Luna was a girl known to others to be present for everyone, but herself. She was unaware of this till she turned 17.
Luna was branded as the “good girl”. She was perpetually exemplified to her only younger brother by her mother. When this happened, she could see the despair in her brother’s eyes, to which her mum stayed oblivion and when she left, Luna always hugged him. Yet she was obscure to the fact that she’s sacrificing her worth in doing things like these.
Her dad was a workaholic. He had to go early in the morning and coming home late evenings, sometimes in the nights.
During her childhood, she used to play in the ground and tend to forget about the world around her for a moment. She was certainly the oldest among the kids. Dusky, with black eyes and dark brown medium length curly hairs, mostly tied up in braids or ponytails. They used to play marbles and sometimes won and mostly was the defatting party.
When she got a little older, she started playing cricket, badminton, rounders, and sometimes tagging, and hide and seek. Her brother was a little chubbier boy who was a glutton and hungry all the time, like a mouse or squirrel. Whenever mum was late from the office, he’s the first one to devour all the dessert and Kept on eating till she arrived and while dangling in her arms asking for more. Mum swayed at once by his chubby sun-tanned golden face and round eyes. Luna adored her brother but whenever she was praised more; she often felt as she was betraying her brother.
While growing with all the commotions and Chaos, he started becoming more irritable and chintzier. Soon Luna bid goodbye to her childhood and entered teens. She turned out to be an attractive looking girl. At this time her hair was no longer set into ponytails or braids, but she preferred shoulder-length bob. The cut not only looked good on her but was best for the place where summers are hotter and humid; it’s easier to make a ponytail and not too difficult to manage.
She always considered her and the brother as lucky to be protected by their parents albeit for their pride. She had seen kids being beaten and kicked by their parents, just for not calling back to the calls. Some were dragged by the ears, others were lucky, never got the physical punishments, instead were emotionally abused as norms by their parents. She will put her parents in the latter category.
She idealized nature having its ways of protecting species. It also involved humans while they acted as naïve and ignorant to see that whatever they were doing to their kids and wanting from them was most of the time unnatural. She always taught this to her younger brother, who surprisingly took great interest. This gave her the courage to go beyond and teach him about the animals' protective behavior towards their young ones. If one ever tried to go closer to a bear’s pup, the mama bear will tear the person apart. This was all instinctual and humans inherited the same.
She used to tell her brother to recall when the neighbor’s dog gave birth. Despite so playful and friendly towards both of them, she wasn’t letting anyone closer to the pups and started to growl. It’s not like she didn’t love her parents, but gradually she was grasping the idea that it’s in their instincts that they have to love one another. People called every mother’s love an unconditional one, but it was the same way exactly a polar bear cared for her pub, feeding them even that she’s hungry herself. In ancient times all the people were men of the King and women were there to give birth. The consequence of all wars was to kill all the men and to take all women and children as slaves.
She was lost in her thoughts when she heard certain noises outside the house. It was her dad yelling at somebody, while her mum rushed to intervene. Her dad looked exhausted from all that yelling, squabbling, and brawling. Besides her mum looked tense and worn out after breaking that fight.
She stood there trying to understand the situation. Her dad’s shirt was torn and the hair was all messed up. He looked back from a long and tiring journey without having any food, water, shelter, or any decent transport. After a few moments of gasping his breath and spitting on the floor; her dad asked for water, which Luna brought for him. He splashed the glass full of water on the floor - bang, bang. She got terrified and looked at him in dismay.
She was a petit teenager and just about a medium height among her peers. He was oblivion to her freight or took it as a dissenting.
Her dad was a medium built and a middle-aged man. The constant pressure of life and his short temper had made him look older than his age.
He was now angry with Luna because he thought she will bring cold water and instead she brought normal. He had all the rage in his eyes for his teenage daughter. Her mum came to the rescue with a cold glass of water.
Her mum was the same age as her dad, but a little taller among her race. She had a stern face that resembled stubbornness and rigidity. The years of resentment had left more wrinkles on her forehead, which had made her appearance more acceptable in that conservative and narrow-minded community.
Anyhow after that incident, later in the evening, she overheard mum and dad that a roughneck was demanding money at the shop, which he had refused of course. The man on whom dad was shouting earlier was sent by that good-fellow. They both were talking in low voices to keep it secret from us.
Her mum was inquiring as to why hadn’t he opted for police, to which, she distinctly remembered what her father said that if a person was not wearing branded clothes and shoes or didn’t have a godfather, the police station was like a thug station. He reassured her mom and went to sleep.
It was Luna’s high school break as she was waiting for the results. The stress of the earlier couldn’t let her sleep. She was confused whether she contributed to provoking her father or was it the world that was making his life so overwhelmed that he felt justifying in doing and reliving all his pressure on the vulnerable.
The next morning, she asked her mom about last night's conversation, but she looked at her with disquieting eyes and walked away.
