The home I am in now, has a crawlspace in the attic. It is an old fixture in my memories. Being the tomboyish child that I was, I was frequently sent up by my grandparents to (and I took pride in doing this, this felt like a special thing that was just between my grandfather and I) ferry things to and from that crawlspace. There was a time when my grandfather stepped away for a whole ten minutes or so. I had fallen asleep there. It was roomy enough for a child, especially a feline-esque child of average build like me. Then again perhaps it could have been more than ten minutes because my perception of time was fairly skewed and it was in those times that I didn’t know to read time on watches, nor did we have smartphones like today. I often played in the attic, I would climb up the steel ladder with no significant trepidation and once in, it was like Hogwarts, Narnia, and everything enchanting thrown into one. In reality and retrospect, I realise it was my imagination that made that space so fascinating for me.
I am looking up at the crawlspace and while thinking up ideas for my next blog entry, an image started to form. Of a girl secretly living there, unknown to the residents of this house. Half way through plotting out her adventures, it dawned on me that this had already been done. Famously. By Anne Frank. The Diary of Anne Frank, published by her dad, Otto. It has been ages since I read the book or even thought about her, not since that night in 2017 whilst conversing about WWII with a friend. Bereft of plots, I sit here, looking half longingly at the crawlspace wanting to go back in there, furnish it and live there for some time. My shoulder painfully clicks into place, a reminder that perhaps some adventures are best reframed colourfully on paper, or in living on in the vestiges of memory. Of course I don’t want to literally crawl into a hole. There are days when I feel like that though, I must admit. For although I like reframing my positive experiences for the amusement of others, the criticism does cut deep. It is like taking a thin, sharp blade to my vein and then seeing how much of a spurt you get. Some people think they are so damn special that they can walk about jabbing people in the neck. Who are these assholes, these shallow shells, these miserable excuses for “humans”? Do you even pause to think about the impact of your words? Do you know that someone’s pillow might be moistened by your words, you numb skull? As self aware as we may be, this strength and will deserts us when we need it. Subject to this form of venom for long, one might go into the crawlspace in their mind and stay there but I implore of you to not push me too far because when I do come out of my crawlspace, I will emerge freshly birthed from the same flames that will lick away at the blackness of your being and raze it to nothingness.
A Queen whose machinations shape the fate of a powerful empire. Another, a Princess whose words would change the history of that empire forever. That woman whose grace, prowess, intelligence and beauty made the prospective Emperor bow before her. Yet another, a fierce warrior. A Goddess of unparalleled skill, chosen for the most elite of missions. One woman who is driven by duty and family, the very family that goes on to betray her. Another, driven by love. A Queen she remains, even in captivity. Living without lament for the loss of her love, his life most cruelly snatched away well before his time. The other is driven by duty and sacrifice, inspiring the Saviour to take up arms and thus, changing the trajectory of his destiny forever. Setting in motion, a chain of events that inexplicably intertwined the tales of all three women as they powerfully come together to defeat The Man.
“It is not my fault that I am having to do this. I blame my parents, uncles, aunts, and anyone else who does not have the guts to speak up against what is to happen today. You are all equally guilty.” I write with trembling hands, the delicate glass bangles clatter as the pen moves up and down in a hypnotic rhythm, all its own. I was a class topper, I was going to have a fine future. I wanted to be a doctor, and make affordable healthcare accessible to the hundreds of women in my village like Didi who died, giving birth to her fourth child.
I looked at the ornate mirror. I had half a dozen green coloured bangles made of glass, along with a pair of gold ones, that weighed my dainty wrists down. Kohl rimmed eyes, the apples of my cheeks dusted with a hint of colour, lips stained crimson; long, elegant chandelier earrings hung from my ears, accompanied by a matching choker set and an ornamental forehead piece, or maatha – patti completing the look. I wore a forest green coloured sharara suit, the veil carefully pinned to cover every inch of my head. I looked every inch the embodiment of an estival Goddess even though I was just a tool brought in to this world to fulfill the requirements of a demonic, broken down system. The greater my fury grew, the words bled on to paper, as if they were being transferred straight from the recesses of my brain, on to the rich cream coloured paper I had at my desk. Let me tell you, I have never wanted for anything in my life. I go to an English medium school, and get to wear the finest of frocks and dresses that we get from the city. I am popular in my school, admired by teachers and peers alike. I have never thus far had even a minor setback or inconvenience that my father did not take care of, or mysteriously make disappear. So, imagine my shock when I received the horrifying news that turned my life upside down on my 13th birthday. I cried, I stomped my feet and yelled but to no avail. My parents wouldn’t budge from their stance, my father and I had stopped all communication, once or twice I thought my mother looked at me contritely… Like she wanted to say something, but she would sigh and shake her head as was her wont and walk away. She was a firm proponent of our family’s belief that women ought to be seen, and not heard. She had married my father at a young age and completed her schooling with the encouragement of my grandfather. Despite much societal opposition at the time, he even encouraged my mother to pursue and complete B. Com via distance education mode. She now handled the accounts for our business. It seemed as if my fate was fixed. “But, here is the thing about me you don’t know. I push back harder when you push me. I firmly believe that I am the captain of my destiny. Therefore, I am leaving, do not attempt to find me.” I sign my name with a sort of flourish, dotting my I’s in an almost vicious fashion, taking savage pleasure imagining the uproar that would undoubtedly ensue once the wedding party would discover that the bride had gone missing.