This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 14; the fourteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

All characters and events in this story are fictional. Any similarity to real life incidents or people is purely a coincidence.

There is a small path through the garden, leading away from the big bungalow and away from the main road. As we walk by, the fragrance of roses and of mint leaves make our mind calm, make us one with nature who shows off her beauty in every way. The path leads to a small gate, an archway above it and continues inside to a small, yet spacious outhouse, the servant’s quarters. The archway is covered with vines, a single lamp in the centre. It is thick, and standing behind it, one is concealed, yet able to see the main gate. And it was behind this archway that I stood, awaiting the return of my lover.

Most of the people in the world know the date on which they were born. I don’t. Most of the people in the world know their parents’ names. I don’t. Most of the people in the world have seen their mother, at least that one time when they came into the world. I haven’t. All I know about her is that she’s unknown; that she placed me at the front steps of the big bungalow one night ten years ago, and ran away never to return. I know I cried, because the lady of the house awoke hearing it and I know my mother didn’t because she was running faster after seeing the lights come on. I know I was a curse to my family and to the people in the bungalow. I know all this because memsaab keeps repeating it between the curses she has been throwing at me since that day. Perhaps that’s why she named me so: Kroora.

A slight drizzle had settled in by the time I saw him approach the gate, but I was quite sheltered behind the archway. The wind carried his voice and a dull thud followed a moment later. From where I stood, he wasn’t visible anymore. I knew he had just collapsed on to the big wooden gate that was at the entrance. It made a drop of unadulterated joy drop through my mind. He was drunk, in all probability. The thud was followed by another sound, one that I wasn’t surprised to hear. I didn’t know who it was, but it was a woman’s. The laugh was melodious and rang of innocence. “I was like her…” I thought, going back in time to my childhood days. “Did I have any of those?” another thought shot through, countering. It was a fourth sound that brought back my attention. “He’s dropped the bottle”, I thought and looked back. This time I saw her with him, next to him, lips locked in a fierce tangle. “Enjoy it”, I said to him silently. After they broke apart, he waddled through the gate, and approached the bungalow. Then, remembering something, he changed his path and stumbled through the garden path and walked right past me. He opened the door of the outhouse and the door slammed shut.

I don’t remember the first ten years of my childhood. They were spent confined to the bungalow, or running around in the servant’s quarters. The old cook taught me my first words, how to talk and understand what others were telling me. The day I met her became my birthday. I was brought up under her care, and it was she who I first called Ma. She was my friend, the only one I had in the world. I ran behind her for everything, dressed in the second hand clothes that the memsaab threw away, rather than give to me. Seeing me active must have made her angry, because after that, she made me work too. I toiled, bearing pots of water or washing the pans or sweeping the floors of the bungalow. She wouldn’t let me sit idle at all. During teatime, I’d sit on the front steps of the bungalow sometimes, waiting to watch the other girls return from school. I loathed them, knowing I might never be able to go.

I think my life changed on my thirteenth birthday. I woke up late, to find the old cook still fast asleep, her arm around my chest. The rooster had announced morning long back; it was strange to see her still there. I let her sleep a while more. When she didn’t wake, I slowly removed her hand and prodded her. My shouts of panic and anguish moments later would have been heard miles away perhaps. She had left me too, never to return.

As I sat in the kitchen alone that day, the memsaab’s son, came to my side. He held my hand, and consoled me. He said, “I love you, Kroora. I’ll take care of you” and walked away. I didn’t understand what he said. Night fell on the world, and I slept in the bungalow’s attic that night. I’d got the old radio there, and as I listened to it, still crying for the old cook, footsteps approached and I saw him at the door. “I love you, Kroora”, he said. “What is that? This love” I asked him, not understanding his language. “Close your eyes, and I’ll show you”, he replied. “Hum tum ek kamre mein band ho…” the radio blared.

