Festivals have always exhausted me and have always failed to carve a special space in my heart, as it does for others. On the path of struggle, where happiness was only felt during the moments of solidarity that we gave to each other at difficult times, which unfortunately lasted for almost two decades, festivals came across as just another day sprinkled with a pinch of happiness and a dollop of extravagance. Hence, the unannounced arrival of festivals such as Diwali and Holi were always welcomed with grief and sadness, as by then despondency had become our unclaimed second nature. As such, we witnessed all kinds and types of Diwali, ranging from sad, happy, and those spoiled by the fury of nature. I clearly remember one of the Diwalis that drastically turned from ‘the festival of lights’ into ‘festival of darkness’ due to rains, which fell like cats and dogs. That day, the wrath of the wind seemed unrestrained; it blew away all earthen lamps lighted to welcome the goddess of wealth, who was in no mood to relent to our selfish prayers.
Despite scarcity and penury, a child’s mind is a happy mind; so as a child growing with numerous hurdles around, we exhibited a lot of courage by being happy and cheerful and enjoyed each and every moment in our own ways, unimaginable by this ever-worsening society. Today when struggle and adversity have become my distant relatives and peace my life-partner, yet my second nature has become incorrigible; I and my siblings are struggling like an adventurer to overcome our fears and dark memories. And, climbing that uneven, rocky cliff of memories is a daunting task and seems an impossible mission. Once we tried to sail through the rough sea that came unannounced, as it did often, when we thought the path was no more uneven and accident-prone; but as we sailed in that dream-like boat, neither big nor small, dark clouds gathered in the firmament and ravens along with eagles spreading their arm-length wings rotated around our boat. Their blood-shot eyes warned of more dangers, camouflaged with surroundings, awaiting us. We realized we were always happy, only fears, struggles and disease came along to script another story for others. So many stories of struggle are breathing in each and every nook and corner of this world. To say that henceforth our lives would be filled with the fragrance of joy, where all denounced evils fail to cast their shadows upon, is like building a dream-like residence in an undiscovered land. Discovery of the land will open the flood-gates, thereby deluging the land with all violence – physical and psychological.
Meanwhile, the law of the land was becoming more brutal day-by-day. More and more those dog-eared documents, with something scribbled in black and white, need to be produced to claim our name and identity. While two decades of psychological struggles almost seemed dormant, another sleeping volcano became active. With no permanent residence and almost two decades of unimaginable struggle, which even lord Rama would not have survived, another struggle waited like an uninvited visitor.
First time when I saw the rising sun, my mother with a red sun in her forehead was rocking me in her lap, sound of her bangles and music of those parakeets sounded similar. Next time when I admired the rising sun, I was walking towards my schools located at a stone throw away distance holding the finger of my little brother and following my sister. With that newly bought bag at my back and well ironed school dress, my face was blushing with joy. Then I cycled to my another school and managed to get the glimpse of rising sun, still I managed to sit on that half-ruined bench overdressed with mosses, with brambles and other raveled wild plants growing like a maze, where cats and dogs still managed to find their ways and entered those houses through that broken windows. But then I relocate to a city to finish my higher studies, now when the ever-punctual sun arose, I remained buried like a corpse under the blanket. And now, with both building and prices soaring high, even the shadow of the sun is not visible.
Will there be an end to this struggle. Well, when I wrote this, I felt the fresh air of freedom, maybe this struggle of writing is more emancipating than others.