The Mad Maiden

About suffering they were never wrong,

The old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position: how it takes place .

-.W.H. auden

“Namaste didi” – A bold voice struck in my ears as I was walking along the street. I hesitated a little but quickly passed a smile to the speaker. She was a girl of ten to twelve years, wearing a grey colored sweater and a very old and torn frock.

“we are going to inform the police if this girl is seen wandering in this colony again…got it?” some fat ladies were scolding the watchman.

“Sorry madam…I will take care from next time.”

The other day I asked my mother

“Mummy…Do you know that skinny girl who is always roaming in our colony…O that with old grey frock?”

“Yes beta…she is mad.” my mother replied.

“How do you know? Who told you?” I said curiously.

“The maid was telling me.That girl is our watchman’s daughter.” Mom got busy in doing her chores, but I still was thinking about that “mad” girl, haunted by her reality.

I had some old bangles and a few hair pins. Trying to find out anyone who could take those things, I recalled that girl – “the mad maiden”.The next day standing in the balcony I watched the same girl again.

“Girl !” I cried out from the balcony.She started looking around herself.

“look above…yes here” she glanced at me with twinkling eyes.I told her to wait, ran inside and brought those old possessions of mine tied into a polythene

“Do you want these?”I tried talking to her.She was silent as if trying to find out what it was.

“Take them.”I threw that polythene below. She took that and started gladly looking at those possessions. She ran wildly toward her father, laughing and screaming with joy.

“Was she really mad?”This question kept on revolving in my mind.

“yes…perhaps she was…but at least lesser than the people exploiting each other, madly snatching things and then killing their own kin. I pondered over and over. “She can’t be called mad. She is absolutely normal. In fact we are mad people in the disguise of normal philanthropists.”

“hmm… what am I thinking?Gosh bring me back.” but I was sinking  deep somewhere into an unknown valley, compactly surrounded by wilderness from where my voice could not be heard.

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