I closed my eyes, and he showed me. Love was very painful, I found out that night. I couldn’t move after finding out what love was, when the door to the attic was thrown open. Memsaab was there, and she eyed me with malice. I saw her, and stumbled back, till I was stopped by the wall. He stood there watching as she came to my side. I saw what was in her hand, and closed my eyes. The pain returned. For a second time that day, I screamed.

I waited a bit before I went and knocked on the door. He was still intoxicated when he answered it. “Ah, you came”, he said and let me inside. It was just like it was when I last saw it. I could have sworn I saw dust there too, but perhaps that was my imagination. As I looked at the place, his hands locked around my waist and his head rested on my shoulder.

“How are you today? Missed me?” he asked. He reeked of liquor.

I still gave him a kiss, and said, “Yes of course, sweetheart.”

He smiled; the look in his eyes, devious. “Show me how much”, he said.

I laughed and went into the bathroom. “Return soon”, his voice came, but I paid no attention.

I don’t know when it was that I woke up, or even if I slept that night. I just sat there, in the corner of that attic, holding a towel, the pain throbbing in every part of my body. A thin line of red across my face marked my innocence. I knew she hated me. I stayed there for a long time, before her voice rang out, “Kroora, stop sitting there like that, you lazy girl. Go sweep the floor.” Accepting my fate, I tried to get up, only to collapse again. Hurried footsteps came up the stairs and she appeared again. Rage was there on her face as she pulled me up by the hair and shoved me toward the door. The bleeding had receded, but I knew there would be a scar. There always was, once she got angry with me.

I felt different after that night. I wasn’t sure what had changed, but something had. In the following months, I began to eat more, and fatigue set more easily. I began to look bigger too. Memsaab noticed it too, and I was surprised when she took me to see a doctor. Usually, she never bothered with my changes. She and the lady doctor spoke in a different language, so I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Memsaab was very angry at me after we left the hospital. I could see it in her eyes, and once we reached back, I ran up to my room in the attic, afraid to face her wrath. But she came soon, and caught me by the hair again. When she left it, I fell. I felt each of the fifteen steps that led to the attic as I tumbled down it. I think she was satisfied. Her laugh certainly echoed it.

A week passed after that. It was night when I heard someone coming up to the attic. The light was dim, but I could see two boys there. One was the memsaab’s son, Jesh and the other, his friend. “You maybe scarred, Kroora, but we still love you”, they said. I didn’t wait. I ran. Jesh caught me, but I bit into his hand and ran, down the stairs and out the kitchen door. I could hear them come after me, but I ran fast. I saw a car coming on the main road. I waved at it, pleading for it to stop. It did. I got in the back seat. A lady I’d never seen before drove it. But I didn’t care. I looked behind and saw them standing there. I thought I’d never return to that bungalow again.

I returned to the room again. He was already under the sheets. He looked at me and smiled. “You look gorgeous, Kru. Ditch the blanket already”, he said. I did, and he voiced his approval. Later, we lay under the sheets, soaking in the moonlight that came through the window. He talked and held my hand. As he examined every part of my body, he saw some of the scars. “You must have had one rough childhood, dear. You’re mottled with scars everywhere”, he said. I felt a tone of concern in his voice. I got out from under the sheets, sat with my back to him. “Yes, Jesh… you should know. Most of them were gifted by memsaab”, I said. He sat up, still groggy from the alcohol he’d consumed earlier. His hands felt the left side of my cheek, running through the nearly invisible line that showed my innocence.

“It’s you…” he mumbled, before he fell unconscious.

Thrice I had trusted with my eyes closed. After that night, I couldn’t close my eyes. Every time I tried, their faces danced like the fire, hurting my eyes like hot metal on skin. Sitting in the back of the car, I cried. I cried like I have never done before. The lady was kind, and heard my story. She offered to go to the police, but I cried more on hearing that. What if they would send me back? She tried to make me change my mind, but I wouldn’t listen to her. She finally took me to an adoption agency. I think she knew the people there, because they let her adopt me immediately. I was happy to be away from the memsaab. The lady’s name was Anita, and she told me to call her by her name itself. I refused blatantly, but she didn’t accept. When I finally nodded in despair, she told me, “Good. From today, your name is Kruthika. A new start deserves a new name.”

