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A gust of flash fiction by Bardwi. Read Pampa's heartwrenching story.


Pampa's overstretched hands stuck to her knees like ladder to a wall. Head tilted to the left, and knee-length hands that never swayed, her gait was like a penguin. She saw colours when there was music. And every colour had a number. Green was number three and yellow a number seven. She liked to use sketch pens when doing math or else her numbers got mixed up. She used both her hands to write the colours and paint the numbers. But her ambidexterity was also a handicap, not for her, for the rest of the world. Pampa never smiled. She only laughed. A high-pitched laugh, with both palms covering her mouth. But somehow her pearl white teeth showed.

Pampa was a fan girl of everything Bollywood. The dance, drama, music kept her senses in a bind. She often volunteered to show her dance skills in gatherings. She made vigorous moves in her mind but all the audience could see was her two long hands rising up in slow motion like Atlas condemned to hold the sky up on his shoulders. When she thought her performance had ended, she would laugh, palms covering her mouth.

The excursion bus that came to school carrying the Bombay boys and girls, took Pampa's world by storm. She watched the visitor boys and girls exchanging numbers and addresses promising to be pen pals when they go back home. Pampa knew she would be the best pen pal of the world because nobody wrote the way she did. She could write with both hands. The handwriting equally bold by both hands. She exchanged numbers and addresses too. But her notes only had colour codes as numbers. For others, they were only colours. A scrapbook of colours.

Pampa’s synesthesia made her measure distances with colours. A thousand kilometers were full of colours, like overarching rainbows. She hitchhiked.

The school Principal’s phone rang at 9 pm.

“My daughter hasn’t come home from school today.”

What? Why?

“She said that there is a performance in school for which she has to stay on.”

What? No.

“She said that there is a crew coming from Bombay and that there are dance auditions.”

A crew? From Bombay? About a month back, we had a bus full of children who came on an excursion from Bombay. They visited the school briefly for a cultural exchange programme.

“But madam, she has also taken a suitcase full of clothes...and a little money...and (the

voice chokes up).”


Pampa: Text
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