Uncaged: a story of many

Present. The morning opened with the usual chirps of nature. Air was gusting inside the room infiltering freshness everywhere.
Through the eyes of the window one could see all rarities of the world, breathing out pure ravish. I could see a pair of cuckoo and mourning dove engaged in a rhythmic fight settling some issue I know not.
Apart from these, I clearly saw some dark patches of clouds staining the bright blue, one withered nest on a far off tree, the dying sunflower burying it’s face into the ground unable to follow the sun and the carcass of dead leaves decorating its grave ground.
August had arrived, driving everything’s far off into the unlighted world of death, preparing the funeral of the dying year.
I don’t know it seems all blank, nothing new about this morning. Feels like every presence in this world haunts me to the depth, scratching from inside out with its sharpest fangs.
There is this abyss of energy lack which has not filled itself in the months that have passed by. Although, I cannot sleep, I also won’t work or do something rather productive. Heaviest task seems to let my feet slide the cunning soft touch of mattress and let the floor receive them.
The other day I had been gifted a book by some well wisher, I do not even reckon its name or purpose, it’s lying around the chair.
It is another long day, feels like aborting every hour of it and wait for the night. Is there any use of welcoming the days with widespread arms when one has lost complete conscience of self?
I hate this feeling, hate everything.
★ ★ ★
Noida, 2018. Could life be any better, post-school days had finally dawned. All the fantasies of a lifetime were then just around the corner.
Freedom, all those childhood inabilities would be left behind; new place, people and aspirations. For nearly a month I was busy collecting my stuff wanting to make a mandatory statement wherever I went.
If someone would have seen a curvy petite girl in sheath dress fluttering round the college premises with dense tangled ebony hair reaching out to the waist, casting her hazel eyes on people and places, it would have been just me.
Those bygone times did flash before my eyes but did not make me crave for them. Changes were always for the good I believe. These were the times I had been desperately waiting for.
The institute garden, its canteen, the magnificent book rooms, departments and clubs, dynamism brimming. I was perplexed where to head on first, did not even care to ring up mom to inform her of my ‘safe’ reach. Thousand windows calling me to explore the ravish of each room in the building.
Don’t judge me being over enthusiastic, it was a phase. Perhaps, the last phase of immaturity and silly innocence. I think I had left behind everything in the joys of those times, lost in the dense lanes of momentary bliss unaware of the surroundings.
I felt placid and mature, like on the peak of some life strategy. It was all uplifting, the bright blue, the chirps of the birds residing in the garden, the sunflowers and those crisp multicolored dried leaves, all jovial. I seemed to love everything.
★ ★ ★
I had to close the window at once, might otherwise blow off all my hair like dead leaves stripped off a tree.
The moment my feet were prepared to touch the ground, a soft cottony sensation they received, last week’s clothes were lavishing on the floor. With some old newspapers, dusty college bags, cosmetics and cast off black fur patches decorating my floor tiles; there remained no point in picking those two-three things, contributing minimum to the hygiene of the place.
I had run out of groceries, washed apparels and medicines, might have ordered all without stepping out if I had enough to eat that particular day. Barely stuffing some leftover cereals along with the last piece of chocolate I begin finding my baggy hoodie. Hiding my skeletal physique in it, burying those insecurities inside it’s warmth.
No, I won’t look around to witness how passing pedestrians must be glancing at a shadowy figure fully clad in warm clothes on a warm day wearing sunglasses. Did my work and returned home on my heels.
My mobile was ringing, there was no chance I would pick it at that hour. It had been ringing again and again, this mortal world does not seem to leave me alone.
Mom’s it was, she must be wanting me to visit her, it has been an year. The last time I had went home was for a short awkward duration of one week, barely able to survive normally with all abnormalities boxing me throughout. It was hard, they said I had changed, seemed weaker, worried about my health. Had I been into something unethical back in the alien city with some probable wrong company, they signalled at inquiring, I felt like laughing to death. No, I never let it out, for the hell of it.
This time it was way more different than last year, the smoke of thoughts was blurring my vision. How was I to face them in my present condition, how long can I hide those wounds which have been hollowing me, having its meal on my very being. It has been more than a year, there is little left in me to feed the devil.
★ ★ ★