She taught me English, Tamil and Mathematics. She talked to someone, and before long, I was going to school on a bicycle, much like the ones I’d dreamed of, sitting on the bungalow’s front steps. I had friends, other than Anita. I lived in a small house, but I was happy there. It felt like home. Years passed, I became educated, and strong minded. I stopped crying for small things, and even slapped one boy for trying to hold me. Anita was happy, seeing me stand up for myself. I stopped returning to my past, though they came to me in nightmares at times. I thought I’d forget soon, till I saw Jesh again.

He hadn’t changed at all, but I had. There was no clear scar on my face now, and he didn’t recognize me in the mall. He approached me, introduced himself, complimented my beauty and asked for a date. I told him I didn’t date strangers, and tried to walk away, but I knew he’d persist. And he did. I don’t know from where a thirst for vengeance came into my mind, but I felt it was an opportunity. I agreed, went on a date with him that night. We actually had fun. We went on few more dates. I let him think I loved him. He finally said the words I wanted to hear. “Come home tomorrow evening. No one’s home… we could even use the servant’s quarters.” I said that would be delightful, and took the piece of paper where he’d scribbled the address. I didn’t really need it. I was, after all, returning to my past.

I didn’t expect the sleeping pills I’d mixed in the wine to take effect this quickly. He looked peaceful in his sleep, his eyes closed. I reached into my bag and pulled out a knife. I stroked his face. “After tonight, I’m free of nightmares. Your face needs a mark too, Jesh”, I whispered. The point of the knife touched his forehead. Then my mind wavered.

“If you do this, you’re as bad as he is, Kru”, it said. I reflected. It was true. I didn’t want to be like him. Not after I’d become unlike him. I put the knife back. “He’s already suffering”, I said to myself as I got dressed. I picked up a sheet of paper and wrote something. After that, I left, walking down the path again. There was a car waiting. Anita stood outside it.

“Well, did you do it?” she enquired. “No, and I’m glad. It’s better this way. Now I’m sure I can sleep without a return here” I replied. She laughed, as we got in and drove away. I pondered about his reaction when he’d read that note:

“I’m doing you a favor going out of your dreams. I’m never returning to your life. Do the same for me.”

I didn’t care though… I was now Kruthika. The Kroora inside me was dead. No more returns.

A lot of pain
A lot of tears
Made me fill
With many fears
Unseen faces
Love not had
I thought life
Was only bad
Once escaped
I felt that love
I felt dreams
His grace above
One return
To that past
That I knew
Would be last
No malice
Burned my heart
Began to love
From the start
Couldn’t forget
My life’s turns
But I forgave
No more returns

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Memsaab: term used to address the lady of the house, madam.
Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho: old Hindi song, meaning Both of us locked together in a room.

Also given to Sunday Scribblings: Wait

Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

64 thoughts on “Return”

  1. oh…wat shall i say?? a wonderful tale?? or a painful truth of many little girls in the country?? I think the number of Anita’s is far less than that of Kroora…oops Kruthika..!!!

    Increasing number of Anitas doesnt solve teh problem…punishing Jesh shall improve the situation helping Kruthikas to live a peaceful childhood..!!!

    Nice entry leo..!!

    • thank u very much, Ms. Meduri.. it is a bit of both don’t you think? not only in the country, but some out of it too? Anitas are less perhaps.. and increasing their number would help a bit too, if not solve it.. punishing Jesh.. well, like here, which Jesh is brought out into the open? very few.. so that punishment is rare..

      glad u liked the entry..!

  2. You have Returned to BAT with another masterpiece.. Such a powerful character – Kroora’s.. I loved it totally.. Wishing you all the best for BAT..

