CREATIVE

Who Am I?

Written by Malavika

Who am I? Simply, I am my parent’s daughter.

…..

I never knew my father. Rather, I knew of him. My mother would talk about him occasionally but it was obvious that she missed him. The last time everyone saw him was when I was born. For a long time I never knew why he left and I was too afraid to ask my mother. Some nights, she would tell me about him as she put me to bed. He was strong and handsome, she said, and I believed her. The village elders said the same thing too. He was the most honorable and honest being, tears filling their eyes when they remembered what he had done for them years ago. They even used to call him Sher.

Strong. Handsome. Honorable. Honest. These became a part of the first image I formed of my father. I imagined him to be smiling and I convinced myself that he was always happy.

But there were some things my mother and the villagers would not tell me. Where he was now, why did he leave, what did he do. No answers and after a while I stopped asking. It clearly pained my mother to talk about him and the elders would always ramble on about their aches and pain and managing the village.

If I was good, my mother would let me lie with her and she would talk about her younger days and the village she came from. Marriages between villages were rare and frowned upon but since my father had wanted her, he did everything to have  her. That’s where I learnt something else about him. He always got what he wanted and he had wanted my mother. In the beginning, I found it romantic but as I grew up, I learnt many more things.

I noticed a difference in the way my mother spoke about him and the rest of the village. My mother spoke with an ease I didn’t find in the others.

Fear.

Underlying everything they told me about him was fear. They never mentioned him by name, just Him. I never realized this when I was small and as I grew older, ‘Him’ was how I referred to my father as well. My mother would always frown when I said this, she would scold me for not showing the proper respect that he deserved. Slowly, she gave up and then we stopped talking about him at all. It got too painful
for the both of us.

I never knew my father. I knew of him. The stories I was told. He once fought a pack of wild dogs and chased them far away. Another time, the neighboring village tried to steal from our watering hole leaving no water for the village. They say my father, guarded the hole day and night and if anyone dared to come and get water, he would kill them. His greatest accomplishment was when he traveled far to the north beyond the mountain, farther than anyone had ever been to unknown lands, to collect some flowers, normally poisonous but when given in the right dosage would cure a high fever. But my favorite story was how he fell in love with my mother.

She never told me the story herself but everyone in the village knew it. When I asked her, her face would turn a deep red and she would push me out of the house with some work. He was many years older than her when he first saw her. She was from two villages away and was betrothed to another. Every year an annual meeting of the village heads is held and this year’s was at my mother’s village. My father was representing my grandfather at this meet and took a few friends with him. My mother was in the crowd and my father got site of her. That was all it took. One look. He was in love. Thinking of it, it sounds cliché and predictable, nothing spectacular. Like I said before, marriage outside the village wasn’t allowed. Then how did this happen? Like I also said that my father got everything he wanted. He saw her. He wanted her. He got her. What if my mother did not want him and wanted to marry the man she was betrothed to? My father didn’t care. Men abuse their manliness. I realized this when I grew up. This is still my favorite story. Don’t judge me please.

Where was I? More like where was my father, then the son of the head of my village. You see, my grandfather thought the exposure would help mature my father. Another cliché. I think a small part of my grandfather knew that something like this would happen. I think a smaller part hoped that this would happen. When it came to his chance to talk about the village, my father turned and pointed to my mother and said he wanted to marry. His exact words were, I came for her and I’m not leaving without her, and every other female in the crowd swooned. When I say exact words, I am discounting the hundred other versions to this story. A couple of hours and two bruised males later, they got married.

I came two years later. My father left when I was born.

I was lonely growing up. I stayed mostly with my mother and our house was a little distance away from the others. We revelled in the silence and peace and if I did need some noise, I’d run down to the village and walk through the streets. I didn’t have many friends. There was this one male who hated me and I knew it even before he told me the single most heart-breaking thing I have heard in my life. Your
father left because he didn’t want a daughter. I remember running home and confronting my mother. When she didn’t deny it, I felt one emotion. Hate. Hate for the man who I never knew but only knew of. I hated myself and the village and I hated the fact that I didn’t know where he was. I hated my father. I think without my mother I wouldn’t have managed.

From her I learn poise, common sense, managing my hair, how to be gentle and hold myself back and to be nice to everyone. But every once in a while, my temper would lash out and I’d see them look at me with fear. I’d hear them mutter that I was like my father and that would make me lash out more. It got worse. Only my mother could curb my anger. I was hungry, hungry to do something, fight someone and go somewhere. Who was I? An abandoned daughter who had to stay and care for her mother. There was only so much my mother could teach me. Everyone else had a father to teach them the other half but I didn’t. So, I taught myself.

…..

The grass is tall and the thorns are sharp. The ants are busy and the soil is most. The sun is burning and the butterflies are flittering. The breeze is gentle and the flowers are swaying. The bees are buzzing and the birds are chirping. The stream is laughing and the deer are drinking.

Everything is as it should be.

I am silent, I watch the scene from a corner. Then I take a step.

The whole world stops.

The grass is tall and the thorns are sharp. The ants stop and there are footprints on the moist soil. The sun still burns but the butterflies settle. The breeze halts and the flower hold still. The bees return to their hive and the birds quieten. The stream still laughs but the deer look up in apprehension.

Then I take another step, this time faster.

The whole world takes a deep breath.

The grass is trampled and some thorns are bent. The ants form a tighter line and there is another set of footprints on the moist soil. The sun still burns but the butterflies close their wings. The breeze is forgotten so the flowers droop. The bees hide in their hive and the birds in their nests. The stream still laughs but the deer crouch in the grass.

I pounce, almost leap.

The whole world scrambles to escape.

The grass is disturbed and the thorns are broken. The ants hurry underground and
the soil is a mess. The sun looks down on chaos and the butterflies have taken off
again. The breeze suddenly returns bellowing and the flowers are forced to move.
The bees can’t contain their energy and the birds are shrieking. The stream’s
laughter is interrupted by splashes as the.

I run faster.

The whole world is in fear.

I sense this fear and lunge forward again.

The whole world is broken, its silence taken away by me.

I am focusing on my target.

The whole world is focusing on not being the target.

But there is a target.

A yelp marks the end of the suspense.

The grass is tall and the thorns are sharp. The ants are busy and the soil is most. The sun is burning and the butterflies are flittering. The breeze is gentle and the flowers are swaying. The bees are buzzing and the birds are chirping. The stream is laughing and the deer are drinking.

…..

I finally know who I am.

I’m a tigress and I have my eye on you.

You’re my next target.

About the author

Malavika

i'm from chennai and i like dharu badnam
i'm a history student but i want a minor in chemistry
i'm always bored but i have a lot of work

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