None of her habits have changed, even though the little girl in the pink dress is a grown-up teenager now. She still chases the butterflies in the farmhouse. Most of the time, she keeps her curly black hair tied up in two braids. It is hard for her to rub her nose because of nose piercing. Now, her nose shines with a diamond ring. Her ear lobes were pierced too, but she has succeeded in removing her earrings easily. Intentionally, she threw her multi-shades beaded earrings into an irrigation canal, so her mother wouldn’t insist her put them again. Often, the young girl screams, “mum, you are not a good mommy anymore. My nose hurts so much. I can’t touch it because of this stupid nose pin”. Her mom replies, “Yes, this will help you break your dirty habit of rubbing your nose. It will remind you to act like a girl, which I doubt you will ever behave like a girl.”
The young girl attempts to convince her soldier friend,” Abu, Abu, can you please be nice enough to remove my nose pin? I can’t do it by myself.” The soldier tells the young girl that the nose pin looks good on her, so don’t take it out. He said, “Hey, it shines from a distance, which alerts me to run away because the tornado is on my way.” She starts crying, ” I don’t like you anymore. I will tell my father that you have not helped me. You are a dirty boy. I won’t talk to you anymore.” The soldier continues to smile, and he continues to adore her until she disappears.
Militancy continues to grow around her town. Both militants and army personnel continue to kill each other. Yet, the young girl’s routine is still the same. She plays in the farmhouse while her uncle watches her from a distance. After school, she goes to the sports club in the PAU complex. She has permission to ride the motorbike only if her younger cousin goes along with her to the sports club.
Her cousin is only ten months younger than her. He has the same dark black curly hair as hers. Both have the same habits, but her cousin has very fair skin, which the young girl doesn’t like. She often asks her mother. ” Mum, mum, why Binu has fair colored skin but not mine. I don’t like this at all, mommy. I should have fair colored skin instead of him.” Both get along with each other, and of course, they are partners in the crime. Every day, she never forgets to stop by the army camp after school. Yelling at the soldiers is included in her daily routine. She will find a new reason to yell at them. the young girl tells the old soldier before she runs toward the grave of her ancestors, “Army uncle, I want you to move your camp out of my play place. This is my farmhouse. So, you guys better move from here by tomorrow. This is my final warning.” She never cares to look backward or listen to the officer.
She starts to cry as she sees her uncle loudly. “Chachu chachu, I told you many times to tell those army men to move away from my play place. But you don’t listen to your daughter either. So I won’t be your daughter anymore. You are not a good chachu anymore. I will tell my dad when he returns home.”
Nobody gets angry or upset at her when she complains about anything. Everyone smiles when she talks silly. She knows very well that she won’t be able to remove the army camp easily. The young girl always comes up with new ideas. On her next visit to the farmhouse, she asks her soldier friend, “Abu Abu, I want to see the camp inside. I want to see how you guys live and where you guys sleep. Can I please?” Before she demands next, the soldier orders her to go home. The young girl starts to cry right away and tells the soldier, “You are always mean to me. I don’t like you anymore. I am leaving now and won’t see you anymore”. The soldier smiles, but she has not seen him smiling. After offering the namaz in the evening, the soldier opens his eyes and finds the young girl sitting next to him.
She waits for her father every day. She asks her uncle, “Chachu, when are we leaving for Delhi to bring my dad home. Can we go tomorrow”? Her uncle tells her that her father’s plane has not arrived yet. Her childish behavior also continues to grow with her. However, none of her friends or cousins could compete with her in studying or sports. They always blame her, “stop it. our parents are getting mad at us for why we cannot bring the same grade as you”. But, of course, she’s never scared of them. “Do I care if you guys are the boys and the losers? I am still the best one”. They start to play basketball after fighting with each other. They play until someone’s family doesn’t yell at them to come inside.
The next day the young girl and cousin rode the motorbike directly into the army camp while screaming, “Don’t shoot us. The brakes are not functioning properly. It is not our fault.” Immediately after the incident, her mother told the girl not to leave the house. She also told the young girl to go to boarding school or change her habits and behavior. She tells her mom, after listening carefully, “Mum, you know I cannot sleep until I don’t do some naughty things.” after listening to her silly daughter, her mom ends up smiling and forgets what her silly daughter has done.
One day, the young girl sees the young soldier talking to his colleagues on her way home from school. She rushes toward him,” Abu, can I marry you? I want to marry you because I like watching you when you pray. You always help me with my homework”. The soldier gets a little embarrassed, but his colleagues laugh at her. The soldier knows her very well. He knows she won’t leave until she gets some answers. So, he tells her, “okay, promise after 15 years because that time we will be the same age”. She starts to cry loudly and runs toward her home. Crying and talking at the same time, the young girl tells her mother, “I don’t like him anymore. He doesn’t want to marry me. He is not a good boy anymore. I won’t talk to him anymore. He is a dirty and bad boy”. After this incident, the young girl was sent to the boarding school, only 30 minutes away from her home. By this time, her father had come permanently back to his country.
Every week the young girl visits home, but she never forgets to remind the soldier, “I don’t like you anymore. I am in boarding school because of you. Nobody loves me anymore. Nobody was going to send me to that stupid boarding school if you were to marry me”. But in the evening time, she sits quietly next to the soldier when he offers his namaz. The young soldier adores her but also instructs her to pay attention to her studies. She always listens to him. The soldier got posted away in West Bengal. However, the situation continued to worsen, so the soldier was called back to his old post. Does nobody know what God desires? She often gets surprised why is this place important to protect? Many decades later, she did get an answer to her question, which left her eyes and mouth open. She was not ready to listen to such a type of answer.
People continue to get confused daily. Most of the time, they ask each other which side they are on. The cloud of darkness continues to spread over the town. The young girl also often gets confused. At school, she salutes the national flag every day and recites the national anthem, but at home, she hears about the war on religion. She asks her uncle what is going on, but he advises her to pay attention to the study. She talks to the young soldier, but he also advises her to pay attention to the study. In the end, everyone knows what side they are on. Some have chosen their religion while others have chosen their beloved country. However, the young girl and her father are still confused about which side they should be on. The young girl tells her father, ” Dad, let’s stand in the middle.” Father laughs at her daughter’s innocent conversation but gets worried inside about his daughter.
The cloud of darkness affected the public’s luck and started covering the fate of the young girl without her knowledge. The darkness has already crossed the main gate of her home. The young girl could sense it but could not figure out what was going on. The young girl has no clue that the devil has already started to count her footsteps. Nobody has any clue when and why the devil has entered the life of the young girl. The little girl, who has become a young girl while growing up in the shadow of three intelligent men, is clueless about her future. But those three men and her mother know well who is chasing the fate of the young girl. The young girl’s mother also possesses great knowledge and strength but is not sure she would protect her daughter. The soldier doesn’t know that he won’t be able to protect the girl from the dark shadow of her life.
The war on religion has reached its peak. The hearts of people were broken when the army attacked the temple. The religious warriors had already taken revenge from the people responsible for the Golden temple’s attack. Her family had also been affected like the rest of the people. The soldier rubs her hair affectionately and advises her to stay inside the house and be safe. Most of her friends have already gone abroad. Some of her friends are in jail. Some of them were killed. Hindu friends have moved to the neighboring States. She gets so scared and hides her face in both hands. Finally, she tells her father, “Dad, let’s go back to our apple home in the Valley. I don’t like to live here anymore. I want to go back, baba”. Fathers often become speechless and cannot tell their daughter that the Valley is not safe either.