The Real Game

It was twilight and the sun decided to take a back-seat. It is that time when aunties, uncles, grand fathers and their grand-children march towards the nearby park in the colony. The space holds a distinct significance for every individual. It is a hub of information for the gossip mongers, for many it is a place to blow their own trumpet, for some it’s a necessary get away from household chores and the remaining few fitness oriented fellows do not seem to bother. It is a perky sight with a group of oldies engrossed in an intense political conversation, aunties slouching in groups discussing the next door neighbour’s not-so- happy married life and the kids ecstatic because of the rupture in their routinely vicious circle of tuitions-home-work-dance classes.

The evening was soon transcending into night and the shadows started to come in complete harmony with the darkness. I was a little late than the usual. A bunch of slum kids (around 5-6 in number) or teens to be precise broke the silence of the night with their occasional howlers and innovative games. The latest one caught my attention and it was an enactment of some K serial’s episode. The visibility level was a little low on their location as it was at the back of the halogen light situated at the centre of the park. But I guess all thanks to power cuts my vision in the dark is considerably good. The leading lady was a girl of 7- 8 years (she held her sibling in her arms) who found the idea amusing. The game somehow gripped me so much that I started taking shorter rounds so as not to miss the scene. They were celebrating Holi and the girl was an actor par excellence. The circular path of the park now adorned minuscule figures moving at a steady pace like the rolling camera reel. The other people in the park were not affected by this show but I found it more interesting than the original. The serial was progressing on a smooth pace unlike the real ones. The fatigue was taking over me and I soon became weary and so was my enthusiasm. But what I witnessed next sent chills down my veins. The girl took off her jacket, laid her self down on the grass and let the other two participants fasten her hands. They scowled and then smirked in glee. My foot steps ceased as I stood their as an unfeeling voyeur. I glanced all around and witnessed moving un-bothered shadows. They stroked her undernourished cheek bones and moved down to her slim collar-bone. At a distance I shivered at the alien invasion and gave a little cry which was lost in the sullen silence. The impassive girl sanctioned it without any protest and I did not know whether it was still a game or reality. I was grappling with my shadowy existence amidst this show of grotesqueness. The girl said a few dialogues and a smile twisted on the young man’s face. He moved closer, caressed her neck and trembled with excitement. All of a sudden the girl nudged one of the boys and intimated him of my presence. I now realised that I had entered their space and was actually a few steps away from their sets. I managed to say, “Unfasten her hands”. The chowkidar came at that time and told the slum people to vacate the park. The boys ogled at me and whispered some gracious words in my glory. The girl, carrying her jacket in one hand and the kid in the other, walked past me throwing a baffled expression. It was as if I actually ruined their game; the game that had turned real.

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