"How u feeling? Coming back to this place almost sixty years later ?".

      The young reporter asked me this question on my way to 'Santanimba'. I wanted to answer that question in detail. I could have informed him about my jitters, the fast beating of my heart and 'Nura', my friend. But I wanted to save all my energy so I just looked at him and smiled. I believe he understood me. Sometimes the words are useless. And this was one of such time in my life.

    'Santanimba' , my birthplace. Its nothing but mountain range on the east side of country. For some people it was the heaven and for some shame, stain on the country. For me it was everything.                            I was only eight years old to understand all that political turmoil back then. My eight years old brain was much busy with dolls and running everywhere like butterfly. All of the mountain people loved me. Especially all the women of santanimba. The old lady with the stick , all the pregnant women who lived near lake and young girls .This excess love , I thought , is because I am a good girl and I bath everyday. How silly I was back then !. Now , I know why they all loved me so much. My mother 'Nimba', She was the true reason behind me being treated as princess.The mountains are named after her. 

        To be honest ...I forgot how she looked like. I don't remember whether her eyes were blue or black.Whether she had dimples on her cheek like me.But her voice is still fresh in my memories.

         I was in the school that day when she died. Two woman entered into my classroom, which was made up of woods and just grabbed me. They put me infront of her deadbody. Unable to understand whats happening, I tried to call her...'Mama , mama'. She didn't respond. There was blood on her clothes. All the women whom I knew were standing and crying. I was terrified.Not because my mother was dead. I was terrified of all these crying women. If I didn't cry, I thought, they will punish me . So i started crying and pushing my mothers dead body vehemently. 

      It was this time I first met 'Nura'. I had never met her before that.Nor I had ever seen her around. She picked me up and shouted at other women.They all stopped crying at once.She cleared my eyes and asked me, ' Are you hungry?'.I nodded and she smiled a little. I felt assured. 

     Nura was little younger than my mother and she insisted to call her by her name only. I guess because of this we became dear friends. Unlike others she always answered all my questions with utmost seriousness and simplicity. She was my answer book.

    My mother was killed because she fought against the cruel General and the unjust society. She formed the union of all the helpless women who were deserted by their husbands, unacceptable unmarried teenage girls. The prostitutes who wants to start a new life and old, vulnerable ladies who just want to die in peace. She took all of them in and moved to the mountains. Far away from the society and the cruel General. In the begining she was alone, with me inside her womb.Her relentless pursuit of freedom inspired many. Nura was one of them. She was the 'whore' of general. He had killed all her family when she was only fifteen. After many years ,one night she tried to take revenge but failed and escaped to the mountains. I still remember what Nura said about my mother ," Your mother was the bravest lion I ever encountered in the forest".

    Nura took care of me. Taught me many things, unfolded the truths but also kept alive my childish world. 

   I understood a little about socio-political chitter chatter of all the adults. But one thing soon became very clear for me that freedom is expensive. It demanded blood.My mother's blood. Nura's blood.

    23rd December, 1943. I can't forget that day. Things changed around after my mother's death. There was talk of war among all the women.I was able to sense the rage in air.The war seemed inevitable. 

    Not only women but young and old men, artists , teachers , doctors and others were coming to the mountains now. There were just people all around.To me it was overwhelming. Just to see thousand and thousand people . 

    I remember the night when Nura declared the war against general. I remember her eyes.The sparkle in it. To me those were the most beautiful eyes.The angel's eyes.

    I remember the goodbye. Nura kissed me on my cheek. Hugged me tightly. She didn't cry nor I either. I knew she would not have liked it . she looked straight into my eyes and said, " Don't worry everything will be alright. We will meet soon and celebrate under your favourite tree. I promise ". She smiled.    

    We never met. Some says that she was captured and buried alive. Other reports says that she was killed and paraded naked in the capital so others can learn a lesson.No one really knows the truth about Nura. 

    she send me overseas. Away from everything, to be safe.To be alive. To be raised by nuns. The general ruled the next fourty years and left behind the legacy of poverty, tyranny and corruption. The causes of civil war. After much bloodshed ,the peace was established. 

     The memories always troubles me.Simply because when everything and everyone disappears, memories still remains with you. They force you to relive the life you lived.Cause you the pain, the grief and nostalgia. 

     This invitation from my country to visit 'Santanimba' and honour the sacrifice of all people who died for freedom to me just seemed the god-given opportunity to get rid of painful memories.Even if it is just for a while. 

     The bus stopped near the lake, where all pregnant women used to live.It was nothing like I remember. Everything was changed. There are cottages now here and there.Unlike my times. 

     The guide hold my hand and took me to the tree, my favourite tree. The reason it was my favourite because it was the biggest tree near the lake and you could easily see the lake from its top. The guide, the young man in his thirties, asked me if i need anything. I asked him for two glasses . He handed over them to me and went to cottages.

     Sitting under the tree, I remember the promise Nura made to me. The promise of celebration. All my life I was waiting for this moment.The memories blurred when I drank the wine. I don't remember whether Nura used to drink or not. But I would like to believe she would have liked this wine . 

      I missed her , I missed my mother and this place. 

July 22, 2020 10:21

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


07:39 Jul 30, 2020

Hey, I got your story for the critique cycle. I'm new to this myself and I'm not really sure if I can be of much help to but I'm just going to tell you what I think. First of, I like the idea behind your story, it was really cool but there are tons of grammatical errors. So, I would recommend that you go through your story a few times and fix them. I also noticed that you don't space after a full stop and there is no need to space before and after you put a comma, doing it once after is enough. I noticed that before a few words you were ...


Jr. Romars
10:41 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you so much for reading it. I will be more careful next time.


20:00 Jul 30, 2020

No probs, I'm glad I was of help :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.