Monday 24 March 2014

Write....Edit...Publish...March 2014 : Through the Eyes of a Child

Hello everyone,

Time to head back to Write...Edit...Publish... the monthly bloghop hosted by Denise Covey, where the prompt this month is "Through the eyes of a child". Another prompt with myriad possibilities.  

Here is my entry, more a reaction to the words than the image; and in a vague, roundabout way a tribute to my first language teacher, and to Denise and the teaching profession generally.  

Girl interrupted at her blog

March 1st

Something is going on between Mama and Steppes, and I can bet that it is nothing good.  Just because I am young doesn’t mean I have no sense.  I can figure things out for myself.

I wish my father was here.  He would know exactly what I should do.  That is an insane thing to write of course.  If Papa were really here, Steppes would not have been part of all this.  I don’t remember Papa very well.  Sometimes I wish I had been younger when he died, so that I would have no memories at all.    Or older, so I’d have more complete ones.  Just not the age I was and stuck with half-memories.

Steppes does not like me, but he has recently come up with the notion of adopting me.  Weird or what?  I am not supposed to know that, but I overheard.  There was the mother of all rows.  Steppes goes ballistic over the strangest of things.  Both of them were extra polite to each other at the dinner table tonight.  Anybody would know that something was up, even if they hadn’t heard them quarrelling.  I mean, the way they talked the food practically froze on the plates. 

March 3rd

Mrs Osmond says I must write a journal, but nothing ever happens to write about.   The idea of pen and paper diaries is ridiculous, who writes those nowadays?  Just suppose some moron came snooping and found it?  A blog is so much more interesting.  And safer.

Mama is strict, she doesn’t let me join the usual rounds of parties and picnics with the school crowd.  Not that I particularly want to.  But even if I did, she wouldn’t allow me. 

There’s just a high wall at the end of the garden to look out onto.  I can hear the cars on the road, but none of them stop at our gate.  I go to school and come back. Spend the afternoon on the little balcony off my room. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I sit there at night too.  Take my laptop there, it’s pleasanter than indoors.

No-one can see me there if I sit down; the railing is a a thin slab with little star-shaped holes in it.  Like fancy peepholes.  Mama is rather keen on privacy.  Can’t imagine why.  Not as if there is anyone looking.  The nearest neighbours are half a mile away.  Like I said, nothing ever happens.  It’s really hard doing up posts with the shitty life I lead.  

I don’t expect Mrs Osmond will understand though.  Adults are so over-the-top demanding.  She will go ballistic at how often I don’t write.


March 7th

Maybe I am from a noble family?!  Today Mama quite casually mentioned that I have money coming to me when I grow up. I asked her if I was an heiress and she laughed and said not quite that rich, and not to get strange ideas into my head.  I asked why we lived in this old rundown house miles away from anywhere, and she said because the money was tied up and we don’t really have much cash. Yeah, right. 

She rambled on about trusts and banks and all that, half of which I couldn’t be bothered to follow.  Actually, I just switch off when she speaks like that.

But she is quite different when Steppes is away, she laughs more, and she sits with me on my balcony.  She said something about being careful with money and responsibility and not trust everybody which made my antenna go ting and I did understand.  But I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t heard them quarrel.

March 15th

Steppes is back.  And Mama’s back to her non-smiley self.  I heard them from the balcony.  Squabbling again in the kitchen.  The kitchen door’s right beneath and it was wide open.

March 25th

Mama’s dead.  I can’t believe I just wrote that.  I am not sure what’s going to happen to me.  I am really scared. The place is crawling with policemen.  I have to be careful.  I don’t really know if I have been legally adopted or not.  I don’t know if that can happen without my agreeing to it, I mean I wasn’t even asked?  How crazy is that?  So is my stepfather my legal guardian now?  Will anyone believe someone who is not legally of age?  Are under-age people allowed to testify?  Where do I go?  I have to be careful. 

March 26th

I couldn’t figure out a way to tell them without everyone getting to know.  But I will.  It was a full-moon night on the 20th. I was on the balcony.  I saw her die.  Through the star-shaped peepholes.