    –Someone Is Special–

  3. Hey the poem in the end was spectacular, however reading the whole post was slightly difficult considering the font and background.But i guess if one wants to read good quality stuff then one has to take the trouble reading it.I am glad I did.

    • hi Gyan 🙂 glad u liked the story, esp. the end of the tale.. the poem 🙂 thanks for finding it good quality stuff, and taking the trouble reading it..

      regards the font & background, yeah.. its is a bit difficult at times, but I didn’t like the plain dull white templates here 🙂 so opted for this one.

  4. Strong sentiments!!
    Liked the ending…and the poem always sums it up beautifully. 🙂
    Good take on your suggested topic Return.
    You’ve done justice to it by writing an unusual form of Return – No Return.

  5. Wonder while reading this post….Really is it an intense Series of Stories or Pattern of shades of a Painting…
    Each word sync with reason and relations!
    Indeed it is one of the best rhyme I read!!

    Thanks for suggesting the Topic..and sure you paid full justice to it!

    Returning to the post…It’s Remarkable Return 😉

    ~ Keep the Spark ALive..

    • perhaps, being a poet, there is an inner rhyme to my prosaic parts too Rachana 🙂 glad u liked the poem and the painting shades.. though the hues are of sorrow sometimes and of strength other times..!

      thanks for stopping by on my remarkable Return 😀 and glad u liked my topic suggestion too..!

  6. This is truly beautiful 😀 I love the scenery that was portray within this story as you take us through parts by parts. I was pretty focusing on the part on the childhood years as I think it kind of reflected myself in there. I don’t really have a period of childhood years as well, guess I really missed out a lot of fun =< And sometimes life just doesn't go the way we wanted and we can only go along with the flow, but everything will come to a change if you truly work towards it and believe in yourself =P

    Amazing poem and hope I don't get my expression wrong XD, because when I read, I might sometimes go into deeper or went the wrong direction=X

    Good luck on BAT! =P

    • hey Riika, glad u liked the story and the portrayed scenery.. as well as the poem..!
      oh don’t reflect the childhood of Kroora. it isn’t something that should happen to a young girl I feel.
      sometimes, like u said, the life paths arent what we want them to be..! good advise you give! 😀

      good luck on BAT to you too! 🙂

  7. Whoaaaaaaaaa…am speechless! I tip my hats off to you for an excellently churned out story!

    After the many storms in life Kroora had suffered, I admire her unwavering strength and will to survive and start a new life as Kruthika!

    The vengeance? I loved it! If I were in her position, I would also do the same without second thoughts!

    All the BEST Leo for BAT14! Thumbs up for a job well done and you sure must keep the Gold from last month and thereafter and become a Hall of Fame Awardee!!!

    Good morning!

    • thanks Amity, glad u liked the story.. yeah.. sometimes, strength is vital in such a life I feel. Vengeance is a factor, but to look past it and to her new life is stronger I feel 🙂

      • Thank God, you changed your background color. I almost got dizzy reading this story of yours with the black background… 🙁 But I continued reading it coz your story was very interesting 🙂 and I was already glued to it. I was relieved though when I was done reading it. Whew…, thanks you changed it as I was about to suggest…:P

        Please keep it this way. It will be more reader-friendly! 😉 🙂

        Amity 🙂

  8. What do i say now Leo? You always leave me speechless-wonderful take on the topic, amazing narration and a positive end.All the best for BAT though you wont need it 🙂

  9. Leo, I’m Speechless. Don’t Know What To Say. You Know, I Would Always Say F Cube. Fantastic, Fabulous, Fantabulous. Even Though Its A Sad Tale, It Speaks Many Hidden Pains, Feelings. Very Well Written Leo 🙂 🙂 Hatts off To Your Write Up 🙂 🙂

    Wishing You All The Very Best Success,

  10. Hello Leo!

    First up, Thank you for suggesting such a lovely topic for BAT! Love it!

