My childhood heroine was an invisible fairy watching over me as I skipped a run in my blossoming garden, as I cooked flower petals on my cooking stove made of plastic and wood, as I spoke to my Barbie dolls after a tiring day at school. That invisible fairy would materialize in the crook of my arms, in the nod of my head and wrinkle of my nose, watching my careless amble with intent protection. Yes, I had a guardian angel in that fairy, whose name I am still to call and offer a ‘thank you’ for watching over my reckless banter and unthought through words. Every time I would slip into trouble with big boys and fat girls of my class, that fairy would sprinkle dust over me, and magically I would be ‘alright’. That fairy is aging now, aging as I am aging but we are still to hug in embrace and tell each other all the stories we have missed telling one another.  That fairy would sometimes become a dog, sometime a bird and often as a black cat loitering around my car ready to zip me to her fairly land of silver dust and perpetually arriving carriages. That fairy would sometime sit on my driveway, mocking the progress of my car and my humanly endeavor to not believe in the magic of far away and long ago. That fairy would sometimes wink to me from a bus chugging past in smoke and wonder as I would queue up for the next bus, and sometimes show up in a warm ‘good morning’ greeting from random strangers I would amble across during early morning walk. That fairy would be in the folds of the hands of an aging man who would greet me for no advantage to his day except for an unknowing smile I would throw his way. That fairy would be in the flute of a tired man sitting on the New Delhi Metro platform perhaps remembering his old love, wanting to see her reflection in the twilight of his failing eyes. That fairy would sometime materialize in a soiled, ragged beggar kid at a traffic signal on Diplomatic enclave, New Delhi, wanting to earn its afternoon of bread, kindness, and a lost childhood. That fairy still watches over my steps as I grow in wisdom and strength, thankful for her cautious tread along my crossroads of memory and regrets. My childhood heroine is a fairy I am yet to meet, yet to embrace in a long duet of shadows from the either halves of life.

-Heena Khan
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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