Monday, October 29, 2012

They Called Her ‘Fats’ By’ Paro Anand Part 3



The warden pursed her lips in astonishment at the abrupt, instant reply. She gathered herself up, “And why, may I ask, do you feel it’s not enough?”

No reply. Fatima just stared steadily at the spot beyond that right ear.
“Hmmm?” asked the warden, again involuntarily glancing over her shoulder to ascertain what it was that this unsettling girl was staring at.

Answers whirled through Fatima’s head. A part of her wanted to tell of her love for running. How it was the only time she felt free. Really, really free. She wanted to tell of her love for true solitude. She wanted, so desperately needed, to tell of the pain she felt when the girls sniggered, at the humiliation of them whispering, “Shhh! Here come Fats to bite your tongue out!” Of the boys who taunted her of being a half boy half girl. She had so much boiling up inside her.

But she stood her ground. She held her silence. Biting back her words of hurt. Fighting back the tears that threatened to break loose and show the world that she was, after all, human.

Instead, she stood still and silent. For she had trained herself, over the years, to speak only when spoken to and then only in uncommunicative monosyllables that discouraged conversation. She gave nothing of herself away, maintaining a stony calm on the outside while her emotions raged inside her.

“Well, if you’re not going to answer, there’s very little I can do to help you, is there?” asked the cold voice.
‘There’s very little you can do anyway…” thought Fatima, biting back the words in the nick of time. A twitching in the jaw was the only indication that this was a living girl and not a cold waxwork that stood so stone-faced and still.

“Very well, then,” the warden stood up, pulling self-consciously at her ear, “if that’s the attitude, you may go…” Fatima turned on her heel immediately.
“…but let me warn you, young lady. I do not tolerate the rules being broken. If I have any more complaints against you, I shall have to suspend your games outings altogether. Is that clear?” Sometimes the only way to discipline a wayward ward was to threaten to withdraw a favorite privilege.
“Yes Ma’am!” the voice was so quiet, so cold, that it sent an involuntary shiver down the warden’s back.
“You may go.”

Fatima strode to the door and opened it when a softening in the warden’s voice drew her up short.
“If, however, you need to talk to me about – about anything – er – anything at all, you’re always welcome to come to me. Any time at all, alright?”

Fatima nodded, hesitated and looked back at the older woman. Almost as if she was about to indeed say something. But then, she quickly stepped out and shut the door firmly behind her, hurrying away. Burying her words and feelings yet again.

The warden looked out through her window. Fatima passed along the periphery of the field. A group of children laughed pointedly at the solitary figure as it slipped away and was soon lost amongst the bushes. The warden knew the interview had not gone at all well. She wished she could do more for this closed, closed child. But she just didn’t know where to start.

1 comment:

  1. The above article is very nice and very interesting one .. i wuld like to read more and more articles similar to the above one

    I too have some information similar one regarding the Hyderabad culture and tradition

    Hyderabad city magazines

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