Friday, April 18, 2008

A daughter no more!

a story in response to the prompts on writers island , triumph and survivor.

Shaila took a minute to catch her breath and then continued her frenzied activity. There was so much to do…the food arrangements, the flowers had to be arranged, the gifts had to be sorted out. Everything had to be just perfect. It had to be; this was the most important moment of her life.

She looked at the couple at the couple on the *mandap, dressed simply yet radiating a wealth of happiness on their faces. Even from this far, she could see the glow on their faces. Her thoughts ran back to that fateful day when their world had fallen apart.

It had never been a marriage worth talking about. The abuse had been tolerated because marriage was a security that she thought protected her. Then one day, he had walked out of their lives leaving them with a paper which declared her marriage null and void. The tears and the humiliation, the anger and remorse, these were feelings that had overwhelmed them again and again. The words exchanged between them had been bitter. It had been a terrible blow, to be flung aside like a dirty rag. They had spent days and nights consoling each other. The invisible finger of blame was always pointed towards them, by relatives and the so-called well-wishers. It was insinuated that she had been a source of embarrassment to ‘HIM’, that’s why he had left her.

She thought of the self denial they had gone through. It had taken ages to come out of it. That’s when they realized that they were not alone; they had each other and would weather this storm together and search for that rainbow.

They enrolled for classes together. It was fun in a way, though they always had this feeling of insecurity hanging over them. She remembered those nights spent drinking coffee and studying! Those were the nights where they also rubbed balm over each other’s pain. How could she not remember the pain of job hunting and the feeling of despair over each rejection? Sometimes she felt like giving it all up and running back to him, pleading to be taken back. Luckily her famous will power had always held her back. The first step to independence had been taken when they came to terms with it all. It had been tough, the days spent in the women’s hostel and trying to make ends meet, but the days of sacrifice had been worth it. They had finally triumphed! A job had been secured, meriting a small celebration among their newfound friends.

Her mother had been strong though she, Shaila, had seen her unshed tears. Together they had tried to make a new start. Slowly “HE’ no longer figured in their conversations and he faded away like a bad dream. They had realised the value of self esteem.

They were there for each other and that seemed to be enough…till the day, many years later, she noticed subtle changes. She noticed the presence of a new person in their conversations. Anmol crept in unnoticed but hovered around like an unseen presence.

She decided to do something about it. It had been funny when she thought about it, now. She had followed him everywhere, to his office, to his home. Her only aim was to see what kind of a person he was. How else would you know about him if you didn’t see him in his own surroundings? She now knew exactly where he went for his meals, who he spoke to, which barber he visited, that he played good cricket with the street kids and that he spent a day of his week reading to slum children.

One day, she had been wating outside his home when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned to find Anmol. Sternly, he had asked “ma’am, why have you been following me? Should I report you for adam-teasing” and there was an inkling of a smile in those clear eyes. The ice had been broken then and she immediately felt a strange feeling of peace. Perhaps he was the one!

He had then taken her to the coffee shop. They had talked. After weeks of observing and analyzing, she had made up her mind. She had decided that the time had come for action. She would get them married. She had single-handedly opposed all the so-called friends who came immediately flocked around, like vultures gathering for the kill. In the name of social obligations, she listened to many arguments and snide remarks but she was firm. Where were these people when they had needed help?

If happiness was seven 'pheras' (the wedding vows) away, so be it. And that was how this day came into the picture! Fingers were pointed today too, when everyone realized what was happening. Shaila refused to be cowed down. She the daughter was giving away her mother in marriage, whether anyone approved of it or not. The marriage was attended by the few well-wishers they had, because nobody else believed that a divorcĂ©e deserved to live! These few friends, who had stood by them all through, made sure that she didn’t falter. Her mother had agreed reluctantly, scared of society but Shaila had been adamant. Anmol had been truly invaluable in this crucial phase. ************************************************************************
Her mother, Saritha, caught her eye and smiled, tentatively. Shaila smiled back reassuringly…Together, they were both survivors who had triumphed against the odds…
The characters in the above story are visualised in the indian context where it is the woman generally who faces the social stigma attached to a divorce.


shubd07 said...

And an applause to woman power !!

The Indian woman is still struggling in this day and age to find her bearings. I do hope a lot more can stand up for themselves and be triumphant and survive the biased views of Society.

Greyscale Territory said...

Enjoyed the description of the tenacity of two women determined to find happiness.


Joy said...

Wow! A tale wonderfully told.

keith hillman said...

As well as a truly wonderful read, you have also made a social comment on life in India which I find very interesting. I'm so glad I dropped by.

jadey said...

What a wonderful post. Cheers to happiness and finding love for the second time that in itself is a triumphant thing to accomplish.

Rambler said...

surviving a divorce is very difficult..especially if the survivor is not financially independent..amidst the financial problems the emotional damage gets neglected..very nice depiction of both here

Rob Kistner said...

Truly a story of courage and victory!
Very engaging... ;)

Just Jen said...

you captured this beautifully.
I know a lady who is divorced and Indian and she is the one shunned and she is spending the rest of her days trying to win his favour and go back. Not too shame him.
Our culture is so different from this.

amarettogirl said...

This packed a powerful punch not only because divorce is not as benign as any society makes it seem especially when children are involved, but also because you deal with self-esteem in women. Self-esteem a vital necessity for women anywhere anytime but especially after a crisis such as the one you weaved together so well here!

ceedy said...

Well written - and brings out the poignant travails of women....

i wish and hope that such stories become reality....

thanks for introducing me to this space of have a reader :)

rebecca said...

a wonderful story that truly shows the power of women....they can overcome anything!

this was a lovely read...loved the ending.

blog template by : header hand photo by Aaron Murphy