God is merciful. He gave us these beautiful green fields.
How I loved to get lost in these when I was a little girl. These meant the world to me. Mother had to work hard to find and take me back home.
No, I donâ€™t think about them anymore.
Yes, our paths do cross every morning when I go to bring drinking water for my family.
But I make sure I cover my head. You donâ€™t want to look into the eyes of those for whom you get weak in the knees.
Every morning I passed these narrow lanes, unnoticed. I never knew how beautiful the sunrise felt, until that morning. I felt this sudden urge to make up to the fear I grew up with. The fear of belonging.
I looked around the absolute stillness.
"Why donâ€™t you look up?"
"Because I fear it might make me happy"
"What is wrong in being happy?"
"Because I will end up wanting for more and I know I couldn't afford to"
I didn't look up. The open skies never cared. A temptation just couldn't find the right heart to give up to.
Last night, she hadnâ€™t sobbed to sleep. Whole night, she had stared at the open mouthed monster snoring next to her and thought how he would look like with his throat cut open. Yet again, he had struck her, despite his eternal love promises.
Meera looked across all the faces in the field, adorned with fresh cuts and bruises. They all covered their face with pretty scarfs and dreaded the nights.
Feeling murderous, she covered her whole face in that little scarf of hers and felt her skin through it. It felt smooth and unmarred. She cried now..
The rustic countryside, had a charm which was hard to be left unnoticed, albeit it came with it's own set of trails and tribulations. A young girl trudging along the narrow fields, carrying an earthen pot, seated at her waist was headed to the waterfall. Quite unawares to the fact, that she was been followed by a toddler.
It rained often in these parts. Lost in thoughts, she heard the bawling of a child. Having retraced her steps, only to notice a tree reduced to cinder; and to think she was about to cross the path, where lightening struck..
In the Greenfield, away from her home, with the crock locked in her arms, she walked for miles. Even from far away she could hear the cry of her 2 year old daughter who was waiting for her mother to sing her a lullaby. She covered her face with the pallu of her sari and still a hundred men pricked her body with merely their eyes. She felt all wan. She felt all vulnerable. But she still kept her pace and reached to the abandoned well. Her daughter slept soundly that night.
Don't believe the Chinese whispers floating in the air. This wind is deceptive. I'm not hiding, just shielding my vulnerability. There was a lover, you see. He fluttered his wings, floated in the filled earthen pot, and filled my senses with sweet fragrances. No, I'm not barren, he impregnated me with happiness but he was driven away .The pot has a big hole at the bottom now. See the dancing shrubs around me? This earth is fertile because I am her surrogate but the wind, wind is my culprit! I smell fire in the air. Time for atonement, tonight..
Pssst, do you have time to listen to my story? I will be brief. It was a full moon night when the two beasts chased her down here. They pinned her down and performed unspeakable acts. A sudden bolt of lightning infused life into me, and a tremendous surge of power. Just one blow was enough to smash their skulls into smithereens. The villagers quietly buried them later and the girl too, for she killed herself in shame. I wish the lightning had struck me earlier; I could have saved her and also myself..
A wizened body, moving across the green field, her bare arm clasped around vessel but heartâ€™s solidity what crumbled her world. She tried to stop the storm of tears with palm, why was she supposed to remain alive, while there is no one at home who awaits her. Two months ago, they ostracized her from village.
â€œBut I donâ€™t have son.â€
â€œThen, our folk will perform rituals.â€
â€œWoman is capable of running errands all alone, rest of her life, but not-strong-enough to go to her manâ€™s funeral, is it?â€
Panchayat stoned with her utterance and passed the judgment..
She lived in the village with her four year old son. Her husband was in the army.
Like other women in the village, she would walk a mile to fetch water from the river. She would leave her son to his own devices.
One day, as she returned from the river with the pitcher of water, she saw her son, kitchen knife in hand, stabbing at the earth in front of the cottage.
Jeetu! What are you doing?
Amma, I am digging a well, so you wonâ€™t have to leave me alone..
She carried the pot of water for her sisters and mothers daily. Born in a village, where you were of lower caste and to add to that misery, a woman. . A pot of shame more likely . Women in her village had to relieve themselves in the open fields . Prying male eyes looked at them shamelessly, waiting like foxes to spring on them in their undignified postures. The women lived a life of shame, no dignity even in the simplest of human ablution. Why did the humankind not feel ashamed for this indignity committed upon women?.
