I vividly remember the fateful night. I was sleeping cuddled to my grandmother. My goat Sumi was tied near the door and I could hear the ghungroos tied around her neck. Suddenly my father lifted me up and carried away from my daadi I could see how she was crying and begging my father not to leave her alone. My father wiped his tears and assured he will call her soon. My tears were replaced with amazement when I saw my parents struggling their way through a large crowd similar to the annual village fair. We got into a very long bus that carried us all to somewhere called city. I fell asleep and woke up with a jerk. I was carried down from the rickshaw and taken to a big bungalow ’s dingy basement. It was hot, suffocating and stinky- very
different from my cool and airy mud hut. I was left there alone and my parents went upstairs to work. There was no garden where I could play, no friend to talk to, no goat to chase and no dream to talk about.
Days were long and difficult while nights were short and disturbed. There were many girls staying there in the building. They called the bungalow “hostel” and my parents asked me to call every girl didi. Every night the owner of the hostel came drunk and beat my father. My mother used to cry and my father felt ashamed to be hit before his son. We had to eat the left overs and the day when my parents cooked some delicious food, we had to manage with rice and daal only. The rooms in the bungalow were big, airy, well furnished and decorated with soft toys, paintings and wind chimes. I was not allowed to touch anything, not even allowed to watch television. One day, I saw an apple lying on a table. It looked so red and juicy that I could not resist biting it. Suddenly a didi came and complained to my parents. They hit me very badly that day. I wept
the whole day and did not even take my lunch.
There were many didis in the hostel, they tried to talk to me. I too wanted to talk to them but could hardly understand what they spoke. There was one didi who was very kind to me and wanted me to study. She brought a book for me and tried to convince my parents to enroll me in the nearest school. I heard my father telling my mother that they can ’t afford to send me to school. Didi started teaching me the alphabets but I could never memorize them. Nevertheless, she was kind. She scolded me but also gifted me chocolates. She
used to show me videos of alphabets dancing and speaking. How I loved those alphabets! Eventually, I started learning and memorizing the alphabets. I learnt to spell apple too. One morning when I woke up, my parents were busy packing bags. I asked them why they are not working. “We ’ll leave this place today. There’ s no future here.”, my father said. My mother carried me in her arms and we left the bungalow behind. This time I could hear the silence crying and the alphabets dancing behind.