They are waiting, hungry, ready to rip me apart. They want me to give up. Ma, they scare me.
They keep inching closer, watching, waiting for the last sign of resistance. Ma, where will I find strength today? I can't give up, I must live my life.
Those vultures on the internet baying for my blood, those vultures on the phone with their anonymous threatening calls, those uniformed vultures with their rule books and feigned helplessness.
Ma, give me the will to survive another day, my fight has to go on..
Do you remember those woods? Dark and deep, like the poet said.
The beetles you collected and the leeches I had on my legs. Did you think of them ever? I screamed and you laughed.
I wanted to take you back there, lay you to rest in the clearing we found with the oddly shaped rocks that we pretended were part of ancient ruins. But instead you sit here in that stainless steel urn, very minimalist, very industrial. Your wild soul must have fled long ago to bask in the dappled sunlight of the woods.
Take me with you..
They think I am too old to be of any use. Iâ€™m slow. I have lost count of the number of years I have put these hands to work. Can it really be that they are of no use anymore?
They tell me to rest. I havenâ€™t known rest my whole life; what do I want of it now? I WILL find something to do, something useful.
Oh look â€“ such a pretty cloud. And the sky such a brilliant blue. This grass is so softâ€¦ maybe I will lie back and watch the clouds. Just for a little while.
A cold blast of wind wakes me. The doors and windows are open, it is drizzling. It's her way of bringing in the outdoors when the weather is just the way she likes it. She must be in the backyard, either carelessly dragging her nightclothes through the mud or leaning on the mango tree.
There she comes waltzing in, hair damp and flying behind her. She presses her cold cheek to my immobile face. She smells of the wind and rain, of earth and the colour green.
She is the only outdoor I have, the only outdoor I need. .
To Runa, the craving to have a child of her own had grown into a physical ache. After years of trying to have a baby, she and Nit had eventually looked at options. Adoption. Surrogacy.
It had been a harrowing year of choices and decisions, emotions and technicalities, counselling and interviews. There were days that seemed sorted, others when life seemed unimaginably complicated.
It had all boiled down to this day, when they walked home after a meeting with their surrogate, taking home that stick of plastic as a keepsake, something tangible that held their indescribable excitement and anticipation..
For people like me, it is very important not to be claustrophobic. I am 35 years old and all of three feet tall. Midget, they call me. Twice a day, when I get practically carried by the crowd into this train, all I see are tummies. Potbellies, flat abs, stomachs caving in from hunger. If I look up, I see hands hanging on to this swaying metal box. Thin hands, bejewelled hands, workman hands. They talk about it being the city of dreams. My dream? To know what life is like at six feet height. .