The rope gave jittery tremors as if anxious of Chutki’s dancing endeavours. The idle minds watching her feat prayed to the cross for her safety cross. With a juggling tyre around her head and a stick held by both hands, she balanced walking with her toes gripped well on the rope. Eventually, as a left-hand task well done, she reached her destination while the crowd hooted for her. Some had already left, for they never had a penny to spare. The few that remained bargained over atanis and chavnis. Yet with a toothless (thanks to the occasional falling endeavours) smile, she collected her day’s earnings.
Chutki hurried to her shacks where Ammi was waiting to cook the first meal of the day, at midday. The last gruel had fallen in her gastric bag two days ago. As hunger picked up pace, it made her legs run. At 15, her innocence was that of 10. She couldn’t count those tinkles, for the brain and her circs never grew.
Ammi was happy seeing her, the sole bread winner of a family of three. Azan though her elder brother, couldn’t move due to some muscular dystrophy, while Ammi was bound to him like forced labour.
“Only ten?” Ammi disapproved her day’s work. “Today too, only Azan can eat.” The judgement was given.
Like an impotent convict, she went in search of some chow. As she fought for a pav with the strays, a serene gentleman observed her, taking deep puffs of his Goldflakes. Knowing the cigarette lover since quite some time, Abdul Chacha enlightened him, “She is a mad girl, sahib. A bad luck due to which her Abba threw her Ammi and elder brother out of the house. Don’t you pay attention.”
“Take this and feed her whatever fits.” His nonchalance spoke while handing over a fifty rupee note.
Now he stalked her to the tamasha, following the facile performance. What story was cooking in his head, nobody knew. But his intentions were not appreciated by the mohalla. Suddenly, the torchbearers approached Ammi and threatened to throw her out of the clan for they suspected a foul skin trade. The pursuance continued its suspicious endeavours. He clicked her, watched her, inquired about her but never approached her.
The dawn of today would be path breaking for two bread struggling souls. As the copy of The Mirror reached millions, Akash’s phone rang incessantly. After twenty failed stories, his 21st was creating raves.
‘Girl with Down’s Syndrome does the balancing act.’ The story was fragrant, bringing biryani on Chutki’s platter and to her baggage. NGOs thronged her hut for offering a stick of help. But she indeed was mad who yet again fought with the canines for a morsel, maybe she wanted the stick itself to earn its bread. She is tied by ropy obligations difficult to be assimilated by her challenged mind, Akash her secret admirer thought as he took a puff of his Goldflakes at Abdul Chacha’s stop.
GLOSSARY: Down’s Syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality also called as Trisomy 21. There mild to severe mental retardation along with other symptoms.
Tamashas- street plays; Mohalla- community
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