The summer holidays were much awaited for, so too the vacations of 1982. I used to play with my guy gang. I am not a girlie-girl, but a guyish girl. It was a character forced upon me. Not by anybody, but the circumstances. The circumstance of having only guys in the colony. I don’t know whether all couples have done female infanticide or genes played a cruel game. I lived with it. What else could have I done? I don’t know.
On 24th April, 1982, we all went for the marriage ceremony of Bikhu mama. I longed for such occasions. I could meet some girls. Could have some girlie chats. I met Anju didi and Pinki. We chatted for long. We didn’t care about marriage preparation. After all I am not getting married. Nobody bothers children with responsibilities. Those days were good. Clerk Uncle and family came a little late.
Who wants to disturb me? I was surprised to see Uncle and aunty. We hugged them; a better way to say is they hugged us. Hugs in 1982. That was unbelievable.
“Stop your chatting, take a chair and attend the marriage”.
Mumma’s suggestion was not so interesting or in grammatically pure English, but to be followed. The long ceremonies and long ceremonial waiting for us. It was too interesting an ordeal to complain about. The long Sanskrit mantras, which I don’t understand at all. The problem of a tribal marriage in Mumbai. It was never possible in Chaibasa. The big Uncle used to speak highly about mantras; I never understood why.
“Give me company to go to loo”. PInki was too involved now to hear my comment.
“What is interesting here?” I uttered and went to the toilet. It was a little far from the marriage pandal. Today I think it as a perfect arrangement to spend some quiet time with my boyfriend. I walked through the narrow door, went and came back. It was a difficult enterprise at the loo with the long dress mumma brought for me. “It shouldn’t made wet or dirty” Her comments revolved in my mind.
Clerk aunty (uncle’s wife) saw me and called me to a room for having an ice-cream. The aunty was called immediately to the pandal. I was alone. Someone came from nowhere. I was groped from behind. I could feel that smell. It was an ordeal I don’t wish to recollect anymore. After a long time, I came out wearing the same long dress (not dirty or wet outside). I don’t know how he did manage to dress me so. But I was changed. The dignity was groped and shamed. Those dreadful …… minutes changed me. I never met Pinki after that. Why I blamed her? Why I blamed Clerk aunty? My journey from guyish girl to a ……. Girl. My English vocabulary is not giving me words to fill up those empty dotted spaces.