Parvathy Nair’s poem about the little girl who went to graze horses and never returned has moved many Indians to tears.
The school teacher tells Rediff.com’s Archana Masih that writing the poem was a catharsis and wonders if only the horses could speak.
A school teacher and mother, Parvathy Nair was deeply upset on hearing about the bestiality perpetrated on a little girl who had gone to graze horses in a meadow in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir.
For two days she kept thinking of men going in and out, raping the child on a temple floor, as revealed in the police chargesheet.
She could not get the child in a flowered purple frock out of her head.
More so because as a Class IV teacher, she is surrounded with 8 to 10 year olds all day.
“Every day I see children around me walking and having fun and here was one body of a child — lifeless and brutally exploited,” she says over the phone from her home in Pune on Sunday morning.
On Friday, Parvathy got a weekend off after a long time. She had planned to read, relax and spend time with her family, but she found herself in agony.
The little girl is all she could think of.
So, sitting beside her husband, with the television on mute, she started writing her thoughts.
Her husband was talking to her, but she wasn’t listening to him.
He thought she was chatting with someone on Whatsapp, but she was giving catharsis to the pain that was gnawing her soul.
What Parvathy Nair wrote has moved innumerable people to tears.
Read it if you haven’t already and hear your heart tear.
Maai, I sent the horses back home
I sent the horses trotting,
And they found their way back home.
But, I couldn’t.
My legs that you thought were
Swift as those of a deer,
Maai, they froze.
But I sent the horses back home.
Maai, them monsters, They had no horns or fangs,
Or deadly long nails.
But they hurt me.
They hurt me bad, Maai.
The purple flowers,
The yellow butterflies,
They stood there helpless.
While I sent the horses back home.
Tell Baba that I know,
I know he tried.
I heard him say out my name,
I heard him repeat it loud.
I was sleepy Maai,
I was tired.
They hurt me bad.
Strange as it may seem to you,
It feels like your warmth now.
It doesn’t hurt anymore.
The blood has dried
And it looks like the purple blossoms
That swayed with me in the meadows.
It doesn’t hurt, Maai.
The monsters are still out there.
And there are stories too.
Don’t listen to them Maai,
Gut wrenching and agonizing they are
And a lot you’ve gone through.
Lest I forget,
There’s a temple there
Where lives a goddess.
For I think it’s she who helped,
The horses find their way back home.
Parvathy’s poem has been shared widely on social media. Parvathy does not usually post much on Facebook because she feels there is too much negativity on social media.
“A little girl went to the meadow to graze horses, the horses came back. She didn’t,” says Parvathy, a teacher for 20 years.
“I read stories to my students like Wizard of Oz and other stories where animals speak. I wish animals could talk or if there was a horse whisperer who could have told her parents that the girl was in mortal danger,” ays Parvathy.
It was difficult for her to read the poem aloud to her husband because she knew she would choke.
When he read it, he told her she should share it and since she posted it on Friday night, she has been startled to discover that the poem has responated with so many people.
“I wrote it for myself. For the pain I felt. It was like releasing somebody’s ashes into the water,” says Parvathy, who is familiar with the milieu of the nomads that the child belonged to because of her trip to Kashmir to participate in a volunteer teaching programme in Ladakh.
“Imagine the plight of the father, she probably heard him. She was sedated, I just hope it reduced her pain. I can’t imagine how people can perpetrate a crime of such beastiality on children.”
One comment on her poem asked why she had not written about the rape and tragedy that befell the teenager in Unnao.
“I am not trying to compare and contrast. This incident moved me because it concerns a child — it is a space I belong to as a teacher,” says Parvathy whose 14-year-old son asked if she would read it in the school assembly.
“This poem,” says Parvathy, “is a pain sharing process for all those who feel that pain.”