Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Life, interrupted.

                She lay on the mattress staring at the moon through the window. It would be a month since her husband left her for...She squeezed her eyes shut at the memory of that day. Had she been blind all along to not notice the change? Or, had she been in denial of it, since the day he shrugged off her hand as she reached out to touch him? Where and  when had things gone wrong? Or, had things been right ever? 

             " 'She' had been better-looking, well-endowed and all, but I had been the favourite daughter-in-law of the family, since day one!" Uma thought, as her fingers knotted and unknotted the end of her saree pallu absentmindedly. "So what if I hadn't studied in some  big university, I bore a son within the first year of our marriage!" her heart beat with a vehemence as she listed her distinctions. Yet, the voices in her head taunted her; her husband had preferred another woman over her! 

            Uma turned to look at her little one who slept peacefully, unaware of the turmoil  that tortured  his mother everyday. Only if he had been a little older, she would have had his support. But now, she had none. Except, of course, her in-laws, who still favoured her. But, what good would they do? They hadn't been able to stop her husband from leaving his family home! And, her family - they had left her in the responsibility of her husband and departed on a pilgrimage. Who would she turn to for help? 

          But, what would she do of any support or help now?  Her life-force  -  her husband - had abandoned her and their baby boy, never to return. LIfe ceased to hold any meaning for her. Day and night her thoughts, her questions, haunted her. The knowledge, that her man found her to be inadequate, tortured her.  The peace and the happiness she had basked in had vanished from her life. Her mother-in-law did coax her to be happy for the sake of her son - at least she had him! But, she just didn't want it that way; it felt so incomplete without 'him' ! 

       A grim idea shot through her mind. She got up and walked towards the door.  Unlocking it, she stepped outside to be engulfed  in the pitch darkness which mirrored the darkness within her. Could she do it? she wondered. Who would miss her anyway? As if in response, her son gave a cry in his sleep. She quickly reached his side and gathered him in her arms. "How could I ever leave you, my child? You are my shadow, my baby. How can I tear myself away from you?"

       She cradled him in her arms and walked towards the verandah. A walk under the cool air would put him back to sleep, she decided, and forced the morbid thought out of her mind.  But, what about her? What would calm the storm that refused  to leave her?  What would  help bring back the past she so pined for? Neither the soothing cool of the outdoors, nor the softness of her baby's cheek against her face took her mind off the depressing thoughts. How would she answer her son's questions when he grew up to find an absent father? Would the world allow her to live in peace? Their barrage of questions would sap her of her energy and her will to live life. 

        And, all of a sudden, as if possessed by a fiery spirit, she made up her mind. Life without her man meant nothing to her or to the society she lived in.  She wouldn't live a wretched life facing the jeers of the heartless world. For, it would taunt her, tease her son and turn their life into a living hell. Better end it all than go about as the living dead. 

       Her steps quickened as she made her way towards the temple. An unused well by the temple  would get her out of her misery. It helped that every soul lay fast asleep at that hour. None would know. 

       A loud splash rang through the stillness of the night and it all came to an end. 

*I wrote the above piece of fiction without using is,was,will, suggested by my friend Pawan Hegde. 



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