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ILoola Pie




ILoola Pie

 

ILoola Pie is a girl.

She is now fourteen years old.

She has limp breasts.

She was brought up by an aunt and uncle.

Her head was in the clouds.

She was in love with a cousin who was ten years older.

ILoola Pie wrote poems. Sometimes she stole them from books. She showed it to others and they said, “Wow! You are good, ILoola Pie. From where did you learn to write?” Then she smiled secretly. But sometimes the poems were hers. She tried to write with rhymes. She wrote five to six poems a day.

ILoola Pie wanted to read, but there were only three novels at home. One was called Five goes to the Sea by Enid Blyton. She read it a thousand times. She imagined herself as one of the characters. With the kids around her house she tried to create an adventure land. She made them stand outside the closed door and say a password to enter.

The other book had a picture of woman with spilling breasts. She read and reread the parts where a man had made love to the woman on the straw. When the man kissed the woman’s breasts, she said, “My husband never does this!” ILoola Pie did not know what to say of the heat between her thighs when she read it. She hid the book when someone came into the room.

The next was a torn book on treasure hunting. The children in the book got lost on an island where they discover lots of gold behind a waterfall. That book too, she read many times. The library in her school was closed most of the time. One book she checked out from the library was on romantic poets. She never returned the book and no one asked her for it. She read some poems and sometimes they went right into her head.

ILoola Pie lived quite near her school. She walked to school every day. She also came home for lunch. Her uniform was not stitched properly. The front part of the pinafore was too narrow. On the road she was conscious of the men who would look at her. So, she put one hand inside her pocket and walked as if nothing mattered. One day, she saw a young man in the workshop call an old man and say, “Look, I told you, it jiggles when she walks.” She saw them both laughing and wished the road would open up so that she could go under it. That evening she came home and complained to her grandmother who had come to stay for a few days. Grandmother looked tired, but she sat through the night cutting up an old, navy blue skirt and stitching on two pieces to either side of the pinafore. Therefore, the pinafore had two colors: bright blue where her nipples began and faded blue after that. But she went the next day with her hands outside her pockets. The young man came outside his workshop and told the old one, “Oh, I cannot see it.” She let her breath free.

ILoola Pie was popular in school. The girls liked her. She wanted to run for student government, so she filled out the application for class president and gave it to her teacher. One morning, the class teacher called her out and said, “Listen, we would like you to withdraw the application.” ILoola Pie was silent. The teacher went on to say, “Listen, the other girl who is standing for election, she is your class mate. She is a very capable girl, don’t you think? Shouldn’t you give way to your friend?” So ILoola Pie says, “No, ma’am, I don’t think she will mind.” The teacher’s eyes narrowed, and she said, “If you do not withdraw it, we will tear it up. What do you say?” And ILoola Pie understood. She was big and loud, whereas the other girl exuded calm. So she said, “OK, Ma’am,” and went back to class. Later, they made her the Education Secretary, but she said no. They smiled at her and said, “you are the apt person for it.” She agreed and swore in as a member of the school cabinet.

ILoola Pie wrote letters to her cousin. She wrote long letters to her father in the far away town where he worked. She wrote to her grandmother who wrote back to her about the cat who died. ILoola Pie was afraid of cats. But she loved the smell of her grandmother’s home. Stale oil medicated with she did not know what.

 And the house full of sunshine. Here, she waited for her older cousin to come home late at night. He’d come in with his friends, laughing aloud, cracking jokes. She waited in the kitchen hoping he would come in for a glass of water. When he came in, he smiled at her in an absent-minded way and walked back out without a second glance. But she blushed whenever he did paid her attention.

A girl in her class also wrote a love letter to ILoola Pie. She was amused but looked at her in the same way Aamir looked at Juhi in Qayamath s Qayamath Thak. The girl hid behind a desk.

Iloola Pie tried to think of a world beyond.

Where they would be sea.

And wind.

 And clouds.

And grass.

And herself.

She wrote poetry.

The walls of her room were blue.

ILoola Pie.

I wonder where she ended.


Arathy Asok

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