Thursday 12 September 2013

Growing Up

The sky always fascinated me. When an airplane cut across the sky, all the children would run after it, shouting and waving. But that had never been what interested me. I always looked beyond those airplanes, deep into the sky, at the stars that never failed to twinkle back at me, reciprocating the same unconditional love that I had for them.
Every evening I went to the market with my parents on either side of me. I never looked at the houses towering over me or the people who exchanged pleasant greetings with my parents nor did I ever see where I was going. I simply held my parents' hands and trusted them to take me with them wherever they were going. And all the while I had my eyes fixed heavenwards, watching the moon teasing me from behind little puffs of clouds.
At night, I would lie next to my father on the little cot out on the terrace. He would tell me to count the stars and obediently I would start to count until his breath came gently and his lips twitched along with his moustache and I would put my head on his stomache and listen to the slight rumbling noises in there and all the while I would keep counting. I was afraid I would have to go back indoors once I finished counting. I was afraid I would run out of stars to count. So I would count the same stars again and again until I fell asleep right there, cuddled next to my father.
Today, when I walk down the road, there is no hand for me to hold. I can no longer trust somebody else to take me along, and so I stumble along by myself. But even now, sometimes when I stand by myself at night, I count the stars. I continue to count the same stars again and again and again just so I don't have to go back inside.