I stand in one corner, marvelling at the room. There are huge French windows on one wall, thrown open. The soft brown curtains, of heavy-duty linen embroidered with lace on borders, billow in the cool evening wind. I can hear the faint sounds of the sea in the far distance; a sweet, soothing background sound. How odd, I think, French windows in a traditional Indian home.

The writing desk against the second wall is one of the most equipped that I have so far observed. Sheaves of pristine,white lined paper and stacks of notebooks take up a third of the tabletop. I see an inkwell, a few paperweights. There is a four-poster bed on the other far wall, flanked by two ornately decorated lamp-bearing side-tables. The curtains of the bed, too, are a pastel beige, resembling the thick, lush carpet beneath my feet.

I see a wardrobe, an extensive one, actually, but I am loth to opening it. The softwood paneling, the lavish setting . . . it is but obvious that money has been splashed to create this little haven of comfort. I see a pair of armchairs, and an exquisite sofa that would have made Cheri swoon in happiness and ecstasy. A recliner completes the setting on the fourth side. My eyes soften as I think of how glad Cherie would have been if she had seen this room. I can imagine her standing right next to me, gaping, and thensuddenly talking nineteen to the dozen in awe and excitement. Oh, Cherie, hoe I wish you ere here with me!

This is to be my prison. I am to suffer in this confinement but I am ashamed, even surprised to notice that I don’t regret my decisions.

Sometimes, we don’t flee our prisons even when we can. Is it so wrong o my part to appreciate a physical prison? I can only be grateful that there has been no effort to imprison my mind. As long as my imagination is allowed to soar creature comforts or discomforts dwindle in significance. Moreover, I don’t want to flee from this prison of mine, which provides me more comforts than my freedom ever could.


The End

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