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A little girl walked into a large room. She looked around bewildered. It looked like the end of something. Deserted and empty. Or was it the beginning?

She sat in the centre thinking of ways to write this story. In the meantime, imaginary objects, people and specimens piled up on one side of the room and very real issues, core ideals and values piled up on the opposite side. The room began to get filled. More and more objects. More and more principles. She sat on her stool and watched eagerly. With excitement.

Here, around her and elsewhere, too, the stories had no end. All she needed was tiny space in the world and the luxury to pay heed to her voice. She nurtured it. Calmed it down. Riled it up. Fine tuned its skills. Angered it. And she spoke. Louder and with more clarity as time slipped by. She was young. But knew she had to trust the voices inside her head. Though friends, outsiders, acquaintances, strangers told her not to.

For silence was not going to save her. It, on the contrary, corroded her insides and broke her spirit. The stories, the imagination, the writing, the fire in her soul – these things fed her. Allowed her to grow.

No. It wasn’t the end. Only a beginning.

She looked at the empty room again and wrote furiously with her imagination colouring the pages.

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She and I played with the baby. We bounced him about. I tried to tell him stories but I couldn’t make him smile. Then the conversation of scars came about. He was nine months old. He had no clue, yet, what scars meant. And she and I gave him a 5 minute crash course on physical and emotional scars. His big eyes became bigger. His mother laughed.

‘Just crazy aunties,’ I told his mother. We might have been inappropriate.

Were we being morbid? I don’t think so. Are there things you don’t tell a kid? I hope he listens carefully and someone or the other tells him the truth always.

My niece came over the other day. I noticed how babies tend to follow their natural instinct. I tried to carry her and she screamed a no. I didn’t challenge her word and let her go. She has been this way for a while now. She turns two years in three days and she has refused advances or me picking her up. I try to take her word for it. But often adults around nudge her to give in. Till now, I have put my foot down and respected her wishes.

Why do we force them to give up on their instinct? I wish she holds onto hers.

My neighbour’s daughter is around 7 years old. She is a bright and adorable kid. She came with me and the dog for a walk the other day. The dog has been struggling a little. But she loves kids and I love seeing her with them. The three of us sat on the footpath below the building, like the dog loves to do. Every statement I made she responded with a ‘why’. Initially, I answered very patiently which gave her the encouragement to continue asking more questions. But eventually, I got tired. I almost asked her to shh. Then I realised often adults stop asking questions after a point. This habit actually frustrates me a decent bit. For I imagine that if we all asked questions, the world would be a different place.

How can I whine about adults not asking questions if I teach a child not to ask them? I hope she keeps asking questions. More and more.

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I thought I was a non-believer.

But, I begged; I pleaded. 

I assumed my faith had long crumbled. I promised myself that I wouldn’t pray, as life got worse, as it certainly would. I vowed to myself that I would live it without pining for divine help or assistance. I assumed I could find my way. I would struggle I was sure, but I would wobble along. And wobbling was fine for the most part.

Many stubborn years later, I entered the church to kneel before God. I begged him to stop these tests, to put an end to my bankruptcy, to breathe some life into me. I searched my heart to feel a connection to him, to these words I formed inside my mind. But a deep sense of fear coated these words. If he existed and if he listened closely, he would see it too. But, I asked for forgiveness and begged for his attention. I was positive he wouldn’t believe me and I was positive I was just voicing my insecurities. Yet, I had completely lost faith in myself. I felt the urge to turn to someone else. I needed, craved for someone else to share the blame with.

I have fallen, far deeper than the faithful fall. For, I was a non-believer.

I felt gutted. I didn’t believe; yet I prayed.