the village dark and asleep.
I was studying with a cracked oil lamp,
when my life took a turn too steep.
Cloth tied taut against my mouth,
I could barely breathe, forget making a sound.
Thrown into the back of a van,
legs and hands immobile; I was tightly bound.
My vision slowly accustomed,
and I felt rather giddy.
We were moving after all,
and I was at the back; what a pity!
Strange men present,
all in dark apparel.
One with a gun in his hand,
pointed lazily at me, with a loaded barrel.
They were talking in some language,
one that I didn't quite understand.
I was 8 and uneducated,
just knew that I was still on land.
Next thing I knew,
it was daylight.
I was sweating,
and not a soul was in sight.
I was still in the van,
we had probably made a pit-stop.
One of my feet was bare,
without its respective flip-flop.
By now I had realised,
that I had been taken.
This was illegal, whatever this was,
and now I was awaken.
Suddenly the van engine roared,
and the back doors flew open.
The strange men climbed in,
and we drove off to their den.
After that it was a series,
a series of exchanges,
a series of people;
a series of beatings,
that really left me crippled.
And now at 17, the tears roll down perpetually,
and I don't even feel them,
on my rosy wounded cheeks.
- Ragini Zutshi Anand
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