Short Stories >> Nakhreliyun >> Give in writing (Likhi dae)

Short Stories

Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani

Dear Moon, you are still smiling up there? Perhaps you haven't heard anything. In any case what would you do even if you had listened? The walls of the house heard and they did not collapse. When both, the mother and son had said this, the wind too was blowing fiercely but yet, it went off indifferently. But, no, Moon, you are not like this. You would have certainly cried if you had heard it. Over the years I have been sharing with you, surely, we have developed some relationship. But how can one say? Perhaps even after staying together a relationship does not develop.

Yes, this is also possible. But how are they now asking me to give in writing? The path is a witness that I do not share a relationship of a year or so. This path had heard all my fantasies fourteen years ago when the carriers had carried me as a newly-wed bride. I felt like laughing so much at that time. My whole being was dancing with joy. I felt that the carriers were walking so slowly There were ornaments on my toes, on my fingers, arms, neck.... But I was fascinated by the glitter of the diamond nose-ring. How painful it was getting the nose pierced, but the lure of a new relationship was strong. There wasn't a single friend who did not praise my beauty and they even commented that since my husband is so handsome our children born will be like fairies. It was a strange thing-till the evening one who was a maiden, now, sitting at the ceremony had become a woman capable of becoming a mother.

But I was so proud to be a woman; as much as the helplessness I feel on becoming a maiden again today. The pace of the carriers was seemed so slow. I had seen that heavy hand at the ceremony and now how eager I was to see his handsome face. I thought that moment will be so beautiful, but that moment did not arrive. And when that moment did come, it was not beautiful at all. My husband was giving his exams and hence that moment arrived, when my marriage was forty days old. My ears were desperate for so many nights to hear his footsteps and after so many nights of waiting, tey had almost lost all hope.

But alas, a woman's helplessness! When the footsteps were heard, I covered my face and sat straight. He lifted my veil. That moment had finally appeared. My eyes were so shy that I could not even see him clearly. I wonder what happened at that moment. "Are you not sleepy?" What a question that was. Although I was illiterate, I had asked so many questions from a few of my friends about this moment. Had he not read something beautiful about this in any book? Why should I tell him that I was not sleepy? I had not slept for forty nights, then what sleep will I get now? But why should I tell him so? I just shook my head. And he simply walked away. While leaving he simply said, "Go to sleep".

How I wish I had understood the meaning of 'sleep' at that moment. My entire body was on fire. What I heard standing at the threshold took away all my energy. "You are stubborn about everything Amma. First you asked for a daughter-in-law. And now. It is enough. Let me appear for my Matric exam".

Oh God. I shall still have to remain alone for some more time! My mind was going crazy thinking about all this. For many days tears simply flowed down my eyes. My near and dear ones began sympathizing with me and considering it to be love I enveloped myself with it. I began laughing and enjoying again. I started hoping again day by day. Friends helped me a lot in overcoming my depression. They would say, "Lajo's walk is so gracefully. Her husband is going to become a lawyer. Then she won't even talk to us". How sweet those words sounded and how eagerly I waited for that big day. But what did I get my dear Moon?

I have a very small savings. I waited for his exams to get over and that is why I value this savings more. Otherwise it is not more than what small children collect. I enjoyed his breath and touch only for a few nights and a desire for a child in silence. I tried to fulfil this desire for a child with my heart and soul but the child did not survive in this world. I could see him as a husband only at the death of my child, as a human being. The next day everything changed. I witnessed a strange sight of winning in losing. It is such a big win Oh Moon.

I have seen uglier women than me, discussing and sharing everything with their husbands, but yes, their husbands are more good looking than mine but lesser educated than my husband. Is it true that education has brought about this distance between our lives? One of my friends had correctly said, "When your husband will complete his studies, he won't even understand your waiting and longing". But I was silly and could never understand that such a good looking and well-educated man will never appreciate my sacrifices!

Don't laugh dear Moon. This is sad. It is very sad! I don't know how I was able to hear my mother-in-law say, "Give it in writing!"

When I looked towards my husband, he too said the same thing, "You will give you on writing. Only when you will give me in writing will my second marriage take place".

Why didn't I die at that moment? The whole earth was trembling and I saw everything drowning in the tears of my eyes. But nobody understood my pain.