It was their way of protecting them from this world and its predators which were not wolves, lions, or foxes but people who behaved like predators. She thought.
The whole day was very tense and heavy. Her younger brother was at school and was unaware of the whole situation. She couldn’t concentrate, as she was preparing for another exam.
Later in the evening, her dad again came yelling. He seemed to be relieved and without any justification, he yelled to tell her mom that the man was killed yesterday and that he was not coming back to harass him.
One of the gangsters was dead, killed by one of his men. She thought she should relax by the news but still felt restless. It was at that point that she understood how life and peace of mind were related in the grownup’s world.
In the evening she saw the news on TV about that gangster being killed. Some learned sociologist was narrating that they will keep seeing more gangsters if primitive police laws were not amended. The program got interested and she sat there submerged in it.
Sociologist continued by telling the viewers that police is being used by the politicians as a tool and to harass the public, not to protect civilians. Everywhere in the world reforms had been made in the police departments, he continued. A police chief was also there to take part. He remarked to the hostess that women idealized the world in which they were living. The attendees laughed. He then continued to quote that famous line that Rome was not built in a day. But the hostess was clever so she immediately snapped back to remind the Chief about the will and the way. The audience applauded her. Later, the program got off the air due to some “technical issues”.
She was perplexed as to why her parents never thought of the harm they were inflicting on the puny and developing minds of their kids by the routine incidences like that day’s smashing the glass on the floor. They were, in a way, content that their kids were being protected in the walls, had a roof over their heads, and were well-fed. That’s it! Luna always kept her mind calm after such incidences but she was worried about her brother.
Slowly all these thoughts were taking their toll. She started sleeping more and lost purpose in life. Gradually she was converted from being a “good daughter’’ to a thorn. Her mother always used that complaining tone to inquire about her time in bed, to which she never got an answer from Luna. Luna found peace and solace in loneliness.
As time passed, her dad's temper remained the same, but at least without a fuss. Her mum was usually busy addressing domestic politics with her sister-in-law and others who sent their daughters to know about their aunt’s health. Whenever someone visited, she was worried about her presentations and prestige. She asked Luna and her brother to behave. The reason was simple; she didn’t want anyone to pick on her as a “kind” mother, as they always teased her for giving too much freedom to Luna and her brother. Still, Luna had to listen to such remarks as if she were their daughter, she would be punished for not being involved in house chores or sleeping for so long. Luna always looked at her mother to support her and ask the relatives to mind their own business, but instead, her mom lectured them about the turns and twists of life, as soon as they left.
Luna’s aunt (her dad’s sister) always visited and interfered in the house to keep her mom at par and her father to show that he was in good hands.
Luna’s brother was getting more aggressive day-by-day. But everyone was amused because it’s a good sign of growth as far as boys were concerned. Contrary to him Luna turned quiet and lazy. The days were long and most of the day she was spent sleeping. Her mum had so much on her plate that she knowingly or otherwise ignored it.
She always mused on why her mum was so helpless. Whatever she has done to bear with all this. At the same time, she thought of herself as to why she deserved it? What about her father, what he had ever done to deserve all this? These are all those hidden rules to raise the kids and they were following them to the spirit.
One day she discovered a nest on the outside balcony towards the alley. Sparrow was not there; but chicks, with their opened beaks, were continuously chippering. They were bald, very fragile, and vulnerable. She forbade her brother from picking any of the chicks, in case he hurt them. The next day she discovered the empty nest. She inquired from her brother but he honestly vowed that it was not him. Then she was told that the sparrow came to know that the nest was discovered so she carried her chicks away.
Luna thought, humans, having babies because of millions of years of evolution, but since the birth of civilizations, mostly they were doing it to protect themselves from the taboos and manmade laws of the society; to which men and women have consented.
So, who was the convenient target and of whom? Who defined that we had to live like this, dress or talk like that?
The human genome is proliferating at an alarming rate. Politicians, privileged and working-class, poor people, women, men, mafia, corporates, intelligent people, or the like of them are just reproducing babies and lots of them were coming to this world every day.
Sometimes she thought that maybe humans were the aliens from the outside world who were just here to consume all the resources of this planet and then move on. If it's not just for the resources then how come a mother and a father will ever abuse their kids at the time when they were facing hurdles and realities of lives.
Her thoughts made her so tired that she just wanted to sleep. She went back to sleep thinking about how many liked her were born so that the parents could get a card to carry on their proud chest with smiles on their faces that they were carrying and caring for the future generations.
She wondered were we the intelligent and the free ones, or is it the other way around? This had now become part of her life. Daily her mum tried to wake her up as she was bound by her duty as a mother to the society and even to her conscious, but Luna remained oblivion to any of the emotions and the duties. She was oversleeping them out. Her brother turned on the news, and everyone was blaming everyone else except for themselves.