Nyor was sitting quietly on a bed of stones. She had been sitting there for ages. No, that was not her home. A cave of rocks, stalagmites and stalactites could hardly be a home for anyone.
Ah, home… that word has multiple meanings for many. For Nyor, it meant a safe place, filled with food and warmth. She could hardly fathom why she had been sitting there, on a bed of rocks. A drop of water from a rocky ceiling hit her head with a big popping sound. Slowly the reel of recollections began to swarm her thoughts… she had been sitting in a bus… wait, rewind a bit… she had fought with her parents, who objected to her short hair, all the time pointing her towards the rejected list of matrimonial proposals… Her mother had shrilly screamed, “Shame on you for cutting your hair short! Are you pretending to be a boy? And why on earth can’t you wear those ancestral gold earrings on your ears? Once upon a time I cried for a gold bangle in my childhood! Yet you refuse to wear a single golden earring/necklace/bangle! What’s wrong with you?” Nyor decided then that enough was enough. She had some cash left from selling paper jewelry pieces on a small website. Sure, the cash was too little to afford a college education, but it would be enough for a bus ticket.
“Your name’s Nyor? Goodness what a name! You are a girl, right? Are you fond of drinking Mountain Dew?” The ticket master at the bus counter had gushed out a fountain of flowery words, poking his pointy nose into uncharted waters. Some men simply longed to lay their hands on girls travelling alone, as though seizing some unclaimed baggage from a bus seat. But Nyor was ever ready for danger. A glare from her thick eyebrows was enough to silence many. Others were silenced by her tattoos. One of them on her right forearm was of Kali dancing with a garland of skulls. The left forearm had a visual display of Shiva in nataraja pose, clad in a pink sari with blue border, ghungroos on feet. Most people assumed that she must be an apprentice dayni and stayed away. Those who got close enough were mystified by the shiny dagger on her belt, engraved with Tibetan symbols, and left her alone. She had sat down on a seat next to the driver, eyes clear and scanning the road ahead… next thing she knew, was the sensation of falling, as the bus plunged towards the chasm… Even the screams died in her throat… miraculously she was the only passenger alive… she had crawled out of a window… with a bloodied forehead… she found a tiny stream of water, washed her face, drank a bit and sat down.
Well we all have heard about ‘survival of the fittest’. Sure, there would be a search party on another bus. And reporters would swarm like flies on a mango, scooping up the latest ‘road accident’ and vying for the honour of bringing an ‘exclusive report’. But let’s return to Nyor…
It started to rain… oh dear, the last thing Nyor wanted was to be caught in a major landslide and get fossilized as a mud cake… she began to move away, walking between trees, feet slipping at times…she saw some tigers resting on tree branches… poor things were dozing and seemed harmless. However she walked away quickly in case one of them woke up to stalk her and make mincemeat of her… the trees were so thick that it was difficult to determine one’s path. She had to rely on her instincts as Mx. Google lay fast asleep under the edge of a cracked wreck of a phone packed securely inside a backpack. The rain was relentless and soon she was soaked to the bone… but she plodded ahead.
Soon the forest thinned… Nyor hated people, but now she was yearning for civilization. Oh, she had promised a friend to be her roommate… but how on earth was she going to make it back?
She put her concerns aside and scanned the scenario. On her left was a river and to her right was a small cave.
Option A: GO BACK
Option B: Cross the river
Option C: Go through the cave
Option C seemed preferable… so she took out her dagger and kept it in her left hand…made a rudimentary torch out of some tree branches, lit them with her cigarette lighter and ventured inside… There were some lovely stalagmites and stalactites inside… she clicked pictures from her camera (miraculously it remained unscathed)…and kept walking… Midway her torch blew out, leaving her in pitch black darkness…
Nyor was terrified. You never know what could hide in caves…as she closed her eyes, a thought popped up in her head. The torch blew up because of a slight breeze. I must find the direction of that breeze and get out.
On and on, the passage inside the cave seemed to stretch on forever… had she lost her way? Was she doomed to die alone? Countless thoughts assailed her… then a beam of light filtered through a rocky wall… Nyor peeked a bit through the hole…the rain had stopped and a beautiful rainbow was in the sky… it filtered through the hole, too… Nyor was filled with a new hope… and soon she was out of the cave, reached the highway… and soon found a bus to climb into… dreaming of a new future.
After all, if winter is here… can spring be far behind?
Chroma Curious is a lawyer by profession and teaching legal subjects to others. Into stories of people and their experiences.
Tigrowna: Queer drawing and printing with passion.