I can’t breathe anymore….. I look at the sarpanch with hopeful eyes but I don’t know what can be done.
I think I am drowning. Drowning in the blackness. The fears that were buried in my unconscious for so many years, the nightmares that did not let me sleep are coming back to haunt me again. I think I should run…. But I do not have the option. What do I do? I hear the music, the happy song and can hear the children laughing. I can see middle aged women dancing as if they were teenagers again. The light is blinding me. There is too much happiness in the air for me to bear. How can the world be so happy at my misery?! The necklace around my throat is choking me. I want to rip off my lehenga and cry…. But I cannot cry. My smudged kohl and blotched make up will give it away. Those images don’t leave me alone……
…..That cold winter night. A night that still gives me the chills which I can now never even think of forgetting. It was a night that will now be etched in my memory no matter how hard I try to run away from it.
Short Story: Animal Husbandry & Lingerie
When it happened
No one heard my cries, no one paid heed to my shrieks. People who noticed, watched like spectators watching the circus that had come to our village. But I cannot dare blame them. The taskmaster was the son of the sarpanch and I was a mere caged animal who existed only to be tortured and laughed at by the audience.
I sat under the gushing water of the tap for hours after I had been beaten up by my dearest mother for forgetting to take my dupatta before I left. And even after that I had the audacity to come back home after sunset. The darkest night of my life. I deserved such a fate. I would never get married now, was my mother’s concern. Who would marry an impure girl like me?
Spine Chilling Truth Of Today
A month later when I realized something was growing inside of me, I was terrified. I got beaten up again. My mother said people had started talking about it. Yet I was not allowed to talk. I had to keep shut.
But something had to be done! There was something inside me that was sucking the life out of me. My mother finally having some pity on me decided to go and beg to the Sarpanch. I felt a surging rush of emotions after so many days! Maybe it was happiness, I cannot really tell. Maybe justice would finally prevail!
At The Mercy of Sarpanch
In an hour my mother came back with a box of expensive sweets and a face shimmering with joy. She could not control her laughter any more.
‘’The Sarpanch is a great man!’’ she shrieked.
‘’I cannot believe I did not think of this before!’’
‘’He agreed to get his son married to you! Can you believe that…?’’
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