‘thirteen…fourteen..fifteen…eighteen.’ I counted my steps wrong again as I climbed to the second floor of Moonlight clinic. I’ve always been bad with numbers and calculations. As my father would say, ‘Mishti, you must know one who’s weak in calculation falls weak in every other discipline too.’ I never cared about those words from the retired Headmaster and I chose to take admission in Swarupananda College of Arts and Commerce.

I panted with the increasing weight as I walked in front of the room I was scheduled in. A nurse in pink asked me to have a seat on the red sofa. Red, the colour that defined me; from suits to bags, from blood to soul. And then there came the day I was crowned as the GS.

‘So, little red got her riding hood!’ as my senior Pareshda would say affectionately. And with that I rode, a lady of honour standing up the mountains. On my way, I found him, Subroto. With his hands fisted in mine, I felt the whole world. We cheered, we chanted, we marched, we pledged justice for the victims. Heart ignored fears and the intoxicated mind didn’t want to stop.

‘The worst mistake a man does is overlooking the chances of defeat.’ my late grandfather always said. I never took the old man seriously before I knew he was right;  but the time has overlooked me now. Things fell apart, and the colours changed, they said even the heart would beat in the right now. Mother said not to get out of the house but father needs his pills. They burnt Pareshda’s house last night, as I heard. With the same beats in heart, I walked out. It was the third lane from right when I saw them, a group of eight with wide smiles, eyes gazing at the prey. I tried to run but they caught me. My screams were unheard for two hours, I laid struggling. A helpless woman stood up to find her clothes. Few people passed. Nobody looked at me.

‘But I know you would.’ I said running my hand on my abdomen. The small TV in the hospital showed the Finance Minister Subroto Sen taking reading his first state quarterly budget. I smiled as a drop of tear escaped my left eye. My blurred vision saw the nurse coming.

‘Miss Moushumi Das, Dr. Sheila asked you to go to her cabin. Your abortion would start in twenty minutes.’ She said.

© PoumitaPaul 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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very interesting – good read


Sad and marvelously constructed write. The beginning of a novel assuredly. Post abortion, without guilt, to excel in spite of voices in the past. And to excel and win. Style exquisite and engaging. Quicksand, inescapable meter and tone. – allets 03-26-18 352a

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