Exercise he called it. ‘Roll down your panties and lie still. This is important exercise.’ And the naïve five year old that I was, I did as he told me. My elder cousin brother. Staying with us for the holidays. There was no pain as he exercised me. Just a feeling, a vile, vulgar emotion of forbidden violation. For all the twenty one days that he spent with us, he trespassed four times. Each time a moment of me laying passively, watching the blades of the fan making circles. One, two, three. Distant bird cries, rustling leaves. His panting until it filled me up. Kept filling and filling and filling. I watched myself burst. Red bubbles of puss. I wanted to get up and run….with leaden legs. Kept remembering how me and my friends liked to catch dragonflies. Their shiny wings showing us the colors of the rainbow. Struggling in our clenched fingers as we plucked their wings out. A morbid fascination as we watched the little insect bodies quiver and then die. That’s how I felt under his heaving body. Arms pinned down by heavy webbed and sweaty palms. A dragonfly. Without the gorgeous shimmering wings.

I was incredibly happy as I saw him drive away. Perhaps I could now enjoy the feel of my new cotton frock against my legs. Maybe I could now play hopscotch with the other girls. No fears of unfulfilled exercise. Maybe I could also look my mother in the eye without fearing that she’d see the anger, the shame, the hatred. He was her nephew. Her beloved elder brother’s son. The boy she loved. I knew someone had trespassed. And I knew my childhood would not be the same. For it was all plucked out. Someone else had admired the colors and then thrown them away.

I saw him some years after that. I remember how once, at a family function, he hit me. Hard. Due to something I had said. Fist connecting with bone. Bright red drops of blood on my white satin collar. My mother scolded him and put some ice on my nose. She then told me to watch my tongue.

He went away to college and I gave my 12th standard board exams. We were always polite to each other. He always did a great job of showing the world what wonderful friends we are. I was his silly pampered sister. This according to girlfriend no 4. I saw my mother giving him gifts – money, clothes, music. I started ignoring him after I joined college. For I had seen the glittering beauty of dragonflies as they flew together. In large groups. Saw their moonlit flights. He destroyed me. Wretched man. I was guilty too. I used to like seeing dragonflies suffer. All for the temporary beauty of their wings.

It was when the world was closing in on me, I met someone who loved dragonflies. But he did not catch them and tear out their glittering jewel like wings. Instead, we would sit side by side, hearing distant bird cries, rustling leaves and the panting of the world as it rushed past.

Copyright – Tanushree Baruah


11 Responses to “Dragonfly®”

  1. 1 Naresh

    wow! an exemplary writer u r! came hr after long n am lvng satiated! u rock!

  2. 2 ~Sen~

    Tragic, to say the least.Your forbearance and ability to keep mum even after so much , is exceptional….but don’t u think that perhaps u shud have told this to ur mother sometime? He might be the nephew but you are her daughter….even if she’d got shocked and expressed misplaced disgust at you in desperation at first, eventually she WOULD have comforted you.Anyways, it’s good that you’ve grown so strong from inside and that you did have someone sitting beside you.Hats off to you and all the best.Your story reminded me one of my most respected singers Fiona Apple…almost the same story as yours, and moreover both of you write identically…much a resemblance in what her stupendous self written lyrics and your poems seem to talk about.i’d once scribbled her story on my blog as well….read it here :
    Btw,being a poet myself i was rummaging thru ur blog for some of your pieces… read some of them.Mourir, is worth etching down on stone!You should write more, and perhaps put all your work collectively at one place, say , another blog.Would save us poetry lovers a lot of trouble.
    Will keep visiting for more pieces that you write.

    P.S. Dunno how good am myself at poetry, but if you want to check out, visit here : http://www.thepoetwokeup.blogspot.com

  3. 3 nin

    I am awestruck….i dont have the words to describe how much i like it…

  4. 4 maxdavinci

    n ppl accuse me of writing morbid things!

  5. 5 Fictional Reality


    You’re so strong! You kept silent all the time it was happening. You should have told this to your Mom instead of bearing it all alone.

    God bless you Tanushree. You have a nice blog.

  6. 6 ~Sen~

    Thanks for putting all the poems in one place.
    And i still can’t stop reading Mourir again and again.

  7. 7 Sikhar

    Is that the reason why your blog has such a melancholy feel about it?
    May be I am wrong because I have seen it only today and read only the first few. But if so Tanushree; then break free. You are not responsible for what happened to you (In case it is reality and not just a story)

  8. 8 Ridham

    This story can’t be true..
    Good job at writing thought..
    Would be nice if you wrote nice things,coz there is already a lot of negativity around

  9. 9 ~Sen~

    Thanks for dropping by! Keep visiting and scribbling at my blog.As for me , I’ll forever keep coming here for more Mourirs.

  10. 10 Sikhar

    Well, my mistake; didnot menat to be preachy. Anyways, Thanks for the reply.

  11. 11 Prakriti

    Stunning is all I can say!

    If it is autobiographical, there are a lot, just a lot who go through this. And it takes words to exorcise oneself. Somehow one needs to get out infrnt of the world, unashamed, refusing to carry the guilt that one hasn’t the mantle to carry.

    If it is not autobiographical, I must say you have a vivid imagination! Kudos.

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