Not exactly a manuscript,but it sure looked old and worn out.It smelled of bad memories.
She opened the journal.
Oct 3 1925
I dont like ma.She keeps beating me.Baba keeps beating her.I dont like Ronu.He throws stones at me.I ran away from school today and sat near the pond.Some ducks came and pecked at my toes.Some were on the branches and singing.
I like the birds.
They talk to me.
Oct 9 1925
Today Ronu threw my lunch in school.The dog ate it up.I dont like him.He went and told everyone that Baba meets some other woman.I dont know.Ma was telling him about it the other day and he threw a bottle at her.Baba does not talk to me.I went by the pond again.The birds seem to be happy.It rained today.I am going to get muri for them tomorrow.
The handwriting was clear ,like the hand of someone who was sure with words.She had picked it up at the Sunday market in Daryaganj, planning to tear away the written pages and make her own journal out of it.Now, here she was, reading it like the work of a great scribe.The light from her bedroom lamp created strange shadows .The words seemed faded at places, a strained memory .What would have been a few yellow pages in the bin had suddenly become a secret peek into someone's life.It was like looking into your neighbour's house at night.Not that it mattered.She was liking this.It was like a story she kept at some hidden corner in her mind.
It sounded like a known story.
It sounded like her story.
She turned a few pages this time.A little over a month passed in the journal.
November 12, 1925
Today Monai mama brought jilipi but did not give me.He told ma that she cannot stay at this house forever. He said she is married to baba and should stay with him.Ma started crying.I dont like Monai mama . He reminds me of Santosh Sir.He slapped me when I told him that baba tore my copy.I went to the pond again.
The ducks were there.
They said they will tell me something in a few days.
She flicked away the tears that were on her cheek like careless whispers.She did not care about being sad.She wanted to know who this girl was.She did not like suspense.She hated it.Infact she hated it more than she hated her father.She turned to the last written page.
I told Ma that I was leaving.She laughed at me when I said the birds at the pond told me I could stay with them.I dont care.I like them.They said they would wait on the terrace for me when the moon came out.They would show me how to fly.I see the moon.I am going to meet them.I can hear them calling me.
Bye Bye Diary.
I am going to fly.
The page quivered like it was made of water.She looked at her dresser mirror.A little girl wearing a white frock looked back at her.She held the same journal.She put pen to paper and wrote something in her journal.A word formed in the journal outside the mirror.
She got up from the bed, and headed towards the stairs."I will be back", she told her mom and headed towards the open stairs.
She never came back.