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Her Book
Her Book

© Fahima Shalin


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A family just moved in to an apartment in the Centre of the city of Chennai from the woods of Nagalapuram. It was quite a nuclear family with a girl Agnes, her parents, her toddler brother and her all-time favorite book, ”PARLEY”. Parley was not like any ordinary book of its kind. It was divided into segments. It explained itself throughout its first half and the rest of its pages were left blank for Agnes to fill in her thoughts. She had the habit of opening up her daily activities to Parley before she went to bed. Parley’s best friend was Parker. 

It was Parker who helped Agnes to narrate her life to Parley. By this time, you would have guessed Parker’s looks, right? Parker’s body was red, its tip was pointed, and was often refilled with a blue-pigmented fluid called ink. Yup, Parker was the pen gifted to Agnes by her best friend Diago. Going back on track, yes, as the family moved in, initially they faced a lot of challenges to get adapted to the modern environment. Agnes was enrolled in an English medium educational institute which was a sudden and massive change to a carefree girl from the woods who spent her whole day admiring nature and wandering around. Back in the days of her carefree childhood spent in the woods, though there was no medium of compulsory education to the children of her kind, this little, cute, and curious devil had the practice of visiting her fairy godmother every day and gaining knowledge of some basic stuff. The fairy godmother was someone whom Agnes saw, suffering from thirst and in her final moments, struggling between life and death while she was watering her livestock. The little girl immediately ran towards this mystical lady dressed in black, and gave her water and quenched her thirst. From that day on, they started developing a bond with each other. Agnes named the black-dressed lady, her fairy godmother as she was the most beautiful creature the little girl’s eyes ever looked at. The fairy godmother taught Agnes more about the outside worldly life and the way their hearts are designed. Though it was way too much of preaching to a little girl, Agnes loved meeting her and getting to know about things. Fairy godmother also taught Agnes to read and write. She used to tell Agnes that words are always powerful than speech and that one can easily express their thoughts to paper rather than fellow humans as the former can easily understand our feelings.

On the first anniversary of their meeting, the fairy godmother gave Agnes a gift. It was a book – Parley, which Agnes treasured with love. Agnes led life with a very simple and happy routine. She would wake up, pray, take her breakfast, help her mommy with the little share of work she could handle and off to woods to meet her fairy godmother in the disguise of watering their livestock, returning home, spending time with her little brother and so on. One fine day, as Agnes returned home after her meeting with her mystical godmother she was almost in tears when she heard her parents discussing to move on to a better-developed place keeping in mind their concern for their two little children. Agnes was way too small to even suggest her opinions to her parents and so she kept quiet wondering what would happen next. By this time Agnes found it inseparable and really hard to part up with her godmother as she had developed the habit of sharing her day to day experience with her. She ran to the woods weeping all the way, and narrated everything to her and pleaded her to come along with them to the city. After a long time of consolation and exchange of words and emotion, Agnes finally agreed to get adapted to the change and to try living without her godmother. When Agnes asked her godmother, "To whom will I say and share my feelings hereafter?” with teary eyes and a shaking voice, no longer but soon to burst into a loud cry. Godmother told little Agnes, "My little beastie, whenever you feel like u want to speak to me, write them down on Parley and you will have the feeling of having told to me.”

After receiving the blessings from the mystical lady, Agnes went home and started to help her parents in packing things prior to their shifting. From that day on she made it a daily practice to write down everything on Parley before she went to sleep. And yes! Diago is her childhood friend with whom Agnes used to spend her evenings when he came to know that he would no longer be meeting his dearest friend here on, he wanted to gift her with something memorable and gave her a Parker pen.

That was all Agnes needed. Been gifted with Parley and Parker, both from two of her most favourite people, Agnes developed a great passion for writing. Fast-forwarding to the present, Agnes is on her first day to the Anglo-Indian school, St. Bede's, one of the famous of its kind in that area. Initially, all her co-students or the so-called classmates thought that she would barely have any or little knowledge of the outside world and underestimated her spoken English skills as they were aware that she was a newcomer to the city life. Who knew that this cute little beast had gained a lot more knowledge than them from her Fairy God-mommy?

