A Drenched Secret

She had a dad, two moms, one donkey and one brother. I don’t remember how she looked, but she was beautiful I believe. I remembered the faded red ribbon that used to dangled in her cluttered brown hair.I used to envy their nomad lifestyle when I was a kid. You got to travel so many cities, no schools, no exams and free donkey rides. Food was cooked less and collected more. Yes, collection is a term you fantasize while growing up and hence can relate to as a child. Neighboring houselholds participated in thier food collection process, stale chapatis, left over curry, insect-ed grains, split-ted milk.. the list was enough for them to feast.

They were the nomad tribe, who used to travel through the cities , with family, kids, animals. House on move. Stays in a city, do some trading, earn some bucks and move on. They never belong to anywhere.
She was curious of our lifestyle as I remain curious about her.
The only thing I clearly remember about her is her name, Gulabo. It haunted me for many years, it still does. That name was in hope, in prayers, in guilt, in callbacks..

It was just couple of days they started staying in the open barren land next to our concrete permanent house. She became regular in our family. My mom feeding her with leftovers.. both food and emotions.

On that stormy night she came to hand over the can full of milk, my mom asked her to bring. I was the one who opened the door, she looked at me, smiled, handed me the can. I wasn’t sure of smiling back, I just took the can , looked in her eyes, asked her to wait till I empty the can and rushed inside. I pulled myself like that plug in the socket. What was the hurry?

I didn’t know then, I don’t know it yet.

It stated raining .. liked it never rained before. Yeah, I was living in the city of extremes.. extreme weather.. extreme people.

Past an hours, mom observed that unattended can. Fast came the question : “You haven’t returned it back to her.. ?”
Nothing hit so badly till that day, they way that question hit. I failed my words. Barely I managed to confess.. Mom, I asked her to wait. Is she still…. ??

We rushed to the main gate.. she was there.. drenched.. an hour of rain washed all the dirt she accumulated form her nomad lifestyle.. and the same rain piled up the guilt in me. Her brother came running from far.. scolded her.. dragged her back to that open barren land.. their then residence.

Next morning. She had fever. Expected.
Next to next morning. They were gone. Unexpected.

Was that a fever or pneumonia ?
What was the next destination of that nomad tribe? Where is Gulabo? Another city or another world ?

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