her body continued to ache while her mind was terrorized with fear. He made her swear that she would not tell anyone – this game was their little secret. She nodded in agreement, blinking her eyelids rapidly to stop the tears that were about to trickle down her face. She had not enjoyed this one bit – she had no intention of playing this game with any of her friends.

She trudged down the staircase only to be hounded by some of the children, who, still had been looking for her. “Where were you hiding?” they asked. “You are the winner of this round!” She did not know how to answer them. On seeing her silent and subdued, they merely shrugged their shoulders, “Fine! Don’t tell us if you don’t want to!”
The new seeker began her count. Once again, the children started looking for places to hide themselves. She hid with the other children. This time, she did not want to become the winner of the game. One always has to pay a heavy price for winning – on that fateful day, that was the lesson that she learnt. 

21 comments:

  1. I do not know what to say ... this isn't just a fiction ... this is so real ... when will the world be a safe place for women !!!

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    1. Fiction is always inspired from reality....When will the world be safe for woman? I have no answer to that question.

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  2. I was expecting this to be one of your breezy and cheerful observations :(
    What a heavy story! But sadly, it is reality ..

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    1. I should have put up a disclaimer in the beginning, I guess! But it is reality - we do something with the intention of having cheerful moments but instead it all becomes ugly...

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  3. It gave me goosebumps as I read this... !

    Sad but true.

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    1. Yeah...I had goosebumps while writing!

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  4. Oh god! such a sad reality...and very powerful narration..

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  5. It's a very sad and chilling story! Your narration is so vivid.

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    1. Thanks...It is a sad and chilling story but what bothers me is that it is actually not fiction..these things happen so frequently these days....

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  6. A sad reality and hope this world gets better place to live:(

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  7. I am utterly speechless! This post is sad yet the most impulsive one i Have ever read. But one thing is quite certain, we need to be opened up to this harsh reality. Negligence is also a crime.

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    1. Thanks for reading this and liking it...It is a harsh reality and it is a pity it is something no one wants to talk about - we should have more stringent laws that favour the protection of women.

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    2. I completely agree with you.

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  8. scary reality, sad how an innocent life is scarred forever... The issue of abuse needs to be discussed and children should be educated about it, victims encouraged to speak out against it.

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    1. I agree...I actually liked shows like "Satyameva Jayate" for that matter - even though they may not have contributed a lot to the process of bringing a tangible change, the show managed to get people talking on subjects that were initially taboo freely among themselves, while sitting in the living-room....We need more such initiatives :)

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