Today was no ordinary Monday. I was late and the school was empty because apparently it was watch-a-rifle-drill day. Luckily, a girl I knew, also late, was waiting for me and explained that we had to find the place where it was happening. So, we tramped around the city. It’s nothing like my hometown. For one thing, it’s unnaturally deserted; people and buildings are few and far between. An empty cafe was the most happening place we passed. Since we couldn’t find too many people to ask for directions, we never found the place and were back at school after four hours of searching. It was a kind of walk I could never have gone on in a big city.
Strong and proud, I hold up the drapery
That keeps the elements out of your room.
For a hint towards your next step,
Please check the hollow at my side.
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The gardener told me a little about the family who lived here before me. He doesn’t like talking about it, but I could tell something happened just before they moved out.
Nothing much new to report. ‘Cept I’ve taken to making craft out of everything I can find. My last project was a kite. I wish I could fly.
Squeaking, I move back and forth
While staying in the same place,
I’m ticklish unless oiled up,
Or carrying a certain something
Wedged into the right spot.
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The heavy rains seem to be subsiding. Too bad. I really enjoy this kind of weather. When I can. I’m kept busy indoors these days. Jailed by private Hindi tuition. I don’t know if they’re worth it. Will I remember what I’m learning two years from now? I can’t get past learning how to read and write. Does it really matter that I can’t understand a word? Because I don’t want to. I don’t want to make sense of what they’re saying.
Even when I can’t hear their voices, it’s hard to walk down the corridors without the weight of knowing that I don’t belong. Maybe I’m just carrying too many books.
Your next clue has been boxed in
And I’m the one holding it hostage.
Remember, when you reach into my depths,
Just when you think you’ve hit the bottom,
There is one more layer to be found.
_ _ _ _ _ _
It’s official. I hate school. Some kind of emptiness trails after me in every class. I don’t understand most of the teachers. Or the other students. Hindi is the first and foremost language here. I might as well have moved to China. I’m so tired of forcing a smile for introductions. I miss my old school, and my friends. But, being at home is so much fun I wonder if I’m willing to give it up. Is it something about this house? Maybe it’s the teen comedies I find comfort in. Or the music I constantly replay. Well, I’m not going anywhere, at least for now.
Living in my land are those
Who adorn people of the world
With cotton, linen, hemp or silk
But, with the help of some glue,
A humble ceiling crack does its duty
As the honored keeper of the clue.
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Well done! Although, I admit, the first one was easy. Oh, I should probably warn you to keep an eye out for snakes when it rains, especially in this part of the house, and everywhere outside. I’ve come across more than one in my time here.
The only thing I enjoy more than walking around the compound is biking around it. Isn’t it huge? I try to go so fast no person or snake can catch me whizzing by. But, lately, I think sometime after turning the steps around the outhouse and parts of the garden into my personal circus ramps, the excitement did wear off. I think starting in the middle of the semester at a new school also had something to do with that. I wish my mother would let me cycle to school.
Here’s the next one:
Leading an army,
I march into the garden
Holding your next clue-
A stone roof blocks out its light,
A stone floor keeps it from the ground,
And it knows it can’t complain
When it doesn’t have to worry
About the sun, the air, or the rain.
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