One of my friends told me the story of Leela Chanesar". Leela had everything from her husband and she tried to test her husband. She put her total trust in her husband's ways, and sat down laughing. But alas, she was devastated. She returned back, crying, just like me. But here was my mother-in-law. One woman who could not understand the plight of another woman. One day while my husband was busy giving his exams, I asked her permission to go to school and she had answered, "Do girls from reputed families go to school?"

Are daughters-in-law from reputed families then simply sacrificed?

Oh Moon, what should I give in writing to this mother-in-law? Should I write that my beloved should become somebody else's? I wish she had a daughter whose husband would tell her to give in writing to give up her only treasure. Her maternal heart would have surely broken and she would have surely advised her daughter, "Don't give in writing. Absolutely not! Let the man who destroyed your life be destroyed himself".

But who would talk on my behalf in this way! I don't have a mother. This woman is a mother to her own child. The one who bows and prays to the Almighty and gets her sins washed off. How can such a person be a mother to me? Why not my enemy?

Oh Moon, I have become very bitter isn't it? Otherwise why would I have spoken such bitter words about this woman who had told me that six months after her marriage, while she was drying her hair on the terrace, she was informed that her husband had been killed by a tiger in the forest! That's it. She has spent her entire life depending on a small child. This lady, who was the beauty of the entire village. She got into a superstition that beautiful women are a bad omen and she lovingly accepted a wheat-skinned bride. But wheat-skinned women can also be a bad omen. The beautiful mother-in-law became a widow after her husband's death and I...I am about to go through the same while my husband is still alive...

Oh Moon, you are feeling sad listening to all this! That is why you are hiding behind these clouds? Don't hide your face. Let me share my pain with you tonight, shower your cool rays, let this fire in my life cool down. How else will this night pass off? I am unable to carry the burden of this sorrow alone. You are too far away from me in the sky and my husband too is not further than the sky. But shall I tell something? Sometimes he comes so close to me like the earth and sky appear together on the mountains. On those occasions he proudly says, "Don't think that I come to you for my own desires!" At that time, I consider myself as the earth which keeps silent inspite of being trodden upon and considers herself fortunate.

What would have happened, Oh Moon if he had spent a life of happiness with an illiterate girl like me, or sometimes he would have reciprocated my longing? Our children would have been born. We would have educated them. Then I would have desired that my sons get wives as educated and beautiful as them. What do you say Moon? Would I not be sad if I had got illiterate daughters-in-law for my sons? Conditions improve only after suffering. No. No. That is a misunderstanding. Suffering makes one bitter. Look how I am using bitter words for everybody. I feel like burning the entire atmosphere. I should turn the bed which could not be mine, into ashes and shed the blood of the tender woman who would die today of suffocation. Today there will be a big murder. Murder of tenderness, of sweetness. You may go and hide behind the clouds. Don't witness the murder. The stars are still laughing like small children. They are asking me "What are you in this universe?"

Yes. What am I? Otherwise how would anyone dare get something 'written' from an illiterate person? I don't know writing. They would take my thumb impression. If I don't give them willingly, they will use forceful ways. Then they may even starve me and drive me out of the house. Perhaps I may even give them my thumb impression to save my respect and out of hunger. But why does the devil always deceive the justice through a false thumb impression? And you, Moon, will you always keep shining in the sky? No Moon, I will die and destroy myself. I am already thirty years. I have been living by killing so many of my desires. I shall also kill my hunger but I shall not give my thumb impression. I shall not let the falsity win over truth. They will drive me out of the house, and I shall leave the house. I may even go mad or roam on the streets. I have seen many such crazy women on the roads who have been driven to this state by the world.

Moon, inspite of that will you not share your light on people's hearts? Tell me what I should do. Should I suffocate the truth? I have always seen truth in your image-Loving, bright light. I have been talking to you so much. When he goes on his travels or is busy in his accounts, then I keep talking to you. Who else is there in this deserted life?

No Moon, I shall not allow you to be strangulated. I will not give my thumb impression. But Moon, the world is not fit for me...But why so? The innocent should die like this, suffocated like me. And one day they suffocate themselves too? Sometimes balance the scale of justice or the powerful will victimise the helpless! No, Moon, change the whole universe! Come and spread your silvery, tender and pure light onto the hearts of the tormentors!

- Translated by Arun Babani

The End


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