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Monday, October 22, 2007


The fall from grace

Murmu & mama

Mama was standing before the mirror outlining her beautiful lips with lip liner and then she would put on lipstick. She will take out one of her beautiful earrings and put them on her small ears.. She has combed her short hair into a ponytail and as always, looking ravishing. Murmu thought mama was the best thing on earth, she watched mama’s every move intently as if mesmerized, longing for her warm and affectionate hug waiting patiently in her convertible wheel chair. Mama is looking at her wristwatch with a slight frown. Papa is late again. Little Binu started wailing from his cot and mama got angrier- “Ayah, where are you. The baby is crying.”. The fat woman running like a frog bumped into Papa standing at the door with the car keys dangling from his fingers. Papa went near the baby’s cot and started throwing baby up & down and the baby giggled

Ayah, we will be late tonight. Look after the baby and Murmu? Mama came near and touched Murmu with her soft hands. Murmu could smell her. She tried to smile and reach out. They say Murmu have no expression and do not comprehend anything. How wrong they are as always Murmu cried “mama please doesn’t go. Please don’t leave me. I feel lost without you” Mama looked at Murmu with concern.

Murmu looked at the sky from the window. It is almost lunch time and very cold outside; she shivered. The ayah was looking at Murmu with mean eyes. She hated the disabled child. She came to bed and pulled the cover with a jerk and with disgust written all over she cleaned her. Then deliberately she kept the cover away from reach. Murmu dragged herself to pull the cover with her left hand, the only one that works. She can move her left leg also, but with one leg she cannot walk. Her right arm and leg are thinner and so weak that she could hardly move them.

Mama feeds Murmu breakfast herself and she feeds her so much, generally Murmu does not feel hungry at lunch time;. She picked up her lunch plate from beside bed table and threw it at the ayah, making her shouting abuses. Murmu felt sleepy. The baby is crying. The ayah forgot about Murmu and became busy with the baby. Murmu thought of mama and saw her standing beside Murmu smiling down, looking like a fairy .Murmu slept. There was a jerk, the wheel chair shook and looking up Murmu found Ayah looking down with malice in her eyes, Murmu shrank in her bed feeling wet. She shut her eyes tight and hoped the horrid woman would go away. When Murmu opened eyes again nobody was in sight. She looked out of the window. The sky was no more white. It is now blue, pink and red, the sun was going down.

Murmu looked at baby. Mama’s red wool ball was lying on the ground and baby was bending on the side of the cot, trying to reach it. Sensing danger Murmu instinctively jumped from her chair and fell on the floor. She .crawled inch by inch and grabbed the bed sheet trying hard to haul herself up to baby’s bed but her hand slipped and she fell face down with the bed cover still in her hand, they baby fell on top

“Oh, my, what a little devil you are. You want to kill kid brother. I will tell your papa and see how he treats you”- picking up the baby in one hand Ayah came and pulled Murmu by the hair . Murmu shook herself free , biting into the hand that tried to hurt with all her might. Ayah’s eyes became round and she shrieked, leaving the room with baby in her arm, switching off the lights and locking the door from outside. Murmu started crying, she banged on the door for a long time, then she dragged herself to every corner of the room and pulled , tore and broke every thing that she could lay her hand on

She felt anger and frustration boiling inside making her cry loud- “oh mama, please help me. I want to talk and walk and do things like everybody..” Murmu was still on the floor crying for mama, when they came and stood over her. Papa, anger written large over his face, thundered, “ See what a beastly creature you have begotten. What to do with her? Keep her in a separate room I say. She will kill baby one day I tell you.” Murmu looked at papa with hatred in her heart and shouted, “you go away”. Fortunately for her, papa did not comprehend. Mama stood there her head bowed down, she looked so sad – you know we don’t have any other room & it is not her fault – I had measles when I was carrying. “ “ No more is it my fault. I don’t want to hear any nonsense and remove this creature from my presence.” Papa walked out of the room.. Mama knelt beside Murmu and helped her get up. Murmu clutched mama and started crying out loud- “mama I did not want to hurt baby. True mama, I only wanted to protect mama. “- But all she could do was make some noises. Mama patted her head and put her to bed. The Doctor was called- he gave Murmu some milk and some medicine- Murmu went to sleep with mama holding her hand.


Mama & papa are talking of going some place – all of us, some place, far off in some country named CANADA. It is a very cold country, they say. They were making lists of things to buy and were so excited about it all. In between their talk mama would come to me and caress me, calling me sweet names. These days she loves me more than baby. Mama does not go out to office and stays home all day. She plays with me. She has bought some very bright dresses for me but she is packing them all for the journey..

I sat close to mama, clinging on to her arm. I am so happy, we are going for a ride, mama, papa & myself. I sat with mama in the back. Mama made me wear one of the new dresses she bought for me.. We left baby behind with ayah and he made such a noises. I looked at mama and asked why are we leaving baby behind ? mama did not say anything. Instead she looked at me and tears flew from her eyes. Mama is crying- “why mama, please don’t cry. I can’t see you crying. Let us go back and bring baby.” I said. But I mama only embraced me closer. I wiped her tears with my palm. We traveled a for a long time & I loved every bit of the journey as I was sitting so close to mama. At last papa halted and came out of his car seat. Papa carried me to the wheel chair and mama strode by my side. We stopped before a gate covered by tin sheet it seemed to me, noting cloud be seen beyond. Papa knocked and a face peeped out of a small hole. Behind the gate there was a strange house almost like a three storied yellow match box with green borders , We kept going, until we came to the bottom of the stairs. I did not like the place. A woman came down the stairs. She was wearing a white frock and a white cap on her head. She looked at me and I froze. This must be the ayah in disguise. Mama & papa can’t recognize her, but I could,. She is a witch, mama does not know. She has changed her looks, she seems younger and thinner. What is she doing here and how come she came here and changed her dress even before us and where is the baby? Has she eaten him ? Papa put down the luggage and said to mama he will be right back from the office room after arranging all formalities. So this is papa’s office. I felt so confused. Mama and I went together to a big room, the ayah in disguise came with us.. I looked at mama “ she is a witch, mama, she is ayah.” I pointed at the woman.. Mama took my hand in hers and said in a very gentle voice ‘ darling you are not well. You have been naughty and your papa is very angry with you. I have told you not to go near the baby- but no you will not listen. Stay here for some time. These people are nice; they will treat you well. There will be children, with whom you can play. I will come and see you often- until you are well and good. Then I will take you home.” She kissed me and she stood up. She is walking back to the garden to papa, to baby, leaving me behind. She is lying. She will never come back- they are going to some far off place called CANADA. Why are they leaving me behind? I heard the noise of thousand airplanes flying around me. Is some body switching off the lights,? It is becoming so dark. I feel as if a heavy drum is beating inside me. I tried to scream – mama, mama, mama, mama, come back. I wont be naughty again. I promise. Please don’t leave me “- but no sound came . Mama is looking back at me ; two white dressed women guided her out of the room. I saw the door close behind her.

Little Murmu never knew what was her fault- what wrong had she done to call so much wrath from her father. She did not know but, we know, we the people who matters, we the parents, brothers and relatives of such unfortunate kids. Murmu was a girl child with undeveloped brain. If only God made her a boy child, she might not have been abandoned in such a way. If only her mother could have the courage to defend her unfortunate child…if only…..

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