05 Sep Lights, Camera
Lights, Camera – is a short story about a girls last social media post before she kills herself.[su_divider]
It is my unabashed morbid curiosity that takes me to the dead girl’s TikTok feed. Twenty hours before she killed herself, she uploaded a video clip syncing to a Bollywood number. Na chahat ki kami thi, not lacking desire, she admits, batting her lashes around her kohl-penciled eyes, radiant and fresh as unsullied snow. Wearing a black and cream salwar kameez, a bhindi and saccharin smile pasted on her face, she dances and motions at the camera, an early morning breeze blowing her long hair.
She flinches, ever so slightly, as if she can’t bear the wind anymore, how it snaps her face, burns, and singes her exposed skin, even under her clothes—all the places she can and cannot be touched. At times, feeling like a barren wasteland, other times, a trove of spoiled goods. Awaiting her fame, her ticket out, lights and camera ready, she is a star in the making.
Her youth, infectiously effervescent and palpable, I replay the video one last time. She dances a complex choreographed sequence on a dilapidated rooftop, her only available stage, avoiding the broken tiles, crumbling corners, and ducking under the clothesline. In the background the sun peeks over a hazy horizon, awaking her middle-class Delhi neighborhood. The early light of dawn promises so much, she beckons, blowing a kiss to the camera.