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Mainstream, VOL LV No 14 New Delhi March 25, 2017

Bonded Silence

Saturday 25 March 2017

She is in her early playing teens,

uprooted from the scenic setting

of her village home nestling against

a huge sheltering mango grove,

then transplanted on the top floor

of a big building of iron, concrete

towering into the grey city sky.

 

She has a job to do meticulously:

ostensibly to look after a child.

But there are also endless errands

she virtually slogs to carry out

from morning till late at night,

moving like a household robot

at the beck and call of everyone.

 

But all mistakes in domestic chores,

objects found missing or misplaced

are linked to her imaginary traits:

negligent, careless and a shirker.

If there is a lone voice caring for her,

it is drowned by frowning outburst

of tyranny from others in the family.

 

Confused and sad, she feels tears

welling up in her wide, innocent eyes,

wipes them off with a muffled cry.

When everybody retires for the night,

she returns to her own little space

gradually engulfed by an alien world

stonewalling her girlhood queries.

A.K. Das