Sarita saw those bruises and blue marks on her maid's forearms, upper arms and face, and she was transported into her not-so distant past
What was she? A self-reliant woman? A brilliant environmentalist? Or a once-batterred and scarred wife?
She married her childhood acquaintance He had completed his MD in cardiology She was armed with a master's degree in Environmental Science A well-paying government job after spending two years in a leading industrial house and a doctor husband with a sound financial background would mean a dream life
However, it was far from that A few months into the marriage and his real face shocked her A hard boiled guy who could lie with a straight face, he knew how to shroud his nefarious mind with a fake smile. He wasn't a compulsive alcoholic, but a wife beater he certainly was What was worse, he even harassed her for money
His old affair with one of his female colleagues was accidentally revealed and that added insult to injury She decided to break free A divorce suit followed She had to fight Fight her in-laws and even her own parents She won because she could prove his infidelity The nightmare was finally over Only she knew how much pain and suffering she went through during that period The marriage left a bitter taste in her mouth
Today she saw similar marks on her maid's body Reluctant and hesitant to reveal the truth initially, the poor girl finally broke down and told her how her drunkard husband, who rarely worked, abused her physically, mentally and financially
Yet she didn't want to do anything about it The maid, though not an uneducated or illiterate woman, believed in the Pati Parmeshwar(husband is god) concept She said he had authority over her as he was her master Her argument was that thousands of women continued to live with their spouses despite being battered by them "Where shall I go if I walk out on him?" Sarita didn't have the answer But it didn't mean that the monster would be allowed to go on unbridled and unrestrained
Should the emotionally and physically battered woman continue to live with her perpetrator? The answer was a firm "NO" It took Sarita a lot of time and effort to pursuade the maid to resist and fight
Born in an unlit hut, he spent his childhood in a squalid slum His mother eloped with her lover His alcoholic father died soon after His poor neighbours looked after him He was sharp witted and intelligent He enjoyed reading and writing He knew the importance of education He supported himself with private tuitions
His interest in creative writing and literature grew Poor yet highly popular, he began to enjoy his college life
A super-wealthy girl came into his life They would spend hours together Their affair became a talked about topic There was a wide disparity between them But the gaping chasm didn't stop her from loving him She was excessively westenized He never cared about manners and formalities He ate noisily with an open mouth But that didn't matter because she loved him
And then something happened Their final exams were just over and they were in an upbeat mood She went back to her hometown Surprisingly, he didn't receive any calls from her after that Every attempt to contact her or reach her failed No one, including her best friends knew her whereabouts A few weeks later, he received a handwritten letter from her She had asked him to forget her She had clearly told him that she had exploited him
"You are no match for me and there was no way I could have loved you." "Thanks, you may curse me but that's the way the world runs." The delusion that she loved him had kept him happy for 2 years The truth shattered him but his pen became sharper
Heartbroken, but not down and out, he worked harder. His flair for writing and his proficiency in languages helped He secured a well-paying job and life became easier His job required him to travel to different cities And one day, he saw her!!!
She was alighting from a car The old wounds began to bleed He stood there, looking at her and fuming And then he noticed that she was limping He observed that she had to use a stick "Karma!!! She ditched an innocent man and she seems to have paid the penalty." His colleague who was with him began to tell him
"Look at her. Born with a silver spoon, she was enjoying her life..." "Then she met with a major accident that changed the course of her life..." "She was going to propose to her college sweetheart but destiny struck a cruel blow." "Her left foot had to be amputated." "She chose a life of seclusion. She didn't even want her lover to know the truth." "But how do you know that?" he asked the colleague "Because my dad is her father's cousin."
Then he decided to confront her They stood there, facing each other. Neither spoke a word, but their eyes conveyed a lot She hugged him and both began to cry unashamedly
He proposed to her amidst a small crowd of curious onlookers She said "yes" and the crowd began to clap
Delusion A belief without evidence A belief not grounded in reality A false idea which can keep us going A delusion can be beautiful and truth can be ugly The delusion that she loved me kept me happy for a year.... The truth that she chose to marry someone else shattered me in a second...
"Hello uncle, you'll have to wait. Dad is taking a shower. Mom has gone to the weekly market. Seema didi has gone to school."
It was shocking! A dog who could talk! My colleague had never told me about this. But the dog continued talking and I recovered from the initial shock and listened to him carefully.
"Dad was telling mom about your visit. I heard that. Nice to see you. We rarely have visitors here." The way he addressed me as "uncle" had irritated me, but I forgot that.
"What's your name? I mean, how are you known? " "Well, my name is Walter, but you can call me Wally. Dad brought me home when I was very small." "That's nice." "Indeed it is... My dad is a loving and affectionate guy. Mom is a step ahead... I have a special room. I'm fortunate to have been blessed with such parents. Seema di is wonderful too."
That was great. My colleague was an efficient professional, but as a human being, he must have been even better. Keeping a pet wasn't an easy task. He had no time on his hands, yet he managed it with the help of his wife. I couldn't praise him enough.
"Well, it's going to be a hectic day. Mom will return by 9.30. Your refreshment will be over by 10.30." He was talking like a mature human being. Indeed pets can play an important role in our lives, I thought. "You'll proceed to your office and mom will take me to Saaya. She... "
"Saaya?" "Yes, the old-age home. We go there once every month."
"That's great! Does he donate money to them? " "Ohh, no! We have to get the cheque signed. Dadiji lives there. She is a pensioner... and she gives dad half her pension every month... You see, there are instalments..." he continued, but I was hardly there...
It's good that animals and birds can't talk and use language like humans...
There was a man, in his late twenty, in love One night he was found hanging in his room After he promised his woman to flee with
There was another man, who had lost his son But he neither cried nor smiled And only he knew what he loved more His pride or the son
There was a woman, who seemed fragmented between her husband and her son She cried oceans but the ocean bed carried a different story.
There was another woman, who read her marriage vows weeks after this incident, whose husband never knew why she neither smiled nor resisted making love. And she would never know if his man was a traitor, coward or victim.
That's it. Not much. Some photographs that lay down his pillow, some streets that had witnessed their entwined fingers, some mountains that may have smelt kisses , some promises that vapoured too soon, two lives played with, and A love story A hate story A lost story _______
In the quest for happiness people forget the temporary nature of pleasures and run after their desires under the delusion that once their desire is fulfilled, they will be permanently happy. In this poem, I have tried to highlight the plight of such people.