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The Girl on The Swing.

I was then a kid, hardly in class three or four, proud enough to be a boy among the village kids, who reads in a convent and can speak English; although nobody cared about it.

It was holiday time, and the school was about to resume, but we all were still in our village. We have planned to return Bhubaneswar after celebrating Rājā fesitival in the village.

Rājā festival, as I then knew is the festival of girls on the Swings, Podo Pitha, Manda Pita, Mitha Panā and the super period of joy and happiness. Even my bou (mother) who was ever strict to me like anything transforms to jovial image of love and tenderness. In whole, I would say it’s a festival of love and affection that brings joy to every individual in those three days.

Being younger is always a disadvantage and you are never counted in the masculine members in the family. Even though, my brother who is just a year elder to me, proclaimed his right, as if by birth to dominate me. He was chosen in the party of elder male cousins, who have planned a trekking to some faraway place. I was left behind among the females. I was almost into tears and held it up in my eyes and tried to reserve the leftover manhood in me. All of my female cousins persuaded me to join them, but I was reluctant. They all looked crazy to me. Laughing at anything, don’t know why. On each and every word they discussed, a laughing was must to follow. 

Oh! I forgot to tell, Rājā is that festival, where girls are restricted from all kind of house hold work and are free to do what they desire for. I think laughing heartily is what an Odia girl most desire for.

I thought it would be good to go to Bou, but she was busy chitchatting with other women folks and it was too boring. I felt lonely and melancholic.

I decided to step out of the house and be on myself, didn’t know where to go. I decided to walk through a narrow path among the green to a distance mango orchard. As I went near it, I saw a little movement among the trees. A girl swinging in a swing tied high above to the branch of a mango tree. She was the only one there and no one  was nearby. 

I went near her. 

She smiled. 

She looked being same age of mine or a year or two elder to me. I don’t know why still the image of her is alive in my mind. Wish I had that brain then; I would have beautifully described her beauty. But she was of something I had never seen before.

I asked politely in oriya –“mu khelibi tike? “(Can I play a little in the swing?)
“Kahinki” (why?) was a blunt reply from her.

Mu aga asithili, je aga asilia tara ee doli, tu agaru asuluni (I came first. The one who came first can only claim the swing, why didn't you come first?)

Hau hau mu jadi tote jhulaye pacharu, tu mote khelibaku debu? (Ok then, if I help you swing from back, will you allow me to swing? I gave a nice proposal to her.

She agreed and said - hau (yes).

I swung her with full energy and she cheerfully enjoyed the sport.

When my turn came to sit on the swing, she said to me to be careful, and hold the rope full tight. She told that, as she will swing in such way that I will never forget. 

I was excited and held the rope all tight and said, “I am ready.”

She slowly swung me, but I asked to be more force full. 
She increased the pace, I encouraged. “jor re, aau jor re” (more and much more).

At a point I was almost flying in the air. Now I ponder from where that little girl got the energy to swing me so high. The last thing I remember of that event is that one of the ropes got loose from the top and flung me up and then down to a paddy field where I landed with a ddhup!!! sound, fully smeared with mud and a little scratch in the hand.

The girl was nowhere nearby, and the mango orchard seemed haunted.

I kept the event a secret only to me.

Later I got to know, few year before a little girl was killed there, falling from a swing during, the festival of Rājā Sankaranti.


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