The black blanket had covered the azure sheet of sky, more than that in fact, it was nearly midnight. Nevertheless, I had had the best day with my friends, high on joys and intoxicated with enthusiasm. September nights were supposed to be colder than usual summers, but there was some warmth in me.
Lost in the sensations that had already gone, I had denied my conscience of the present, far from the gathering of friends alone on a nighty path.
Probably, the noise of some far off vehicle brought me back to where I was.
The darkness of the falling day, the lonesome howls of fear, piercing silence and one girl.
At this odd hour, I could not call home, altogether that would not have helped me in a city 353 miles away. Then I tried that with some of my friends, hopeless it turned out.
Started briskly towards apartment, gathering all thoughts for the next 20 minutes.
The moon had hid itself behind dark clouds. The darkness was closing on me. It was not later that I found myself surrounded by three men, glaring at all places, approaching me for the worst.
Running with every nerve of mine, unaware of directions, it was a true death run for me. A mixture of sounds were deafening me, those men, their chase, my pounding heart and loudest breaths.
Exhausted was I, my legs completely gave way. I tried to get away from their reach but every cell of my body was protesting against further movement.
It’s hard, it’s blurry, might explode my cerebral nerves in rewinding those moments.
The night was getting colder, I was feeling warm hands on me, crawling, taking away my sense of self. My voice had gone, probably stuck between helplessness and disbelief, this was the last thing I had ever imagined for myself. All strength had given way, I was drowning in my fate, the murk and those salivating human hounds constantly feeding on me.
It was more than death.
Alone to myself, far from home, all aspirations, dreams and joyful plans got vanished somewhere.
I do not remember if my body shed any blood, all that rolled down were blinding tears, that obscured my life forever. All blank, memory ceases to exist.
When the next I opened my eyes, the sun had dawned, still everything seemed so dark. It was difficult to believe, was it a dream maybe? No, my bodily state did not assure that. I gathered myself, the only person who could support me in my worst was me.
Reaching home, all the clear water of the world did not work to clean the stains of my soul. The disgust of my own touch would send a chill down my spine, felt impure.
Visiting my home town did not help divert my thoughts; days weeks and months of sleeplessness, never knew that I could survive like this as well.
My parents had always seen my male friends with disgust, if I had shared this with them, they would have blamed me for the company I kept and fate that I met. Who would tell them, those were some men sent down directly from the realm of hell, completely unknown, still they managed to treat me the way no one could have. No, I could not share, let out the tornado which apparently kept sucking me from the inside.
I soon started losing myself, they took all they could from me that night. Eyes rounded with the blackness of fear, freckles filling up my face, falling and declining strength.
★ ★ ★
How long was that night and how short were these fifteen months!
I stand in front of the mirror, removing sunglasses and shedding away all the worldly veils that I had put on to hide my appearance.
The kaleidoscope of pains was flashing in front of my eyes. I had always tried to let these out of my constant thinking but how am I supposed to forget the disaster while residing with the continuous reminding proof of it, myself!
I hate my own touch on the places that had been touched by some strangers before, my thoughts that had fed poisonous flames burning my body and my entire life.
Maybe the fault was mine, I uncaged myself to the predators, crossed the bounds meant for my gender, might have been an invitation to the hounds. Crossing my place’s threshold, moving in a new city, exploring myself and getting lost in momentary pleasures (alas, just momentary) was all a huge fault.
What is left of me, erasing the patches of wounds from my entire existence, is it possible somehow?
How will I be amidst men in future without being horrified imagining the barbaric side I had seen of them?
These nights can never be calming, I hear screams, cries and unheard pleading in its air. Sleep has vanished to some fairyland; my eyes ladened with some dreadful scenes, refuse to rest and continue to dive into the ocean of tears each night.
What do I tell my parents, they did not even attend the funeral of their daughter, unknowingly trying to interact with the walking corpse clad in the bandages of worldly ties.
On turning around, what should I see as the life I have had till now, nursery rhymes, schooling and studying; now was supposed to be the real beginning of my journey. They halted it right at its start, where do I go if not this birth or this place!
In my reflection I see the victim of all this, the culprit who is to be blamed and the helpless therapist who is buried in the heaps of powerful pondering.
The last patch of my hair were losing its hold, I let my hands touch them for the last time, they came off. I stare at my completely bald head somehow complimenting my depressed look. This patch joined the many resting already on the floor.
My eyes are getting blurred, I stand seeing my defeated self; I wish I was some stronger to let all the darkness pass and to let my body free itself from the clutches of psychological trauma, I tried but I could not.
The soul in me has began to loosen its ties with mortal flesh, it hates the impurities that earthly devils have inserted in me.
They call it telogenic effluvium , an alopecia connected to depression, but for me it is all self-hatred.

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