By Neel Anil Panicker
It was her ‘retreat’.
Her own personal space, someplace she could go and hide from life’s mundanities.
A quiet oasis, her own private abode where she could get lost in a world far away from the humdrum of daily hackneyed existence.
Rita’s Den (that’s what she eponymously called it) was a mere fifteen travelled steps from the backdoor of her grandmother’s house.
Well hidden under the thick branches of an unusually high peepal tree, and surrounded on all sides by thick bushy shrubs, it consisted of a small five by fine granite slab, and hovering above it a single stool, and beside it a lamp whose wiring led all the way to the abandoned store house that flanked the northern perimeters of the five acre plot on which lay her invalid grandmother’s quaint little cottage.
Orphaned at six, and taken up by her granny, this quite place, practically oblivious to the other world, and nestled amidst nature was where the introverted child retreated—to study, to meditate, to think, to dream, and occasionally to shed silent tears in memory of her parents whose faces were but blur in her mindscape.
As the years inched forward, Rita’s Den served her mistress well, nurturing the once shy girl into an effervescent, bold and beautiful young woman ready to take on the myriad challenges of adulthood that waited her.
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