People screaming, wallowing, crying, cursing, swearing all around where I sat. A timid , naive, innocent, beautiful bride of 16. Tears rolling down my cheek also but reason i fail to comprehend. Everyone addressing me with a new name....."bechari" but why, till 3 hours back, i was called bahurani.Few older women some related to me, some unrelated sit around me discussing my destiny.....why, these women don't even know me, how & when they became aquainted to my destiny??
I am touched, ruffled, shaken every now & then. Somebody pounced on my forehead & removed my red kumkum, others were trying to rob me off my colorful bangles, my bangles, bangles i've always loved wearing since i was a toddler, no vendor selling bindis and bangles, kajal and kumkum could go past my door without selling me some of his goods as the whole village knew my love for these things , even though maa scolded but baba always let me buy these things either for me or for my gudiya, so today why these unknown people are on this spree to seperate my prized belongings from me? Baba save ur little gudiya....please.
Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh , a women shrieked, the shrillness of her voice brought me back from the comfort of my maiden retrospect. Mataji was rolling all over my husbands body, body which due to some strange reason was lying in the middle of the aangan. Silly boy, my husband, Mohan ,he would lie down anywhere but boys at 19 are that crazy. Aren't they?????
Suddenly mataji pounced on me, cursing me, beating me, accusing me, pulling at my hair mumbling that I ate up her son, no , some mistake mataji, i should not be accused of cannabalism.
Listen to me all of you, you are mistaken......let me clarify, i'm sarita, the bride of this house- your bahurani, remember you married me to your son when i was eight, try and remember, it was a week after i married my gudiya to shanno's gudda that maa told baba that i was growing up and he should marry me off to this boy not very far from home, who had turned 11 and so baba did. For years to come, i thought, it was just a make-believe game similar to what me and shanno played very often, continuing to think so, i turned 13 , puberty knocked , biology changed, anatomically, i was still gudiya but attitude of people around changed. I was made to dress in salwar kameez, not allowed to play with kanhaioya, shyam , manoj, buddies i was growing up with. Reality struck 3 years later when that make-believe dulha and a brigade of his kins were invited to take me away from "my" home.....A week back, i had seen my maa-baba happiest in their life, attending to jamai and his relatives, maa beaming from under her ghoonghat as she achieved yet another milestone of her lifetime, she was giving me weired instructions about how mohan is my god from now on, that i should respect and obey all his commands, that i was "parai" from that minute, that mohan's house is my ultimate home in life and death, his parents will replace my maa-baba etc. etc. I was just happy being decked up like a bride , not giving much of an ear to maa, she is crazy afterall to tell me all of this, weired nonsense...i was sent away nevertheless, they all were jubilant to have done my "gauna". BUT,
its just been a week in this new house and now all of them are confusing me further , i looked around, no, not a soul i can call mine. Whom should i turn to, mohan doesn't talk to me as such, he says , he is shy. He told me once during our single interaction during my stay at his place after gauna that, he wants to earn a job in city as he was taking his intermediate examination in this week, whatever that meant. Now everyone is looking at me in disgust, hatred seeping deep in their eyes, bloodshot redness over the destiny i brought along as dowry. What should i do, it wasn't my fault if mohan slipped from the edge of the train which he boarded to go to the town in the morning to take his last exam. I for sure wouldn't have let him go if i knew the happenings beforehand ,as it is, i knew nobody in this new household and maa had told me that from now on, mohan was my god, my saviour, my lord and master.......now what do i do??
I sit in the verandah, dressed in white, no bangles, no kumkum.....maa-baba came just to tell me that this is my destiny and this is my home. I don't cry, just can't , because after mohan allegedly there is no one in the world who can wipe my tears, No one should ever touch me ,I am an untouchable and nothing but my destiny played this game with me.I have a lifetime to decipher the rules of the game but none to play it with.....I am sarita, a widow at 16!
This blog is dedicated to "A brave young woman", sister of the man who brings milk for my family. He narrated his sister's misfortune to me once & i tried to meet this small girl , how helpless and ashamed i felt as i just could do nothing for betterment of this girl, absolutely nothing to let her break the cowardly shackles of the societal "read suicidal"norms. I have failed as a member of this double faced, back-stabbing society.....I have failed as a human being!!