Tag Archives: reality

At God’s Door. No more…

Two months ago, I’d shared the plight of a poor, homeless man.

Today, he’s missing. For the past two weeks, actually. Should I rather say dead? Because he was barely being able to walk twenty days ago. A friend, on the man’s request carried him two feet away to where he wanted to sit. Then we saw him take out a packet of smokeless tobacco (Wiki pages lead to dipping tobacco being the most suitable variety) and consume it.

My concern for him suddenly vanished when I saw the pack of smokeless tobacco (commonly called khaini in India). I hastily concluded that he must have brought this situation upon himself. You must be wondering why I was concerned in the first place?

Jump to a month ago. For many days, I’d routinely noticed him and his actions. Those five seconds when I crossed him almost every day. He had a plastic bottle suspended from a rope and he would be moving it in a circular motion. I’d have put up a picture of it, if I had one, but I deliberately chose not to click his picture. I didn’t want to intrude into his privacy or whatever was left of it at least. Out of curiosity, the aforementioned friend asked him one day what exactly was the man doing. You know what he said? In a clear voice, in English, “Life is a circle”.

Another day I caught him muttering something. Seemed a little foreign to me. I heard more carefully, and it took me back to my seventh grade science classes.

He was muttering :

You must be wondering that he must have picked up the formula from someone, somewhere. Or that he must have been hit with early school days memories. Or that he may be a man of good education befallen to such hopeless and helpless times. I don’t know which one it is. And I’ll forever keep wondering.

Coming back to khaini, today it dawned upon me that maybe that was all he could afford to eat! Or maybe that was his escape from reality. Harsh, but true. Unacceptable, but needs to be accepted. Painful, yet routine.

Once at God’s door. No more…

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Every one has a story waiting to be said. We never spoke. But he still compelled me to wonder about his.

Of Darker Alleys (Part 2)


DSCN2116

She started walking faster. She had to get to the house early to make use of all the time she could get. She wanted to get away from them. She was desperate.

She reached the house. She could see the men standing outside impatiently. Bowing her head, lowering her eyes, she walked past them silently. She felt their eyes piercing her back. An involuntary shudder passed through her as she walked in through the wooden door. It was the last time she was going to do it.

It was a beautiful house. Much better than what she had been brought up in. The elders of the house had built it with much love and money. Latticed windows, carved doors, floral designs adorning the middle of the courtyard; she fell in love with the place when she saw it. She used to imagine how she would one day take care of it. Little had she imagined anyone could be as unhappy here as she had become.

Her mother-in-law was walking towards her. She muttered instructions to her. All she caught was the confirmation that they would be back in some time. Possibly half an hour. She didn’t listen to anything else. Not anymore.

The minute they left the compound to attend the neighborhood wedding, she ran to her room. She didn’t want to attend the wedding. It was a trade. The girl was being sold and she wouldn’t know it for a while. That is how the village was surviving. The current generation had almost no girls. Who would the boys marry? They killed their own daughters and bought daughters of other parents only to sell them off as commodities once their utility was over. Higher the demand, higher the price. She preferred the dried grasslands over such fake lushness. At least back at her place, they treated humans as humans.

She had put together a few of her clothes. She was still in two minds if she should run away with her baby or alone. She knew if they found the baby missing, they would not leave any stone unturned to get to her. But if she alone went missing, they might not even bother. With a heavy heart, she picked up her little cloth bag and crossed the length of the house to leave.

She stopped right at the main door. Her son was wailing. Her only son was wailing! She opened the door. She tried ignoring his cries. She could see her freedom waiting down the road. She could hear a hungry heart and an impatient stomach calling out to her.

The mother in her had decided. She had decided to remain human. She closed the doors on herself again. Clutching her bag to her chest, she ran up to his room. Her baby wanted her. Her freedom would have to wait today.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : I do not know about other countries but I do know that such practices are rampant in India. How rampant, where, since when ~ I wish I could answer those questions with surety, but I cannot.

Picture Credits : Ishita Shah.

Of Darker Alleys (Part 1)

image

She squinted her eyes to block the Sun out. She counted the coins she had and kept them in a hidden pocket, of her money bag, she had sewn in. Today was the last day she had to do this. Not anymore.

She picked up her bags of vegetables. She saw the vendor stare at her mammary glands. Shuddering at the thought of what he may be thinking, she walked away. Today was the last day she would walk away silently. Not anymore.

She walked down to her home, no, her husband’s home. The men of the village knew what she was. The women of the village were silent watchers. There were many like her here. No one said anything aloud. But the way they stared at her, spoke to her, spoke about her, gave it all away. They were all hand in glove.

Two years ago, she’d set foot in the village. She was happy at the turn of events in her life. From dried grasslands into lush green living. She thanked her fortunes every day and showered love on her fortune changer. At the back of her mind, however she always found something amiss. She ignored it again and again. Her husband’s abject lack of affection, her in-laws’ desire for an early child, the villagers eyeing her with a look that could make fathers drive back daughters into the houses forever, the pity in the eyes of some women for her; it all kept prodding at that feeling of danger lurking around nearby.

Three months ago, she gave birth to her husband’s son. Everyone at the house was overjoyed. She wanted to die. She was a vessel for them. That is all she was. She may be sparsely educated but she was perceptive. She read people’s behavior, heard them talk, noticed things around. She didn’t want to believe her fate. Her husband had married her for a child. Like the other men in the village, he would sell her off after that. The first time her mother in law hugged her was after the test confirmed she was bearing a boy. She sobbed all night.

Once her son was born, she was rarely allowed to be with him. She was to only feed him and take care of him after the others were tired of playing with him. All she became was a nanny to her own son. She had hoped things would change after her child’s birth. They did. The people of the house showered affection. On her son.

(to be continued…)

Graciously Yours!