It had been three days I came to the new building as a tenant. A translator in profession I was a freelance writer and teacher at a school in the vicinity. Being single., I had a few cartons to bring home and unbox. The house was neither big nor small and loved the terrace with multiple views around which might kindle my mind to write stories and paint pictures. At half past eight in the morning I saw different kinds of responsibilities on the street. Some picked their children for schools. Some waved their baskets with vegetables and green leaves with bent stems at its end. Some carry water pots. I observed everything with a mug of coffee in the terrace. Suddenly I caught a glimpse of a woman, probably 29 or 30 years old carrying a school bag and a lunch bag. Her gait was slightly different from the others I perceived so far. She walked as if somebody was treading by her side. She walked alone and through her props one can assume that she was heading to school. She looked like a typical mother of a 5 to 9 year old. It distracted me yet I went back to my house to get ready for school. Having finished my work in the afternoon I visited my friend and had a good time with him. I admired his paintings which he did as a pro and ordered one for my house as a mark of encouragement.
After a sumptuous lunch I started to my house with the food packet for dinner. I reached home by 3.30 pm and slept. An hour sleep took away my tiredness. I started looking for a location to hang the picture I ordered. I., in a pure white vest and gray pants stared at the wall near the window and asked myself whether the place I fixed for the painting add beauty to the entire room. As I was staring at the wall with hands on my hip, I got distracted by the appearance approaching the window from the other side and who took a turn to the right to enter the threshold of the house opposite to mine. The same woman holding the schoolbag and a lunch bag. The lunch bag was partially heavy and was pink in colour indicating the stereotype that the owner of the bag could be a girl.
At 7 . 40 pm while I was checking the texts in my mobile I heard the sound of a plastic ball bouncing near the house opposite to me. I found none around but the ball. The woman I saw that day rushed outside and picked the big ball and shut the door. With no conscience I went outside and tried looking through the window of the house. if I could see any child inside. The half opened screen of the window was pulled by the inmate of the house shutting my view . . I learnt from my neighbour that the family residing in front of my house consists of three members; a man and his wife and a child. The man was working as a scientist in Bangalore and he visited once in a fortnight.
Next Day I saw the same woman carrying the bags with slightly different gait. A week passed yet I could not find a child anywhere near the house, nor on the street. One fine evening I was carrying the painting to my house and found the same woman towards me. As I crossed her I found her murmuring a little as if she was talking to someone beside. On seeing me she became silent and walked faster than usual. That night I felt that it was unnecessary noticing her and decided not to think about that woman anymore she might be partially disturbed or depressed in mind.
I thought of skipping the whole concept of the woman and her bags. That night I did not feel sleepy and went to the terrace with my phone. There was silence everywhere but with few bulbs lit at some houses. In that grave silence I heard the ball bouncing on the floor and that time the woman did not come running instead I heard the steps of a small child. I rushed to my gate to see who the child was. On seeing the ball hanging in the air., my face turned pale, panic-stricken and found myself at dawn passed out near the front gate. It happened more than two times and I resolved to ask about that to the woman staying in that house. "Sister!" I called her on the road while she was busy buying vegetables on the pavement. I told everything I observed and asked what that apparition was. Her face turned dark and gloomy and rushed back to her house.
I tried sending my neighbour aka friend to her house and gave a couple of visiting cards of the Exorcist and the Psychiatrist. My neighbour was a kind woman of 45 and I found my mother in her and she was adept at convincing others as well. So I was confident that I might have been of great help to the woman with a "so called" child. Days went and my neighbour aunt tried many times and decided to act as if she was a skeptic of the woman with madness and it would make her vacate the place. Finally, the woman accepted to reveal my neighbour aunt of the truth that she had two girl children and she lost her eldest daughter in child rape by some men. The other child was her only hope. As the second child was disturbed by the loss of her sister, it would take time for her to be back to her normal self.
Her husband, being a scientist in chemistry resolved to find the product to protect the second child. He invented a cream which makes the humans invisible for a while. The cream would last for half the hour. I felt bad for my deed of interrupting her life yet I learnt how unsafe the girl children were. Felt ashamed of being a part of the society where child abuse and rape became common... Nobody on the street knew the presence of the child. The very night I heard the sound of the ball with no agitation. I sought apology from my God and prayed for the safety of female children. . . Burdened with tears I reclined on the sofa and fell asleep.