At last Mimi arrived at the foot of a hill. The journey was precarious for her, as the students used their every influence to make the driver of their microbus drive awfully fast and break the traffic rules here and there on their way to the hilly area - Gajni in Sherpur. They were on an excursion. Mimi was timid in nature but very much aware about other people's lives. To be honest, her nature only gained her mockery from her classmates.
"Oh, come on, Mimi, have fun!"
"I can't join in such fun. For goodness' sake, stop it, stop it now."
"You are trash!" her classmates said in unison.
Immediately after reaching the area, her friends busied themselves with preparations for a boat trip to a nearby lake.
Mimi felt detached; she walked towards the hill and looked up. Then it happened. A strong wind came out of nowhere and blew a heap of dry leaves deposited during last winter on the hill. Mimi saw hundreds of leaves scattering in all directions in the overcast sky. The scene was mesmerising to Mimi and she closed her eyes. When the first leaf touched her cheek after its brief aviation, she heard a voice:
"Behold, kites are flying together up above the sky," the voice said.
"Yes, I can see. But, they are not kites, they are sparrows. They have just emerged from the paddy-field. They are flying just above my head," Mimi said.
"No, Mimi, they are not sparrows; they are kites flying high in the sky, so the large birds look so tiny."
"Oh, you are a goddamn liar! They are sparrows."
"Okay, okay, they are sparrows. I admit. They want to tell you something, Mimi."
"What do they want to tell me?"
"They want to tell you that you can join them."
"How can I join them? I have no wings."
"You have! But you can't see them."
"Okay, then. I'll fly. I'll fly with sparrows in group, in alignment with them, in alignment with the sky above and in alignment with the paddy-field beneath. We'll rush forward, turn sharply and manoeuvre our every move with liberty."
"Your every candid wish is a pair of wings. Remember, Mimi, remember," the voice said. But it seemed to Mimi that the voice now was speaking from far away and dying out. And for the first time, she recognised the voice: it was her mother's.
Then a drop of the season's first rain descended straight on her bindi from the sky. Mimi opened her eyes and found there were no dry leaves in the air anymore. The branches of the trees, it seemed to her, were calling the rain home.
Tears welled up in Mimi's eyes. She had lost her mother a decade ago.