26th April

The Asst Commissioner of Police
Crime Branch/Homicide
Uttarakhand Police

Dear Sir/Madam,

Sub: The Monica Salve/Natalie Pereira Case

I am a teacher of English at the Pinegrove School, and taught Natalie Pereira.  Natalie was away for several days after her mother was murdered, and returned to school on 31st March.  I had asked her class to keep a journal earlier in the term, and she had started blogging in compliance.  She passed on the link in one of her workbooks without my alluding to the journalling assignment, on 1st April just before she went missing.

Unfortunately, I was involved in a serious car accident on that afternoon, and therefore did not go through her workbook immediately after.  The news of Natalie’s terrible death did not reach me in hospital, not till the police arrived for my statement.  At that time, I was still unaware of her blog, the information therein and its implications.  I saw her link and checked it only on my return.  

I cannot but feel deeply saddened at the time lost, though inadvertently.  I attach prints of her entries through March, with the hope that they will help bring clarity and justice.

Mrs M Osmond.

WC - 991
All feedback welcome

Read the other entries here and/or join in with your own.    



  1. Wow....I'd love it more to read Natalie's blogging journal about how she saw her mother dying. Is that possible?

    1. I think the ACP in-charge will want to keep that account away from the public/media till the court proceedings get over.

  2. March 24th, 2014

    Dear Nilanjana,
    Oh my! What a well-written story! What a terrible fate!
    You write with great delicacy and insight into how a child might think, feel and act. Also: Interesting structure with the diary/journal and then the letter from her teacher.
    I'll try to write more later.
    Thanks so much for your comment about my story-fragment.
    I've given you and extra link.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hope you are feeling better, Anna. Thanks so much for being here under the circs. Don't stress your back too much. You could always catch up later.
      Take care.

  3. Hi Nilanjana,

    Great account through a child's eyes. Chilling, though.

    1. Chilling makes the story I guess. Much harder to write happiness, esp that of a child. Thanks for reading.

  4. Oh wow Nila! This is a fantastic view from the eyes of a child. I love the idea of diary entries. They can tell readers so much about a child's thoughts. The stories are shaping up with similar themes of domestic violence and child abuse, as I hoped they would. A child's world can be a scary place when they're in a bad situation without the power to make things better.

    Your writing voice was spot on. I can hear that student...

    Thank you for creating this piece for the WEP challenge. Your entries are always much anticipated.


    1. So pleased that you can hear the "student" Denise :) that is really the acid test!

      This prompt too was just amazing, thoroughly enjoyed. Serious formatting issues with this one, I really struggled. That piffling detail apart, I loved writing to both the last month's prompt and this one.

      Thanks for reading and the critique, and of course the prompts and space.

    2. Reading the entries each month makes it all worthwhile. The creativity demonstrated is amazing!

  5. I enjoyed the diary approach you took. I could hear the confusion of the child in believing herself to be grown up yet clearly still a vulnerable, naive child.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed the approach.

  6. An amazing interpretation of a child's thoughts ....the journal's entries kept me hooked up till the end :)

  7. Very clever and high tension. The interesting thing about a child's point of view is the honesty.

    1. It's hard to decipher a child's POV - Natalie might have really seen something, or she might have written that for the attention-spike.
      Thank you for reading.

  8. This was great - and yet terribly tragic and sad. Great tension though. And I got a sense of the child's effervescence here and there.

    1. Tragic feels more convincing, it's become more the norm in our children's world, unfortunately. Thanks for the feedback.

  9. What an excellent way to portray a child's journal, to set the stage. A very interesting, but sad story. Fear is always in the back of a child's mind, once they have suffered a loss. I'd love to read more, too.

    1. Very little control over their own fates that's what makes children feel so vulnerable. And true that loss is always followed by fear and a heightened sense of their own vulnerability. Thanks for being here.

  10. Great way to do this. I want to write in diary/journal form someday soon and you gave me inspiration. I could visualize your scenes and was sorry for the ending...

  11. Using diary entries in blogging form makes the events real but stark and such a sad ending.

  12. Thank you for reading, Sally and Ananya.