“I wanted to make her look pretty. Why shouldn’t I do it?”
Neetu’s mother glances down again as she combs her daughter’s hair, her hands rhythmically moving through each delicate, silky strand.
The only sound comes from a historic thoroughfare that is only a stone’s throw away from Neetu’s door. The tracks left from tires on the road are more ancient than time. They signify a pathway paved with a centuries-old ritual that has held her low-caste community in bondage . . . as slaves to one of humanities darkest evils.
“My mother did it for my elder sister when she turned 12 years old. Now it is my turn because Neetu is the oldest among my three daughters. It is my duty to get her prepared for her new life.”
In only a few days, Neetu will be turning 12. Like other firstborn daughters from her caste have done for hundreds of years, she will follow the Nari Mata tradition by joining her mother in a life of slavery and prostitution.
*Written for and previously published on worldhelp.net