An Elegy to the Hungry Girl

The towering plantain trees distinctly stood amongst the green façade in the passing wilderness. Within it, the concrete structures were invasively stationed amidst the thatched huts of brick and soil. The fields and soiled trenches were filled to the brim with overreaching water from the river and mud alike, leaving nothing out of the realm of ordinary. Everything seemed to belong to their rightful place as it is. With the grazing cows in their astounding numbers to the little girl from the lowborn hut gazing at the speeding motor, one could not piece them as separate from each other. However removed from linear logic, all seemed to come to one conclusion. It was the ordainment of the divine. The receding of the water in the paddy fields had slowly given rise to the middlemost of the patches meant only for treading over, and not prancing around the expanse. For it seemed as though the forbidden patches were off limits, limited to the frolicking of the ignorant, as it all comes down to the onlooker’s perception from the carriage of charred coal and air-conditioned heat.

This same momentary perception will phase through and through. Maybe the cows will change into long shafts of rice crops. After all, they ought to remain plentiful. The crop is satiated with the bountifulness of the dirt, as is the cow. But he is still unaware of how to factor in the girl amongst all of these. She is bound to vanish by the time the carriage picks up its pace. Even if her gaze is not directed towards the onlooker, he creates an impression out of her. His projection of her is seemingly long enough to distinguish her from the purplish flowers out from the mud. And there comes the mirage of smoke and painted progress. The swift streaks of red-yellow-blue of the opposite carriage speeds through his perception with a thumping velocity. At the place where she stood, now stands a man next to his newly built, albeit forgettable house. It does not ooze any kind of resonance in him. The unmarked graves of makeshift wood and rotting lumber nearby don’t mean a thing to him. The path that the girl had undertaken has disappeared from his view. Even though the density of the grass had lightened in her tread as she inched slowly towards the waterlogged fields to escape his scrutiny, he nonetheless deduces that the path was already constructed long before she had waded through it. Even if it was to take refuge under the slighted canopy of oblong trees, the illuminated space under it is still inundated with the overflowing water from the hills. The distant green carpeting the cliff has not been able to contain it. And so, she loses her only refuge. She must be moving away from that sickly man on his strained cycle, with traces of rusted yellow and uniform green. He is heading over to his home now with the sun setting in from afar, making sure that he doesn’t encounter the bales of hay wrapped around the electric poles. That would be a well-deserved and yet cruel exit for him. Though the onlooker is not able to pinpoint his earthly hut, he doesn’t smell the reassurances of a hot, frugal meal back home. The girl definitely didn’t fit the bill of a common girl fetching water from the polluted river far away from her home. And yet it didn’t seem like she had strong ties to that thatched home of hers. Her own roof since she was born. She didn’t need to go anywhere else. And yet, as the distance grows even farther between her and that wretched hut, one might wonder if it is because she still bears the scars of last night. She walks on towards the river with that crooked stance. She must have been bearing the lustful silences of that long, past night. She recalls that tainted roof which she has been made to claim as her own, although on papers that are now unseen to her. The onlooker having charted out the act of subjugation for his subject directs her fictional self to continue on her path to salvation. This should just about justify her action of seeking an unknown place of her own. A spot mired in her loneliness, where she can let go of her domestic restraints clutching at her weary shoulders. As she clings onto the decaying roots nestling through the river bank, she stretches towards the wreath of flowers flowing towards her. That is certainly a luxury she could not have afforded by herself. One might just consider it an apology from the heavens. She has braved through her downtrodden life after all, and that demands a certain peace offering from the denizens of the malformed water bodies. This honorary wreath has translated itself from the possession of the beloved dead to the desperate expectations of a being of the lower cadre. Having accepted the gift with open arms, she is now being subjected to the judgmental gaze of the few fishermen hovering upon their sailing boats of light blue that gradually vanish in the dying light. The boats seem to have huddled up together, portraying an image of a conjoined circle, as they debate over what kind of punishment should be meted out to her. Since she had desecrated their dead, she must be confined before they come to a definite consensus. But now, amongst the hazy developments, the onlooker feels he cannot grant a satisfying resolution to her after all. He feels his narrative is in shambles. Maybe the culprit was the blue-red-yellow mirage all along for leading him astray. The right order is in disarray. He cannot recall his vision again.

But now, he would not want to undertake the discursive analogies tending to the have’s and the have-not’s. She is simply detached from her own voice. Even if she screams out loud, it is never going to reach him. It was the same case with the boy he had seen earlier. The boy was not famished, rather he longed for the packaged food served by the bell-boys. His delirious knocking was considered a distraction, so was his presence. With the blinds drawn over him, his fanciful tastes were rather a part of a monotonous routine the staff and the passengers had partaken in. His frantic knocking had fallen on deaf ears. But was it the same with the girl he had seen? He could not remember how she looked. She never turned his way. All he could surmise was her frailly standing over the dry patch, and carefully watching the frog wading through the overflowing plains. What was forbidden to her was so easily accessible to the frog. The frog has never shied out of its own mortality. Although this time, they both had a common enemy in the form of a serpentine horror, one chose to observe and the other went forth towards the sea it had always dreamed of.

Meanwhile, the others sharing his cabin remain unperturbed as ever. The guy from the lower berth refuses to put his plate down as he asks for more food. The other remains severely disinterested in the idle chatter, as he reminisces about his father’s deeds in the border war. While the onlooker jots all of them down on a piece of paper he had borrowed, it doesn’t seem like any of them will take a bullet for anyone else, at least in this age. The father is long dead. He remains forgotten in his own dusty journals kept safely in the creaking musty cupboard. His descendant rather chooses to live by his father’s ideals, something which the latter had never claimed in the first place. Even if he wished to give some of his food to the boy, the thick glass had already ensured it would not happen. That was the ordainment of man’s civility. That has stretched out the gap between both the parties. And as for the lower berth person, his claimant to regality subdues the probable hierarchy instituted in the carriage berths. Not for one second, would he let one believe he is from the lower ranks, something which he would never be proud of in the first place.

As the girl disappears from the onlooker’s view, he assumed her in want of a hot meal as she stands crookedly amidst the heavy downpour. Now, it is not even clear to him, if she was wearing rags or not. He wished it was the former, for it would make a more powerful story if it were. He wished boarding the carriage would be a dream long lost to her. He wished she would be destitute above all. As it was he who was hungry for the fame and attention, her not being what he claims her to be would be all for naught if it were otherwise- if she stayed content to herself.






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