She is dying. In sleep she thinks she is a swallow, singing and singing and singing and singing and singing and singing… but no, she’s human. The more she wants to be the swallow, the more sleep evades her. At dawn, she stands before the mirror completely naked and dabs kohl on her lower eye lids until they are smudged in blackness. Then she moves closer to the mirror to admire her eyes. She can’t believe those are her eyes. More like a river, yes they are, more sad, more strange, more haunting, more hurt than any eye she had ever seen. As the day grows older, she suddenly feels shame, ashamed at her bestial nakedness of body and mind. Narcissistic? She knows not. But she hides her body behind her dress, she hides her mind behind her sanity.
“Have you been crying lately? Your eyes look red and swollen these days!” her acquaintances ask.
She never tells anyone about her kohl therapy. She knew they would forbid. They would make sure that she gets to see only her nude eyes. But she loved her kohl, she could never give out the secret. If she is to go blind, she thought, what better way than to love her eyes like her life before she lost them? She hates sunbeams, specially the yellow ones. Doctors would give tranquilizers. She never takes them though, she fears sleeping at daybreak, the time when she can look at her eyes silently. She even admires her sockets, her auburn sockets with their tiny violet veins just beneath her eyes. Sunlight blinds her eyes and thought. As it enters her room through the gaps in the curtains of the window, she sits crouched on the bathroom floor panting for breath. No, she had never smoked a cigarette in her life. Her lungs fail her without reason.
But she is scared. Scared to take the leap. She can merely bruise her knees again and again or prick her fingertips with a sharp needle until cute little red drops start oozing out. Dizzy… dizzy… food nauseates. Egg chicken mutton fish cabbage cauliflower cornflakes apples bananas mixed noodles hakka gravy veg non-veg… the waiter leaves as she vomits on her table and pays the restaurant for cleaning the mess.
The world is revolving. Five revolutions per day. Only blur. Not blindness. Blur. Madness. Nakedness. She drowns. They grab her fair neck and stick it inside the water until she drowns, completely. Does she resist? Does she force her head up to breathe? Does she…
Her dabbed kohl melts down her sallow, ill cheeks. Her tongue is black and salty in pain. She is dying. Maybe death can make her the real, singing swallow.