    As for the story, you’re a good story-teller and it is evident by the fact that you chose a delicate plot and did complete justice to it by weaving a hard hitting story around it! The narration is the icing on the cake! The characters portray different human characteristics both positive and negative – Malice, despair, loathe, lust, innocence, lust, hatred, sympathy, generosity, kindness, forgiveness etc., that further make it an interesting read.

    The alternative paragraphs that portray transition from past to present are handled well.

    I’d have liked a little more ‘detailing’ though wrt to their meeting. Bumping into someone and approaching her just like that seems a little too superficial.

    Overall, a story well written!

    • hi Raksha!

      Welcome for the suggestion, glad u loved the topic choice! 🙂

      Glad u liked the story, and the emotions I wove into and around it 😀 and also, the time travel sort of story that I like to weave too… 🙂

      Regards the detailing, I sort of had less time, with work n such, so I finished the post sort of late on Friday.. but it isn’t superficial if you consider that Jesh’s character is sort of a playboy type..


  11. I dnt usually use slang but i think i will today-Holy crap !! that is one amazing piece of writing.
    And what is best about this post is that you have conveyed the darkest emotions without using a word for them-Kudos !

  12. Leo, this was one of the best stories I have read in a while. The attention to detail, the gripping storyline itself and the way you have projected it, the disparate times and situations, built the suspense in a manner which seemed very realistic and made the read phenomenal.
    All the best for BAT.

  13. this post reminds me my post on a gal “Kaveri”.
    And our org HOPE is supporting a girl namely, Kruthika…

    Anyway, very few can bring out the emotional nuances of a female child labour and you did succeed in impacting the readers.
    The poem is a perfect compliment to the post
    as usual , you are best at ur narration

  14. A great tale that sadly has so much truth in it to frighten us. Ultimately Anita’s loving care for Kruthika ensured she was so much better than her abusers. Most excellent work.

    • thanks, Old Egg.. yeah.. lot of frightening truth for sure.. and love that was much needed in her life, she got. 🙂 so she became better than her abusers… glad u liked the narration!

  15. Very nice story, Leo. I had kept your link for my last few, and it was well worth waiting to drop in here.

    I like the style you have used, narrating 2 separate ends… making the audience guess all combinations of who could be who.

    Very late in the story I realized Kru was a girl (even after the show-you-what-love-is episode). lol.

    I personally thought it was a bit unrealistic for Anita to be a party in Kruthika’s plans. Anita’s impression was such that she’d teach all the right things. But then that’s my personal take.

    As you see by the comments here, people love you and your post 🙂

    Offline question: You think you gonna retain the title? What are the chances? Hehe.. first time on your blog! Thanks. Good luck.

    • better late than never, Kshitij 😉 welcome to my blog.. yeah, I like that double take.. it’s my trademark of sorts 😀
      late realization? hmm.. good good, atleast u realized it 😉 well, Anita’s of the world are rare, but sometimes, they become part of Kru’s plans.. and its good.. teaching right things, well that again is the mindset of the Anita’s.. some will be kind n teach the right stuff, some might end up more cruel than that Memsaab…

      hmm, people love my posts.. yeah, that makes a writer feel wanted for sure dude. Regards my chances, I’m not sure. I’ve some tough competition! 😀 Will let you know on Monday, ok? 😉 Cheers & good luck to you too..!

  16. A sensible story written marvelously again, Leo. I liked the setting, the flow, frequent shifts in the narrative pattern, and most importantly the subtle twist towards the end. Made it a wonderful read. At some point, it reminded me of Sidney Sheldon’s novels – strong willed heroine, her painful past, et al.
    Good luck.

  17. First let me apologize for late comment but the good thing is I read the whole story again:). I love the way you have built up your characters and given them a power.

    Loved the poem too. You have outdone yourself with this Leo.

    Cheers and Best for BAT

    This a post that will make me return to your blog again and again .

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