As she walks with her swollen bare feet and tends the crops, she worries when her husband will come back home from work, toss off some alcohol and find reasons to hurt her. She is tired of her life but hasnâ€™t given up yet. She has kids to take care of. Kids who don't respect her either. The hardships are too hard to live with. But she is a wife and a mother and she understands her duties..
â€œMamma look at the camera, I want to take a photo of you. â€œ
â€œNo need Rani; you know I don't like posing for pictures.â€
â€œBut mamma it's my new camera and I want to take your picture first.â€
â€œMamma where is your face. Stop hiding it.â€
â€œOkay this is enough.â€
â€œWish me luck mamma, from tomorrow your daughter is going to be a photographer, a professional photographer(smiling).â€.
Look,There she is
The one with special power. She can mesmerize anyone with her logic. She had helped half a dozen men of the other village with her lacy logic by convincing them to giving up drinking.
She had also played a crucial role in getting some toddlers enrolled in the near by school. She remained hungry for 10 days while protesting against the land usurpation by the BDO.
Her decent style of conversation mellows anyone however Her husband reprimands her in the public and beats every night.
All the villagers wonder where she gets such power.
You are not allowed to fail. You simply canâ€™t.
Keep crying. Walk as if the world burdens were crushing you.
Wipe your tears from time to time. Do not make eye contact.
Bow your head as any woman should do whenever she sees a man.
Moan in pain, but not too loud.
Limp, but not too much.
The water recipient needs to cross the border intact.
Drops of sweats were trickling her spine, when the soldiers nodded in agreement.
She smiled. Her last mission was a success.
The cure for cancer did no longer belong to one single country.
In this village, walking 7 Kms everyday to fetch water was a job any mother or daughter, had to endure. But young Shilpa enjoyed the daily chore. Her walk to river was small price she paid as it always culminated with meeting her lover, Ajay at the banks.
But her love life was in danger of an abrupt end when the government laid water pipes and hand pumps in the village ensuring good water supply.
Shilpa decided to gather wood daily for her mom now and meet Ajay on the pretext; then she heard of LPG subsidy #giveitup campaign.
Pointing at the portrait, the exhibitionist said, â€œSir, have a look at this wonderful representation of life in our villages â€“ pleasant weather, lush greenery and women doing their chores maintaining their dignity.â€
The chief guest, Mr Arun Jaitley, continued to stare at the picture.
The exhibitionist continued â€œ The veil of the woman protects her dignityâ€.
Everybody expected Mr Jaitley to strongly retort to this anti-feminist statement.
But, Mr Jaitley, had a different take on it â€“ he said â€œ I see black money being transferred into Swiss bank accounts of faceless peopleâ€
Two-minute applause for Mr Jaitley ensued.
Empowerment, Empowerment we scream,
That being reality is just a dream.
We boast of making them literate and brave
While those naive women continue to slave.
The face that hides behind the veil
Scorned, hurt and frail,
Let that face be caressed with sunshine
For they are the souls divine.
Hear the cries, listen to the woes
You could be their only hope, who knows!
When you find no such face to be framed
It is then you achieve the empowerment you aimed..
She fell down clutching her stomach in pain. The blow from the boots of her husband shot an agonizing pain through her entire body.
Slowly she picked the broken piece of the water pot, which accidently slipped, from her hands and broke. Now she will have to go 11 miles to get water for her family.
â€œJack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
If they donâ€™t, their fate will be just like Indian daughters.â€
Ganga hummed as she went on her way
Ganga, living up to her name; a constant source of water..
"Was she trying to hide her face after she caught you pointing your bazooka at her? Or was it an effort to gain some respite from the heat? Don't tell me she was wiping sweat off her brows and you timed it!"
"You can take it anyway you like for that story of yours. If you want the truth, she is a scarecrow.".
Hers was an insignificant life, dumped by husband because she couldn't bear him children.
He remarried. Meanwhile she led a life struck with shame, outcast by her kin and kith.
She wasn't getting any younger but she believed, neither was she too old to start afresh.
Today, when he reads in newspapers what a remarkable life she was leading, he couldn't have been more ashamed, for she was now feeding those homeless orphan kids.
And you know the irony?
He still didn't have children!
But am just happy that her Iife is no longer insignificant..
Diagnosed with Cancer, the NGO in her village helped her in getting the right treatment. Her world seemed bright knowing she would survive. But after all those sessions of Chemo, when she looked into the mirror, she felt she wasn't herself anymore. The village people kept commenting on her bald head, her pale face. She found it hard to escape the taunts. She didn't feel free to be moving around casually, uncovered. When she knew she would survive, little did she know that death would probably have been more freeing. .