As the passing years and regular drinking robbed them of their health, my uncles were losing their power over everyone and everything. They couldn’t take care of their lands anymore and looked around for young, able shoulders to help. Mine were the only ones available. My uncles began depending on me heavily, and I delivered. I took care of the land, the fields and gradually began maintaining their accounts as well.
My mother and I still lived in the shed but I decided it was time to move out, back again to our own home.
I asked my Uncle for our house, nicely at first. I was denied it, and they laughed in my face. Then I asked for it again, in my way. Lifting an Uncle up by the scruff of his neck while his surviving brother watched in horror. As I aimed my rifle at him, my Uncle peed in his pants. His hands shivered as he signed the papers I had ready, little knowing that he had signed back my father’s lands to me too. I let him fall to the ground, in the puddle his urine had created and I walked away. From them, from their house, only taking my mother with me.
When it had been taken away from us I had sworn I wouldn’t look at our house till it was ours again. I hadn’t. When we finally reached it our hearts broke to see what used to be our beautiful home now a rundown structure. Our house was being used to store rusting tractors, supplies, farm equipment and all things not needed. It was a dump.
My Mother and I began clearing it, her subdued sobs punctuating the silence we worked in. The sun went down and we were still clearing and cleaning. We slept hungry that night as we had no supplies and nowhere to cook.
We rose with the sun the next day and started again. Curious neighbours peered out at us from behind doors and half shut windows. As the sun rose higher a few brave ones ventured towards us.
A few women recognised my mother and hugged her as tears streamed down their faces. They had failed to recognise us and exclaimed how big and strong I had grown. They called out to the men and boys in their house to help us. Within the next few weeks, the house was back to its former glory, spick span and whitewashed with new mattresses been strung.
Even though she has suffered a lot in the past, my mother finally looked at peace and a ghost of a smile crossed her face without her realising it.
The house taken care of, it was time to move my attention to the fields. My father’s fields, now my fields. I grit my teeth as I surveyed them. Just like the house, they were badly neglected too. Initially rented out to others they lay hard and uncared for years now.
I set to work. I hired new help, and hard work and care led to my fields taking a new look. As the sowing season came around, they were ready.
A few weeks later as I walked towards the Village Fair to buy seeds for my land I spotted groups of young boys laughing and walking towards the fair. I was a loner, I had no friends or acquaintances of my age. The things I had seen and experienced in my teenage years had made me far more mature than the boys of my age group were. As I looked at these groups, I wondered how it would be to have friends, to be carefree and to have fun.
The fair was noisy and colourful as fairs always are. I walked around, oblivious to it all, my mind doing the mental math of how much I would need to spend here and how soon would I recover it.
Hands weighed down with my purchases I was leaving the Fair when I saw her. Quarrelling with a shopkeeper over his wares, anger colouring her face a rosy hue and wrinkling her smooth forehead. Her skin was gold, her green eyes flashed and her gossamer dupatta slipped to reveal hair that was touched with gold too.
‘Soni’, my heart whispered. Golden Girl.
This post is a part of the Blogchatter Half Marathon.
I am writing A Fictional Short story – A River Runs Through It – for this theme.
Read Part 1 of the story here
Read Part 2 of the story here