For the first few days, she was really lonely, for no one even wanted to converse with her. And to add to the dismay, she was also highly an introvert. As she was enrolled in the school, a couple of weeks after the classes had begun, she found it difficult to gain a place in someone’s heart as they were already in groups. She wondered why on Earth have these people been divided into groups and gangs. She realized that the students have segregated themselves based on religion, language, native, and academic skills. Amidst this place which lacked unity, Agnes found it really hard to place herself. There were days she never opened her mouth and nights that she used to wet her entire pillow. But there wasn’t a single incident that she missed to mention to Parley. Every time Agnes looked at Parker and Parley she used to remember her 2 angels – Diago and Godmother, and ultimately burst into tears. Parley was really moved by Agnes. Every time her tears rolled on his pages, he could feel his skin getting wet and the pain Agnes was going through. He immediately used to suck up and absorb her tears and patiently listened to whatever she shared with the help of Parker. There were times when Parker used to get tired of her stories and stopped writing and Agnes had to refill him with the blue pigment, but there wasn’t a single instance when Parley got tired. He was always open for Agnes whenever she needed it.

As days went by, Agnes tried to get along with her classmates but those idiots were no match to this innocent soul. She behaved the same with everyone but those she believed the maximum turned down her trust. Also, her classmates were astonished to see a girl from woods, having so much of excellence in language, culture and knowledge. She stood out from the rest in terms of academic and behavioural aspects. The saddest part was that she could not even succeed in making a single friend for herself. Yet, Agnes was always ready to help anyone with almost everything she had, even if she knew that they talk ill of her behind her back with no valid reason. Never did she figure out the actual reason for her seclusion. She started enjoying her loneliness and thereafter started carrying Parley and Parker wherever she went so that she might at least spend time with them as she felt they were the only ones concerned about her. Parley felt really sorry for Agnes. That night Agnes closed Parley placing parker inside him and slept beside on her study table under the shade of the table lamp. Parley could no longer withstand and started breaking his rules and constraints of being a book and initiated a conversation with Parker. Parley asked Parker “Don’t you think our carefree beastie seems to care a lot more about worldly issues these days?” The latter replied, ”Yeah, poor little Agnes! She is too innocent and pure-hearted… She is getting betrayed and cheated so easily. I feel all that she needs is a true soul to care about. Hope she finds her true love soon.” These words brought about the change in Parker. He asked himself, “who could even love Agnes better than me?”

Days, months and years passed, and Agnes got quite used to her environment. Years later, now Agnes is a beautiful young lady that every single lad would have ever dreamt of possessing. Her mother had searched for Agnes a perfect match. When she revealed this with joy and excitement to Parley, he was broken. From the day Parker told him that a partner is all Agnes needed, he fell in love with her. He could no longer suppress his feelings for her. For the first time, he spoke to Agnes. The first word he uttered was “Agnes…” Agnes was surprised. She asked, “Aww… Do you even talk Parley?” He said, “Yes! I do. I can no longer conceal the truth. I was made by her, your so-called godmother. I have feelings and I love you to the core. I know every little thing that has happened to you as you used to write it on my body every day. You have been really sweet to everyone and I’m sure no one can ever love you more than I. So I was shattered when you said that you were going to marry someone else.”

Agnes was in tears and understood the innocence of parley. She told him “But you aren’t human!” Parley replied, “And humans never understood you.” Agnes did not know what to say. Though Parley was true, how could she marry a book after all? Parley continued, “Dearie, you have always felt comfortable telling things to me while you never felt comfy with the people of your kind.” Agnes tried her best to make him realize that he was materialistic and she was human. Finally, after hours of persuading and pleading words Parley had no option but to agree with what sweet Agnes said. He asked Agnes, “So I realize that it is time for me to step down from your priority list.” Agnes started weeping and told Parley that he has been her only true and caring companion for all these years and has been with her throughout her difficult days. She promised Parley that he would always be special and not within but above her priority list. She also assured him that he would always be the only one to whom she will share every incident of her life until her last exhale. She told Parley, the rarest of secrets that he never knew, she told him that Parker was feminine and what else do you think would have happened next?

Yes, you’re right. That night Agnes knowingly placed the pen inside the book and closed it. Obviously she wanted to give some personal space to them. Parley proposed to Parker and she readily agreed. Parley was quite surprised when Parker told him that she indeed was in love with him for more than a decade ever since they met. The big day of Agnes had arrived. Yes! It was the little beastie’s wedding. Unlike all the other brides who had a bunch of flowers in their hand, Agnes carried a book and a pen along with her on her ceremony. After their exchange of rings, their customs and rituals Agnes looked at her two best friends, smiled, closed her eyes and her two angels flashed through her vision - Diago and Fairy Godmother.

friends books writing diary social loneliness journal parker parley godmother

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